Amazon’s profits have more than tripled inthe last two years.
And it isn’t because people love buying stufffrom their website.
Their rise in profits is partly due to thecompanies government contracts for cloud computing, but their biggest prize, a $10 billion contractis now held up in the courts.
I have Farron Cousins from the Trial LawyerMagazine to talk about it.
We, seems like we’re doing a lot of storieson Amazon lately.
This is a story that oddly enough, you know, at least written corporate media is picking up on it.
A great story that actually appeared in theWall Street Journal and in the Mother Jones.
Here’s the deal, there’s this thing calledthe JEDI cloud.
You know, by it’s definition, the JEDI cloudsounds pretty ominous by itself.
So Amazon bid on being able to have the JEDIcloud to be something that they take care of it and they house and they make all themoney on it, $10 billion worth of money on it.
And now we find out it wasn’t a fair fight.
We find out that Amazon might have tried totip the scales of justice where it comes to fair play on this case.
I, I mean basically to, to strip it down tothe bare bones, Amazon essentially had a guy on the inside, a man by the name of Deap Ubhi.
He worked for Amazon.
He leaves Amazon, goes to work for the DefenseDepartment, is there for about a year.
And while he is there, he convinces the defense, the defense department, we need to get into cloud computing, move away from traditionalservers, go to cloud computing.
Ubhi leaves the State Departmentand goes back to work for Amazon.
Who just happened at the time they were launchingtheir massive cloud computing.
AWS is that division and they wanted thesegovernment contracts.
So this guy came from Amazon to the StateDepartment.
Helped put in the good word for Amazon, tweetedout all kinds of praise for Bezos while he was at the State Department and blog posts.
It’s very deep.
Lots worse than that.
First of all, let’s talk, let’s talk the JEDIcloud.
It’s, as I say, it sounds pretty ominous, but it’s where the military will store all of their digital information in one place.
Now, I don’t know if that sounds like a goodidea, but somebody along the way said, yeah, let’s store everything in one place wheresomebody can hack into it just in one place and make it convenient.
But here’s what’s interesting.
Oracle filed this lawsuit.
Oracle had a similar program that they weretrying to sell.
Now what this cat did that worked for Amazonand then worked for the Defense Department then worked for Amazon again.
What he did is he tried to move the ball.
He’s, the conflict was ridiculous, but hetried to move the ball to where all of the standards for the contract fit directly intowhat the standards were at Amazon and varied from the Amazon, it varied from the Oracle standards.
In the process, I think what’s incrediblethough is he actually spied on the com, on the competitors while he was working withthe government.
He got information about competitors thatwere coming in to try to get the same contract.
And I, you know, somebody at Amazon said, yeah this is okay with me.
Business as usual.
What’s your take? Well it’s interesting cause I don’t thinkenough people appreciate the fact that Amazon, the bulk of their profits are coming fromthese government contracts.
You know, this $10 billion one that’s up inthe air right now for them, this was not the first, it’s not going to be the last, butit’s what’s driving more than 50% of their yearly profits.
And as you already pointed out, before theygot into this government contract business, they were pulling in a couple billion a yearand then last year suddenly they’re making more than 10 billion a year.
And again, more than half of that is fromthese kinds of contracts.
So they have this guy, this Deap Ubhi, whogoes in there, does everything he can to steer it towards Amazon.
Spying on the competitors, knowing what they’redoing, still being friends with Amazon, hyping Bezos up to the Defense Department.
And suddenly Amazon gets awarded the contractuntil Oracle has to step in and say, wait a minute, something isn’t right here.
The, the Defense Department says they dideverything properly, but we have all of this info showing that no, Amazon was gaming itfrom the start.
So you got here, you got the obvious conflict.
He works for Amazon then works for the governmentand then works for Amazon.
He’s there as a plant by Amazon, very clear.
Next thing is we find that he’s using thatposition to, as you point out, spy on his competitors.
Thirdly, what he’s doing is he’s moving thestandard to a point to where it fits in perfectly with Amazon and way different from Oracle.
And then he uses his position really to, thisis where it really gets weird.
Amazon as an inducement to him, actually offeredto buy a startup company that he owned.
In other words, that’s, that’s, it soundslike bribery.
I mean, I, if you take a look at what thecomplaint is, the complaint is well, no, we’re saying there’s a, there’s a conflict of interest.
It’s far more than that when you start lookingat this.
I wonder if, this is kind of sounds like apayback from Trump kind of too, doesn’t it? I mean, if you want it, if you want to goafter Amazon, I mean Bezos and Trump, you know, not a, not a match made in heaven.
And Trump wants to go after Bezos.
This is a, this is pretty good vehicle.
This is a $10 billion vehicle.
And you couldn’t even argue he is doing itpolitically here.
There is plenty of real evidence to show thatAmazon should not be awarded this contract and, and not even all of it has to do withthe conflict of interest here.
They just had a massive data breach that tookplace I think the day or two before black Friday of this past year, 2018 that leakeduser data addresses.
Some people may have had their financial informationstolen.
Are these the people we want controlling thegovernment secrets, you know, the military secrets, all of that in their cloud when theycan’t even keep our, our credit card information safe? Yeah that’s, that’s the bigger issue here, isn’t it? We’re going to have all of this, all the most, most special military digital secrets in one place, controlled by the company who blewit.
Has blown it a couple of times, and now we’resaying, yeah, we’ll pay you $10 billion to do that.
It’s about as reliable as giving it to Facebook.
Oh, I don’t know which is worse.
Despite scientific evidence and impassionedpublic pleas against the use of a controversial pesticide in Arkansas, the state cited ofcourse with a giant chemical company Monsanto that, about its restrictions on weed killer.
This is no surprise is it Mollye? I’m joined by, you know, we do these stories.
How often Mollye? Too often.
Too often because we saw the same thing happenwith, with Roundup.
It’s happening right now with Roundup andunfortunately with Roundup it’s not only the government, but it’s somewhat the judiciarythat’s making it difficult for us to do anything about it.
Right now there’s a case going on in California.
I’m looking at what’s happening out there.
It would scare the bejesus out of you to seethe rulings that are coming out of that court.
I believe it.
So tell me about Dicamba.
Well, this particular situation in Arkansaslast year, Arkansas banned the use of Dicamba, which is one of Monsanto’s more popular pesticides, especially popular with soybean and cotton growers.
But they banned it between April and Octoberafter receiving over a thousand complaints in 2017 of basically crop damage.
Millions and millions of dollars in crop damagecaused by Dicamba and what’s called, it’s volatility.
Basically it forms into a gas and it spreads.
So farmers who have Dicamba resistant crops, who are using seeds made by Monsanto that are resistant to this particular pesticide, want to use this of course to kill a particular pest.
But there’s an over spray around people around.
But it spreads and it causes damage to everything.
To honey bees to trees, to gardens, to organicfood farmers.
Well in other words, here’s the point.
Here’s the point.
If you’re a farmer and you don’t want to playball with Monsanto/Bayer, who in the world wants to? I mean, if you look at their history, whowants to say, yeah, I’m in with Monsanto? It’s like being with the devil.
Well, sometimes you look at their historyand you wonder, but here’s the point.
The point is you’ve got farmers that say, I’m not going to do business with them.
So somebody in the middle of four plots ofland that happens to use Dicamba or it could be Roundup, whatever it is, who uses thoseseeds.
The spray doesn’t affect them because theseed is so weird.
The seed is such a mutation.
That’s scary in of itself.
The poison doesn’t kill the seed, but thepoison goes out and hits all the farmers around them.
So what did, what happened, what happenedin Arkansas? Did legislators come to the aid of the farmer? Oh, the FED did first.
As soon as Arkansas passed this ban, it tookeffect last year.
The last year was the first year that therewas an effect from April to October.
Well, that October the EPA came forward andsaid, eh, we think it’s okay for you soybean and cotton growers who use this Monsanto seedthat’s resistant to Dicamba to go ahead and continue to use this spray.
So basically it came up for review again becausethe Arkansas plant board, which is deciding on these rules and restrictions, had a choiceat that point.
They can either go along with the EPA or theyset new restrictions.
But what they decided last week was to goahead and it’s this compromise of sorts.
There’s still going to have a ban in placethat will go from May, this time, the end of May through October.
But see, the real problem is everything I’vebeen reading up on this, that’s the best time of year to spray this.
But then it also spreads worse because it’shot.
It spreads all over the place.
It kills everything around it.
Now understand, we’re not talking about Roundup.
A huge poison we’re talking about Dicambathat this company has had for quite some time by the way.
Looking for uses.
They were looking for uses.
Roundup, finally we understand at least, peopleare paying attention that Roundup will kill you.
It’ll cause cancer, it causes all types ofproblems.
So they’re going soft on Roundup and theirtaking this thing out of their seller called Dicamba.
They’ve had it a long time.
They didn’t want to use it because they knewthe problems with it.
So now they’re, they’re reintroducing Dicambaand they were saying, well yeah, we, we, we kind of our own documents show us that, thatRoundup has a potential to cause cancer.
Dicamba there’s not enough information outthere right now.
We’re pretty sure it causes cancer.
But we can’t prove it.
We think it does.
And we know, we know it destroys propertyall around the farmer who’s using, again, we’re talking about a seed mutation that won’tdie from poison.
I know, that’s how I felt reading this.
I was like, why are you even using these seeds? Why is this necessary? Okay.
Well this is phase, this is, this is Monsantophase two.
And the history that we’re seeing is the samehistory we saw with Roundup.
EPA Won’t do anything because it’s like arevolving door.
You work for EPA day one, you go to work forMonsanto that day two, or Bayer day two.
The, you, you get positions in legislatureto fight this off.
You get positions in regulatory to fight itoff.
You pay your way for enough years to wherethey can make enough billions of dollars on Dicamba before everybody catches on and says, hey, this, this is just like Roundup.
Well, it’s almost like spice.
I know that’s kind of a strange comparison, but when spice, which is that synthetic marijuana, was so prevalent in convenient stores, allthey would do is change the chemical formation of it because only one certain chemical wasagainst the law if you changed the chemical.
So it’s almost like they were doing the samething with Monsanto.
Mollye, let’s keep up with this one, it’sgoing to be another Roundup story.
Yes, thanks Pap.