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“Prime Day” Thoughts: “Time for “Prime Platform” To Replace Twitter

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Happy Prime Day.  Very few companies have the power to create “a day.”  Amazon does.  It also has the power to save us from Twitter, where some MSM figures spent the weekend taking vows to distance themselves from the platform that has both addicted and disfigured many, though not all, in the Manhattan-Beltway media elite. Twitter is bad for the soul, they seem to be saying, or at least for the national “conversation.”  They are right.

So my message on Prime Day is pretty simple: Save social media, Mr. Bezos.

The fact is that Amazon has more than 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers around the world. Jeff Bezos revealed the number in a letter to shareholders in April. Despite a price hike on the basic membership, I expect the number to keel growing. That’s why I own some Amazon stock. Amazon is the Kudzu of retail. It’s not stopping growing anywhere soon. So Amazon Prime is going to keep growing too.

To join Prime is to become a credentialed member of an Internet ecosystem. You can’t be anonymous —not easily at least— and it costs real money to join, but benefits are real as is the steady accumulation of tens of millions of members.

Prime would serve the public and Amazon’s shareholders if it was to launch a Twitter-like platform but only for Prime Members. Call it for the purpose of this column “Prime Platform.”

You don’t pay, you don’t play. But once in the door (and 100 million plus people —not bots— are already through the opening as members of Prime) “Prime Platform” could become the “always good Twitter” instead of the often dark and frequently disgusting Twitter of trolls, fanatics and extremists.

Twitter is diseased and there isn’t a single user who doesn’t know that. It is also indispensable for news and sports junkies. There isn’t an alternative. Or at least there hasn’t been one to date.

Prime Platform could change that. Prime Platform could exile the worst of the Twitter behaviors in the “terms of service.” The Eden of social media could be opened, all because it costs money to get in, but the cost is ancillary to the real benefit which is the shopping service. The community already exists. It would just change its chatter land from Twitter to Prime Platform.

Prime Platform would evolve to destroy not just Twitter but probably Facebook and Snapchat, Instagram and pretty much every other social media platform out there because, again, it kills off the creep factor but keeps the fun and the news feed functions of good Twitter.

Give it some thought Mr. Bezos. A “Prime Platform” is a meeting place online whose time has come.

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When California’s Suicide Is Complete – What Next?

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If you live in California you HAVE to pay attention to Democrat politics.  They run the state and there is not a thing the Republicans can do about it.  In certain blessed zones, in which I do not personally reside, Republicans can still be effective on a local level, but state-wide Democrats are the game.  Having achieved this enviable position they are in the process of committing slow-motion suicide.  The latest sign of their impending doom?  The California Democrat Party has given its endorsement in a Dem on Dem general election, not to one of the most recognizable, long serving of Senators currently in the Senate, but to a state senator that no one outside of California political geeks has ever heard of.  Why?  Because, wait for it…Diane Feinstein, she of “the dogma lives loudly” fame, is too moderate.

This is being analyzed in all sorts of ways, most focus on internal party strife in the CA Dems.  That is fair enough, but I am way past that – what concerns me is the utter lack of serious, reality based political talent in the state in either party.  The Democrats got here in no small part because of some pretty enormous Republican missteps and serious Republicans have just moved on.  When Jerry Brown – Governor Moonbeam, for crying-in-the-sink – represents the best the Dems have to offer, there is a dearth of talent.  Brown is older than dirt (80) and the heir apparent, Gavin Newsom, will bankrupt the state before he leaves office.  (Actually it is already bankrupt, but Newsom will successfully strip the veneer, massively spending.)

The handwriting is on the wall.  California is going to break; it is just a question of when and how precisely. Climate, natural wonders and the economic engine that is Silicon Valley notwithstanding, it is going to break.  Those things and some slight-of-hand, may serve as camouflage – which is effectively what is happening now – but eventually you cannot hide the biggest thing in the room.  The question is, “Then What?”

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A New Christian Project

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Events of the week have me reflecting deeply on what Christians should be doing in the world – a few events in particular.  The first event were many of the “anti-Trump protests” that occurred in the week just past.  Now let’s be honest, are a “baby Trump balloon”  or very large, very public cursing about the president really protests?  Of course not, they have no policy aims or disagreements, they are simply ridicule or expressions of revulsion, but they most certainly do not rise to the level of “protest.”  What struck me at first was that people, or a group of people, thought that their personal revulsion was so important that the whole world had to know of it in some spectacular fashion.  At bottom these are acts of utter self-absorption.  Turns out it is worse than I thought, they are advertising stunts. (Be sure and order your t-shirt today – not!)  It’s not just self-absorption, it’s self-aggrandizement.

The other event is far more personal – a bad, no make that really bad, customer service call.  This is hardly a unique experience, everybody has these stories.  And as tempting as it is to tell you all the glorious details I think that would make me guilty of the self-absorption I just spoke about.  Let me describe it generally – a company, more interested in lowering costs than caring for the customer, has designed a customer service system purposefully to drive people away from calling.  Then they have hired people that care not a whit about the customer’s issues, only about ticking the boxes on their “call completion checklist.”  When asked about something not directly in the knowledge of the person taking the call an appropriate “I don’t know,” was the answer.  “Well who does and how do I reach them?”  “I don’t know.”  End of conversation.  Here we have two levels of self-absorption – on the part of the company and on the part of the customer service representative.

Then I thought about some of the really ugly church fights I have been involved in, and how at the bottom of almost all of them was self-absorption of some sort.  They were almost never about what is best for advancing Christianity, they were about what somebody, or sombodies, wanted from church.  If the church is so self-absorbed, how can we honestly expect the world at large to be any better?

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*SIGH* Christians Looking Silly On All Sides

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So from this morning’s “Fix” at WaPo comes this from Eugene Scott, “One of President Trump’s evangelical advisers is getting significant pushback for introducing the immigration status of Christ into the conversation of immigrant children separated from their parents by the Trump administration.”  It’s about Paula White and her response to Jesus’ immigration status when He was a child.  Apparently Ms. White said, “I think so many people have taken biblical scriptures out of context on this, to say stuff like, “Well, Jesus was a refugee.” Yes, He did live in Egypt for three-and-a-half years. But it was not illegal. If He had broken the law then He would have been sinful and He would not have been our Messiah.”  While generally conservative and generally a supporter of the Trump administration (though not on everything) even I winced when I saw that last sentence from Ms. White.

Of course Jesus violated both civil and religious law – He was crucified, after a trial of sorts, after all.  Yeah it was a bit of a kangaroo court and most Evangelicals will argue about differences in God’s law and religious and/or civil law, but let’s be real here, Ms. White was being overly simplistic and reaching in her point.  She was fine up until that last sentence, but she just looks silly.  BTW, the entire debate is silly – it’s not like borders were the same things then they are now, particularly when the entire area, though separate nations, were all conquered nations under a single Roman Empire.  The underlying debate is comparing apples and oranges so it’s just silly.  Why Ms. White chose to compound silly with sillier I have no idea.

But does that prevent Mr. Scott from committing the same type of error?  Oh no, of course not.

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