"Many Americans forget is that our country is located against a socialist failed state that is promising to descend even further into chaos – not California, the other one. And the Mexicans, having reached the bottom of the hole they have dug for themselves, just chose to keep digging by electing a new leftist presidente who wants to surrender to the cartels and who thinks that Mexicans have some sort of “human right” to sneak into the U.S. and demographically reconquer it."
Thursday, July 27, 2017
AMAZON'S JEFF BEZOS: FATHER OF THE NEW SLAVERY IN AMERICA
Amazon’s Bezos passes Bill Gates as world’s richest person
July 27 (UPI) — Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Internet retail giant Amazon, overtook Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the world’s richest person on Thursday, according to a real-time ranking compiled by Forbes magazine.
A 1 percent surge in the price of Amazon shares accounts for the wealth Bezos has accumulated, at least on paper, enabling him to surpass Gates with $91 billion in assets on the Forbes list Thursday. Gates was listed with $90 billion.
Shares of Amazon have increased about 40 percent in the last year and have traded at over $1,000 per share during that time. According to regulatory filings, Bezos owns about 81 million shares of Amazon, accounting for roughly 17 percent of the company he founded.
Bezos also owns The Washington Post and the space exploration company Blue Origin, which he founded and funds with the sale of $1 billion in Amazon stock each year, according to The New York Times.
Gates’ wealth has also increased as Microsoft stock has enjoyed recent success. He still owns 191 million shares of the company, a 2.46 percent stake worth $14 billion.
Gates has diversified his wealth since stepping away from day-to-day leadership at Microsoft and now oversees Cascade Investments, the company he formed to manage his vast fortune. Cascade has a wide array of business interests, including private equity, public stock holdings and real estate.
The Forbes list does not count the money Gates has donated to his charitable organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as part of his personal fortune.
Gates has been ranked No. 1 on the Forbes richest person list in 18 of the last 23 years.
Government gives Amazon millions in free money for Romulus, Michigan warehouse
By Robert Verdine 25 July 2017
Amazon has announced that it plans to move forward on the construction of a new warehouse in Romulus, Michigan after being confirmed for a grant by the State of Michigan’s “Strategic Fund Board” to the tune of $5 million in public city funds. This comes on the heels of the recent decision to give $7.5 million in corporate welfare for another Amazon construction project in the Detroit suburb of Livonia.
The new site plans on utilizing the existing metropolitan airport, which will also see large sums of capital invested as part of an economic partnership between the state and major corporate entities known as the Detroit Region Aerotropolis (DRA).
In addition, Amazon has its sights set on a third location in the Detroit Metro area in Shelby Township at the site of an old Visteon plant, an auto parts maker for Ford. The board of trustees for the Macomb County Brownfield Redevelopment authority and the township’s planning commission gave approval for the project last week. As stated on the township’s web site, a main component of the plan will be the granting of various tax incentives.
This past week, the Livonia City Council furnished Amazon with an industrial facilities exemption certificate approved unanimously by the board. The certificate would “provide an exemption from ad valorem real and/or personal property taxes on the property. The application turned in to the city earlier this summer requests the certificate for 12 years, the maximum amount allowed by the state,” hometimelife.com reports.
Other cities in the US rust belt are also making similar deals. The city of Cleveland is considering a similar package of tax and other various financial incentives for the redevelopment by Amazon of the Randall Park Mall site, formerly a major shopping hub whose retail anchors have been the main retailers put out of business by Amazon. Sears, Macy’s, JCPenney and Burlington Coat Factory were all former tenants.
This kind of economic arrangement is similar to deals Amazon has extorted all over the world. In 2013, the UK newspaper the Independent reported that “Amazon’s corporate tax bill was just £2.44 million – less than the £2.5 million it received from the Scottish Government in inducements to build a new distribution warehouse in Dunfermline.” The report goes on to detail some of the methods that Amazon and other multinationals use to avoid paying taxes on profits to government authorities.
“Amazon manages to pay only a tiny fraction of its profits in corporation tax because all sales to British customers are routed through a Luxembourg affiliate, Amazon EU Sarl,” the Independent writes. “It is funded by fees it receives from Amazon EU and since these only just cover operating costs, little is left over for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to tax. Amazon EU pays little tax in Luxembourg because it pays hundreds of millions of euros each year in fees to a tax exempt affiliate, also registered in Luxembourg.”
The company that Jeff Bezos founded in 1995 as an online bookstore now increasingly controls the fundamental infrastructure of the economy. Its Amazon Web Services division currently provides the computing backbone for much of the country, including the CIA. Its massive network of distribution centers and warehouses in every major US city has displaced local shipping industries. Amazon sales also increased 23 percent in the first quarter of 2017, climbing to $35.7 billion. On one day alone, July 11, 2017, the company reported that it sold $2.9 billion worth of goods.
While the ruling class claims that there is no money available to meet the most critical social needs of working people, state and local governments engage in a bidding war seeking to attract lucrative deals from large capitalist enterprises like Amazon and in the process drive down pay, benefits, and overall working conditions.
The online retail giant has received innumerable public grants from states seeking to lure the company into investing in capital in their regions. Fairfax County, Virginia has recently given a massive handout of $43 million for construction of a new distribution center. Last year, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf submitted a similar proposal, which was accepted by Amazon on behalf of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development. The proposal included a $5 million dollar “First Program” grant and $15 million in tax credits. Massachusetts announced its own deal in April 2015 which included $14.8 million incentives and credits for Amazon warehouses.
Financial papers and journals have meanwhile touted the deals by Romulus and Livonia as a supposed boon to job creation. The reality is that Amazon is notorious globally for paying poverty wages and severely exploiting and abusing its workforce. Workers are given a stick-and-carrot routine, promised bonuses and education assistance when signing on, promises which are postponed and then reneged on time and time again. Ironically, the repurposed former auto plants that are being purchased and refitted by Amazon will provide jobs that pay less than half as much in starting wages as were formerly paid to autoworkers at these facilities.
Amazon CEO Bezos
makes $1.4 billion Thursday morning, briefly becoming world’s richest person
By Evan Blake
28 July 2017
Around the time Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos woke up Thursday, he became
the richest person in the world after making roughly $1.4 billion shortly
following the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange. With an estimated
net worth of $90.9 billion, Bezos briefly surpassed Microsoft founder Bill
Gates, who had been the world’s richest person since May 2013.
Bezos’s fortune stems almost entirely from being the largest
shareholder of Amazon stock, of which he owns roughly 17 percent. With the
company slated to report strong earnings and growth in its quarterly earnings
report released Thursday evening, its stock surged 1.6 percent shortly after
the NASDAQ opened Thursday morning, reaching a high of $1,083.31 per share at
The released earnings report, however, differed from what analysts
had predicted and caused Amazon’s stock price to fall 3 percent to $1,012.68 in
after-hours trading Thursday evening. The company reported earnings per share
of only $0.40 cents per share, far below the predicted $1.42 per share. Bezos
finished the day as the second richest person, trailing Gates by just $1.1
Under capitalism, the daily fluctuations of the market cause
figures such as Bezos and Gates to win or lose hundreds of millions—or even
billions—of dollars on an hourly basis, while the vast majority of the
population struggles to survive.
The obscene amounts of money that Bezos accrued early Thursday and
in recent years contrasts sharply with the low wages earned by Amazon’s global
workforce. While Bezos netted $1.4 billion in his sleep, it would take 54,280
years for a graveyard shift worker in one of Amazon’s warehouses in the US to
earn the same amount.
As the International
Amazon Workers Voice (IAWV) reported last month,
super-exploited Amazon warehouse workers in India make just $233 per month.
Thus, it would take an Indian Amazon warehouse worker 500,715 years to earn the
same amount that Bezos did overnight.
Coinciding with the rise of the stock market, Amazon’s stock value
has skyrocketed over 40 percent this year alone. According to the Bloomberg
Billionaires Index, Bezos has cashed in with $24.5 billion since January. In
the past five years, a period of almost uninterrupted stock market boom, Bezos
has made an astounding $70.4 billion.
Bezos’s wealth is so vast that it would be enough to end
homelessness in the US and provide access to water and sanitation for the
entire global population, according to figures from the US Department of
Housing and Urban Development and the Stockholm International Peace Research
After a summer of skyrocketing share value, the company’s market
capitalization surpassed $500 billion for the first time on Wednesday, joining
the exclusive set of fellow tech giants Apple, Google and Microsoft.
Earlier this summer, Amazon began acquisition negotiations with
Whole Foods, which also propelled Amazon stock and netted Bezos another $2.88
billion in a single day. The deal portends a massive shift in the grocery
industry, as Amazon aims to introduce technology to make superfluous jobs that
currently employ millions of people, including cashier positions.
On July 11, Amazon held its annual Prime Day event, a sales
bonanza in which numerous items were discounted, including Amazon-produced
technology like the Echo Dot. The company afterwards announced that the sales
event was their “biggest day ever” in terms of overall sales—a 60 percent
increase over Prime Day 2016. In the 30-hour time frame of the event, they
surpassed their combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016 and
added more Prime members than ever before.
The rise of Amazon and the billions accumulated by Bezos have been
built upon the exploitation of its workforce worldwide, which faces brutal
working conditions. Over the past few weeks, building up to and after Prime
Day, workers at Amazon’s immense distribution warehouses have been under
intense pressure to meet productivity requirements. Thousands of workers have
been forced to work mandatory overtime, often at least 60 hours per week.
At most “fulfillment centers” across the US, inbound workers are
already stocking up for the “peak” holiday shopping season and have continued
to work mandatory overtime. Inbound workers have told the IAWV that they come
home so stressed out from the thought of having to go back to work overtime the
next day that they cannot fall asleep, creating a grueling feedback loop of
overwork, stress and sleep deprivation.
Inside the facilities, workers are forced to labor under the
intense summer heat. Workers frequently collapse from heat exhaustion, at which
point they are simply advised to take a break and then get back to work.
This brutal exploitation is the real source of Amazon’s climbing
stock value and Bezos’s soaring wealth. Without the labor of Amazon workers,
there would be no profits. The wealth that Bezos has extracted from Amazon
workers must be seized and redirected to meet social needs, not hoarded away in
his private bank accounts and stock portfolio.
The way forward for Amazon workers requires that they form links
with their coworkers internationally and fight to build independent
rank-and-file committees, which will be used to unite with the international
working class more broadly.
The Mexican Invasion & Occupation