Amazon is a country, Jeff Bezos is its tyrant and we are the useful idiots

On November 22, 250 pilots at ATSG’s Amazon-servicing subsidiary, ABX Air, went on strike to protest the lack of compensatory time off granted after the pilots were forced to work extra hours to make up for the understaffing at the airline. The pilots, members of Teamsters Local 1224, were forced back to work the next day after an injunction was ordered
…absent an injunction ABX, its customers, and the public will suffer immediate, irreparable harm. Imagine Christmas without Amazon!- Judge Timothy Black of the US Court for the Southern District of Ohio
Old man yelling at clouds
Several of my posts have had a theme stringing thru them, our operating system is changing. A recent post was about Amazon acquiring Whole Foods: The robots are coming, the human usurpation begins That post was about the people who will be unemployed, who they are and the clever rhetorical and legaleese twists of Amazon’s press releases.
And that post was ‘kinda’ a continuation of another Beware the Tech Oligarchs: ‘Don’t Be Evil? Which was about the dangers of the new oligarchs, they are much worse than what has come before.
And that post was a continuation of another Is Facebook a nation? What is a country? about the subsistution of company for country: In that post I asked some questions:
What is a country?
What is a flag? What is a logo?
What is a citizen? What is a consumer?
What is the Constitution? What is an End User License Agreement?
Which do you prefer, Free Speech which can be outrageous and/or offensive or the guidelines of Facebook and Twitter
Which do you trust more, Google or the US Government? Which has better governance, more transparency, accountability and legal protections?
What uses capital more efficiently, Google or the US Government?
Which is the more durable currency: Would you like your tax refund in American dollars or Facebook stock? What if you could pay your mortgage with your Facebook stock?
What has better service, the government or the Apple store?
Amazon digests Whole Foods
Amazon has announced its acquisition of Whole foods the premier retailer of “natural” foods for  $13.7 billion.
Is this societally a ‘good thing’. What cable tv network has the panel discussions about this? The commentary I have seen from infallible expert never veers far from narrow margins, accepting and unchallenging of certain assumptions:
Robots are coming. Artificial intelligence is eating the world. Universal Basic Income is the most compassionate solution.
Arguing the goods and bads of the acquisition, while not challenging the framework and particulars leaves only the Amazon’ian stylistics to debate, you can not slow or damage Amazon, it marches on.
Pundits be punditing that Amazon is an innovative good guy,  an avatar of economic progress, yet eliminating the need to investigate whether they actually are.  They are in a heroic battle against backward laws, regulations and industry. The consistent messaging is resistance to Amazon’s growth is from the misguided or the nostalgic or corrupted regulators and politicians who want to halt innovations.
But, what is Amazon? Is Amazon a public utility? Are we stakeholders? 
Everything from here is prima facie, without footnotes or references, its one guy rambling and asking to see how the math problem was solved and not just the result.
Amazon has managed to avoid its share of taxes and tax collection. They had a pre-tax income of $3,512 million but paid only $152 million in taxes for an effective tax rate of 4.33%, The IRS is currently suing for 1.5 billion in unpaid taxes and in the EU, regulators are challenging the legalistics of certain tax structures in Luxembourg and elsewhere
Since 2005 Amazon has received approximately $900 million worth of subsidies to construct and operate its facilities, with $241 million awarded since the start of 2015, taxpayer money that greases the track for a corporation that has to build these facilities, regardless of any potential subsidies, e, secured a $600 million contract from the CIA for building a ‘private cloud’ for the CIA to use for its data needs
No company can grow to the size of Amazon without the active intervention of the State and all of its mechanisms. The government is intimately involved in all aspects of its markets and economics, it is inherent. The ‘economy’ is a tally of all transactions and policymakers make hundreds of choices about the transactions in our society, whether those transactions tilt towards justice, the benefits of the consumers, fairness, preservation of rights or tilt away
The Postal Service is subsidizing Amazon package delivery with first-class mail. If costs were fairly allocated, on average parcels would cost $1.46 more to deliver. Two-thirds of Amazon’s domestic deliveries are made by the Postal Service giving Amazon even greater benefit
U.S. Representative David Cicilline wrote a letter to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee requesting hearings arguing the deal was part of a wave of consolidation that has “decreased wages and resulted in gross inequality in the workplace.”and “Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods raises important questions concerning competition policy, such as how the transaction will affect the future of retail grocery stores, whether platform dominance impedes innovation, and if the antitrust laws are working effectively to ensure economic opportunity, choice and low prices for American families”
In New York City, just 6 years ago, Walmart attmepted to open up a store. It was not permitted to because of the damage it wold do to local retailers, bodegas and the like. Walmart, trying to strike a deal guaranteed offered several commitments such as that union workers will build or renovate any stores it opens in the city over the next five years. Now its Amazon p to the plate and radio silence from political leaders. Are the bodegas, family retialers opening their arms to Amazon/WholeFoods?
‘as long as consumers are getting low prices, everything is fine’.
This first round of interrogatories begins:
As automation replaces workers, Amazon and many other tech companies are promoting what they calculate, is a financial and societal fix, taxing the owners of robots and software, who it is presumed will bank enormous profits off automation. but is this just a stage device meant to  lessen, if not eliminate, political resistance to automation
How can we trust Amazon to be a good corporate citizen and pay in full its ‘robot tax’. They are excellent at tax avoidance, perhaps criminally so.
Is Universal Basic Income a ‘corporate right’ rather than a ‘human right’ one. Do they have the right to be a proxy of the state, capture all the nutrients and give the waste to taxpayers
Amazon averages 162 million unique visitors every month, they are accumulating and analyzing huge quantities of personal data, where does it go?
In hosting a huge computing cloud for the CIA’s secrets will there be any overlap between the physical hardware serving Amazon’s commercial cloud service and what is provided to the CIA?
Should all workers be automatically enrolled into collective bargaining? Amazon’s productivity numbers are structured to be unattainable for most workers, this business strategy is management by stress. With wages lower than at comparable facilities (9 percent to 22 percent less, according to ILSR estimates), the quota system creates high turnover. This makes for a tougher terrain to utilize a key tool that might significantly alter the way the company operates – unionization.
For the 91,000 hole Foods employees that will be affected by the what is the schedule of planned, or likely terminations by location, city and state and position
Should all employees be given at least 90 days notice of any planned, or likely, termination
Will they disclose a precise list of planned, or likely hiring
Will and should Amazon foot the bill for employee retraining to other positions within the company
The End?

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