4 Underreported Ways Amazon Makes The World Worse
Amazon isn't a very nice company. You know this. We know this. Everyone knows this. Whether it's making workers pee into bottles or firing them for trying to unionize (so they don't have to pee into bottles), their awful reputation is well-deserved -- and just wait until you hear about the rest of their antics ...
They're Funding Conspiracy Theorists
We've talked about how the NVIC, one of the country's leading producers of anti-vaccination conspiracies (and dead kids), is funded by a pseudoscience-peddling millionaire grifter who goes by the name of Joseph Mercola. Well, he's apparently got some help from a billionaire grifter who goes by the name of Jeff Bezos.
This is all made possible by the company's AmazonSmile program -- an initiative where charities and other humanitarian organizations can apply to receive a cut of any purchases made by their supporters on Amazon (but only if they visit the site by clicking a button like the one above). The NVIC was likely able to enroll without being vetted by Amazon, although the guidelines for the AmazonSmile program decree that all enrollees must "not engage in, support, encourage, or promote [...] deceptive or misleading activities." Now, this might sound shocking, but we don't think these guys are being honest about the real (negligible) risks of vaccinating your children.
Of course, isn't the first time Amazon has been caught funding conspiracy douches. In an attempt to court the fossil fuel industry, Amazon sponsored an event last year organized by the Competitive Enterprise Institute -- a free-market libertarian thinktank with a long, storied history of climate change denialism. (Naturally, CEI's head, Myron Ebell, was tapped in 2016 by Donald Trump to lead the transition team in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency.)
There's also the fact that for conspiracy grifters, Amazon is still the best place to shill garbage books. You can find all kinds of BS guides, including how to survive coronavirus, how to "cure" autism in children by force-feeding them bleach, how [insert recent mass shooting here] was an inside job, and how the deep state's elite pedophile cult is this close to being dismantled by Donald Trump. (Seen below with island owner and friend to the stars, Jeffrey Epstein.)
They're Interfering in Politics (Just To Avoid Paying Tax)
If there's anything that rich people hate more than paying taxes, it's ... actually, there isn't anything they hate more. Giving money to a bunch of people who had no part in earning it? That's some communist crap right there. It's much better to give that money to the people who did, like the company's executives (in the form of a massive bonus), shareholders (in the form of a massive dividend), and workers (in the form of a massive check for-- hahahaha j/k).
"You got a shirt saying "hero," what more could you possibly want?"
Where most companies dodge their liabilities using shady offshore schemes, Amazon is such a global superpower that it doesn't bother with that shit. If it doesn't like how a country or state is taxing it, they have enough sway and resources to effect a little regime change.
Or at least, that's what they attempted in Seattle in 2019. Ahead of a city council election, Amazon donated $1.5 million to an organization called Civil Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE). It was a donation that represented more than half of all the $2.5 million that CASE received during the election. In return, CASE supported the political campaigns of six pro-business candidates who, if elected, would've been less likely to hold the city's major companies -- particularly, Amazon -- accountable. This would differ from the then-incumbent city council, including socialist councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who'd spent the last several years publicly pantsing Amazon and Jeff Bezos at every opportunity.
Alongside the $1.5 million donated by corporate, 18 company executives personally donated to Sawant's opponent, Egan Orion -- which could be taken as a sign that they were mad, but they weren't mad at all. No sirree, they were actually laughing the whole time.
Fortunately, the electorate saw through their scheme, and so the pro-business slate of candidates failed to win a majority. That left the progressives -- which included Sawant -- in charge and especially eager to repay the favor.
This isn't to say that Amazon has never succeeded at curb-stomping politicians into doing their bidding. We've already covered how, when it was looking for a place to build its new headquarters, the company forced cities (including Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami) to compete over who could offer it the biggest tax break. It was basically a reality show that NYC "won" with a final bid of $1.5 billion in tax breaks, plus an additional cash grant of $325 million. Before Amazon could collect its winnings, however, it had to deal with the bukkake of criticism that the project received from local activists -- which came so hard, fast, and frequently that they pulled out three months later.
Their Deliveries Are Slowly Destroying the Planet
Imagine waking up one day to find that Shell had changed its name to Glacier or that Tesla had changed its name to Safe Working Practices; there'd be endless jokes about the irony of the situation. So it's rather weird that when it comes to the company named after the world's most environmentally sensitive area (a place that's constantly on the verge of being destroyed) ... we don't give a solitary shit about its environmental impact. Mainly, that of its signature staple: one-day (and two-day) shipping -- something it offers on millions of products, ranging from video games, kitchen appliances, fleshlights, garden furniture, and food.
To fulfill these tight shipping deadlines, the company's delivery drivers drive more miles, spend more fuel, and emit more, um, emissions than practically any courier service on the planet. That's because unlike other courier services, which prioritize deliveries according to where they're delivered, so that they're delivering numerous packages to the same area in a single run, Amazon's delivery drivers prioritize deliveries according to their due-by date -- which means that drivers often have to deliver individual packages to the same area multiple times a week, which costs more in terms of fuel, miles, and carbon emissions.
For the sake of our planet and our children, just buy your food and fleshlights from a brick-and-mortar grocery store like everyone else. Jeff Bezos will not miss your money.
They're Helping ICE
ICE is trash. We don't feel the need to explain why because by this point, it's just one of those things that anyone with half a working brain can figure out. Although here's a quick primer if you've been in a coma or something.
Since they went full-fash, a lot of noise has been made about the companies supporting ICE -- and by extension, making a great deal of money in the process -- including Wayfair, Github, McKinsey, Deloitte, HP, and IBM, which is weird because you'd think IBM would've learned from the last time they cozied up to a white supremacist regime.
And then, there's Amazon.
ICE uses a system called ICM (Investigative Case Management) -- a system designed to help law enforcement and other investigative types, well, manage their cases. As Karen Hao writes, ICM is "a critical component of ICE's deportation operations -- it integrates a vast ecosystem of public and private data to track down immigrants and, in many cases, deport them [...] that data could include a person's immigration history, family relationships, personal connections, addresses, phone records, biometric traits, and other information."
ICM has for intents and purposes, supercharged ICE's work. Within the first nine months of the Trump administration, ICE arrested 42% more people than it did in the same period in the previous year. While it could be argued that this sudden surge in productivity has everything to do with them getting the go-ahead to crack some skulls, it has just as much to do with how they're being helped by Skynet.
ICM, however, has a fatal flaw. ICM was designed and built by Palantir, a shitty data-mining company founded by shitty billionaire Peter Thiel, but Palantir doesn't technically run ICM. Amazon does, through its cloud servers -- a service for which Palantir pays them $600,000 a month. By hosting ICM, Amazon allows all of ICE's shady stuff to occur: all the data-mining, surveillance, everything. If Amazon ever decided to shut off ICM, though, all that goes away. ICE would still exist and operate, but in a massively reduced capacity -- which frankly, is as good a win as we're going to get for now.
But they won't do this because Amazon doesn't care. Despite the many protests about its relationship with ICE -- including several by its own employees -- Amazon continues to work with ICE and even, last year, attempted to sell them on 'Rekognition,' a facial recognition program they developed. But it's okay! In an interview, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos responded by saying that if his company's technology is ever used in harmful ways, then society's "immune response" would kick in. Which is a concept so stupid that any attempt to understand it will trigger your immune system to respond by forcing you to blackout.