Friday, February 15, 2019

Amazon paid no taxes and got hundreds of millions of dollars in rebates in the last two years.

Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

Amazon, the ubiquitous purveyor of two-day delivery of just about everything, nearly doubled its profits to $11.2 billion in 2018 from $5.6 billion the previous year and, once again, didn’t pay a single cent of federal income taxes.
The company’s newest corporate filing reveals that, far from paying the statutory 21 percent income tax rate on its U.S. income in 2018, Amazon reported a federal income tax rebate of $129 million. For those who don’t have a pocket calculator handy, that works out to a tax rate of negative 1 percent. 

The fine print of Amazon’s income tax disclosure shows that this achievement is partly due to various unspecified “tax credits” as well as a tax break for executive stock options.
This isn’t the first year that the cyber-retailing giant has avoided federal taxes. Last year, the company paid no federal corporate income taxes on $5.6 billion in U.S. income.
ITEP has examined the tax-paying habits of corporations for nearly 40 years and has long advocated for closing loopholes and special breaks that allow many profitable corporations to pay zero or single-digit effective tax rates. When Congress in 2017 enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and substantially cut the statutory corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, proponents claimed the rate cut would incentivize better corporate citizenship. However, the tax law failed to broaden the tax base or close a slew of tax loopholes that allow profitable companies to routinely avoid paying federal and state income taxes on almost half of their profits.

 In fact, the Trump Administration and its congressional allies included lavish new giveaways such as immediate expensing of capital investments. Multiple analysts scored the tax law as a huge revenue loser, giving away far more to big corporations in rate cuts than it takes in loophole-closers.

 Amazon is no stranger to tax controversies. Last year the company, in a staggering act of hubris, engaged in a year-long aggressive push for huge new relocation subsidies for its “HQ2” headquarters. A year later, Amazon appears to have won its two-front battle against fair taxes by continuing to altogether avoid federal taxes and obtaining lucrative packages of local tax breaks for not one but two new HQ2 locations, in New York and Virginia as well breaks for an operations center in Nashville, Tenn.

And #PoorBezos has the unmitigated gall to demand subsidies from this state and city and to go after Trump with the national/his personal newspaper that he owns. What a insecure and sad greedy little miser.

Amazon pulls out of Long Island City "HQ2" deal and pathetically blames elected officials and protesters.

NY Daily News

Following months of community and political opposition, Amazon on Thursday announced it was canceling a $3 billion plan to open a headquarters in New York City — a massive blow to Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo, who rolled out the red carpet for the company just months ago.

The project would have brought 25,000 jobs to a campus in Queens, state and city officials had said — but it was met with fierce opposition from some elected officials, on whom Cuomo heaped blame Thursday.

"[A] small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community — which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City — the state's economic future and the best interests of the people of this state. The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity,” Cuomo said.

In a statement, the online retail giant blamed the Valentine’s Day breakup on the frosty reception it had received from local pols.

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” the statement said. “While polls show that 70% of New Yorkers support our plans and investment, a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

 Amazon's anti-union stance did not help its case with critics. While it had committed to using union labor to build its offices and for building services — earning the support of the Building and Construction Trades and SEIU Local 32BJ — a top Amazon executive testified before the City Council that it would fight any union bids by New York staff.

But union officials said they’d made progress in the 24 hours before the deal imploded. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Teamsters and AFL-CIO met with four top Amazon executives and Cuomo Wednesday, according to RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum.

“I think the richest man on Earth feels that nobody is supposed to tell him anything,” Appelbaum said. “I think that on Valentine’s Day, Jeff Bezos showed his contempt for New Yorkers. He says I'm going to tell you what it's going to be, you either accept it or I leave. we were in negotiations — he doesn't feel he has to negotiate with anyone. It's a shameful performance by the richest man in the world. It's a worse scandal than the National Enquirer.”

An anonymous reader made an nice observation on this a few days ago:

 "The deal should've been negotiated transparently, with pros and cons discussed publicly, including what jobs and benefits (GED completion, skill training, childcare, etc.) Amazon would provide."

But #poorBezos and amazon decided, along with the idiots governor and mayor, to do all this in secret. And you know what, this LIC deal was as big a hoax as their nationwide city exploration pageant. Really, why else would they decide on two other cities for what's suppose to be a second headquarters, which is an oxymoron itself. This was to poach more data from the government and also to make pariahs of their opponents, notably on the rising progressive movement and unions.

I know a lot of people hate Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez here, but this isn't her district. She only made a few comments on this rancid deal and amazon and the local news media are trying to tie her for their abrupt departure. That is cheap manipulation of the public.

The caption is already there...

Thursday, February 14, 2019

George The Atheist eyewitnesses Flags of China displayed during Lunar Parade in Flushing.


George The Atheist

EXCLUSIVE. Who's In Charge Here? (February 9, 2019)

During the 2019 Flushing Lunar New Year parade the New York City Police Department's ceremonial color guard carries 2 new additional flags:  that of communist China and free Korea.  Conspicuously absent: that of free Taiwan. Note in the photos below, the prominent position of the communist flag next to that of the American.  Who decided this?

 Flags of Red China spotted at the annual Lunar Parade in Downtown Flushing along Main Street.   Parade officials have no idea who sponsored this outpouring of support for mainland China.


de Blasio suspends his foolish and delusional explorative presidential bid after tragic death of NYPD detective

Image result for de blasio idiot

NY Post

 A day after a cop was killed in Queens in a tragic case of friendly fire, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced Wednesday he was postponing a planned trip to New Hampshire to test the presidential waters.

City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips attributed the postponement to Tuesday night’s line-of-duty death of NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen. The detective was killed by a stray bullet fired by fellow cops at a robber who was pointing what turned out to be a fake gun.

Phillips, however, said the mayor still plans to speak at Harvard University on Thursday night “in his official capacity.”

When he was running for a second term in 2017, de Blasio pledged to serve a full four years.
But he has since said he is not ruling out a run for the White House in 2020 because “the world has changed.”

DHS gives another $241,000,000 to slumlord non-profit group despite the poor ratings they gave them for their homeless shelter

Image result for Childrens Community Services headquarters 91-12 175th St. Jamaica, Queens

 NY Post

A Queens homeless-shelter operation was found to have multiple unsafe conditions that could endanger small children — but the nonprofit that runs the dingy facility was still given hundreds of millions of dollars in public money, documents obtained by The Post show.

The city found that three-quarters of the inspected hotel rooms at an emergency shelter run by Childrens Community Services had problems, including broken cribs, tots sleeping in “unsafe” areas and no kid-proof covers for electrical outlets.

The Department of Homeless Services slapped CCS with a “poor” rating for its mismanagement of the operation — the second-lowest available.

The blistering review was the third such one that shelters run by the nonprofit have received, according to records obtained under the Freedom of Information Law. But the failed inspections haven’t stopped DHS from handing CCS more cash.

DHS quietly filed paperwork with the city Comptroller’s Office in January to add another $241 million to CCS’s hotel-shelter contract, which was already worth $359 million — bringing the total amount to $600 million.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

NYPD detective shot to death trying to stop a holdup in Richmond Hill

A NYPD detective was shot and killed, and a sergeant was wounded in a furious gunbattle Tuesday night with an armed robber in Queens, law enforcement sources said.

The death is the first line-of-duty fatality for 2019.

According to sources, police were responding to an armed robbery at a T-Mobile cell phone store at Atlantic Ave. and 121st St. in Richmond Hill at around 6:14 p.m.

A 19-year veteran detective and a squad sergeant were struck by gunfire as at least one suspect holed up inside the store, sources said. A suspect was also shot in the confrontation.

The detective was hit in the chest; he has a wife and two children, sources said. The sergeant was struck by gunfire in the hip. It wasn’t clear if the officers were wearing bullet-proof vests.


NY Post 

The NYPD detective killed while responding to a robbery in Queens was struck by friendly fire, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said at a press conference Tuesday night.

Detective Brian Simonsen, 42, was fatally shot by a fellow officer while responding to a robbery at a T-Mobile phone store on Atlantic Avenue near 120th Street in Richmond Hill soon after 6 p.m., police said.

A sergeant who responded to the robbery with Simonsen was also shot in the leg during the incident but is expected to recover.

The suspected robber, a 27-year-old with a lengthy rap sheet, was also shot and is in serious condition, authorities said. He was using an imitation gun during the robbery, O’Neill said.

Another update:

NY Daily News
Simonsen and Gorman opened fire on the suspect, and as they retreated from the store, they were struck by bullets from cops outside, O’Neill said.

Simonsen was fatally shot in the chest and Gorman was hit in the hip.

“Make no mistake about it — friendly fire aside, it is because of the actions of the suspect that Detective Simonsen is dead,” said O’Neill, who appeared near tears.
“We lost a very good man,” Mayor Bill de Blasio

The situation by the detective and his partner was under control and the backup panicked and shot at the two cops. This is going to get national attention regarding the issue of the justification of excessive force and the leniency meted by the justice system towards officers who commit it. But mostly this falls on the shoulders of the lousy and distant "leadership" of presidential wannabe Mayor de Blasio.

And this comes a week on the day two decades ago when Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times by police who thought his wallet was a weapon.
 Sympathies go out to the family of Det. Simonsen, who did a stalwart job tracking down this recidivist criminal.

Well wishes go out to Sgt. Gorman and his family.

As for the stupid knucklehead who got shot. You had it coming.

Another Update:

NY Post

The deadly barrage, which officials said unfolded in all of a minute, was the chaotic culmination of Ransom’s interrupted robbery of a T-Mobile store Tuesday night, according to cops.

Ransom, 27, stormed into the Richmond Hill store at about 6 p.m. wearing a black mask, ordered two workers into a back room and tied them up, police sources said.

 Outside, at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and 120th Street, cops alerted by two 911 callers were massing, among them 19-year NYPD veteran Simonsen, who was working on his day off to crack a robbery pattern ahead of a Thursday CompStat meeting, sources said.

Gorman, 31, and two fellow officers were the first to push into the mobile store, which they found abandoned — until Ransom sprang from the back room, pointing the fake gun at them and pulling the trigger, authorities said.

Assuming Ransom’s firearm to be real and simply jammed, the trio took no chances and retreated to the street, where they took up tactical positions along with Simonsen and four other cops, according to police.

Still holding his gun high and dry-firing it, Ransom emerged from the store to find himself in the middle of two waves of blue, with a group of cops including Gorman to his right, and Simonsen among a squad to his left, sources said.
Seven officers opened fire, squeezing off a total of 42 rounds.

Gorman fired 11 times. Simonsen shot twice.

“Be advised, I’m shot,” a cop, presumably Gorman, can be heard telling a dispatcher in a police radio recording of the drama, posted to Twitter by @NYScanner. “Please set up a route going to Jamaica [Hospital].”

Though the recording is apparently partially redacted, Simonsen’s voice is never heard above the din of gunfire and frantic calls of “Shots fired!”

The mayhem was over in seconds.

 Once Ransom was down, the toll of the fusillade, all NYPD rounds, became apparent to cops.

Gorman had caught a round in the leg, while Simonsen, who hadn’t been wearing a bulletproof vest, was shot through the chest.

Gorman was treated at Jamaica Hospital, where he remained Wednesday. In the same hospital, Simonsen was pronounced dead, leaving behind a wife and a mother.


Rally at NYCHA Queensbridge Houses supports Amazon's HQ2



Bishop Mitchell Taylor and Queensbridge residents rallied on Monday to support employment opportunities that the online retail giant could possibly provide to Long Island City and beyond.

Taylor told reporters that negativity from opponents of the proposal does not represent the wants or needs of NYCHA residents or the involvement of their leaders in discussions about Amazon coming to their community. But more than anything, they spoke out against perceived outsiders stoking discontent within the confines of the housing complex.

“I’m incensed when I see people from Connecticut, from other boroughs, from other places, convene upon Queensbridge, knocking on doors telling people because of Amazon, because of this, you’re going to lose your apartment,” Taylor said. “Let me tell you something: if you’re concerned about gentrification, that happened 15 years ago … You cannot speak for us. You haven’t lived here.”

Taylor’s roots in Queensbridge go deep with his father, also a pastor, first serving a northwest Queens congregation in 1960 and Taylor himself leading worship for 28 years. He is a founder of Urban Upbound, an organization which works to break cycles that keep families in poverty and serves on the Community Advisory Committee for the implementation of Amazon.

 “We are negotiating. We are talking. We are trying to figure out what is the best possible outcome for the residents of northwestern Queens and New York City,” Taylor said. “Twenty-five thousand jobs, possibly 40,000 jobs coming to this neighborhood and we want to know how that’s going to happen, how that’s going to benefit our residents. Nobody is cutting any deals here.”

NY Daily News

Supporters of Amazon’s plan to bring a new hub to Queens gathered Monday in front of the Queensbridge North Houses to counter critics who say the deal has little to no grassroots backing.

Their event attracted a diverse — and unlikely — mix of about a dozen people to the Long Island City public housing complex and included tenant leaders, a representative from the pro-business Association for a Better New York and Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

April Simpson, president of the Queensbridge Houses Tenant Association, was front and center. She contends that, unlike other new arrivals to the area, Amazon has been talking with the group since “Day One” and believes the Seattle-based company will hire people living in the NYCHA complex.
“You know why? Because we have a voice,” she said. “We’re at the table. That’s the blessing.”

If Amazon has been meeting with these people and there is so much alleged support for the HQ2 deal, why would they keep it such a secret?

"Day One" is Jeff Bezo's credo for running his empire.

Monday, February 11, 2019

City Council holds hearing on Con Ed transformer explosion


 The New York City Council held a hearing Monday on what caused December’s “Astoria Borealis.”

A malfunction at a Con Edison substation in Queens sent out a blue light that could be seen for miles, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported.
When the city skyline lit up that night, it was a moment that was hard to believe and impossible to forget.
And if you just so happened to be on social media at the time, you likely saw the supernova shades spark some interesting theories.

Fortunately, there were no major injuries, but there were temporary power outages, among other community concerns.
“Families’ homes shook. There was air quality concerns. There was safety concerns,” council member Costa Constantinides said. “We’re gonna get some hard answers from Con Ed as to what happened.”

The council’s Environmental Protection Committee, which Constantinides chairs, heard more from the utility at a meeting on Monday.
“We replaced the faulty equipment, installed a redundant system, and are working directly with the manufacturer to minimize the chance of this happening again,” said Milovan Blair, Con Ed’s senior VP for central operations.

 I have two theories on how this occurred. There is the possibility that the plant at the time couldn't take the amount of energy consumption being used by the growing populace in the area, particularly by the tower hyperdevelopment in Long Island City.

Or the Highlander returned to Queens....

Recent de Blasio appointee to monitor city census finds time to go electioneering

NY Post

Mayor de Blasio’s new census czar may be counting votes for her next election campaign, rather than Big Apple residents, stunned Democratic Party officials said.

Newly minted 2020 Census honcho Julie Menin is supposed to be finding ways to improve the city’s abysmal 60 percent participation rate in the every-10-year census by getting undocumented immigrants to participate.

But at the same time, she’s courting tony East Side 
political clubs to help solidify a future run for Manhattan district attorney, according to three borough district leaders.

“She’s doing this to build up her political relationships. Everyone assumes she took the job to brush up her political chops,” said one observer, who requested anonymity and said it’s an open secret that Menin plans to run for Manhattan DA in 2021.

 “The city does have major underrepresentation problems with the census count in lower-income and immigrant neighborhoods. But the East Side of Manhattan doesn’t fall into either category.”

MTA removes elevated train viaduct decorative tiles weeks after a bunch of shards fell off

Sunnyside Post

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is working to remove some overhead tiles along parts of the 7 line viaduct after chunks of the decorative yellow and green strips dislodged and fell to the parking lot below—even piercing a car windshield—last month.
The agency inspected the entire viaduct for loose tiles on Jan. 17, two days after the Sunnyside Post reported that pieces of the decorative terra cotta tiles had fallen near 45th Street and Queens Boulevard, with one of the 4-by-8 inch tiles slicing through the windshield of a parked car underneath.
The report came after a local resident, alarmed after stumbling upon the scene at the municipal lot, sent images to the site that showed the damaged car windshield with the tile still wedged upright in it, and a pile of yellow and green tiles strewn on the ground by the car’s tires.

 The MTA said the inspection done four weeks ago revealed a few locations along the roughly 20-block viaduct where tiles showed some minor signs of movement, but were not actually loose. The agency insisted that the identified tiles did not pose a public risk to safety.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Train delays are the longest and happen most frequently on transit lines starting at Eastern And Southern Queens Stations

 Queens Eagle

 If you’ve commuted to or from Queens by subway this year, odds are your train has been delayed, a new report from data-scraping tool ReadyPipe shows. Using data from the MTA’s own website, the web-scraping platform determined that the A, F, N, E trains are among the city’s top-10 most-delayed subway lines.

“A negative surprise was the fact that every morning there are at least five routes that had a delay at some point,” Chad Horner, a data analyst with ReadyPipe, told the Eagle. “The MTA can’t make it through that time without a bunch of things going wrong.”
The A train, which takes straphangers from the Rockaways, Howard Beach and Ozone Park into Brooklyn and Manhattan, was delayed more than 11 percent of the time throughout the entire month of January. During the weekday rush hour (between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m), nearly one in every five A trains experienced delays.

The F train, which serves Queens from Jamaica-179 Street to 21 Street-Queensbridge, was delayed more than 10 percent of the time in January. The N and the E trains were delayed over 6.5 percent of the time and three of every 10 trains experienced planned work.

In fact, there wasn't a single weekday morning in January that didn't see at least one delay during the morning rush, according to Horner’s findings — the fewest number of lines delayed in a single morning was five. 

On the bright side, at least we are not getting poisoned during our daily commutes. Yet.

Steinway & Sons plays their customers like pianos

 Steinway sons piano wallpaper | Wallpaper Wide HD

NY Post

Angry buyers of Steinway pianos say they were duped by salespeople who told them the instruments would increase in value, though they actually plunge in price by 50 percent or more as soon as they leave the showroom floor, according to a report Saturday.

Owners of the ultra-expensive instruments, which cost between $70,000 and $150,000 when new, said salespeople lied to them about what their pianos’ worth in the future, the Hatch Institute reported Saturday.

Customers said they were shown charts of steadily rising prices for new models and were told that buying a Steinway made a better investment than Wall Street stock, the investigative journalism site said.
One Steinway brochure, titled “Your Steinway Investment,” claims that “for more than a century and a half, every handmade Steinway has increased in value,” adding that their pianos were “an investment instrument unique in all the world.”

But when owners tried to sell, they learned their Steinways were worth tens of thousands less than what they’d paid, even when the pianos were just months old or had never been played, the site reported.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Amazon considering abandoning Long Island City location for their second headquarters due to pressure from officials, unions and the citizens objections to the deal

NY Daily News

The billion-dollar deal to bring Amazon to Queens has New York Democrats and union leaders at each others’ throats as rumors swirl that the plan could crumble at any minute.

“The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,” an anonymous source familiar with internal discussions told the newspaper, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

But the venture has faced a barrage of criticism from local and national politicians, including state Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has argued that one of the nation’s richest corporations should not be getting handouts at the expense of New York taxpayers.

The Queens Democrat, whose district includes the proposed campus, had previously signed a letter asking the company to build its headquarters in New York. He has since soured on the offered incentives.

“Amazon’s pattern of extortion leaves me to believe that they should pack their bags,” he said.
Gianaris, appointed earlier in the week to a panel that could veto a $500 million grant that was part of the construction deal, said he wasn’t sure what Amazon’s next move would be, nor did he seem to care.
“I don’t know whether to believe them or not,” he said. “What I can tell you is that no amount political machinations from Andrew Cuomo are going to mask the fact that this deal stinks"

While some speculated that the rumblings of a reneging Friday might be a power play by Amazon — or even the governor — Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), who opposes the plan, thought the deal was earnestly “in trouble.”

“I think there's a possibility that this is gamesmanship and they're trying to call a bluff — but we're not bluffing,” Van Bramer said. “If in fact it is an attempt to call a bluff, it’s yet another strategic blunder in a series of blunders that the governor, the mayor and Amazon have committed since they announced the deal in November.”

 While it's refreshing to see Jimmy vociferously reject this deal due to the efforts of the people organizing against the corporate welfare deal in his district, he sure was all gung ho a year ago in an letter Crappy sent to me:

Last year he was calling LIC a "mixed-use" neighborhood. So it's kind of good to see he's seen the light and the error of his tone-deaf description of a neighborhood he represents right?

Governor Andrew Amazon on the other hand:

NY Daily News

Gov. Cuomo took aim at Senate Democrats on Friday, accusing his fellow party members of “governmental malpractice” and “political pandering” in their opposition to Amazon’s planned Queens campus and eyeing an unpopular income tax hike.

Addressing business leaders on Long Island, Cuomo warned that his colleagues in the legislature are taking their fate in their own hands by continuing to speak out against the deal to bring the eCommerce titan, and tens of thousands of jobs, to Long Island City.

“For the state Senate to oppose Amazon was governmental malpractice,” Cuomo said. “If they stop Amazon from coming to New York, they’re going to have the people of New York to explain it to.”

Cuomo’s comments came on the heels of a Washington Post report that the online retailer is “reconsidering” its options in light of mounting criticism of the project.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and her counterpart in the Assembly, Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), have both raised concerns about Amazon’s opposition to unionization of its workers and the nearly $3 billion in tax incentives used to entice the company to the Empire State.

Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the Democratic majority in the Senate, lamented the divisions.

"It is unfortunate that the Governor is trying to divide the Democratic Party at this crucial and historic time,” Murphy said. “The Senate Democratic Majority Conference and our partners in the Assembly finally returned New York as the progressive beacon to the rest of the country.”

Andy doth project too much, for it was he who committed malpractice against his constituency and pandered to Bezos to circumvent laws to fast track this rancid deal.



Friday, February 8, 2019

de Blasio announces leniency towards bike lane parking violators

NY Post

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday the city won’t be going after vehicles clogging bike lanes because it doesn’t have adequate “resources” for such a crackdown.

“We don’t have the resources to do that right now in the way I think … the bicycle community would like to see, but we do believe that anybody who is parked in the bike lane, of course, is going to be summonsed and there will be consequences,” de Blasio said during his weekly appearance on WNYC radio.

“So these are just different priorities that we need to work with every single day.”

Host Brian Lehrer pointed out that callers to the show regularly question why the city is concerned about clogged bus lanes, but not bike lanes, where “someone can get killed or seriously injured by having to swerve into traffic.”

De Blasio responded that bus lanes are a higher priority because “of the sheer number” who use them, meaning the 2.5 million daily passengers.

His comments came a day after de Blasio announced that seven NYPD tow teams would be dedicated exclusively to clearing bus thoroughfares.

Of course this would not be complete without another incriminating display of his brazen sense of entitlement and defiant hypocrisy, for he's also a recidivist scofflaw concerning this pervasive issue.