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Mackenzie Scott Donates Another $2.74 Billion as Ex Jeff Bezos Blasts Off in Rocket Phallus

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On Tuesday, for the third time in less than a year, Mackenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, announced that she had given more than a billion dollars to charity. This time, it was $2.74 billion to 286 different organizations, including ones focused racial justice. That brings her charitable giving since divorcing Bezos in 2019 to more than $8 billion, with much of it coming in the last 12 months, including $4.2 billion in grants announced last December. In a Medium post published this morning, Scott wrote that she and her new husband, Dan Jewett, as well as “a constellation of researchers and administrators and advisors,” are “attempting to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change,” and that they are “governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands.” She did not add, “like those of my ex-husband, Jeff,” though it’s hard to believe she wasn‘t thinking it!

Even if Scott was not, few people will be able to look at the huge amounts of money she has been giving away and not think about the fact that Bezos, the literal richest man in the world, has distributed what philanthropic experts define as “diddly-squat” as a proportion of his wealth, preferring instead to focus on launching himself into space. In 2018, amidst substantiated reports that Amazon employees relieve themselves in bottles or forego bathroom breaks for fear “of being disciplined for idling and losing their jobs as a result,” and data revealing that nearly one third of Amazon’s Arizona employees were relying on food stamps, Bezos said in an interview that he couldn’t for the life of him think of a way to spend his vast fortune outside of funding his for-profit rocket-ship company, Blue Origin. (“The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel,” he told Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner. “That is basically it.… I am currently liquidating about $1 billion a year of Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin. And I plan to continue to do that for a long time. Because you’re right, you’re not going to spend it on a second dinner out.”) A month after that, Amazon was instrumental in killing a proposed $275-per-employee tax for large Seattle–based businesses that would have helped alleviate the city’s serious homeless problem caused by companies like Amazon.

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Over the years, Bezos has said things about charitable giving like, “Our core business activities are probably the most important thing we do to contribute, as well as our employment in the area,” and, “I’m convinced that in many cases, for-profit models improve the world more than philanthropy models, if they can be made to work.” In 2010 he donated $100,000 to help vanquish an initiative to impose a state income tax on Washington’s wealthiest residents, per The Seattle Times. “There’s almost nothing I could have predicted with more precision than that Jeff would hate the idea,” early Amazon investor Nick Hanauer, a backer of the initiative, told the outlet.

Speaking of taxes, Amazon, of course, pays very little of them, having avoiding federal income taxes in numerous years. Meanwhile, Bezos himself was recently featured in ProPublica for paying nothing in federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011, and paying a “true tax rate” of 0.98% between 2014 and 2018. He also applied for and received a $4,000 tax credit for his children in 2011, when he was worth roughly $18 billion, ProPublica reported.

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Only being human, Bezos apparently doesn’t like it when people start wondering why he doesn’t give away more of his $195.2 billion fortune. After The New York Times insinuated a few years ago that he was a cheap prick, Bezos announced that he would donate $2 billion to philanthropic ventures, which at the time represented tiny fraction of his net worth (now, it’s much less). Last year, he pledge significantly more through the Bezos Earth Fund, though as Recode noted in February:

…the fact is that we don’t even know where that $10 billion sits. Is the money actually placed in a charitable vehicle like a foundation, a donor-advised fund, or a limited liability company? Or is it more of a rhetorical pledge, similar to Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s commitment in 2015 to set aside 99 percent of their money to philanthropy.… We don’t know. Bezos’s representatives have consistently declined to share information on the Earth Fund’s structure.

Next month, Bezos will (temporarily) leave earth, after adding $65 billion to his net worth during the pandemic.

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Report: No one wants to publish Trump’s memoir because he’s a well-known pathological liar

It would probably be pretty difficult to fact-check the claims of a guy who told at least 30,573 lies in public during his time in office, and presumably thousands more when the cameras weren’t around. Politico has the sad story:

Almost five months after leaving office, major publishing houses still are wary of publishing a book by former President Donald Trump, even though a post-White House memoir would almost assuredly be a best-seller. Their reluctance is driven by several factors, though the underlying fear is that whatever Trump would write wouldn’t be truthful. “[I]t would be too hard to get a book that was factually accurate, actually,” said one major figure in the book publishing industry, explaining their reluctance to publish Trump. “That would be the problem. If he can’t even admit that he lost the election, then how do you publish that?”

It’s unheard of for a former U.S. president to struggle to score a major book deal after leaving office. And the absence of Trump’s own words from the literary world is made even more pronounced by the fact that several of his top aides and former Cabinet officials are writing books of their own. Former Vice President Mike Pence scored a seven-figure deal for two books with Simon & Schuster — a decision that sparked some employees of the company, well-known Simon & Schuster authors, and others to circulate a petition accusing the storied book house of promoting bigotry. There have been rumors and a report that Trump is privately angry over Pence’s book deal. But his spokesperson Jason Miller insisted that he was “fine with it” and had “no issues.”


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