EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.27.10

Generosity by Publicity

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Marketing at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In the fall of 1982, Pam Edstrom [of Waggener Edstrom], a diminutive woman with piercing blue eyes, was recruited by Microsoft. [...] In modern-day business, flacks were responsible not only for avoiding bad press, but for spinning the good. [...] Hanson and Edstrom would spin a whole new image for Gates himself. They would tap the best and worst of Chairman Bill, changing his clothes, his voice, and his allegiances, driving him to become not just the boss, but, essentially, the company mascot—a sort of high-technology Colonel Sanders.”Pam Edstrom’s daughter

J P Morgan
J. P. Morgan assaulting photographers – an
example of bad PR from robber barons

Summary: An outline and an analysis of Gates Foundation news from the past two weeks

The Gates Foundation commands many publications, which makes it difficult for one to gain access to PR-free coverage that was not seeded in a source where problematic aspects got concealed. Control over information is assured by a large team of PR people and publicists who are employed by the Gates Foundation to advance its cause. We covered this before and showed that Waggener Edstrom also works for the foundation now. They even have something called an “advocacy officer” at the Gates Foundation.

Watch how the Atlantic Wire — not just papers like the Washington Post — are controlled by Gates Foundation types.

The editor of the Atlantic Wire is the husband of the former CEO of the Gates Foundation.

This husband also ‘planted’ a story in Time, glorying Gates. Disclosure of this is hard to come by. Here is the coverage in question. It deals with unjust tax exemptions for the richest people, using loopholes that they themselves create. Gates happens to be one of these people who needn’t pay tax because he puts all his money in an account labeled “charity” (the major activity it actually does is investment in firms such as Goldman Sachs and Wal-Mart, as we last explained on Monday). From the article:

Donations? How About Actually Paying Taxes Peter Wilby takes the opposite approach in the Guardian, with a more comprehensive critique of so-called philanthrocapitalism. “The US treasury already loses at least $40bn … a year from tax breaks for donations,” he writes. Not only does the government lose the money, but the billionaires then get to determine what the “good causes” are. Other problems with philanthrocapitalism include that it tends to “[tackle] symptoms of poverty and distress rather than underlying causes,” and tends to towards “do[ing] things to the poor, rather than with them.”

We’ll come back to the taxing question in just a moment.

Pay attention for those who are daemonising or at least dismissing critics of the world’s richest people. There are common ways of doing so.

On one hand, there is a reason for some modest concern – there are plenty of stories of wealthy individuals using “charitable” foundations and organizations as a means of sidestepping taxes and paying fat salaries to friends and family members. Generally speaking, though, there has been a pretty substantial improvement in external oversight of these organizations, not the least of which by the IRS. Consequently, this concern is largely moot – or a true cynic can simply resolve that a sufficiently motivated and wealthy individual will find a way to contravene any system. (You may not have billions, but giving can still ease your tax bill. Check out Deducting Your Donations.)

Another new article about this subject is titled “The opposite of greed” (similar new article which also covers Gates is titled “Philanthrocapitalism: Can the rich save the world?”) and here we have mischaracterisation of the campaign from Bill Gates Sr. This article is not correct, for reasons explained before [1, 2, 3].

The most prominent is in Washington state, where Seattle lawyer Bill Gates Sr., father of billionaire Microsoft ( MSFT – news – people ) founder Bill Gates, has gotten into the act. He’s pushing for passage of a voter initiative on the November ballot that would impose a new state income tax on the affluent only, starting in 2012.

The truth is, nothing is done to actually tax the Gates family here. They continue to put their money in a tax haven, so this policy only harms those beneath them, still.

The most common way of downplaying concerns in these situations is to question the rationality of critical messengers and instead of voicing their criticism just focus on useless PR moves (like Buffett raising $4,500). The critics do have a legitimate message; Authors are characteristically trying to paint this as “jealousy” (also in here) without critically investigating the facts and challenging consensus. For instance, critics of the Gates Foundation and its ulterior motives are often described as “cynics” and their positions misrepresented [1, 2]. “Giving it all away for good” is a new article which puts it quite nicely:

When I first read about the Giving Pledge, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s campaign to get billionaires to pledge away half their fortune, or more, to charity, my first reaction was one of distaste.

It seemed such an ostentatious thing to do. Not content with being billionaires, they now seek the brownie points of overt philanthropy. They seek out admiration, approval, esteem, not for being rich but for being generous. I even thought there was a whiff of arrogance and condescension about it: how many of us would give away half of our fortunes? How many of us could?

It is often being said that those who give away money they hardly have do deserve more credit than those who took a lot away from society and then work on portraying themselves as the world’s most generous people. But that’s not the real point. The real point, as we routinely show, is that giveaways are typically given which only increase the giver’s power (if not wealth). There is a return on investment in these donations and that is exactly what one needs to investigate more closely. Here is another sceptic who looks for insight in last week’s news:

A bunch of billionaires have signed up for Warren Buffett and Bill Gates’ “Giving Pledge,” promising to give away half or more of their money to charity. Sounds great, right? Not to Ron Rosenbaum of Slate. “I think I can speak for the rest of the world when I say: Dudes, the ‘pledge’ is nice and all, but show us the money if you want the credit,” he writes, declaring the promise a “nebulous never-never-land pledge.”

Here is one last take from Murdoch’s press:

When 40 of America’s richest individuals signed the “giving pledge,” a challenge set by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to donate half of one’s wealth to charity, at least one philanthropist was not impressed. “My opinion is: So what?” says Lewis B. Cullman.

With a record of giving that extends in the hundreds of millions and throughout New York’s cultural institutions, Mr. Cullman, who is 91, is alarmed by how the money donated to charity by the very wealthy usually ends up. Locked, he tells me, in private grant-making foundations that may only release a trickle of the billions of dollars squirreled away inside.

Also in the news:

In the meantime, does anyone know if Bill Gates gave to one-world type causes before Microsoft got hit with the antitrust suit? I.e., is it possible that Bill Gates doesn’t actually support the stuff the Bill Gates Foundation funds, but the deal was he could keep his company if he played ball like the other billionaires?

The Guardian has sceptics writing in, e.g.:

Andy Beckett asks the question “should we be worried?” The answer must be an unequivocal yes. No one person should be allowed to accumulate this much wealth. This, more than the ills Bill Gates attempts to alleviate with his largesse, is the true crime against humanity.

There are conformists too:

The pledge of the US billionaires is perhaps a signal of a directional change that we are beginning to see in the prevailing dominant thinking. It is symbolic of their wanting to ‘give up greed to support need’ (not charity) and should not be treated as yet another CSR event. This perhaps is the beginning of a process of real change in the existing world order that can lead to ensuring its sustainability.

In reference to this article, Gates Keepers has this to say:

Normal people cannot see your yacht and jet and cannot get close to your mansion. But they sure can see your philanthropy, especially when you hire publicists to be sure they do.

We go back to the original point about publicity. Nobody does it better than the Gates Foundation. Gates has been hiring lots of PR people (some from peripheral, outside agencies whose job is to shape his image). Then there are investments in many media outlets, such as NPR.

In the previous post about the Gates Foundation we were also going to show how Gates still controls the education system using the press which he controls (including education-focused press). To put it in the words of a critic of Gates’ role in capturing the education system:

The model most favored by the “venture philanthropist” billionaire reformers like Eli Broad, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg along with Arne Duncan is typically the KIPP-style franchise, which arguably is fairly punitive.

[...]

Et tu NPR?

Even the supposedly liberal National Public Radio has run stories recently that are obsessively focused on the faults of teachers at the strange omission of all other factors. Curiouser and curiouser. Is it a coincidence that NPR receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Teach for America – two enterprises that support charters and “education reform”?

[...]

What it will likely do is continue shrinking school curriculums into the box built by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, weaken the teaching profession and teacher unions, make test scores even more high stakes and certainly more high profit, and solidify the education industry as the dominant voice for urban school matters in America. That’s pretty good bang for your buck, or some excellent leveraging, as Bill [Gates] and Eli [Broad] might chuckle.

We previously wrote about how Gates is sponsoring NPR and how it seemingly affects coverage. It’s a good investment for Gates, who is controlling the media to an extent, using money. NPR is again advertising Gates and offers no disclosure about their financial relationship. The same goes for Education Week which is running Gates propaganda pieces, at least with disclosure this time around.

(Editorial Projects in Education, the publisher of Education Week, also receives grant money from the Gates Foundation.)

We were going to deal with the (mis)education issue in the previous post, but it is clear that an overview will be needed some time in the near future, maybe even a comprehensive Wiki page. In the mean time, watch how Ina Fried continues the Gates PR while pretending to be a journalist [1, 2]. That’s distasteful coverage from CNET, which typically prides itself in coverage about technology, not evangelism for dangerous egomaniacs.

“The gist of it is that people in the mainstream press measure generosity not by proportions in giving (like someone giving 95% of his/her wealth) but by absolute values.”NewsWeek, whose managing editor has just moved to Microsoft, is also pretending to nobody but Gates is generous. We’ll address this pattern of coverage in just a moment. The gist of it is that people in the mainstream press measure generosity not by proportions in giving (like someone giving 95% of his/her wealth) but by absolute values. Oo scrutiny is given based on receiving ends, either (some people donate… to terrorist groups).

First we’ll just show part of the hypnosis and self advertising in public events and even the Huffington Post, which gave Gates a blog in which to advertise. It recently created a whole corner for such promotion, possibly with financial help from Gates (this is just a suspicion given the timing and the relationship between the Gates family and the Huffingtons). We previously showed that ties between the powerful (as in rich or politically able) are being exploited to serve those families’ interests or vision of the world while not paying attention to those who are affected.

Clinton’s relation to Gates’ agenda [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], which is mentioned in this new article about “philanthropic propaganda”, must not be ignored (Gates is also tied to Tony Blair). There is strong criticism of the “globilisation” involved:

Bill Clinton is perpetrating this global blackmail through his William J. Clinton Foundation, headquartered in Little Rock, Ark. Amazingly, the foundation is fueled by a $140 million annual budget. More amazing is who is giving him that money in support of his globalist plans.

The biggest contributor to Clinton’s globalist war chest was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which tossed in a hefty $25 million- plus. Gates also made sure that his company, Microsoft, tossed in another $250,000 – $500,000. Google was counted in for that same category, and so was Cisco.

Former Gates staff serves a similar role in the Obama government, which should not be entirely surprising [1, 2].

Earlier this year, he left a job at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle to work for the Obama administration.

Africa has its share of sceptics about the rich and powerful people from the West, who claim to help while actually investing in the companies that cause the most harm to Africa [1, 2]. From Kenya we have:

Method to the Madness points out some of the dangers of private foundations such as the Bill Gates Foundation, running ‘aid’ programmes in Africa. Unlike NGOs, the Bill Gates Foundation is not subject to any controls other than those it makes itself. Additionally the foundation often invests in industries and sectors that are detrimental to the poor as well as upsetting the ‘aid train’ if for example too much emphasis was placed on African countries as investment opportunities:

‘I don’t think the Gates Foundation is completely unencumbered. It could potentially deal a blow to aid agencies, the calculus goes, for the word to get out that African countries also present economic opportunities. With the PR machine having done such a good job of telling people how messed up things are, it would now be hard to be seen as making money from a land where everyone is poor. It’ll be hard to spin that, because it’ll involve a counter-narrative, one that could potentially be harmful to all the efforts to generate aid for projects all over the continent. Too many images of happy, smiling, not-emaciated children eating cheeseburgers and playing basketball after schools not in clay huts, and next thing you know the Western audience breathes a sigh of relief and thinks, “Oh, good! They’re not basket cases anymore! Now we don’t have to care since they can take care of themselves!” Folks would stop buying baskets from Africa with proceeds to go to the One Campaign’s efforts in some random village. And the US will then feel more comfortable relaxing its 0.7% of GDP aid commitment to African countries (which they already don’t meet anyway), and reducing for PEPFAR (Which, even as good as the PR machine is, they’re currently doing).’

Notice the part which says: “With the PR machine having done such a good job of telling people how messed up things are…”

This is a typical tactic from Gates, who says colleges in the US are messed up and therefore he needs foreign workers (on visas). He also says the schooling system is broken and therefore he should step in and change all schools based on his personal vision, wherein he becomes de facto education czar.

When people describe Mr. Gates as “generous”, be sceptical. Gates is a very greedy man (for money and power, which are interchangeable).

“Microsoft looks at new ideas, they don’t evaluate whether the idea will move the industry forward, they ask, ‘how will it help us sell more copies of Windows?’”

Bill Gates, The Seattle Weekly, (April 30, 1998)

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. IBM Comes Under Growing Scrutiny for Increasingly Acting Just Like a Patent Troll Amid Layoffs

    Deservedly if not belatedly too, more and more pundits come to recognise the rogue element which is IBM, having promoted software patents all around the world, utilised software patents aggressively (to attack/marginalise/tax rivals), lobbied the government to antagonise the Supreme Court's decision on Alice (using former IBM staff which it had somehow snuck into the USPTO), created bogus solutions to the side effects (such as patent trolls) and so on



  2. Enemies of Europe: A Month After Promoting UPC in London, Benoît Battistelli and the EPO Do This in Helsinki

    The US-leaning corporate occupation by Battistelli and his big corporate clients (or bosses) comes up north, approaching even Russia's border



  3. You Need to Become Proprietary Software Customer (Microsoft Recommended) to Interact with the European Patent Office

    The European Patent Office (EPO) continues to show technical and bureaucratic anomalies that have essentially turned it into agent of monopolisation, benefiting firms from across the Atlantic



  4. US Congress Should Investigate EPO and Battistelli, Not Just WIPO and Francis Gurry

    The US takes more and more actions against WIPO for abuses against workers, but why not the European Patent Office (EPO) as well?



  5. Amid French Political Actions Against EPO Management French Consulate the Target of Next Week's EPO Staff Protest

    Next Wednesday at lunchtime staff of the European Patent Office will march to the French consulate in Munich in pursuit of labour rights, human rights etc. (not just of EPO staff but also, by extension, all staff in such unaccountable international institutions)



  6. Links 5/5/2016: gNewSense 4.0 released, IPFire 2.19

    Links for the day



  7. Links 4/5/2016: Wine Staging 1.9.9, ImageMagick Bug Fixes

    Links for the day



  8. Links 3/5/2016: Mozilla Firefox 46.0.1, More Jolla Funding

    Links for the day



  9. New Paper About the UPC Explains Why It is Bad for Small- and Medium-sized European Businesses

    A detailed academic analysis of the Unitary (or Unified) Patent Court reveals/concludes/asserts that it is being marketed or promoted using a misleading premise and promise



  10. [ES] Gobiernos en Europa Todavía Activos en Contra de la Gerencia de la EPO

    Todavía hay trabajo político que está siendo hecho — aunque discretamente — contra Battistelli y sus chácales en la alta gerencia de la Oficina Europea de Patentes



  11. Links 3/5/2016: International Day Against DRM, 25th Anniversary of Linux (Kernel) Near

    Links for the day



  12. Interesting Supreme Court Cases About Patents in the United States

    A quick review of some of the latest developments regarding SCOTUS (the US Supreme Court) as far as patents go



  13. Governments in Europe Still Active Against EPO Management

    There is still political work being done -- albeit rather discreetly -- against Battistelli and his goons at the European Patent Office's top-level management



  14. The European Spam Office (EPO)

    EPO budget at 'work', days after doing copy-paste jobs and also working overtime in the weekend for an extravagant and needless/purposeless event (except for Battistelli's own pride)



  15. Not Just Benoît Battistelli and Willy Minnoye (EPO): Željko Topić Too Thinks He is Above the Law, Avoids the Judges and Courts

    The latest developments regarding some of the criminal complaints and civil lawsuits against Topić, who is now a Vice-President at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  16. Nefarious Forces for Patent Abuse and Software Patents in the United States, Australia, India, Korea, and Europe

    A roundup of news from the weekend and today, with emphasis on the elements inside the system (or the media) which push for regressive policies that benefit them financially at the expense of everybody else



  17. [ES] El Sistema de Patentes de los EE.UU: Donde Uno Desperdicia Años en Corte y Gasta $8,000,000 en Honorarios de Abogados Peleándo una Patente Falsa

    un sumario de noticias acerca de las patentes de software en los EE.UU. Y ha lo que han llevado, debido en gran manera al decline en calidad de las patentes por parte de la USPTO (dejando que otros se las arreglen limpiando el desórden)



  18. [ES] La Oficina Europea de Patentes Todavía Sigilósamente Abusiva, Pagará $15,000 en Compensasió a Trabajadora Tras un Tardío Fallo de la ILO

    La Organización Internacional del Trabajo (ILO) emite un fallo en un caso de abuso de la EPO y nota “la excesiva duración de los procedimienteos internos de apelación.”



  19. Links 2/5/2016: Linux 4.6 RC6, DragonBox Pyra

    Links for the day



  20. Links 1/5/2016: Wine 1.9.9, Devuan Jessie 1.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  21. The US Patent System: Where One Wastes Years in Court and Spends $8,000,000 in Lawyers' Fees Fighting a Bogus Patent

    A roundup of news about software patents in the US and what they have led to, owing in part to the USPTO's declining patent quality (leaving others to clean up its mess)



  22. The European Patent Office Still Silently Abusive, Will Pay $15,000 in Compensation to Female Worker After Belated ILO Judgment

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) issues a judgment on a case of abuse by the EPO and notes "excessive length of the internal appeal proceedings."



  23. [ES] Alice Continúa Quebrando Patentes de Software Asi Que los Abogados de Patentes, Cabilderos de los Monopolistas, Etc. Ahora Atacan a la Corte Suprema por Hacer Esto

    los cabilderos Corpórativos y abogados de patentes están tratándo de poner a Alicia en la tumba, por su impacto en las patentes de software que es muy profundo y así hasta ahora casi indetenible



  24. [ES] ¿Cómo Salvar la Reputación de la EPO?: Crear Más Jurados de Apelaciónes en Europa y Abolir la Malgíada/Malintencionada Fantasía de la UPC

    Una crítica evaluación de lo que ocurre en la Oficina Europea de Patentes (EPO), la que rápidamente se está yendo para abajo (y degradando sobre todo) a el nivel de los sistemas Chinos, en conjuntamente con corrupción, los abusos, y la bajísima calidad de las patentes



  25. [ES] La Corte de Apelaciónes del Circuito Federal (CAFC) Acaba de Ponerse a Favor de los Trolles de Patentes

    la tristémente célebre CAFC, que manifestó las patentes de software en los EE.UU, acaba de dar un regalo a los trolles de patentes quienes típicamente usan las patentes de software para extorsión enc complicidad con los jueces del Este de Texas



  26. [ES] Análisis de los Últimos Datos de Lex Machina Acerca de la Litigación de Patentes Muestra Como está Declinándo

    el Professor Mark Lemley de Lex Machina resalta las tendencias en litigation al colectar y analizar datos relacionados con patente y concerniéntes a monopolios intelectuales en general; actualmente muestra una sequía de litigaciones (muestran que ha disminuído)



  27. [ES] La India Está Teniendo Otra Prueba de los Peligros de las Patentes Occidentales, Debe Aprender a Rechazar Completamente las Patentes de Software en Medio de Gran Presión

    El gigante de software que es la India continua enfrentándos ea la cruel y agresivo cabildeo de Occidente, haciéndo que este controle a la India por patentes que no deberían de existir en primer lugar



  28. [ES] Microsoft Dice que Continuará Extorsiónando a Compañías Que Distribuyan Linux, Usando Patentes de Software Usuallmente

    La guerra de Microsoft contra Linux, una guerra que es peleada usando patentes de software patents (por ganancias y/o por chantáje con arreglos empaquetados), todavía continúa a pesar de todas las tácticas de relaciónes públicas de Microsoft y sus sócios



  29. Alice Continues to Smash Software Patents So Patent Lawyers, Monopolists' Lobbyists Etc. Now Attack the Supreme Court for Doing This

    Corporate lobbyists and patent lawyers are trying to put Alice in the grave, for its impact on software patents is very profound and thus far almost unstoppable



  30. How to Salvage the EPO's Reputation: Create More Boards of Appeal in Europe and Abolish the Misguided UPC Fantasy

    A critical evaluation of what goes on at the European Patent Office (EPO), which is quickly descending down (and overall degrading) to the level of Chinese systems, along with the corruption, the abuses, and the low quality of patents


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts