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08.30.10

Gates Foundation Slammed by the Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice, Accused of Harming African Farmers, Population

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates, Finance at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

African takeout

Summary: Bill Gates turns out to be hurting the African population in yet another way (while pretending to help), this time by advancing multinationals’ food monopolies over there

The Community Alliance for Global Justice has just complained about the Gates Foundation and its Monsanto investments which we covered last week.

GATES FOUNDATION INVESTS IN MONSANTO

Both will profit at expense of small-scale African farmers

Farmers and civil society organizations around the world are outraged by the recent discovery of further connections between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and agribusiness titan Monsanto. Last week, a financial website published the Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio, including 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock with an estimated worth of $23.1 million purchased in the second quarter of 2010 (see the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission). This marks a substantial increase from its previous holdings, valued at just over $360,000 (see the Foundation’s 2008 990 Form).

“The Foundation’s direct investment in Monsanto is problematic on two primary levels,” said Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering. “First, Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record. The strong connections to Monsanto cast serious doubt on the Foundation’s heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers. Second, this investment represents an enormous conflict of interests.”

Monsanto has already negatively impacted agriculture in African countries. For example, in South Africa in 2009, Monsanto’s genetically modified maize failed to produce kernels and hundreds of farmers were devastated. According to Mariam Mayet, environmental attorney and director of the Africa Centre for Biosafety in Johannesburg, some farmers suffered up to an 80% crop failure. While Monsanto compensated the large-scale farmers to whom it directly sold the faulty product, it gave nothing to the small-scale farmers to whom it had handed out free sachets of seeds. “When the economic power of Gates is coupled with the irresponsibility of Monsanto, the outlook for African smallholders is not very promising,” said Mayet. Monsanto’s aggressive patenting practices have also monopolized control over seed in ways that deny farmers control over their own harvest, going so far as to sue—and bankrupt—farmers for “patent infringement.”

[...]

As we noted last week, the Gates Foundation is harming Africans not just with Monsanto but also with banking institutions it works with (to increase debt like Elliott Associates does). “Gates Foundation [...] added the Goldman Sachs Group and Monsanto to its portfolio,” says IP Watch, repeating what we covered a week ago and adding:

According to civil society organisations, the addition of Monsanto into the Gates Foundation’s portfolio also brings concern about Monsanto’s patenting practices and monopoly over seeds. Civil society is worried that Gates’ interest in Monsanto will worsen the conditions of small farmers in developing countries, and might represent a conflict of interest, according to the Community Alliance for Global Justice.

The Gates Foundation is used to conflicts of interest. In many other areas of operation (e.g. polio [1, 2] and smoking/tobacco [1, 2]) there are conflicts of interest where Gates invests in the very same things he pretends to battle against. Now is a good opportunity to watch the following interview which explains this rather well.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation- Truth Revealed

Part II

Blogger Accuses Bill Gates of Bribery

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Deception, Finance, Microsoft at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates pyramid

Summary: The man whom the Huff’n'Puff Post labeled “the most dangerous man in America” is building a pyramid of servitude around him, which leads to strong accusations from the American public

A

BLOG post which was published last month went under the “news” radar (Google News syndicates mostly mainstream sources), but a reader brought it to our attention yesterday. “Marketing as charity” is what he called the Gates Foundation. Is this foundation rogue when it comes to education? Ravitch, a respected author, sure seems to think so [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

“If you don’t already have this one, it’s worth noting,” wrote a reader to us, quoting this very recent blog post titled, “Is The Gates Foundation Involved In Bribery?”

“If he loses money buying control or sabotaging the established market, then it’s just charity rather than anti-competitive or predatory business.”
      –Anonymous
It says that “Gates has opened the door to an manifestly corrupt approach to government where a handful of well funded groups and individuals override the democratic legislative process by the prospect of funding or the threat of losing it. If you can’t go to jail now for doing this, there should be laws that make it clear that you do from here on out.”

That is a very concise summary of what has been happening.

“It’s actually more corrupt than that,” explained our reader, “because as a “charity” he can also evade the oversight and scrutiny a company would. If he loses money buying control or sabotaging the established market, then it’s just charity rather than anti-competitive or predatory business.”

To name some previous posts on the subject of education (in chronological order):

These fairly recent posts (from the past year) contain many links to a lot of articles where people do complain about the Gates Foundation and its intervention in education. But with a massive legion or PR people, it’s almost untouchable to critics. It built a moral shield.

As FurnaceBoy shrewdly put it, “how can the law pierce the Foundation veil? You’d have to hate starving Africans”

As a general remark, pedagogues tend to believe that children and adolescents are there in the school system to be indoctrinated, or be prepared to get “skilled” for the “real world” (as in carrying out a particular task in a business). They are often teaching them that ultra-rich people is what they should strive to become, but education is supposed to shape one’s personality to become a good member of society, too. Here is a good new article on the subject:

The Big Lie (Thoughts on Why School Is Not Only About Workforce Development)

[...]

Teaching kids that hard work in school will mean more money is a shortcut and an example of the shoddy logic that doesn’t ring true to many kids. Teaching kids that hard work in school will help them develop skills that will help them be a more fully realized citizen and person is a harder argument to make, but it stands a much better chance of being true.

For people like Gates — those wanting to see their own agenda implemented at the expense of taxpayers — there are barriers such as people with a clue. More people should rise and protest against this threat to democracy, known as “Gates Foundation”. It does far more than advertised.

Bill Gates is a school occupier, not an army occupier like the other Gates who knows him and honours Microsoft (that would be Secretary Robert Gates). It means that the burden of casualties is very different in nature. Gates is also subverting employment policy along with Intel and criminally-charged lobbyists like Abramoff. How much damage need Gates cause to the United States before citizens realise he is “the most dangerous man in America,” to quote a recent headline from the Huff’n'Puff Post? He is not just the richest among them and his professional history does reveal misconduct and megalomania. Aren’t these warning signs sufficient to those who haven’t yet researched the subject?

“Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”

Honor de Balzac

Apple Corruption and Meltdown in Asia

Posted in Apple, Asia, Fraud, Hardware at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chairman Jobs
Apple’s main business in China is still child labour

Summary: Singapore corruption case has an Apple manager arrested, China rejects Apple, and another hypePod meltdown is reported in Japan

APPLE may be doing just fine in the West, but in the far east it’s another matter altogether. Last week we wrote about serious problems that Apple was having and a fortnight ago we summarised bad Apple publicity from last month, culminating in fraud. More details have begun to surface in this case, which Singapore’s anti-corruption bureau says nothing about for the time being:

Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) declined to say whether it has opened an investigation following allegations of an elaborate kickback scheme that involved an Apple employee and at least six Apple suppliers, including three Singaporean companies.

Apple is trying to distance itself from this man (how convenient a policy to adopt after the act) and this arrested Apple manager pleads not guilty (who wouldn’t?).

Monday, a former Apple manager pleaded not guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and conspiracy. Paul Shim Devine was arrested last week after officials discovered he received more than $1 million in kickbacks from certain Apple suppliers in Asia in exchange for information that enabled them to beat their competition and win Apple contracts.

[...]

In addition to the federal charges, Devine also faces a civil racketeering lawsuit filed by Apple. Although there’s no indication how Apple was alerted to the scheme, the story says the company began investigating in April when it found e-mails and other communications between Devine and the suppliers on his company-issued laptop.

Here is some more coverage about it [1, 2]. It’s newer than the links we gave before.

On we move from Singapore to China, which Apple has a lot in common with, especially the censorship as we showed a week ago (Apple continues to throw third-party software out of the App Store). It turns out that Apple can only ever succeed in its niche, which is rich people in rich countries. hypePhone “tanks in China,” based on this report.

THE HOPE that Apple could flog its products in the massive Chinese market at the same high prices that it gets away with in western countries has proven fruitless.

It’s not surprising. These gadgets which are made by Chinese people are overpriced. It’s because the California-based company likes to triple or quadruple the originally spent cost in order to elevate margins. Some rich people don’t care about price tags. They choose by brands and labels.

Censorship of application is not the only problem at Apple though; the company is said to be suffocating an entire product right now [1, 2, 3]. “Apple has decided to shut down the Quattro Wireless mobile ad network that it bought in January for $275 million,” says one report. hypeAd (sounds like hypePad) is Apple’s way to go and some Quattro clients are likely to suffer from it:

Apple sent a letter to current Quattro clients this week announcing that the mobile advertising network will be shut down effective September 30. From that point forward, Apple will focus its mobile advertising efforts exclusively on the iAd platform.

Can advertisers trust Apple, which cannot even manage transactions on hypeTunes [1, 2]. One of those two news headlines says: “Apple Can’t Stop Ongoing ITunes Charge Scam”

Why should people trust Apple with advertising-related transactions then?

As one last example of Apple’s dishonesty and “damage control”, after a long time of denying the problem with hypePods exploding there are new requirements in Japan that Apple should issues warnings. The thing about these warnings though, they don’t actually solve the problem, they only predict it. “iPod meltdown strands Tokyo commuters,” says this article from 2 weeks ago (that’s right after Apple was forced to post warnings).

Apple’s iPod flame-out woes continue. The latest victims: Tokyo commuters.

On Friday, Reuters reports, smoke from what turned out to be a self-immolating iPod caused passengers to alert transit officials on a commuter-train line, who quickly shut down the system.

“When a member of staff went to investigate inside the train,” a rail spokesman told Reuters, “a passenger came over showing him that the iPod she was listening to had burst apart.” There were no reports of injuries, and after an eight-minute delay, the system was restarted.

Who would have thought that just posting warnings about Apple’s products being defective would not resolve the issue? All that Apple sells is a ticket into a club of hype and elitism. If the Chinese can ignore Apple’s products, so can everyone else.

Apple as a replacement for Microsoft is not progress; Free software is progress, it’s a paradigm shift.

“We have to let go of the notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose.”

Steve Jobs

Microsoft is Faking ‘Leaks’, This Time for Halo and for Internet Explorer

Posted in Apple, Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pinocchio

Summary: For purposes of publicity and hype Microsoft is up to the usual tricks, calling its own action a “leak” and pretending it was all just an accident

SO FAR this year we have given many examples of fake ‘leaks’ from Microsoft (Apple's fake hype and other fakes are a another related thing). Microsoft does not seem to mind when the ‘leaks’ are exposed as just Microsoft marketing stunts. To the Microsoft Pinocchio, lying is a lifestyle and bogus hype is means to an end.

Last week’s news uttered something about a “Halo Reach” breach and leak [1, 2]. Poor Microsoft, eh? Well, not so fast! Microsoft is said to be enabling people to take it:

Who Leaked Halo: Reach Early? Microsoft Did

[...]

How did it happen? How does this sort of thing always happen. But in this case there’s a twist: It seems the powers that be–not some felonious bottom-rung employee–placed it in lockdown on a public file server, then handed out keys.

[...]

Should GameTuts have been fiddling around (shamefully and illegally) in Microsoft’s business? Of course not. But should Microsoft have made Halo: Reach–however bristling with security measures–available via what amounts to a public file server? Live and learn, and since keeping pirate copies off the market prior to launch day is considered commercially critical, I doubt we’ll see Microsoft make this particular mistake ever again.

Microsoft keeps faking ‘leaks’ for the known allure of taboo or exclusivity. Microsoft is also doing this with Internet Explorer right now [1, 2]. The headlines say “Microsoft Russia leaks IE9 beta” and “Microsoft leaks Internet Explorer 9 screenshot” (implying that Microsoft itself is doing the ‘leak’, which means that it is not a leak at all). It is designed like marketing material, not an arbitrary ‘leak’/screenshot and Mary Jo Microsoft is seeding it, along with other boosters of the monopoly. IDG’s Microsoft boosters (like Robert Mullins) have used that as an excuse, trying to generate buzz like a marketing company and pretending this is “news”, not Microsoft a “puff story”.

“After sixteen months spent seeding the trade press, it was time to think of the end users. For this, Waggener Edstrom leaked exclusive Windows 95 puff stories to all of the important newspapers and publications. The PR firm fed the New York Times a story with a marketing twist, the Wall Street Journal received a more technical angle, and People magazine got an exclusive revealing that NBC’s Friends sitcom stars Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry would be doing a twenty-five-minute video, educating people on the wonders of Windows 95.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s Pam Edstrom

Microsoft Uses “Half-naked” Women (‘Meter Maids’) to Promote Its Products

Posted in Bill Gates, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft employees — not Free software proponents– are the sexist ones

Statue

Summary: Microsoft marketing goes awry and the company is pressured to issue an apology; a look at the Edstrom (PR) and Gates family affairs

Microsoft boosters or Free software opponents love to pretend that Free software proponents are sexist, but often it just turns out to be the very opposite. A few months ago we saw Microsoft’s “boob” incident (large advertising campaign it later "apologised" for) and earlier this year we learned about Microsoft allegedly offering female prostitutes/orgies to business partners [1, 2]. Those sex-related incidents are not a rarity, especially in advertising. Going further back we could give many more examples.

The latest Microsoft “apology” (everyone seems to put it in quotes, even Microsoft boosters) has just arrived. The Register says:

Microsoft gets Speedos in a twist over half-naked ‘Meter Maids’

[...]

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that Microsoft had hired the women to appear at its TechEd conference on the Gold Coast.

Keep it classy, sweaty Steve. Here is more coverage of this incident (and photos):

How could they be so tactless and not foresee the backlash? It’s probably one of those cases where in a very large organisation the left hand did not communicate with the right hand. To Microsoft, this is a serious PR problem. All those years promoting the image that it’s respectful to women (we gave examples of this PR line last week) sometimes go down the drain, but Microsoft keeps choosing female faces to represent the company while giving that whole “equal opportunity” and “cultural diversity” feel-good sensation. Steve Ballmer is even married to one such PR person. She worked for Waggener Edstrom. Speaking of which, Pam and Jennifer Edstrom came up again because this PR-related blog post linked to Techrights some days ago.

It was also the video that saw Microsoft tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion. In minutes, the hard work on building Bill Gates’ reputation put in by Pam Edstrom (first as Microsoft’s director of PR and then as a senior executive at Waggener Edstrom) was eviscerated. This was when the fear stopped.

This links to an old article from the New York Times and it’s about Waggener Edstrom. It turns out that this AstroTurf/marketing firm of Microsoft was by no means pleased by the work of Jennifer Edstrom.

In the acknowledgments of her new book, ”Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft From the Inside,” the author, Jennifer Edstrom, thanks her mother for encouraging her to write, ”even though this isn’t particularly what she had in mind.”

Since 1982, Ms. Edstrom’s mother, Pam, has helped shape the public image of the Microsoft Corporation’s chairman, first as a Microsoft employee and then as an executive of the public relations firm that represents him. When she learned about preparations for her daughter’s book, a behind-the-scenes account co-written with a former Microsoft software developer, Marlin Eller, she tried, the daughter said, to dissuade her from writing it.

”My mother had commented in Fortune in January that it put her in an awkward position,” Jennifer Edstrom said from her home in Portland, Ore. ”She made it completely clear she wanted no part of it.”

Parental disapproval did not carry the day. ”It’s hard enough to control Gates,” the elder Ms. Edstrom said, ”much less your daughter.” She responded with a terse ”no comment” when asked about the book.

Waggener Edstrom currently works on Gates’ lies and image-shaping (not just Microsoft’s). It’s a lesson in why such agencies do not deserve a place in society. Waggener Edstrom bribes bloggers with laptops, for example. What we found interesting is that Pam Edstrom disregards the truth and follows the money whereas her daughter has some dignity for a change. She chose not to seek spin but to seek some truth, instead. Maybe lack of ethics is not hereditary after all. Maybe Bill Gates’ children (now enrolled in the Khan Academy) will not end up being parasites of society, unlike their father. It is too early to determine this (the children are all too young), but Bill appeared with his son at the Hanford site recently. It is a “mostly decommissioned nuclear production complex on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, operated by the United States federal government,” according to Wikipedia. As a reminder, Gates and fellow patent trolls have nuclear patents which he is marketing in public events and in the US government (lobbying).

“By May of 1994, Gates’s patience was growing so thin that not even a public relations pro like Pam Edstrom could muzzle him.”

Jennifer Edstrom

Takeover of Novell Seen as “Less Likely” by S&P Analyst

Posted in Finance, Mono, Novell, UNIX at 4:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

S&PSummary: Standard & Poor’s analyst Jim Yin believes that Novell is less likely than before to sell itself, but he does not rule out this possibility

A couple of days ago we showed that Novell had been downgraded following poor results [1, 2]. Microsoft booster Eric Savitz quotes further from the same person who downgraded Novell:

Yin thinks that a slowing global economy and weakness in the company’s legacy products also were contributing factors to the weak results. He cuts price target on the stock to $5, from $6, and writes that a potential takeover of the company now appears “less likely.”

Novell is the lifeline which holds together Mono, Moonlight, and MonoDroid, which is the Microsoft-approved way of taking over mobile and embedded Linux. On the other hand, Novell is essential to the SCO case and as steward of “UNIX” it’s in the unique position where any takeover is extremely dangerous.

Amid “Disappointing” Sales of Microsoft Office, Facebook Jumps to Microsoft’s Rescue

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 3:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Facebook

Summary: Facebook keeps serving the interests of Microsoft, whose sales of Office are becoming hard to defend

Facebook’s war on ODF takes another step forward, according to Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke. Zuckerberg keeps helping his old friends from Microsoft (including Microsoft’s patent trolls, whom he met). It ought to be remembered that Microsoft owns part of Facebook.

Sales of Office are dying up based on some measures (sales upon launch) — an observation which receives this mention in relation to Microsoft’s mobile flop:

Office 2010: Microsoft spent $80 million to launch its latest version of Office this year, using mostly online advertising. However, sales were reportedly lagging a month after the launch, with many critics saying it was due to the availability of so many free online tools.

Like Google’s? This relates to our previous post about Microsoft exploiting Internet companies. Facebook will help Microsoft keep its cash cow afloat. Let’s not forget the role of Free/libre office suites such as OpenOffice.org (mostly notably). Microsoft prefers never to mention these.

First It Was Yahoo! and Now It’s AOL

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Search at 3:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

America Online logo

Summary: Microsoft’s apparent AOL entryism is recalled and AOL’s CTO jumps over to Microsoft while Yahoo! continues to disintegrate after Microsoft took over

EARLIER this year we wrote about possible Microsoft entryism at AOL, with an alleged intent to buy the company [1, 2, 3, 4]. Microsoft is desperate to breathe life into its online business, which continues to lose billions of dollars.

Microsoft recently grabbed the editor of NewsWeek, which it assigned to manage MSN. Now we learn about AOL losing Marty Moe and AOL’s CTO Cahall is moving to Microsoft (MSN). Sounds familiar? Yahoo!’s current CTO came from Microsoft, after the company had been taken over by Microsoft (see our many posts about the Yahoo! hijack).

Cahall had joined AOL three-and-a-half years ago from United Online’s Classmates.com, where he was chief operating officer. He initially headed up what was then the company’s platforms unit, which included AOL Search and MapQuest, and later got additional responsibility for the company’s technology infrastructure. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong promoted him to CTO a year ago.

[...]

Microsoft’s online services division has also hired Marc Davis, the former chief scientist for mobile at Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), as a partner architect.

As part of the "reorg", Microsoft seems to be poaching executives, this time from AOL. As for Yahoo!, it seems like a lost cause for news stories [1, 2] and it’s no longer a search engine in the US and Canada. Microsoft just hijacked its business and hardly even paid for it. It was like some sort of white-collar crime. Yahoo’s Communications Products Head is the latest person to evacuate Yahoo.

Titus, who has been at Yahoo (YHOO) since 2004, was reportedly considered a key exec by CEO Carol Bartz in her attempts to revive the company.

Yahoo confirmed the move when BoomTown asked for comment.

Sources said Titus wants to take time off and has no plans to move to another company.

Michael Curtis, a close and well-regarded colleague of Titus, will take over as interim head until a replacement is found.

Microsoft would love to exploit any Internet company that’s left. Microsoft wants to stop Google, which distributes a lot of GNU/Linux and also threatens Microsoft's other cash cow, Office. More on that in the next post.

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