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03.05.12

Bill Gates Pays League of Education Voters, Stand for Children for Lobbying, Wolfram for Self-Serving ‘Study’

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Library

Summary: A look at the machinations of Bill Gates in education, or rather, the privatisation of the education system

THE Gates Foundation continues to tell teachers what to do, going all the way up to the managerial level with bribes, AstroTurfing, propaganda films, and whatnot.

Teachers in Seattle, essentially neighbours of Mr. Gates, are very upset and they have a popular blog where they express their anger towards Gates’ tyranny in education:

To follow is the strategy that the folks who are basically paid for by Bill Gates are planning to do in January to take over our public school system. The organizations that will represent the 1% are the League of Education Voters(LEV) led by Chris Korsmo and Kelly Munn, Stand for Children (SFC), the Excellent Schools Now Coalition (a brand new astro turf organization) and unfortunately, the Washington State PTA that has lost its’ way under the tutelage of LEV and SFC and with loads of money from Bill Gates and Boeing.

Boeing and Microsoft have been funding LEV and working with them on two “megabills” as they are termed by Korsmo of LEV. When I say “working with them”, I mean that Microsoft and Boeing are lending them their “corporate lobbying power” (LEV’s term, not mine) for the bills that will be put forth by certain legislative representatives. Keep in mind that the two school board members who were able to hold onto their positions in the last school board election in Seattle, Harium and Carr, both are employees of Boeing. I am not implying that they will consciously go with what their employer is spending major cash and “man hours” on, but it can be a psychological influence, so I would watch for that and remind them that they are to be representing the rest of us and not the 1%.

The Nation has a massive article titled “How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools”. Gates is mentioned too:

But Levesque wasn’t delivering her hardball advice to her lobbying clients. She was giving it to a group of education philanthropists at a conference sponsored by notable charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. Indeed, Levesque serves at the helm of two education charities, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national organization, and the Foundation for Florida’s Future, a state-specific nonprofit, both of which are chaired by Jeb Bush. A press release from her national group says that it fights to “advance policies that will create a high quality digital learning environment.”

[...]

Like other digital reform advocates, the Bush nonprofit is also supported by Microsoft founder Bill Gates’s foundation. The fact that a nonprofit that receives funding from both the Gates Foundation and Microsoft pressures states to adopt for-profit education reforms may raise red flags with some in the philanthropy community, as Microsoft, too, has moved into the education field. The company has tapped into the K-12 privatization expansion by supplying a range of products, from traditional Windows programs to servers and online coursework platforms. It also contracts with Florida Virtual School to provide cloud computer solutions. Similarly, Dell is seeking new opportunities in the K-12 market for its range of desktop products, while the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the charitable nonprofit founded by Dell’s CEO, promotes neoliberal education reforms.

Interestingly enough, Mathematica too is seen working with Gates’ self-serving agenda, tying the monopoly yet again to the same people who supported Microsoft (e.g. Bing):

This new study released in Friday’s news dump, entitled “Charter-School Management Organization: Diverse Strategies and Diverse Student Impacts,” has more bad news for school privatizers who prefer the charter route. Even though a swarm of urban school colonizers from Gates, Walton, and the New Schools Venture Fund helped set up the parameters for this study in order to get the most favorable outcome, and even though the Gates “research” hothouse, the Center for Reinventing Public Education co-authored the study, there’s enough bad news for charter proponents that mirrors years of previous research on charters that this study, too, has been ignored by the corporate media. Ed Week had a piece on the new study entitled “Academic Gains Vary Widely for Charter Networks,” and Time had a pre-release gloss by corporate spinner extraordinaire, Andy Rotherham. That was it for coverage, except for a misleading and dissembling press release by Jim Peyser at the New Schools Venture Fund. And only one of the national charter school associations offered a press release on this big event. And most telling, the Gates “research” hothouse that co-authored the study, the Center for Reinventing Public Education, does not even mention it anywhere on its website. Shhhh.

Mathematica led the study, and as their Press Release indicates, the study “was commissioned by NewSchools Venture Fund, with the generous support of the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation.” An undisclosed number of the sludge-tank “thought leaders,” including Andy Rotherham, carefully set up the parameters for the sample to pump the corporate welfare Charter Management Organizations (CMOs). These are the corporate non-profit tax sponges preferred by the vulture philanthropy movement.

This is the sort of ‘study’ that the lobbyists — groups like League of Education Voters and Stand for Children — use as ammunition later on when they strive to change policy for their paymasters.

Bill Gates Bribes to Change Policy, Make Profit From Patents

Posted in Bill Gates at 12:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rich Uncle From America® comes to India’s most corrupt state

Fast car

Summary: A good new example of how the Gates Foundation changes a foreign government’s behaviour and then shrewdly passes a quarter of a million dollars to those responsible

THERE are many examples that we covered here before where the Gates Foundation mastered creative new ways to pass bribes and tell people how to think, act, and feel. Adding insult to injury, the bribe was described as something commendable, an act of generosity. We keep finding many new examples of Gates’ meddling in world health affairs, but we can only provide a sample of those because Techrights is primarily about computing. We try not to get too distracted. But Techrights is also about patents, which are very close to the heart of Bill Gates, arguably the world’s biggest pro-patent lobbyist and maximalist. He even promotes patents on life, e.g. on seeds, meaning that someone will be paid each time we plent a seed to feed ourselves or our loved ones. Maybe one day someone will figure out a way to also make money from selling/renting air; enforcement is the tricky part as there is not even a genetic footprint on air.

Anyway, at risk of explaining this for the hundredth time, Gates’ current business model is to avoid paying tax and instead invest a supposedly “charitable” money in very filthy companies, then lobby politicians to pass taxpayers’ money to those companies (which Gates invests in for profitability), all under the convenient guise of “charity”. When the politicians do their insidious acts they soon get some sort of reward (or punishment, in case they don’t obey Gates’ will). We love those who are using sarcasm to describe what Gates has been doing:

This is not a bribe. Repeat. This is not a bribe. The Gates Foundation is not giving a bribe of a quarter of a million dollars cash to the Chief Minister of India’s most corrupt state.

Well, actually it is a bribe. And here is the cited article:

The Bihar chief minister will thus be the first recipient of the Vaccine Innovation Award, introduced globally by the Gates Foundation and carries a cash prize of $250,000.

The foundation last year took the decision to bestow the award on an individual/team that has made the most innovative contribution in vaccination.

At Techrights we value humour, so bonus points go to Mr. Gates for labelling this bribe “Innovation Award” — a very effective euphemism for bribe. How can ANYONE be against an award? How can ANYONE be against innovation? We are sure that the company behind the vaccination patents is very happy, and most likely Gates is investing his money in it. No wonder Gates is still getting richer and richer. This issue was discussed for a while last night in IRC.

IRC Proceedings: March 4th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

President José Manuel Barroso Does Not Understand Patents; Time to Fight the Unitary Patent Like We Fought ACTA

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

José Manuel Barroso

Summary: Business interests take over Europe and European politicians play along with negative patents agenda

TECHRIGHTS has been utterly disappointed with the policies set in place by the European Commission in recent years. Not only policies disappoint but also procurement irregularities and misinformation that comes from people like Barroso, who parrot some other lawyers’ propaganda. Barroso is a laywer, just like many of his peers in politics, and he repeats the patent lawyers’ disinformation which piggybacks SMEs just like Microsoft’s front group Association for Competitive Technology.

Watch what President Barroso carelessly said about the abomination that Commissioner Barnier most typically promotes:

Research and innovation hold the key to Europe’s future competitiveness. This is another area where acting now will pay rich dividends in the future. We have tabled important proposals to help SMEs to access finance and to support innovative companies, for example through a European venture capital regime. And I need not repeat how important a swift agreement on a European patent is – after a thirty year wait, it is time to deliver.

Utter nonesense. They are using language diversity as an excuse to expand the scope and number of patents or, as the FFII’s president put it, “The patent system does not care about language diversity” as shown in this new video desribed as follows:

It costs €2,000 in the US, and up to €40,000 in Europe. The single EU patent should make things simpler and cheaper, but its implementation is complicated.

Now, consider another case of unnecessary discrimination. The FFII’s president asks a reputed MEP: “European citizens depends on Microsoft codec to watch what is going on in the European Parliament?”

The “automated translation is a discrimination of languages,” he insists. We agree. And Google participates in this.

There are other reasons to be upset at the European authorities. To quote this new example from EDRI, thre is still failure even on standards:

The European standardisation system is being revamped. In the European Parliament, the Consumer Committee (IMCO) under its rapporteur Lara Comi (EPP, Italy) is deliberating a proposal from the European Commission. Parliament members face tricky regulatory decisions on the standardisation of services and participation of small enterprises.

These issues overshadow a ground-breaking novelty: an official “recognition” for specifications from private sector consortia in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT). Those “recognised ICT specifications” are not “standards” (developed by standards organisations) but still could be legally referenced by tenders for public procurement.

European policy is being polluted by businss interests. Lobbying is very widespread in Europe, not just in the US (notoriously so). Let’s inform fellow citizens of Europe so that decision-making is not done solely by corporatate leaders who pass gentle bribes to politicians. ACTA’s failure to pass in many European nations was due to protests, i.e. the public rising up.

Patents Roundup: Hype, Critics, and Threat to Linux/Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Laptop

Summary: A FOSS-centric look at patent news from the past week or so

THE patent frenzy we find in the media (associating R&D with “patents”) shows no signs of abatement but many signs of resentment from the public. With patent-pending ‘inventions’ like search marketing stuff and stuff for “faster web” or network access we rapidly approach the age of mega-lawsuits over patents. This is not an industry of technology but an industry of deterrence and litigation.

“This is not an industry of technology but an industry of deterrence and litigation.”In the case of Motorola, Microsoft the patent extortionist is trying to play the victim card, as we explained before (Apple does the same). At the same time, Apple is attacking Motorola with a lawsuit which Microsoft booster and Linux basher Tony Bradley uses to create fear of Android. He is quoting/citing Microsoft lobbyist Florian Müller, who is leading to damaging headlines in the British press such as “Apple could force Moto to destroy phones” (among others).

This Microsoft lobby is promoting FRAND and so does Apple (Nokia has joined as well), which is being a total hypocrite because Apple does a lot worse than FRAND. And to quote this new criticism with nice pictures:

This system promises an ugly future in which mobile communications are slow (as it would be uneconomical to participate in FRAND communications standard development), there interfaces will be clunky (a company will be limited to a handful of UI elements for fear of infringement), and product quality will be decreased to offset an inevitable slew of licensing fees.

In an article titled “Patently Absurd – The Latest in the War to Stifle Innovation”, the author correctly states that “[i]t’s become the go-to strategy for languishing tech companies: When out-innovated, claim patent infringement.”

The author continues: “One patented “technology,” for example, is for “generating meeting requests and group scheduling from a mobile device.” Does easily getting people together at a specified date and time from a smartphone seem ingenious to you? Of course not, it’s what we obviously want our phones to be capable of – without enforced limitation by the patent system.”

“It’s all about monopolists expanding their field of influence.”In Germany, Apple faces another setback as its legal aggression backfires. Other cases where smartphones get retarded by patents include this new one: “In the cases of both Comerica and Southwest, the infringement supposedly occurs in the use of the smartphone software to communicate with other technology systems that the companies operate, the lawsuits allege.”

Here’s more. It should be rather clear by now that there is no benefit here to customers. It’s all about monopolists expanding their field of influence. The system is also good for litigation startups, pointless for the rest of the startups, contrary to the claims presented here. It is well established that startups do not have the resources to deal with patents, so a sort of rebuttal comes from Timothy Lee, who writes in Slate. He says more in Forbes:

When talking about the smartphone patent wars, it’s important to recognize that, as Stanford’s Mark Lemley pointed out a few years ago, almost all software companies ignore their competitors’ patents. There are two basic reasons for this. First, there are so many software patents, and they have such unclear boundaries, that finding and negotiating the rights to necessary patents is essentially impossible. And second, patent law awards triple damages in cases of willful infringement. So if a company finds a patent, tries to work around it, and is later ruled to have infringed the patent, it’s on the hook for three times the damages it would have faced it if had never found the patent in the first place.

A troll called BackWeb, which we wrote about before, is back at the scene and it makes money for doing nothing, having just settled with IBM. BackWeb is not a startup, it is a symptom of the farce that the patent system has become.

Who really benefits in this case? It is time to reform the system for reasons that Everything is a Remix recently explained very succinctly. Or as this one article put it:

Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson recently finished Everything is a Remix, a four-part video series illustrating the interconnectedness of our creations and how current laws and norms miss this essential truth. Some viewers protested that the series ended without offering much in the way of prescriptive ideas. Here, he takes up that challenge, offering his thoughts on intellectual property reforms and best practices with the interests of remixers and creators in mind.

Android is still under attack from Oracle [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] even though the patents prove to be worthless:

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a ruling rejecting Oracle’s patent of the Java language. The “final office action” by USPTO was one of several related rulings the agency issued relating to the popular programming language. The rulings came in response to a joint filing by Oracle and Google, which have been battling over the use of a modified form used in the Android mobile operating system.

As put by the British press:

Oracle must decide whether to wait for USPTO before trial in Android lawsuit

[...]

Oracle’s handling of its Android patent infringement claims has been little more than a farce and on the face of it, the firm has managed to engineer a situation that is worse than when it started. Not only have its repeated attempts to estimate damages suggested that the firm
doesn’t have a clue about what its Java patents might be worth, or why, but also it is looking increasingly likely that several of its patents are going to be invalidated by the USPTO.

More here:

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a ruling rejecting Oracle’s patent of the Java language. The “final office action” by USPTO was one of several related rulings the agency issued relating to the popular programming language. The rulings came in response to a joint filing by Oracle and Google, which have been battling over the use of a modified form used in the Android mobile operating system.

We recently wrote about Facebook and Yahoo, just after Facebook had been getting its own taste of the patent system. It was only some days ago that Yahoo! attacked and demanded payments for patents (patents boosters wrote about it too) so “Yahoo [is] now using its patents to extort money from Facebook and others,” put it some folks, perhaps realising that Yahoo! could one day be used like Microsoft uses Nokia — to attack competition. TechDirt has an interesting take on this subject, among others that involve Facebook.

Nintendo, to its credit, refuses as a matter of principle to succumb to patent trolls:

Rick Flamm, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of Legal & General Counsel, has spoken out against “patent trolls” after winning a third litigation case this year.

Here’s more on that.

TechDirt explains the obvious observation that the patent system has been rigged to favour patent maximalism:

When the numbers came out showing that 2011 represented yet another record year for patents granted, it was such a non-surprise that I didn’t even bother mentioning it. The number of patents granted just keeps going up. And yes, there were two small dips during the past decade, but they corresponded with the rare situations in which the Supreme Court finally took an interest in some element of patent law and pushed back on the Federal Circuit (the appeals court that handles all patent issues) and the USPTO. We’ve discussed at length in the past, the problems of having a single appeals court that solely focuses on patent issues, because you lose the diversity of opinions (made worse at times when some of the judges on the panel have been former patent attorneys — or, most famously, when a judge at the court was the same former patent attorney who wrote the last major update to patent law…).

When people like Dennis Crouch are prominent among those who write on patents, no wonder there is so much promotion of yet more patents. This whole system needs a rethink, an overhaul, or abandonment. We’re merely trying to summarise and show the trends here, not so much from a sceptical or critical point of view; the articles increasingly speak for themselves because disdain for the patent system is mainstream. Now we need action.

Confirmed: Smear Campaign Against Google in Europe is Bankrolled by Microsoft

Posted in Europe, Google, Microsoft at 9:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chess

Summary: Fake seminars set up by Microsoft (by proxy) to bamboozle politicians and get Google under fire

MICROSOFT has been bribing people who smear Google, to put it quite crudely. A lot of opposition to Google is simply paid for, it’s artificially manufactured. Using this familiar front group which we wrote about before Microsoft is doing some more of it and now it’s confirmed by Falkvinge, who used to work for Microsoft before he turned the other way. To quote this new blog post:

How Microsoft Pays Big Money To Smear Google In European Parliament

I spent this week in the European Parliament in Brussels. One of the seminars I attended was advertised as being a seminar on privacy, big data, profiling, and online identities. As interesting as it sounded, it was anything but.

[...]

The seminar was arranged by ICOMP, a nonsense thirteen-a-dozen-spun name like “Initiative for a Competitive Digital Market Blah Blah Meaning Give Us Money Please”. Your eyes glaze over and turn elsewhere at these silly spins after a while once you see them daily. But never mind the name, they come a dime a dozen. The seminar still had an interesting topic and a free lunch to boot, which would attract good people to network with on our topics.

[...]

It went on and on. This was not a seminar on privacy at all. This was Microsoft-funded Google-smearing, plain and simple, and I felt my blood starting to boil. No free lunch was worth sitting down and taking this kind of language designed to smear a competitor for profit. I would not be a part of this. My name does not get to be associated with this kind of drivel.
So I made the strongest act of disapproval conceivable in the European Parliament.
I walked out on a free luxury lunch.

[...]

Seeing the only Member of European Parliament in the audience walked out of the seminar in that strong a disapproval, one of their head lobbyists rushed out after us trying to get us in a better mood. I was furious, and since we no longer needed to politely observe silence in the seminar room, I believe I made my impressions perfectly clear to him at the time – that I considered it audacious that Microsoft, a convicted monopolist, paid big money using a covert name to carpet bomb allegations of monopolistic behavior against a competitor in this manner – that the seminar had been thoroughly falsely advertised, and that I would not have my name associated with any part of it.

In response to our blog post from yesterday one reader wrote:

Sadly (IMO) Slashdot.org seems to contributing to MS’s smear campaign. Slashdot is constantly posting non-stories like this:

Schmidt: Google Once Considered Issuing Currency

http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/02/29/0123223/schmidt-google-once-considered-issuing-currency

The story was spun to make it seem like Google wanted to take over the world’s currencies. Actually it was Google *considering* having it’s own script, credit system. In other words, the same thing as WoW, 2nd life, Facebook, and – I think – even MS.

The discussions are dominated by anonymous posters who aggressively bash anybody who try to defend Google. Such posts were not always anonymous. It was discovered that such posts used to come from one poster who had, at least, 20 different logins. Once that was exposed, all the bashing posts became anonymous.

Slashdot typically runs about two such non-stories every week. It’s shameful, IMO.

Groklaw was quoted by this reader as saying: “500 sites, plus Facebook, a partner of Microsoft, and Google. Yet Microsoft wrote only about Google. This is what FUD looks like — it’s partly true or almost so or selectively so as far as it goes or it’s not even relevant to real life, blown out of proportion, etc.”

Another reader linked to what he called the “false seminar that Falkvinge was lured into partially attending” and added that this “[i]s nothing new. 16 Mar 2010 sponsored by Ixonos, Microsoft had a
false “Linux” seminar which had a handful of legitimate speakers and the rest were Microsoft partners and shills spouting their talking points: http://www.ixonos.com/en/linux_seminar I stayed to the end to watch it. They even did the classic stacked panel.” Just like the so-called "open source think tank"?

Reuters Explains How Foundations Like Gates Foundation Are Used to Evade Tax

Posted in Bill Gates at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A journalist’s note

Paper

Summary: The tax loopholes that Bill Gates is exploiting (and lobbying for) are explained by professionals with professional liability

OVER THE years we have written many articles which explain how Bill Gates uses the Gates Foundation to avoid paying his fair share of tax into the economy he is exploiting. We wrote s great deal about taxation tricks of Microsoft and Gates because there is a lot to cover there. Being a rich company and family, they get to call their evasion of tax “legal” and bribe some politicians to make it so. That’s crony capitalism.

Mr. Salmon, a respectable journalist from Reuters (who recently criticised Gates for hijacking the press), writes about “problematic charitable-donation tax deduction” and includes Gates in there:

It’s hard to answer the first question with any specificity. But the second is easier to answer. Take a look at the $360,000 salary for the director of the Neue Galerie — or, for that matter, the $1.5 million paid to the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, or the other seven-figure salaries paid at non-profit hospitals, universities, and foundations. There’s a rich-people money-go-round here: Jeff Raikes of the Gates Foundation doesn’t need his million-dollar salary, but the foundation is paying it anyway, as a matter of principle, presumably to encourage other foundations to start paying similar sums. These 1% salaries aren’t being paid out of small-dollar donations from the masses; they’re being paid out of large-dollar donations from other members of the 1%. And there’s no good reason for the US tax code to encourage such things.

Of course not, but the US is run by the richest 1% or less.

“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”

The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game

MSBBC Lies About Microsoft Market Share

Posted in Deception, Windows at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Before cleansing

Voroshilov, Molotov, Stalin, with Nikolai Yezhov

After cleansing

The Commissar Vanishes

Summary: BBC bias as shown clearly by Homer from slated.org

LIES can be made true in the minds if repeated often enough, especially by sources of authority like the Microsoft- and Gates-controlled BBC. Homer has noticed something rather disturbing in an article we saw last week. It speaks of the dying breed which is Windows phones in relation to Microsoft’s new phone litigation department. Here is how Homer puts it:

The BBC, which has been Microsoft’s UK propaganda division since 2006, recently aired a programme that declares Nokia’s Symbian OS is “not long for this world” because, according to BBC reporter Marc Cieslak, the market is allegedly “dominated” by, amongst other platforms, Windows Phone.

“While its camera is impressive, Nokia’s choice of operating system is less so. The 808 is powered by Nokia’s Symbian OS, an operating system that, in a landscape dominated by iOS, Android and even Windows Phone devices, is not long for this world.”

Exactly in what sense could Windows Phone, a platform with just a 1.9% global market share, be said to “dominate”?

Cieslak also “forgot” to mention that Symbian OS, which he alleges is “not long for this world”, has a global market share of 11.7%, more than six times greater than Windows Phone, and yet apparently Windows Phone is worthy of being categorised as “dominant”, in Cieslak’s biased opinion, yet Symbian OS isn’t.

Small lies along the way (or micro-lies) help reinforce lies. The BBC should correct this, just like it removes mentioning of the term "open source" after publication.

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