Summary: A quick roundup of some news about the Gates Foundation
THERE is an ongoing attempt to increase coverage of the Gates Foundation in this Web site. There are several sites protesting against the oligarchs’ attempt to profit from what’s typically a public service; taking over the schools is all about money, not goodwill.
Someone recently told us about a very vivid, pictures-filled blog that shows one way to protest. To quote: “I’m basing it on Susan Ohanian’s discovery of public documents on the Gates Foundation grants page on their own website. And of course on previous research which you can read through my prior blog posts, especially this one on Melinda Gates and where their children attend school compared to the policies they push forth in public schools via their propaganda. I’ll show you their documents directly screen printed from their website below as evidence.”
The evidence there is not so well organised or sourced, but further down it says: “Okay, so the common ethos here is that because Melinda and Bill Gates have been pouring their money into public education, they are experts, and because they have more money than you are I; they are infallible.
“If we act on this belief, we take everything they say, all their policies as truth, no?
“Here’s Melinda Gates’ ethos… She says:
* “American schools are broken.”
* “We really do need an effective teacher.”
* “We’re really going to go for getting an evaluation system to tell us whether they are effective or not.””
The blog is identifying some more tentacles of the propaganda machine for school privatisation [1, 2], e.g. Pearson Publishing, Murdoch, and few others. The presentation is unique.
Other older posts talk about media propaganda for Gates’ education agenda — an agenda that other blogs write about. As one example: “Bill’s high school, Lakeside, is Seattle’s most elite private school. The current tuition is $28K (not including food, books, bus, laptop, and field trips).”
This is the type of model the rich person suggests for a country experiencing economic disaster. Gates thinks he knows better than anyone about everything because he committed crimes to become wealthy. You can’t make this stuff up.
Here’s more: “I came across an article that I had saved on the NAEP (pronounced “nape”) test results over the last 12 years and Bill Gates pronouncement that our school system is a failure based on his perception that students have not shown any academic gains over the last 40 years.”
This is akin to more tyranny over those who raise the next generation — a generation that is being harmed and exploited for the benefits of plutocrats. For Gates, patents and profit are the hidden agenda and in an article promoted by Slashdot the other day we learn that despite all the risk associated with nuclear energy (as Japan can tell), Gates still looks to monetise it with his patents that he and his good friend Nathan hold (we covered this before [1, 2]). Notice that Gates invested US$35 million in this, it is definitely not a donation. “In the wake of Stuxnet,” writes someone called Chris, “I seriously hope they don’t plan on using Windows with this. Not that Linux is necessarily immune to it.” Yes, Stuxnet showed nuclear facilities becoming zombies.
Anyway, we really ought to return to coverage of Gates’ mischiefs. He spends a lot of money planting fake ‘articles’ in the press; this needs to be countered by information from volunteers on a low budget. Gates Watchers was recently put down and it is looking for a new home now. █
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Dissatisfied with Windows
Summary: Gaming advantages of Vista 8 are strongly doubted by more and more developers
VALVE was not the only game maker to complain about Vista 8. Minecraft's maker did so too and here comes another game developer who complains: “Chris Delay, Creative Director of Introversion Software and Designer of Uplink, Defcon, Darwinia and Multiwinia, said on a Reddit thread:
‘“If Microsoft manage to close Windows and get to the point where every app has to be approved and certified by them, it’s game over for a lot of indies including Introversion.”’
The list of annoyed game makers is growing. This has the potential to drive them to the platform which is everyone is free to download and install free of charge. █
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Summary: A rehearsal of why Microsoft does not pay tax — the story as told by a former employee who turned into a campaigner
THE overwhelming evidence of misconduct when it comes to Microsoft tax tricks is surely beyond overwhelming, but even as communities are destroyed there is reluctance to report on and take action against systemic corruption. To quote: “In 1997, Microsoft et al. lobbied to reduce Washington State’s Royalty Tax from 1.5% to .5%, a threefold reduction. This wasn’t low enough. The company decided to open a small Reno, Nevada office to dodge the tax completely.
“Between 1997 – 2011, the company used its Nevada office to avoid $1.51 billion in Washington state taxes, interest and penalties. If you include impacts from the company’s lobbying and calculate its savings at the original 1.5% rate, it’s saved $4.37 billion.”
“The sad thing is that all this news gets normalised and therefore no longer reported on; the crimes carry on.”And here is where cronies come in: “In 2010, after we raised these issues to the legislature, Democratic State Representative Ross Hunter, Chair of the Finance Committee and a former Microsoft executive, led the Legislature to change the state’s Royalty Tax from a tax on sales to worldwide customers to just a tiny tax on sales to Washington State customers. This reduced Microsoft’s effective Nevada tax dodge by about 99%. He also included language that gave Microsoft amnesty on its back taxes.”
Any regulator should be able to identify the conflict of interest and initiate an investigation. But regulation is part of (complicit in) systemic corruption, so all we can do is report on the situation and be all cynical about illegal behaviour — such as insider trading by Microsoft — going on without punishment. The sad thing is that all this news gets normalised and therefore no longer reported on; the crimes carry on. █
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Summary: Identifying sources of FUD that are silently funded by enemies of Google
DISGRACED lobbyist Microsoft Florian is not the only one whom Oracle pays for some anti-Android lies. It turns out that Stanford University professor Paul Goldstein, author of “A Patent Lie”, was also paid by Oracle. His output, however, did not get far; perhaps he does not mass-mail journalists because he has higher standards than Microsoft Florian. There are other cases of Google-hostile stances being funded to appear as though they come from academia. Microsoft paid Edelman for Google FUD, for example. █
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Non-practising entities (NPEs/trolls) versus development
Summary: Disparity between public interest and reporting in a couple of publications in Africa and the United States
THE other day we found this poor article which says “Kenya is beginning to develop home grown capacity in software development and the government will support the efforts,” supposedly with software patents. The whole article smells like propaganda for software patents as some nonsense like patent monopolies would make no sense for a country like Kenya [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
The article says: “The challenge for the local software industry is access to skilled legal drafting of their patent application. Over 200 patent applications were submitted in 2011, and 17 were granted.”"
“People or publishers who misrepresent the public interest needs to be named and they need to be corrected.”Another propaganda piece for patents says: “Headlines in today’s business, legal and policy papers abound with stories about patent wars over cellphones, tablet computers and other indispensable high-tech products. Some accounts focus on controversial court decisions like federal Judge Richard A. Posner’s curt dismissal of every patent claim that Apple and Motorola brought against each other. Others fret about the anti-competitive implications of Federal Trade Commission reports on the role of patents in setting technological standards. And still others applaud Congress for considering whether to limit the power of the International Trade Commission to exclude from the United States products that infringe on domestic patents.”
Yes, and patent lawyers do not like this, do they? The most annoying deception is one that tries to attribute pro-software patents stance to developers. People or publishers who misrepresent the public interest needs to be named and they need to be corrected. Otherwise we face a global warming-like disinformation campaign, where one side is climate scientists and another is energy giants-funded propaganda. █
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Summary: Lessons learned from OnLive and other takes on the patent system
THE collapse of Novell, Nortel and now Kodak have shown us what happens to orphaned patents and one of our readers spotted this article about OnLive. It says: “To complicate matters further, Dent believes that OnLive does not actually own any of its patented technology. Those patents are owned by a research and development company called Rearden Labs, which licenses the IP to OnLive. Rearden Labs is owned by OnLive’s CEO, Steve Perlman. By transferring Rearden Lab’s IP from OnLive to a new entity and filing for ABC bankruptcy in OnLive’s name, Perlman is essentially able to ‘restart’ OnLive with a new investor without having to pay OnLive’s staff their share of equity. If staff are re-hired to be a part of the new business, they are not necessarily entitled to the same stock and benefits as they were at OnLive. This raises questions about the ethical practices of the business.”
“The costs of litigation are passed to the public. These also reduce the number of technology jobs.”Expect sites with pro-patents/”IP” bias to keep on pretending that patents are a good thing (more on that in the next post), despite all that we currently see in Apple and Samsung litigation. As one writer put it: “We are about to reach the climax of a very big war among multi-national technology companies. The chess pieces of this war will be intellectual property (IP). In all war there is collateral damage and in the IP battles that damage is two-fold effecting consumers and smaller technology companies.”
The costs of litigation are passed to the public. These also reduce the number of technology jobs. █
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Summary: Baseless and factually-flawed arguments against Free Open Source software (FOSS) shown by a media giant to the unsuspecting public
The circles of social media and blogosphere already point out, correctly, that Disney shows its less flattering side. From racism and propaganda Disney has turned to a strategy Steve Jobs would have fancied; It is FOSS FUD:
Walt Disney Corporation added a bit of nonsensical anti-open source fear, uncertainty and doubt to a kid’s sitcom that it aired this past weekend. But the dialogue is so ridiculous that you have to wonder if they have any clue about what they are doing.
In an episode that aired Friday on the Disney Channel, the show Shake It Up features two teenagers begging the stereotypical geeky kid for help with a computer that has apparently gone down.
The geeky kid, complete with sweater, parted hair and glasses, asks the two teenagers the oddest question: “Did you use open source code to save time and the virus was hidden in it?”
a Disney sitcom that screens on The Disney Channel around the world, has slipped in an insult to open source software.
The show, which tracks the activities of a group of aspiring dancers on a TV show called “Shake it Up, Chicago”, appears to be aimed at tweens. We make that assertion based on the age of comments on its web site, the brightly-coloured costumes and crudely-stereotyped big-brush-strokes characters.
In case Disney does more of this in the future it might be worth pointing out. right now Attempts by the company to appear FOSS-friendly have been seriously damaged by the above. Some fairly major sites have fortunately covered this. Any coverage we offer would thus be repetitive. █
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Summary: Hopes that Google will bring change to the system are diminished further as the USPTO and ITC become partners to Google
THE abundant desire Google has to control information has led it to helping the USPTO and EPO; we criticised Google for that. According to this article, among others, Google is still servicing the USPTO. Pamela Jones gave some details and Google bragged about it.
“We are conflicted about this because Google is now fighting fire with fire, which does little or nothing to get a real reform.”Through Motorola with all of its patent ammunition Google is now suing Apple. It is a Google subsidiary doing this and it is definitely reactionary because it was Apple which approached the ITC first. To quote: “Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Motorola Mobility unit said it filed a new patent-infringement case against Apple Inc. (AAPL) claiming that features on some Apple devices, including the Siri voice-recognition program, infringe its patents.
“The complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission claims infringement of seven Motorola Mobility patents on features including location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players, Motorola Mobility said yesterday. The case seeks a ban on U.S. imports of devices including the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. Apple’s products are made in Asia.
““We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple’s unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers’ innovations,” Motorola Mobility said in an e-mailed statement. ”
We are conflicted about this because Google is now fighting fire with fire, which does little or nothing to get a real reform. In a sense, any chances Google may have had to complain about the USPTO are being invalidated by these recent moves that demonstrate hypocrisy. Although Google uses deterrence against real attacks the reaction is harming many FOSS players. It makes Google appear as complicit.
“It makes Google appear as complicit.”Why not smash the USPTO rather than play along? The US patent system is being further discredited by patents on genetics, as they were recently validated further. As one critic of the USPTO put it: “One of the bizarre things about the patent system is the “presumption of validity,” in which a patent officially has to be presumed valid. Conceptually, this makes very little sense. Patents grant a pretty broad monopoly on “inventions” for an extended period of time… based entirely on approximately 18 hours that a patent examiner has to spend looking over the thing. Do we really think that a patent examiner gets things right most of the time? It seems that even the US Patent Office’s own data shows that’s simply not true. A friend pointed me to the USPTO’s recently released data concerning re-exams (pdf and embedded below), which demonstrates in great detail why patents shouldn’t be presumed valid. Basically, the data suggests that an awful lot of patents were handled poorly.
“The document notes that 92% of re-exam requests are granted — meaning that nearly all re-examination requests lead to a re-examination by the Patent Office. So, if most patents were well constructed in the first place, you would imagine that most of them would come through the re-examination process unscathed with no changes, right? Only if patent examiners were really bad at their jobs would a large percentage of patents need to be changed or rejected completely on re-exam. Given the “presumption of validity” that grants a monopoly, and the massive dollar amounts that patents sell for and are able to extract in settlements, you’d think that re-examined patents must normally confirm the original diagnosis. Hell, given that information, I’d hope that at least around 95% of patents, having passed the approval process, would be solid enough to survive the re-exam process untouched.”
“If only Google helped… its lobbyists are too busy making privacy laws more lenient.”The USPTO should become obsolete if its ability to identify new inventions in a fast-moving market is impaired to this degree.
Demonstrating a waste of already-limited resources is the KDE project, which previously needed to worry about Apple patents (we covered some examples) and now considers so-called ‘defensive publications’. To quote a prominent developer: “Software patents are an evil thing which should die a horrible and painful death. Until that moment, recording prior art in a way that is understood by the system is an effective way to fight patents. By recording prior art in the form of defensive publications, we can make it much harder for a patent to be granted — and it does not have to be hard at all to do so.”
How about writing code and just helping abolition of software patents? If only Google helped… its lobbyists are too busy making privacy laws more lenient. By law (shareholders), Google is required to do only what’s good for itself. █
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