The Good Billionaire: Self-appointed Health Tsar

This is Section E of IWNSPTB XI: The Good Billionaire.

Gates’ fingerprints are all over public health. Yet Gates is unelected; and having tons of money is not a qualification. His efforts are dedicated to causes he – an insanely wealthy, privileged, American male – deems fit to focus on. You will notice that these initiatives make him – and his business connections – a lot of money. The Lancet put it so: “The first guiding principle of the [Bill & Melinda Gates] Foundation is that it is driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family.”

Public Health Monopoly

Through philanthropic narrative shaping, Gates seems to have bought a name for himself as an infectious disease expert. Despite having no education or training as such. Yet, it is said: “Behind a veil of corporate media PR, the Gates Foundation has served as a vehicle for Western capital while exploiting the Global South as a human laboratory.”

Direct and indirect funding to public health institutions – such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), Imperial College and John Hopkins University – gives “the non-governmental international empire unparalleled influence over one the world’s most important multilateral organizations.”

WHO adopted the Global Vaccine Plan that was co-authored by BMGF. BMGF is the biggest funder of vaccines in the world. The foundation’s website declares a mission to pursue “mutually beneficial opportunities” with (for-profit) vaccine manufacturers. Likewise, BMFG co-founded and funds the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI) which invests in vaccine technologies and platforms. There’s also Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI): a “public-private partnership” that facilitates bulk sales of vaccines to poor countries. GAVI is another medium through which BMGF funds and directs the WHO. GAVI discloses that BMGF plays a major role in efforts to “shape vaccine markets.” Critics say GAVI follows a “Gates-approach” on global health challenges, “focusing on disease-specific vertical health interventions (through vaccines), instead of horizontal and holistic approaches (e.g., health system strengthening).” There have been calls for GAVI to exclude pharmaceutical companies from their board of directors in order to reduce conflicts of interest. GAVI’s overall impact appears to have increased vaccine costs by 68% between 2001 and 2014. While American’s beg for support from their government’s Coronavirus stimulus bill, GAVI scored an extra 4 billion dollars.

Half of the 15-member SAGE board – a principal advisory group to the WHO for vaccines – listed BMGF connections as possible conflicts of interest. It is said, “Moreover, the Gates Foundation invests in these corporations directly. […] A recent investigation by The Nation revealed that the Gates Foundation currently holds corporate stocks and bonds in drug companies like Merck, GSK, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Novartis, and Sanofi.” BMGF’s tax forms also show investments in Gilead and CureVac.

Dr David Legge says, “Gates’ financial ‘donations’ are actually a mechanism for agenda setting. […] his massive contributions totally distort the kind of budget priorities that the World Health Assembly would wish to see.” This makes Gates “an unofficial – albeit unelected – leader at the organization.” UK-based NGO Global Justice Now says, “the Foundation’s influence is so pervasive that many actors in international development which would otherwise critique the policy and practice of the Foundation are unable to speak out independently as a result of its funding and patronage.” Global Health Watch says, “other global health actors are accountable to the Gates Foundation, but not the other way round.” An article in Politico says, “Gates’ priorities have become the WHO’s.” Another says, “The people at WHO seem to have gone crazy. It’s ‘yes sir’, ‘yes sir’, to Gates on everything.”

A brief side note on the WHO (1, 2, 3, 4): reports quote sociologist Allison Katz, who worked for 18 years in the WHO headquarters. Katz says that the WHO “has become a victim of neoliberal globalization.” Katz wrote an open letter to then-WHO Director-General Margaret Chan in 2007, criticizing public bodies that “go begging to the private sector [and] to the foundations of celebrity ‘philanthropists’ with diverse agendas, from the industry.” For example, the “Gates Foundation’s contributions to the WHO are earmarked, the WHO doesn’t decide how these funds are spent – the foundation does.” Chan herself once said that the WHO budget is highly-earmarked, driven by “donor interests.” Most of WHO’s money comes with strings attached; 80% of the WHO’s budget is earmarked contributions. In 2018, WHO took in over 70 million dollars from the pharmaceutical industry. BMGF is said to have “provided Big Pharma with the perfect vehicle for influencing the WHO.” Current WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, not a medical doctor himself, was previously on the board of two organizations Gates founded and funds. Politico reported that prior to Tedros being selected for the WHO position, Gates was accused of supporting Tedros and using his influence to help him win the nomination. Some delegates feared that BMGF’s money comes from “big business” which could “serve as a Trojan horse for corporate interests to undermine WHO’s role in setting standards and shaping health policies.”

Many outlets report that Bill Gates is the first private individual to keynote WHO’s general assembly of member countries. One delegate remarked, “He is treated like a head of state, not only at the WHO, but also at the G20.” BMGF is compared to “a massive, vertically integrated multinational corporation (MNC), controlling every step in a supply chain that reaches from its Seattle-based boardroom, through various stages of procurement, production, and distribution, to millions of nameless, impoverished ‘end-users’ in the villages of Africa and South Asia.”

Rob Flynn, of PBS NewsHour, is quoted as saying “there are not a heck of a lot of things you could touch in global health these days that would not have some kind of Gates tentacle.” Foreign Affairs says that few policies or standards are announced by the WHO before they have been “casually, unofficially vetted” by BMGF staff. Professor of global public health, Dr David McCoy says that BMGF “operates through an interconnected network of organizations and individuals across academia and the NGO and business sectors” which allows Bill Gates to leverage influence in a kind of “group think.”

“The Gates Foundation has already effectively privatized the international body charged with creating health policy, transforming it into a vehicle for corporate dominance. It has facilitated the dumping of toxic products onto the people of the Global South, and even used the world’s poor as guinea pigs for drug experiments.”

Michele Greenstein and Jeremy Loffredo (The Grayzone)

We’re also asked to consider “the revolving door between the Gates Foundation and Big Pharma.” The Grayzone report names four personnel who were former employees at pharmaceutical companies that now work at BMGF. It is said that the “examples are almost endless.”

Gates writes that “there is simply no alternative” to accelerating the Covid-19 drug approval timeline. Gates wants to save time by conducting trials on animals and humans simultaneously. Biotech company Moderna, backed by both BMGF and Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), conducted human trials for its Covid-19 vaccine without prior animal testing. Dr Peter Hotez says that an experimental mRNA vaccine for a coronavirus is not the vaccine to be doing this with. BMGF granted 100 million dollars to Moderna in exchange for “certain non-exclusive licences.” Moderna is projected to make more than 10 billion dollars from its vaccine next year. It is said that many shareholders dumped their Moderna stock upon hearing the company named a vaccine finalist. Meanwhile, Moderna executives saw their net worth skyrocket during the pandemic.

Pfizer, another BMGF-backed vaccine producer, has already made an estimated 975 million dollars from its Covid-19 vaccine this year, with an expectation of another 19 billion dollars in 2021. Pfizer’s profit margin on the vaccine is estimated at between 60 and 80 percent. Covid-19 vaccines are estimated to draw in over 100 billion dollars in sales. Gates, via BMGF, GAVI and CEPI, is already financing the next-generation Covid-19 vaccines saying that “we still have a long way to go” before things return to normal.

New regulations grant liability immunity to corporations producing coronavirus drugs; the products will be indemnified against lawsuits, even if they produce harmful effects. Drug companies exempted from legal penalties have little incentive to protect people from dangerous side effects. Gates has advocated for legal immunity for drugmakers since at least 2015.

Trump-appointed chief scientist for finding a Covid-19 vaccine, Moncef Slaoui, is a Moderna board member. Slaoui is on the board of directors at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a “public-private partnership” organization that has received more than 359 million dollars from BMGF. Slaoui, employed as a private contractor, can, according to Public Citizen, “maintain an extensive web of conflicting financial interests without the need to divest of, recuse from, or disclose those conflicting interests.” As The Grayzone puts it, “The corporate media likes to paint the Covid-19 response as a tug of war between anti-science blowhards like Donald Trump and ‘champions of science’ like Bill Gates. However, Slaoui’s appointment to co-direct ‘Operation Warp Speed’ indicates that, here, the Trump administration and the Gates Foundation are on the same team.”

In 2015, Gates gave a TED Talk on how a pandemic would be the next crisis humanity faces. Gates has associations with John Hopkins University, Imperial College, SAGE, WHO, Dr Antony Fauci, drugmakers (1, 2), et al. – nearly every party involved in the global response to Covid-19, granting one man outsize, unchallenged influence over humanity’s response despite glaring conflicts of interest.

It is reported that two research groups were crucial in shaping the decision of the U.K. and U.S. governments to implement wide-ranging lockdowns: “Imperial College COVID-19 Research Team, issued a report on March 16th that predicted up to 500,000 deaths in the UK and 2.2 million deaths in the US unless strict government measures were put in place. The second group, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation [IHME] in Bill Gates’ home state of Washington, helped provide data that corroborated the White House’s initial estimates of the virus’ effects, estimates that have been repeatedly downgraded as the situation has progressed.” By 2020, the Gates Foundation had already given 79 million dollars to Imperial College, and in 2017 the Foundation announced a 279 million dollar investment into the IHME.

Many policy measures implemented today emerged out of Event 201, a pandemic exercise conducted in October 2019. The simulation was a joint effort between BMGF, the World Economic Forum (WEF), and some of the institutions and companies mentioned above. In other words, Gates was set to gain tremendous financial and political capital from the current pandemic. It is said that BMGF “clearly has the ability to shape the decisions made by some of the institutions they fund, including when these decisions go against the desires of the masses they claim to be helping.”

(Source: TLAV)

Today, Gates continues to call for self-serving lockdowns, until 2022, despite the widespread collateral damage. You must recognize that Gates calling for mass vaccination, lockdowns and health passports, given his bought influence and funding of all the coronavirus bigshots, represents a serious conflict of interest.

One of the outcomes of Event 201 was a recommendation to stockpile vaccines. Here we have drug companies and their investors recommending the production of a global vaccine repository, stressing that a “collaboration between the WHO and the private sector is necessary.” Legge says that BMGF’s global health president Chris Elias’ suggestion would further increase the influence of for-profit pharmaceutical corporations, and make “WHO dependent on the goodwill of Big Pharma.”

Gates has advocated for military involvement from the likes of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to distribute vaccines. Gates has also urged that low-income countries be the first to receive the Covid-19 vaccine; with NATO involved, this could be weaponized to further a Western military agenda.

The Grayzone summarizes: “While maintaining relationships with government organizations and the profit-driven private sector, the Gates Foundation has become perhaps the most influential player in the global Covid-19 response. So if the foundation’s work has favored Western multinationals at the expense of public health in the past, why should anyone expect a different result this time?”

Associated Press reported South Africans protesting the phase III AstraZeneca clinical trials in Johannesburg. Demonstration organizer Phapano Phasha said, “I’m not against vaccinations, I’m against profiteering.” Phasha was right; we now endure Vaccine Apartheid as trial nations battle to secure stocks after drugmakers capitalized on cost savings and third-world desperation. Likewise, wealthy nations have opposed waiving intellectual property rights that would enable local production. Financing the purchase of vaccines – beyond the limited funds of COVAX Advance Market Commitment – can be achieved with loans from the World Bank, an element of U.S. imperialism. It is said that GAVI will never call out vaccine nationalism because its biggest donors are the most powerful members of their board.

For over 20 years, BMGF’s close relationship with the drug industry has “colored their work” in engineering global health policy for poor countries. It is said, “The foundation appears to see the Global South as both a dumping ground for drugs deemed too unsafe for the developed world and a testing ground for drugs not yet determined to be safe enough for the developed world.”

As Corbett puts it, “In effect, Gates has merely used the wealth from his domination of the software market to leverage himself into a similar position in the world of global health.”

One paper ends saying, “Bill Gates has informed the people of his plans for their future, but the people have yet to be heard from.”

Public Health Transgressions

A 2018 study highlights the lack of accountability of NGOs, focusing on BMGF. It says, “Ultimately, these health campaigns, under the guise of saving lives, have relocated large scale clinical trials of untested or unapproved drugs to developing markets where administering drugs is less regulated and cheaper.”

The BMGF-prescribed diphtheria tetanus pertussis (DTP) vaccine administered in Africa is not administered in any developed nation. The vaccine’s risks outweigh wild pertussis. Mounting evidence links the drugs used in these vaccines to brain damage, seizures and death. Western nations phased it out in the 90s while African nations are being financially-incentivised, by the likes of GAVI, to administer the out-of-date, dangerous DTP vaccine. A Danish study said that more Africans die at the hands of the vaccine than by the diseases it is meant to prevent. Regardless, it is said that “these staggering numbers have not stopped the Gates Foundation from spending millions annually to push the DTP vaccine onto African healthcare systems.”

Likewise, the polio drugs used in the Western world differ dramatically from those administered in the Global South. BMGF has spent more than 1 billion dollars distributing an Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) in African and Asian countries. Since the vaccine contains a live polio virus, people can contract the virus from the vaccine. More children have been paralyzed by the OPV strain than by wild polio. Professor of Microbiology Raul Andino says, “The very tool you are using for polio eradication is causing the problem.” In 2000, the U.S. halted using OPV but BMGF “uses its instruments of influence to ensure governments [in the developing world] continue administering it.” Africa is said to have eradicated wild polio but is now suffering from vaccine-derived strains. Polio outbreaks due to OPV have been reported in the Philippines, Congo, China, Egypt, Haiti, and Madagascar. WHO themselves have said that once the wild virus is gone, countries must stop administering OPV. Likewise, there’s been circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) outbreaks in Chad and Sudan. WHO’s 30-year, 16 billion dollar polio eradication plan failed to meet its deadline; as of 2019, almost four times as many cases exist in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran compared to 2018. Oxford’s Clinical Infectious Diseases Periodical says, “the time is coming when the only cause of polio is likely to be the vaccine used to prevent it.”

Furthermore, the British Medical Journal, in 2012, said that BMGF-fueled vaccination programs in India resulted in increased cases of polio. Doctors in India blame OPV for another disease called non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP) which paralyzed 496,000 children in 17 years. The Indian government dialled back BMGF’s vaccine regimen in 2017. A 25 million dollar, BMGF-backed polio immunization program in Syria left 58 children paralyzed a year later. In 2009, Ethiopia’s government ordered the destruction of 57,000 vials of oral polio vaccine following an outbreak of vaccine-induced polio. The Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, having observed both vaccine-derived polio outbreaks and the massive increase in NPAFP, is quoted as saying, “Perhaps the time is right for such an honourable strategy with regard to polio eradication.” Regardless, OPV remains administered in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, which is said to be “creating windfall profits for pharmaceutical giants who may not have been able to sell their products elsewhere.”

There’s also long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), which is often administered to women without informed consent. The contraceptive Norplant was pulled from the U.S. market in 2002 after 50,000 women filed lawsuits about severe side effects; rebranded as Jadine – and still not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – it is being promoted in Africa by BMGF. Pfizer’s injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera – protested by 70 Indian feminist groups, and whose active ingredient is associated with side effects such as blood clots and breast cancer – was supplied and introduced into the healthcare systems of countries including Uganda, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Bangladesh, and India by BMGF. This earned Pfizer between 14 and 36 billion dollars. Senegal’s government was strong-armed into changing its laws to allow untrained health workers to administer another Pfizer contraceptive, Sayana Press. This drug is said to include side effects such as bone density loss. The FDA requires U.S. women to be informed of this fact but African women are kept in the dark. Like the statement by protestors of Depo-Provera says, “there are risks that the women are not given enough information to make an informed choice of contraceptive method.”

Drug companies avoid high phase III trial costs by conducting these trials in developing nations, facilitated by BMGF. Like The Times Live says, “We are guinea pigs for the drugmakers.” An example often cited is the first malaria vaccine by GSK. Phase III clinical trials took place in seven African countries. GSK’s data showed that females taking part in the non-control group were dying at twice the rate, facing 10 times the risk of meningitis. Yet the WHO, on advice from another BMGF-aligned institution SAGE, still coordinates the administration of the drug to hundreds of thousands of children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. WHO claims consent is implied yet parents aren’t always given enough information to make that decision. The British Medical Journal says that “recipients of the malaria vaccine are not being informed that they are in a study.”

Another example is the clinical trial of GSK and Merck’s Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The pros and cons were not duly communicated to parents of the 23,000 girls in India who took part in the study. McGoey says that most of the vaccines were given to girls in boarding schools for tribal children, side-stepping parental consent. The BMGF-backed Program for Appropriate Health and Technology (PATH), who administered the trial, was taken to court by the Indian Committee on Health and Family Welfare for a violation of human rights and child abuse. India’s parliamentary committee said that the sole aim of the BMGF-funded project was to promote “commercial interests of the HPV vaccine manufacturers, who would have reaped windfall profits if PATH had been successful in getting the HPV vaccine included in the universal immunization program of the Country.” The editor emeritus of the National Medical Journal of India wrote that this was an “obvious case where Indians were being used as guinea pigs.”

The next secion is Corporate Solutions Only.

The Good Billionaire: Bad Company

This is Section D of IWNSPTB XI: The Good Billionaire.

Bill Gates has had run-ins and associations with unscrupulous elements.

Microsoft recently won a 10 billion dollar Pentagon contract. The Pentagon – the U.S. Department of Defense – are the managers of the Forever Wars (1, 2). Despite abundant publicity and influence, Gates remains silent on their war crimes while his company profits off of their actions.

Gates is also known to back corrupt biopharmaceutical companies. One example is Emergent Biosolutions who profited off of anthrax fears in 2001 and subsequent pandemic panics.

Gates has donated to institutions such as Harvard and MIT via convicted pedophile and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Gates’ former chief scientific adviser, Boris Nikolic, was recently named as an alternate executor for Epstein’s will. Gates is also listed as a passenger on Epstein’s private plane.

The next section is Self-appointed Health Tsar.

The Good Billionaire: Buying the Media

This is Section C of IWNSPTB XI: The Good Billionaire.

“He who pays the piper, it is said, calls the tune.”

“So today Gates remains cartoonishly rich, and free to step down from Microsoft’s board on his own terms. Meanwhile, the corporate media happily help to spit-shine his reputation as a generous benefactor of humanity instead of a petty, bullying scumbag.”

Rob Larson

Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) found BMGF pouring at least 250 million dollars into the fourth estate, raising questions on the “ethical issue” of “billionaire philanthropists’ bankrolling the news.” Donations have been made to major media outlets and journalistic institutions: NPR, PBS, ABC, BBC, NBC, The Atlantic, Univision, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, ProPublica, The Texas Tribune, Gannet, the Poynter Institute, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the National Press Foundation, the International Center for Journalists, etc. The Guardian’s entire Global Development section was made possible through a partnership with BMGF. Money given to newsrooms are restricted in what they can be used for viz. content that elevates the agenda of BMGF.

Quoting the Seattle Times, CJR says, “To garner attention for the issues it cares about, the foundation has invested millions in training programs for journalists. It funds research on the most effective ways to craft media messages. Gates-backed think tanks turn out media fact sheets and newspaper opinion pieces. Magazines and scientific journals get Gates money to publish research and articles. Experts coached in Gates-funded programs write columns that appear in media outlets from The New York Times to The Huffington Post, while digital portals blur the line between journalism and spin.”

BMGF has directed significant wealth towards global health news coverage. Allegedly to “perhaps suppress criticism of its more unsavory activities.” Fact-checking platforms such as PolitiFact and USA Today – run by Poynter Institute and Gannet respectively, both of which receive funds from BMGF – actively defend Gates against “conspiracy theories” and “misinformation”. Critics of Gates’ outsize power and ability to dictate “solutions” in everything from public health to agriculture are drowned out by the louder voices of “the many academics, nonprofits, and think tanks that Gates funds.” An indicator of media bias is the fact that Gates should be “viewed as a totem of economic inequality” whereas he is regarded as a “moral authority on poverty.”

BMGF invests millions in “journalism training and in researching effective ways of crafting media narratives.” And these investments have paid off. It is said that “[T]wenty years ago, journalists scrutinized Bill Gates’s initial foray into philanthropy as a vehicle to enrich his software company, or a PR exercise to salvage his battered reputation following Microsoft’s bruising antitrust battle with the Department of Justice. Today, the foundation is most often the subject of soft profiles and glowing editorials describing its good works.”

BMGF is said to be unwilling to engage or respond in any way to journalists that questioned their enormous investments in media, and the conflicts of interest it raises. Organizations that benefit from gracious funding are said to indulge in what is called “solutions journalism,” journalism that overlooks problems and glorifies solutions. BMGF is the largest donor – directing over 6 million dollars – to one such organization: the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN).

Media Freedom Foundation president, Mickey Huff, said that BMGF “exerts influence in a way that is typical for foundations working through PR firms, grants, and endowments of professors.” For example, BMGF hired a PR firm – Emerging Ag for 1.6 million dollars – to manipulate the United Nations on gene drives, a project Gates is heavily invested in. “Edward Bernays would be proud of the achievements of this type of propaganda,” said Huff. Such a level of investment explains both the glowing coverage the foundation receives and lack of scrutiny it is under. Sociology professor Linsey McGoey claims that billionaire motives for giving to the media are “to help legitimate the spurious idea that large corporate actors can rectify the economic harms and economic inequality that their practices have often compounded.”

“I don’t know if the Gates Foundation’s projects work,” says Marc Cooper, assistant professor at the University of Southern California. “And if the Gates Foundation is going to pay for all the news coverage around this, we’re never going to know.” Cooper finds it laughable when media claim Gates money doesn’t influence their coverage. “Every grant comes with at least one string attached,” he says. “Recipients can be reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them. […] It’s an echo chamber.”

(Source: MintPressNews)

The Seattle Times asks, “How can reporting be unbiased when a major player holds the purse strings?”

Alan Macleod says, “It appears that once billionaires have purchased every worldly material good possible, the only things left to buy are power and influence.”

CJR summarizes: “Bill Gates has shown how seamlessly the most controversial industry captain can transform his public image from tech villain to benevolent philanthropist. Insofar as journalists are supposed to scrutinize wealth and power, Gates should probably be one of the most investigated people on earth—not the most admired.”

The next section is Bad Company.

The Good Billionaire: Philantrocapitalism

This is Section B of IWNSPTB XI: The Good Billionaire.

“Charity is a cold grey loveless thing. If a rich man wants to help the poor, he should pay his taxes gladly, not dole out money at a whim.”

Former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee

The Grayzone reports, “Bill Gates has no reason to crave money. This is a common response to claims that Gates’ philanthropy isn’t motivated solely by the kindness of his heart. But despite these frequent characterizations of Gates ‘giving away’ his fortune, his net worth has actually doubled in the last two decades.” Despite being presented as a warm-hearted philanthropist, dedicated to giving away his entire fortune to needy causes, Gates’ fortune has increased forty percent – at least 31 billion dollars – in 3 years.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is the largest private foundation on Earth, reporting over 51 billion dollars in assets at the end of 2019. Dr Vandana Shiva says that “The World Bank and the IMF look like midgets in front of the Gates Foundation, in terms of power and influence.” The Nation found that BMGF’s 50 billion dollar endowment generated 28.5 billion in investment income while only giving away 23.5 billion. Corbett asserts that the “foundation is not structured as a charitable endeavour.”

Using a private, philanthropic foundation to insulate immense wealth, repair tarnished public images and generate hero personas is not new. Nearly a hundred years ago, the U.S. supreme court dissolved John D. Rockefeller’s illegal oil monopoly. Two years later, he formed The Rockefeller Foundation to accomplish just those things: dodge taxes, maintain control over excessive wealth and generate good public relations (PR). Rockefeller knew that to gain the adoration of the public, he had to appear to give them what they want: money. Gates improves upon that model. The Rockefeller and Gates foundations have collaborated numerous times since. William H. Gates II, Bill Gates’ father, names the Rockefellers as sources of inspiration in his autobiography.

A study recently showed how foundations use donor-advised funds (DAF) to keep charitable donations within the donor’s control; they never lose wealth by giving.

Derrick Broze writes, “While some might argue that Bill Gates’ scheme is brilliant – donate your fortune by forming a foundation which can give tax-deductible donations to companies you partly own and reap profits while avoiding taxes – it is allowing him to hide his money in a myriad of ways. It has almost become impossible to track every donation, investment, or other partnership.” Broze, quoting The Nation says, “it is difficult to ignore the occasions where their charitable activities seem to serve mainly private interests, including theirs—supporting the schools their children attend, the companies their foundation partly owns, and the special interest groups that defend wealthy Americans—while generating billions of dollars in tax savings.”

Rob Larson writes, “Billionaire-funded philanthropy is a public-relations scam. But Bill Gates and his foundation are the perfect picture of why this model of billionaire philanthropy is so flawed. Gates’s foundation was originally cooked up as a feel-good gloss to cover up his shredded reputation during Microsoft’s antitrust trial, putting him in the long tradition of obscenely rich people using the occasional generous gift to try justifying their enormous wealth and power.”

Professor McGoey, author of No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy, says, “Philanthropy can and is being used deliberately to divert attention away from different forms of economic exploitation that underpin global inequality today.” Gates’ wealth is called “extraordinarily anti-democratic”; it grants one rich man veto power over decisions and directions of organizations that should be collectively made by the highest representatives of the world’s population.

Alan Macloed says, “If we are to move towards a better society, the philanthropy of the super-wealthy must be scrutinized, as all too often, what appears to be a generous gift is actually a calculated action intended to increase their power, image or influence.”

The next section is Buying the Media.

The Good Billionaire: Classic Rich Guy

This is Section A of IWNSPTB XI: The Good Billionaire.

Bill Gates has a net worth of 122 billion dollars.

Gates is lauded for his genius and generosity. The New York Times recently called him The Most Interesting Man in the World. Upon closer inspection, one will discover that Bill Gates is actually a threat to democracy, an obstacle to sustainable solutions, and cares far more about return on investments than any public good.

(Source: MintPressNews)

There are myriad angles to examine this from; the next few sections are relatively brief and rapid-fire. Bear with me, before instinctively adopting the anti-anti-vaxxer stance and crying conspiracy theory. Neither should we dismiss all considerations of conspiracy by bundling it with the most ridiculous; much like this piece in Bloomberg.

Here are my primary sources, open to interrogation, quoted and paraphrased throughout, with my own emphasis here and there:

Through the power of monopoly, Microsoft established itself as a software empire. This made Gates the richest man in the world. In the past, Gates had a very poor public image, known for dodging questions on and defending his ruthless business practices. Gates was also generally despised in the software community. Yet, the Corbett Report says, “[O]nce reviled for the massive wealth and the monopolistic power […], Gates is now hailed as a visionary who is leveraging that wealth and power for the greater good of humanity.”

(Source: The Corbett Report)

Besides the bought and paid-for spin, other records of Gates’ personality refer to his frequent “abrasive, childish rants” and “childlike temper tantrums”. Gates is regarded as being “not very good at listening,” and is said to hold “many of the patronizing assumptions about developing countries and how best to organize the world” that you would expect from a rich American tech geek. While running Microsoft, he was known to slam his fist on the desk while saying, “We’ve got to crush” any other vendor that dared sell software. Gates attacked the wealth tax proposed by presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Neither won the party’s nomination but Gates joked about having to pay 100 billion dollars in taxes; paying that amount would leave him with 22 billion dollars. Gates golfs with Bill Clinton, dines with Newt Gingrich and hosts Al Gore at Redmond, once bragging: “Of course, I have as much power as the president has.” Rob Larson refers to Gates as “a transparently evasive and condescending ruling-class dick.” Today, the man once associated with “ruthless, predatory monopolistic conduct” has rebranded his name through the power of philanthropy and public relations.

Gates is always on hand to overlook systemic inequality and excuse free-market-induced poverty. Or to lecture the masses on green living and the need to stay indoors while he buys private jet companies. In the United States, Gates’ homeland, 35 million go hungry and over 500 thousand are homeless, while Gates himself owns the most farmland:

As Larson notes, Gates’ new positive image and efforts are “a fig leaf for ruling-class dominance.”

The next section is Philantrocapitalism.

I Will Not Sing Praises to Billionaires

Call to Arms


Humanity is in bad shape. The world is crumbling under an uneven distribution of wealth and power. We must examine behavior and beliefs reinforcing this status quo.

If we pay attention to the crimes of unfettered capitalism, we find that obscenely wealthy people use bought power to shape public life and discourse in favor of their status and pockets. Mass misery is directly proportional to the wealth of self-serving billionaires and the power of profit-hungry corporations. No salvation will come from these entities. Billionaires are not the heroes. They are the villains.

Batho Pele is a Sotho-Tswana phrase meaning “people first” – all people, not just a few filthy rich bastards.

This is the conclusion to I Will Not Sing Praises to Billionaires.

IWNSPTB X: Billionaire Scum

“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up for treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborer’s who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.”

James 5:1-6

Billionaires sit on top of the empire of money. There were 2,825 billionaires in the world in 2019. Billionaires amassed over 1 trillion extra dollars during the current pandemic, with 50 new billionaires arising. “Healthcare billionaires” have gotten 150 billion dollars richer.

Let’s wrap our heads around a billion dollars. 1000000000 United States Dollars is roughly 15303440000,00 South African Rands. If you earned just enough to crack the top 1% of South African earners, it would take you ~26158116 years to earn that amount of money. Jeff Bezos has 187 of those billion dollars. says that the world’s 10 richest billionaires own 801 billion dollars in combined wealth. This is a sum greater than the total goods and services most nations produce on an annual basis. Meanwhile, over 734 million people live below the poverty line. This represents a criminal level of inequality. The report states, “Those with extreme wealth have often accumulated their fortunes on the backs of people around the world who work for poor wages and under dangerous conditions.”

No fair system allows one man to idly make 149,353 dollars (over 2 million rands) a minute. Not while children die of hunger. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFRPI) says that it would cost 14 billion dollars a year to end world hunger. No billionaire bothers because there’s no money in that.

This is an explanation of the situation in the United States, referred to as “homicidal greed”:

The vast majority of the yields of our global economy are being captured by the world’s rich. Society is set up as one large enrichment scheme designed to extract wealth from the 99% and funnel it to the 1%. The point of capitalism is not to make the world a better place – it’s to make a profit.

Parenti says, “There’s only one thing that the ruling circles throughout history have ever wanted – all the wealth, the treasures, and the profitable returns; all the choice lands and forests and game and herds and harvests and mineral deposits and precious metals of the earth; all the productive facilities and gainful inventiveness and technologies; all the control positions of the state and other major institutions; all public supports and subsidies, privileges and immunities; all the protections of the law and none of its constraints; all of the services and comforts and luxuries and advantages of civil society with none of the taxes and none of the costs. Every ruling class in history has wanted only this-all the rewards and none of the burdens.”

The rich regard the poor with contempt, constantly calculating ways to avoid, rob and silence them.

According to Luke Savage, “Billionaires are the grotesque products of an exploitative, immoral economic system.” He goes on to say, “A billion dollars, let alone the over $100 billion amassed by Jeff Bezos, is not a reward proportionate to someone’s social contribution. It’s institutionalized theft, plain and simple.”

Apologists for billionaires defend them on many points.

1 – Billionaires are geniuses, deserving of their position. They won the game

Parenti has a good answer: “If the very rich are naturally so much more capable than the rest of us, why must they be provided with so many artificial privileges under the law, so many bailouts, subsidies and other special considerations – at our expense? Their ‘naturally superior talents’ include unprincipled and illegal subterfuge such as price-fixing, stock manipulation, insider training, fraud, tax evasion, the legal enforcement of unfair competition, ecological spoliation, harmful products and unsafe work conditions. One might expect naturally superior people not to act in such rapacious and venal ways. Differences in talent and capacity as might exist between individuals do not excuse the crimes and injustices that are endemic to the corporate business system.”

Often, when we talk about genius billionaires, we fail to mention the privilege that enabled them. Here’s a snippet from Extreme Wealth is Not Merited:

I understand why people want this to be true. To believe that with enough grit and cunning, they too can ascend the rungs of society. This is why many defend offensive fortunes. Unfortunately, in reality, it is a myth, a delusion sold to keep civilians hopeful within a perverse system.

2 – Billionaires are signs of a free market and vibrant democracy

Re-read United States of Capital and Unfettered Capitalism. Neither paints a picture of freedom or democracy. The United States is home to the most billionaires in the world yet it experiences obscene levels of poverty and inequality.

3 – Billionaires solve problems with charity and innovation

Charity is not a solution to widespread poverty and hunger. It’s dehumanizing to receive charity. The rich use charitable organizations to score good public relations (PR), retain control of their wealth and dodge taxes. No wealthy person has put a dent in their fortune by giving it away. In fact, many use it as a tool to complement their business activities.

“Of course no amount of charities in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for the misconduct in acquiring them.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Johnstone deconstructs the argument of rich men saving the world. Her article reads, “Which means the only answer capitalism has for the current plight of our species is the blind-faith belief that the world is about to be saved, any minute now, by a handful of union-busting tech billionaires who choose every single day not to use their vast fortunes to end world hunger.”

4 – Billionaires are early adopters. When they acquire something new, it eventually trickles down to us, making the world a better place

An argument against this is written by Sam Pizzigati in The World Would Be a Better Place Without the Rich.

Quoting economist Robert Frank, Pizzigati says that the wealthy set the consumption standard which makes the rest of us rush and stretch ourselves unnecessarily thin. We spend more in reaction to people at the top spending more. Yet they have so much more to spend. Whereas many finance newer standards of living by neglecting savings and taking credit. Grand spending by the rich undermines the quality of our everyday transactions. Poorer people are put under pressure to keep up.

In reality, the concentration of wealth has created luxury markets. Retailers focus their attention and innovation on luxury markets, and ordinary people are ultimately never satisfied, being unable to keep up.

Pizzigati asserts, “The awesomely affluent have no net redeeming social value. Their presence coarsens our culture, erodes our economic future, and diminishes our democracy. Any society that winks at the monstrously large fortunes that make some people decidedly more equal than others is asking for trouble.”

According to Billionaires Are a Sign of Economic Failure, “The super-rich use their wealth to pay as little tax as possible, making active use of a secretive global network of tax havens, as revealed by the Panama Papers and other exposes.” It also states, “Billions are not just used to ensure lower taxes. They can also be used to buy impunity from justice, to buy politicians, or to buy a pliant media. The use of ‘dark’ money to influence elections and public policy is a growing problem all over the world.” The conclusion: billionaires undermine social mobility and democracy.

You’ve heard about the bad billionaires: Bernie Madoff was a fraudster, Jeffrey Epstein was a pedophile sex trafficker. At the same time, we’re inundated with puff pieces on how great billionaires are – their genius, their altruism. While almost all of that is paid-for PR, billionaires do not exist in isolation. Phillips says, “They generally know or know of each other – often personally – do business together, hold significant personal wealth, share similar educational and lifestyle backgrounds, and retain common global interests.” Birds of a feather flock together.

To drive home the point that billionaires are bad, I will not look at the avarice of Bezos, the buffoonery of Musk (1, 2) or the odiousness of Trump. Let’s rather take a look at a “good” billionaire.

The next part is The Good Billionaire.

IWNSPTB VIII: Liars and Thieves

Global capitalism is well insulated and defended. Labor and social movements – regarded as “bad for business” – are sabotaged; their candidates precluded from elections. It happened to Jeremy Corbyn (1, 2) and Bernie Sanders, twice. Teaching alternatives to capitalism has effectively been banned in English schools. There isn’t time to get into the violent, systematic dismantling of any nation that considers alternatives to neoliberal capitalism. But count the number of U.S. interventions since World War II:

Ideologically, the capitalist system is supported by well-financed Public Relations and Propaganda (PRP). Philips says, “Corporate media today are highly concentrated and fully international. Their primary goal is the promotion of product sales and pro-capitalist propaganda through psychological control of human desires, emotions, beliefs, fears and values. Corporate media do this by manipulating the feelings and cognitions of human beings worldwide, and by promoting entertainment viewing as a distraction to global inequality.” And again, “The transnational media and PRP industry are highly concentrated and fully global. Their primary goal is the promotion of capital growth through hegemonic psychological control of human desires, emotions, beliefs and values.”

Notably, “six major global media organizations offer a continuing ideological justification for corporate capitalism and diminish or censor information that questions the ongoing concentration of wealth and increasing inequality…the dominant ideological message from corporate media today is that the continued growth of the economy will offer trickle down benefits to all humans and save the planet.”

Corporate media are bankrolled by the ruling class. Johnstone says, “Advertising is a trillion-dollar industry worldwide because it works. And propaganda works much, much more effectively. […] An entire empire depends on keeping Americans too poor to compete politically with the plutocratic class which uses its wealth advantage to control the political/media class, and too propagandized to know that things ought to be different.”

Mainstream media’s primary directives are to turn a profit and serve upper-class interests. The Propaganda Multiplier says, “In that sense, it is logical that our traditional media – which are predominantly financed by advertising or the state – represent the geopolitical interests of the transatlantic alliance, given that both the advertising corporations as well as the states themselves are dependent on the transatlantic economic and security architecture led by the United States.”

Cory Morningstar says that media is a tool of the ruling class.

The control over social media is best demonstrated in the case of Parler.

Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, Ted Turner owns CNN, Rupert Murdoch owns Fox and Michael Bloomberg owns Bloomberg; in a later post, you will see how much Bill Gates pours into the media. (The “MS” in MSNBC stands for Microsoft.) The New York Times is a medium for war propaganda. To secure a reporting job at The New York Times, you need to subscribe to the “mainstream oligarchic imperialist worldview”. The Guardian always requires a second look, going so far as to excuse child labor. I’ll admit to viciously referring to mainstream journalists, relative to independents, as “Empire Cucks” and “Imperial Bootlickers”. Would any billionaire-funded, government-aligned news outlet publish stories in conflict with their funder’s interests? Mainstream narratives suggest that the answer is no.

Corporate media content will show you extremists and call that “The Other Side,” cultivating deep divides in society. They peddle fear and monopolize your attention. They protect wealthy criminals. Read Ronan Farrow’s account of the extent to which the politico-media complex protects sex predators. Mainstream media is an essential element of the empire.

Johnstone says, “The most Orwellian tool of our rulers which does the most damage and affects the most lives is not surveillance, nor police militarization, nor government secrecy, but domestic mass media propaganda. You don’t need the ability to quash public uprisings if you can propagandize people away from rising up at all. And they can. And they do.”

We are kept divided, distracted and hard at work, encouraged to be self-involved; this ensures that the looting and plunder continues uninterrupted overhead.

The next part is Costs.