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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Buffetting the Gates of Humanity? Or Opening the Gates to the Buffet?

The union of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, which places over $70 billion in the hands of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is astounding and should be fascinating to watch over the next decades. It is indeed an interesting time to be alive, as these two Wall Street wizards and warlords have more firepower than practically any other individuals on the planet - and they mean to use it, in an apparently beneficent and beneficial manner.

This mega-merger has some factions up in arms, particularly "pro-lifers," who are howling that the alliance "may spell doom for the families of the developing world" - a remark that shows exactly what power the Buffett-Gates folks wield. Some of the money made by Buffett and Gates, you see, has been used to promote family planning as one plank of a multi-planked platform attempting to better life on Earth. Such a remark, however, appears libelous, as it is well known that the Gateses are extremely conscientious about the Third World and its problems of poverty and mortality. The fact that so much money is in the Gateses' hands can only benefit the poorest segment of the world's population, not hurt it. The same Catholic spokesperson who made that "doom" remark also compared Warren Buffett to the heinous Nazi scientist Josef Mengele, because of the former's family planning activities. Such hyperbole seems completely uncalled for but is typical of the self-righteous.

Indeed, what about the Catholic Church's insidious deeds worldwide for centuries? It is always mystifying how those who mindlessly follow and, therefore, support the structure of the Catholic Church can suppose themselves "holier than thou." It was not all that long ago that Catholic armies and inquisitors were rampaging around the globe, slaughtering at will and with the blessing of the Church's representatives. Past history, you say? Do murderers go free because they claim their crimes are "past history?" Is it only organizations or national leaders that are absolved of such sins? Should the Nazi Party, for example, be forgiven, because its crimes are "past history?" Or Cambodia's Pol Pot? Why does the Catholic Church get let off the hook so easily? Because it is ostensibly a religious institution? So, as long as we invoke religion, can we murder and pillage as we like? What kind of religion is this? Mankind's religion, obviously, as such violent and self-serving behavior "in the name of God" has been rampant around the globe for millennia.

Another so-called pro-lifer ("pro-lifers" tend to favor the death penalty - go figure) makes the following remarks regarding Buffett-Gates: "Some of the wealthiest men in the world descend like avenging angels on the populations of the developing world... They seek to decimate their numbers, to foist upon vulnerable people abortion, sterilization and contraception."

If things go as planned, Warren Buffett's billions will be largely in the hands of Bill and Melinda Gates. If there's evidence that the Gateses are out to destroy humanity, I would like to see it before passing such a harsh judgment on them. Despite all the complaining of the past about Bill Gates, the fact is that his business endeavors have significantly improved the lives of most people I know, including me. I would in all probability not be sitting here typing this blog if it weren't for Bill Gates, and you in all probability would not be reading it.

While we listen to the heated rhetoric from evident hypocrites, the Gateses strike me as very genuine in their desires to improve life in general on planet Earth. Power to them, as they - and we - have our work cut out for us.
Pro-lifers against Buffett-Gates alliance

Warren Buffett's new philanthropic alliance with fellow billionaire Bill Gates won widespread praise this week, but anti-abortion activists did not join in, instead assailing the two donors for their longtime support of Planned Parenthood and international birth-control programs.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to which Buffett has pledged the bulk of his $44-billion fortune, devotes the vast majority of its funding to combating disease and poverty in developing countries. Less than 1 percent has gone to Planned Parenthood over the years.

"'The merger of Gates and Buffett may spell doom for the families of the developing world,' said the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, a Roman Catholic priest who is president of Human Life International.

Referring to Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi death camp doctor, Euteneuer said Buffett 'will be known as the Dr. Mengele of philanthropy unless he repents.'"


Acharya S said...

I'd heard that Gates bought the original DOS from some poor sap for $50K. I only know a fraction of the technicalities. I wasn't attributing all the software or code development to Bill Gates. I'm "merely" addressing his driving passion to put all of this technology before us. The man's worked bloody hard - and he's certainly a brilliant businessman. I don't think in 20 lifetimes I could learn to acquire billions as he has done.

Anonymous said...

Nice new website format! The problem with Gates is that he's obsessed with patent control which is a tool of "the illuminati" (yes that word again). Gate's mad science projects are nothing compared to say India's efforts to relieve Africa of its neocolonial suffering -- but India was in violation of patent law! Smack down!

Actually what's not been covered AT ALL in the media from what I've read at least is the huge "tax avoidance" scam behind all of this. If you believe that government social services (like Fire Trucks) are bad then maybe it's no problem to have the wealthiest continually drain the tax revenues. Not me!

Buffet has some serious fascist type scandals in his business doings though -- more blatant than Gates promotion of "the system." Here's the details on their tax scheme:

Please pass along the below so that word gets out!!

"Once, Blattmachr [CIA-connected 'tax avoidance' lawyer for the super-rich] devised a way that Bill gates, the richest man in America, could reap $200 million in profits on Microsoft stock without paying the $56 million of capital gains taxes that federal law required at the time. The plan was so lucrative that Gates would not have to pay a single dollar in tax and would even be entitled to an income tax deduction of $6 million or so. And that was just the initial plan. The concept could be applied endlessly, allowing Gates to convert billions of dollars in Microsoft stock gains into cash over the years. So long as the Internal Revenue Service did not challenge the deals, then Gates could realize unlimited capital gains without the pain of taxes."

"The trick was in manipulating charitable trusts, a common enough device used by generous people who own an asset, such as stock or a buildling that has appreciated in value. Instead of selling the asset and investing the after-tax proceeds, an individual or a married couple can donate the asset to a charitable trust that they control. The trust sells the asset tax-free and invests the proceeds, giving the donating individual or couple a lifetime income, typically 6 percent per year. When the donors dies, what remains in the trust, typically half its value, goes to charity."

"Blattmachr's plan was to take back not 6 percent annually for life, but 80 percent per year for two years. Gates could have pocketed at least $192 million without paying any tax. Then the trust would fold and a charity would get the remaining sum, less thant $8 million. Under the plan Gates could have converted into cash more than 96 percent of gains on the Microsoft shares he donated, not the 72 percent he was entitled to after federal capital gains taxes. The charity would get less than four cents on each donated dollar. The government would collect nothing."

"The scheme even crated a tax deduction that was enough to reduce Gate's income taxes by about #$2 million."

"Whether Gates took advantage of such a plan is not known for sure because the law makes individual income tax records confidential. What is known is that when Blattmachr made this route available to others, it sold like a treasure map where X marks the tax-free spot. Billions of dollars of assets poured into these short-term charitable trusts and their super-rich owners took many millions of dollars of income tax deductions that further cut into the flow of revenue to the government."


"So facile is Blattmachr's mind that from those 1994 rules he divined a new route to tax-free gains.....known in taxspeak as 'son of accelerated charitable remainder trust.""

pp. 7-8 of "Perfectly Legal: The covert campaign to rig our tax system to benefit the super rich -- and cheat everybody else" by David Cay Johnston, 2003.

Acharya S said...

Thanks for adding sophistication to the dialogue. I know next to nothing about Warren Buffet. (I did hear he was a cousing of Art Bell, but I have no way of verifying that rumor.) I always wonder how someone makes that kind of money. Naturally, throughout history the wealthiest have more often than not been up to shenigans at the expense of others. On the face, these folks still appear to be interested in using whatever gains - ill gotten or otherwise - to help the state of the world. Of course, a case could be made that it is largely because of the behavior of the wealthy in the first place that the planet is such a mess.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry! The Walton family of Ark-ansaaaaahhhh will eventually commit some of its resources on behalf the evangelical movement and the Catholics to ptomote global overpopulation and all its attendant chaos.

Din't forget! They love to spend millions to promote willful liars like the "Swift Boat Veterans"

Acharya S said...

You see, there's the opposite side of it. Do we want filthy rich people like the Waltons (Walmart) - and this family is supposedly the richest in the world - encouraging population growth, rather than family planning?

Hoo boy. I can see it now. Whatever good the Gatses manage to do, the Waltons will undermine it.

Sometimes it seems like it's hopeless.

Anonymous said...

Well Acharya S. I've been doing activism for a long time and reading one scholarly book a day so as not to be naive.

I believe in the truth of resonance -- of the universal truth of basic music principles found not only in all human cultures but throughout the universe.

I believe that Pythagoreans were lied about and that in actuality they taught a matrilineal shamanism from the steppes of West Asia.

I believe that the source of the I-thought is empty awareness as consciousness and that this is just the space between our thoughts.

It requires no beliefs to simply ask "from where does the I-thought arise?" and then to pursue that question logically -- as a philosophical investigation. Literally repeat I-I-I-I but not as a mindless mantra, rather as a philosophical investigation to seek its source.

I believe that this left-brain experiment is based on the Freemasonic secret of the One as an asymmetrical nonlinear resonance of the Golden Ratio -- the Fibonacci Number Series.

But while math can be both left brain and right brain only music transcends the whole mind-body dichotomy and music is also based on math and emotion being integrated.

Music IS emotion. Music does not "represent" emotion.

But Western music is based on a "deep disharmony" and it's hard to escape western music.

Once this secret is known then it's easy to find nonwestern music:

Temiar healing music of Malaysia, Shakuhachi flute music of Japan, Dagomba drum music of Ghana, hand-clapping Berber music, Tuvan throat singing of Mongolia, Gamelan music.

The choices are endless -- as long as they don't use the logarithmic western tuning system that consciously CUTS OFF the empty awareness of the Cosmic Mother.

I go into this more in detail on my blog:

So my hope rests on what Camille Paglia calls "the womb-tomb" of the Cosmic Mother.

Acharya S said...

Boy, I sure do get interesting comments here. I certainly hope others are reading them!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the two of your bloggers on the "charity" scam. Though I have no proof of the extensive details of the Gate's use of charitable trusts or foundations, this is the way of the superrich to maintain control over most of their monetary assets and how the monies is spent. The great Tax-free charitable Foundations are notorious for using their monies toward shaping society and escaping oversight/auditing etc.

If I had the millions or billions these superrich do, I could do a better job helping the poor without taking advantage of the charitable tax scam. In fact, I would find a way to make it a win/win profitable situation for both (feed a man a fish-feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish-feed him for a lifetime). That would require hands on dedication and risk of course...rather than the pursuit of wealth for it's own sake.

It would be extremely rare to see people of this kind of wealth doing this kind of thing without their own self-interest in mind. I am sure there are lesser entrepreneurial wealthy who are doing things in a sincere fashion.

P.S While having very much little to donate, I have never sought the tax rebate for charitable contributions. At the same time, I consider TAXES on income to be illegal (under both US and Canadian Constitutions) and unethical.