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Bill Gates Interview on Trevor Noah’s “The Daily Show”: A Gates Foundation Public Relations Coup at Donald Trump’s Expense. So What? They’re on the same team.

April 4, 2020

Coronavirus Self-Isolation New Orleans’ style. Early March, during the Coronavirus pandemic

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For all that, in the end, the differences between Bill Gates and Donald Trump are essentially those of style, not content. OK, one is smoother than the other; no doubt Trump is “rougher around the edges.” They both in their different ways are working for the privatization of healthcare, not just in the United States but globally, and to undermine government administrated public healthcare research and delivery systems. Their deep opposition to government administrated healthcare binds them closely together. As Trump’s ineffectiveness – and world wide embarrassment for the United States grows, the powers that be carefully, but systematically, cart out Bill Gates to make up for lost ideological ground. They are not ideological opponents in the end but partners. Beyond the personal element in which both are, in their different ways intensely competitive, in the broader sense, they are on the same team..

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Trevor Noah plays tennis with Bill Gates. Maybe that’s why Noah failed to ask Gates any tough questions. 

I expect that the video of The Daily Show host , Trevor Noah, interviewing Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, – and depending on the year either the richest or second richest person in the world – will go viral, if it hasn’t already. People should study it – both for what it says and I would suggest for what it means (to be elaborated below).

Many friends, including some who read this blog regularly look to Bill Gates and his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in positive manner – to put it mildly. I am not with you on this – as mentioned in a recent blog entry – but let’s not quibble about this as of yet. We’ve (we = Humanity) have a pandemic to deal with whether we’re in Denver or Dakar, New Orleans nor Nigeria. Still, in the end we have to deal with two crises – the immediate short term crisis of how to neutralize this pandemic.

That’s obvious enough all. But then there is the longer term structural crisis (which I will get to), that is less apparent.

Let’s put to rest that it’s bogus, a fraud, or that, it’s just another flu. The bodies piling up in the streets and morgues of northern Italy, Iran and now NYC, speed with which, even considering all the statistical inaccuracies that the Coronavirus is spreading worldwide, are ample evidence that this is a savage global pandemic that before it’s finished will reap a deadly harvest, even more so than it has done already. Given the seriousness of this pandemic. does it matter which institutions comes up with a COVID-19 vaccine, be it a government (as long as it’s not Cuba!) or private foundation.

Too much is at stake, right? Why quibble?

Well, I’m not quibbling but the rich and powerful the world over certainly are and with each other, because there are potentially big bucks at stake in the testing and vaccinating 7,000,000 humans the world round. And not to be unkind but, maybe, maybe if a company – or a Foundation – or a government can get a patent (and a monopoly) on the cure – it could create a windfall in profits that would make the profits that resulting in the patenting of the Microsoft operating system look like chump change.

But oh, that would suggest that I’m being cynical once again or that as one (dear) friend described me of late as “disputatious”. Have been called worse things. Before getting into the more critical remarks concerning Gates’ philanthropy – or lack there of in this case first though let’s look at the interview itself: Trevor Noah of the Daily Show interviewing his sometime-tennis partner, Bill Gates.

Very interesting that in one of his first major commentaries on the Coronavirus and how to combat it, Bill Gates did not call a press conference that would be viewed as in competition with the President, but instead appeared on the Daily Show, hugely popular (and deservedly so) especially among the under forty set. In not calling a press conference – and being “invited” to appear with Noah, Gates preferred to enter into the discussion in a way that would not antagonize Donald Trump. Gates is also well aware that after this interview his phone will be ringing off the hook from the mainstream media worldwide.

It was a clever thing to do on Gates’ part.

For starters, the contrast between Donald Trump’s bombast, his obvious ignorance of both the Coronavirus and how to deal with it with Gates’s cool, seeming informed demeanor couldn’t be greater. Thank God, many thing for Bill Gates who helps pull the USA out of the hole that Donald Trump and his entourage (minus Dr. Fauci) have gotten us into, many think both publicly and privately. Trump is his usual self: out of control, an ignoramus, megalomaniac, attacking the press, more concerned with the stock market and which Democratic governor he can undermine, than the common good.

The contrast that Bill Gates provides with Donald Trump couldn’t be greater. If the President is floundering from one day to the next, Bill Gates, with no more medical training to my knowledge than Trump, comes off grounded, knowledgeable, with a plan not just for the country but for the world. Gates’ oozes concern, faith in modern organization and technology (we’ll come up with a vaccine). Again in contrast to Trump who pooh-poohed the pandemic until it was too late, as his now famous April 3, 2015 TED talk suggests, Gates’ has been warning the country and the world of the danger of a Coronavirus-like pandemic could reap havoc on humanity. At the same time he gives a far more accurate outline of what lies ahead and how to minimize it.

Gates’ tone is calm – presidential actually, in a way that Trump’s appearances on the subject are not. While he doesn’t underestimate the virus’ seriousness, he has that “cautiously optimistic” sense that Americans seem to fall for every time – not too radical, but with a “faith” that there is a plan to limit the damage and a technological fix “in the making” – a vaccine.

From the point of view of public relations, his public image, no doubt Gates wins the unspoken contest of winning hearts and minds over Donald Trump hands down. And what’s more, I mean, in the public eye, how much more generous can a multi-billionaire get? He’s not like Michael Bloomberg, flexing his financial muscle to by throwing half a billion dollars (about 1/200th of his wealth) into roadblocking Bernie Sanders’ from winning the Democratic Party nomination, is he?

For all that, in the end, the differences between Bill Gates and Donald Trump are essentially those of style, not content. OK, one is smoother than the other; no doubt Trump is “rougher around the edges.” They both in their different ways are working for the privatization of healthcare, not just in the United States but globally, and to undermine government administrated healthcare research and delivery systems. Their deep opposition to government administrated healthcare binds them closely together. Trump is the more vulgar ideologue of the two, Gates plays a far more sophisticated, dangerous game.

The Gates Foundation and this Pandemic: The Privatization of Global Healthcare

The deeper issue at hand – might not seem important to some of you – who will control healthcare worldwide in the future: will it be public institutions, national healthcare systems and state funded research institutions and do so for the public good, or private entities in control of which the Bill and Melinda Gates are the primary and most potent example worldwide.

Why does it matter? 

It’s the difference between healthcare democratized for the many without cost or quality healthcare for a hefty price that only a sliver of humanity can afford or benefit from. It is the difference between healthcare in a socialist system or one in a capitalist one, between the way that China, after an admittedly slow start has rallied to limit the Coronavirus damage, how Cuba, little Cuba suffering from 62 years of U.S. sanctions has, it appears, come up with Coronavirus antidotes and the United States has not. Not even all Bill Gates’ smooth talk can undo the disaster that is privatized healthcare in the United States

Will the privatization mania continue on its merry way and so weaken public sector health care as to marginalize it? Bill Gates’ control of medical information, already extensive through the work of the Gates Foundation, suggests that he is very much a player here. Or with the model of publicly administered and researched healthcare a la China – and not just China – but France, Germany, Tunisia, Cuba, South Korea, Singapore as well emerge from this crisis as the more effective global model?

That is what this little not-so-hidden personality tiff between Trump and Gates is about, although Gates has an easy opponent in Trump.  Trump makes the public sector look terrible, not just image-wise but in reality. Bernie Sanders’ calls for Medicare for all – essentially nationalizing healthcare in the USA – aside, the current public, state response of Trump is a complete mess; the private corporate response of Bill Gates looks more convincing – at least given the way it is presented here. Actually they are not even playing different games but “the same game.” It’s just that Bill Gates plays it much better. Trump is the more vulgar ideologue of the two, Gates plays a far more sophisticated, dangerous game. 

For all that, in the end, the differences between Bill Gates and Donald Trump are essentially those of style, not content. OK, one is smoother than the other; no doubt Trump is “rougher around the edges.” They both in their different ways are working for the privatization of healthcare, not just in the United States but globally, and to undermine government administrated public healthcare research and delivery systems. Their deep opposition to government administrated healthcare binds them closely together. As Trump’s ineffectiveness – and world wide embarrassment for the United States grows, the powers that be carefully, but systematically, cart out Bill Gates to make up for lost ideological ground. They are not ideological opponents in the end but partners. Beyond the personal element in which both are, in their different ways intensely competitive, in the broader sense, they are on the same team..

For a more accurate understanding of the pitfalls of privatized , corporate/foundation controlled health care, just take a peek at the Trump Administration’s response to this pandemic as it spirals out of control. Bill Gates might present a more polished media image than Trump – not difficult really, is it? – but actually their goal is the same the increasing privatization of healthcare both in the US and worldwide. Gates is using the pandemic a la Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” to increase his growing control on global healthcare both for reasons of increased profit and greater power.

Sad state of affairs.

After remind his audience on a 2 1/2 hour segment for “The Grayzone” that “Bill Gates has been creating a massive privatized health infrastructure to such a degree that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has become one of the main donor to the World Health Organization – actually the second largest donor” Ben Norton continues:

This private billionaire capitalist, this man who is more powerful than entire nations on earth – has created this massive (health) infrastructure that he controls. He used that, of course, to create business opportunities for his companies and those of his friends. … Think about about how much money a company could make if they have the monopoly on the vaccine or some other kind of antidote medicine to treat the Coronavirus?…If you can create a vaccine – the only one that can cure a particular pandemic and then sell it for $50/$100 a pop!

For those listening carefully to Trevor Noah’s Bill Gates commentary, it’s all there…well minus a few sentences or two. Bill Gates is setting up factories to outrace his competitors to produce a vaccine for Coronavirus that he will, under one name or another patent and then require 7 billion people on earth to get vaccinated with it. I don’t know about you, but the prospect of this is not something I’m particularly excited about.

7 billion vaccinations at $50, $100 a pop if Gates can get a monopoly on its (Coronavirus) distribution as he is attempt to do… Not bad.

Of course maybe the Cubans will beat Bill Gates to the punch? Maybe the world is more impressed – and for good reason – with the way that China dealt with this crisis than how the U.S. is floundering around, still lunging hither and yon for an exit strategy?

 

 

 

 

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