In the past 20 years, the Gates Foundation made philanthropic grants worth $2 billion to multibillion-dollar corporations like GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, IBM, and NBC Universal Media. Schwab also found around $250 million in grants given to companies in which the Gates Foundation holds shares or bonds: Merck, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Vodafone, Sanofi, Ericsson, LG, Medtronic, and Teva, to name a few. “A foundation giving a charitable grant to a company that it partly owns — and stands to benefit from financially — would seem like an obvious conflict of interest,” Schwab wrote.
The Gates Foundation refused to answer Schwab’s questions, saying only that “grants are implemented through a mixture of nonprofit and for-profit partners, making it difficult to evaluate exact spending.”
No Such Thing as a Free Gift, a book by University of Essex sociology professor Linsey McGoey, also uncovered huge philanthropic grants made by The Gates Foundation to for-profit companies, including a $19 million donation to a Mastercard affiliate in 2014 to promote the usage of “financial products by poor adults.”
“It’s been a quite unprecedented development, the amount that the Gates Foundation is gifting to corporations,” McGoey wrote. “I find that flabbergasting.”
Even more alarming is the fact that all these grants are tax deductions.
“By Bill and Melinda Gates’s estimations, they have seen an 11 percent tax savings on their $36 billion in charitable donations through 2018, resulting in around $4 billion in avoided taxes,” Schwab wrote. “[But] independent estimates from tax scholars…indicate that multibillionaires see tax savings of at least 40 percent. For Bill Gates, [that] would amount to $14 billion — when you factor in the tax benefits that charity offers to the super rich.”
Despite the multibillion tax trick Schwab’s investigation unearthed, The Bill Gates’s Charity Paradox It’s been mentioned by more than one person. Maybe change to “has been mentioned by few on Twitter, including: Titus Frost, an anonymous self-declared “journalist” and “researcher” with more than 20,000 followers. His tweet on Schwab’s investigation generated nine likes from his followers, the same number generated by another post Frost shared headlined “Pirates Versus Gay Pedo Wizards.” Meanwhile, the #ExposeBillGates hashtag has been retweeted more than 178,000 occasions and accompanied by claims Gates is plotting to block out the sun.
HOW TO ARGUE WITH FOOLS
I’m at a bar talking to a woman. She is well-traveled and has interesting things to say. But when the topic of COVID-19 comes up, she brushes her hand through the air to indicate it’s all nonsense. “I will never take the coronavirus vaccine,” she says. “I don’t need it. I can cure myself. If I have children, I will never let them get vaccinated with anything.”
I ask if she was vaccinated against measles, whooping cough, and polio as a child. She says she was.
“Those vaccines probably saved your life or in the case of polio, your legs,” I tell her. “You benefitted from them but now hate them? And you won’t let your children benefit in the same way?”
“I can cure myself,” she repeats. “Anyone can. We have natural immunity. Look at a tree. If you cut a branch off, it doesn’t go running to the hospital. It secretes sap to heal itself.”
I am tempted to tell her she’s a moron who couldn’t cure a rasher of bacon let alone a virus that has baffled every single scientist on the planet. But I know nothing I say is going to change her mind, so I mumble an excuse about being late for something and take my leave.
“It’s hard to argue with conspiracy theorists because their theories are self-sealing,” says Cook of George Mason University. “Even the absence of evidence for a theory becomes evidence for the theory.”
But other experts say it is possible to argue with conspiracy theorists — and to change their minds.