Billionaire monopolists…

Asked during an interview with Sky News Bill Gates was asked if he thought it “would be helpful” to have COVID vaccine recipes be shared, Gates quickly answered: “No.”


In response to this “No”the following is excerpted from April 29 The.Ink post with Anand Giridharadas in conversation with Megan Tompkins-Stange

MTS: As the former CEO and largest shareholder of Microsoft, you might think that Bill Gates is a capitalist, but that’s not exactly the case. In the classical definition of capitalism, private actors accumulate and exchange assets through the free market, at prices determined by supply and demand. Gates’ version of capitalism would better be called monopolistic. He has consistently sought to distort free markets in order to advance his own corporation’s accumulation of wealth, power, and preeminence.

Microsoft achieved its dominance by using intellectual property laws to prevent its competitors’ products from running on its Windows operating system, creating a proprietary monopoly in the software industry. Gates’ wealth is a direct result of the patents that codified Microsoft’s intellectual property.

As such, it isn’t surprising that one of Gates’ core beliefs is that intellectual property needs to be protected at all costs — and that eliminating patent restrictions for vaccines violates this guiding principle.

Even though Gates sanctifies intellectual property rights, surely he would be willing to override this view in order to protect poor countries from Covid. Indeed, given that his foundation prominently proclaims that “all lives have equal value,” one might expect this — even more so given that Gates is a self-identified utilitarian, someone whose moral values elevate the ends (saving lives) over the means (compromising a principle).

But this is where it gets more complicated. As a philanthropist, Gates is a founding member of a cohort of benefactors who believe that pursuing profit is not incompatible with social good. This philosophy has been on the rise at least since 1970, when Milton Friedman famously argued that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits,” and is now best described as “MarketWorld,” as Anand Giridharadas coined in Winners Take All, or “doing well by doing good.”

MarketWorld marinates prosocial values in market-based flavors, preferring “social impact” to “charity” and “investments” to “grants.” Gates’ alignment with this cohort means that he is far more likely to advocate for patents, even in a crisis like Covid.

Megan Tompkins-Stange teaches public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). She is the author of “Policy Patrons: Philanthropy, Education Reform, and the Politics of Influence.”

Anand Giridharadas from The Ink <>author of Winners Take All

Not to just pick solely on Bill Gates ,two other billionaire monopolists of note are Jeff Bozos of Amazon and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Court Painter took special care to render their images in the best possible light.

The devil’s handiworkers…

Two politicians are among several people charged for attending a large service in Aylmer, Ont., at the Church of God Restoration in defiance of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. MP Derek Sloan and MPP Randy Hillier, who both represent Kingston-area ridings as Independents, are scheduled to appear in Elgin County provincial offences court in June, CBC News has learned. 

The two, who have been vocal about their opposition to COVID-19 public health measures, attended the large Sunday service in the southwestern Ontario town. Sloan, Hillier and eight others were charged after the service. The church, as a corporation, has also been charged with failing to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act. 

If found guilty, Sloan and Hillier could be ordered to pay up to $100,000 or spend up to a year in jail. 

Corporations could face fines up to $10 million. 

Source:CBC News · Posted: Apr 27/21

Portrait debut…

Donald Trump makes his debut in National Portrait Gallery’s presidents exhibition

A painting of former president Donald Trump by Court Painter has been installed in the America’s Presidents exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

When the National Portrait Gallery reopens , visitors will have the first opportunity to see a President Donald Trump portrait by noted and admired political & celebrity portraitist Court Painter.

Court Painter’s dazzling rendering of the former president depicts him seated in the Oval Office behind the Resolute Desk as a riot ensues outside the windows and security personnel exert their presence heroically.

“There’s always a sense of transition when we install a new presidential portrait,” the gallery’s curator of painting and sculpture, said of the exhibit . “We are a museum that reflects art history and biography, and we are able to celebrate the presidents with portraits that are historical documents.”

Court Painter undertook a series of The Donald’s portraits once assured he was a bone fide celebrity by TMZ. This newest portrait of The Donald is now in the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection. The portrait will be on view while The Donald official portrait is being chosen from the Resolute series of flattering portraits completed in the past year by Court Painter on his own nickel.

The museum is not sharing details of that commission choice nor on the one of former first lady Melania Trump, except to say that the process is underway.

Court Painter is an award-winning fine portrait painter whose portfolio includes portraits of political figures and close celebrity friends.His portraits of The Donald have “both artistic and celebrity merit”, a bystander commented.

“I like the composition of the painting,”the bystander continued. “It is an angle we don’t often see. You get a view of the raging mob outside the oval office window and you can almost see the condensation on the windows and feel the sweat of exertion on the crowd’s brow while The Donald remains stoic!”

“We love that Court Painter not only depicts the individual Donald and his authoritarian celebrity presence , but also brings much riotous history, much anger, resentment and overall bad feelings as possible to the painting surface…and that’s just in his face.”

Additional portraits of The Donald are available directly off the rack with attractive discounts.

not just news for geeks…

Why the Liberals Have Become the Most Anti-Internet Government in Canadian History : Michael Geist, April 16/21

CLICK LINK FOR ARTICLE;data=04%7C01%7C%7Cbd95404dad774cbd815208d907d776c2%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637549444246546716%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&amp;sdata=o8DuNLnw45CLTsC1FqwPvtLliZ181nn2GNgBWbZfZIA%3D&amp;reserved=0

The Liberals led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were first elected in 2015 on a platform that emphasized transparency, consultation, and innovation. With promises of entrenching net neutrality, prioritizing innovation, focusing on privacy rather than surveillance, and supporting freedom of expression, the government left little doubt about its preferred policy approach.

Today’s Liberal government is unrecognizable by comparison as it today stands the most anti-Internet government in Canadian history:

  • As it moves to create the Great Canadian Internet Firewall, net neutrality is out and mandated Internet blocking is in.
  • Freedom of expression and due process is out, quick takedowns without independent review and increased liability are in.
  • Innovation and new business models are out, CRTC regulation is in.
  • Privacy reform is out, Internet taxation is in.
  • Prioritizing consumer Internet access and affordability is out, reduced competition through mergers are in.
  • And perhaps most troublingly, consultation and transparency are out, secrecy is in.

The Department of Heritage to date has refused to publicly release in-house documents outlining the bill. 

“We haven’t had a public-wide consultation,” said Minister Guilbeault.


 “If body cameras are necessary to curb police violence, then it’s because police department can’t properly control its officers. If more control measures are necessary, the funding for those measures should come out of the existing police budget, and not from increasing the budget.

If we lived in a world where bad behaviour actually had consequences, this might play out differently. Imagine if every time a cop improperly stopped a black person, the department budget was dinged a million dollars; if every time someone died in police custody, the budget was cut by 25%, and so on. You could bet that then the police brass would figure out how to control their officers.”

Halifax Examiner APRIL 23, 2021 BY TIM BOUSQUET

Budget Day…

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland , the first woman to take on the powerful position, rolled out the Liberal government’s first budget in 2 years.Suffice to say it was about a large sweeping tsunami of spending billions on Canadians.YIPEE!

Freeland in addition to juggling ,tightrope walking, chair balancing and unicycle hijinks also bats cleanup for whatever crisis the government finds itself in and is often called upon as the designated hitter ! (no hockey analogies were available at the time of posting)

In other news: NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity rose from the planet’s dusty red surface into the thin air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.

The demo could lead the way to a fleet of Martian drones in decades to come, providing aerial surveillance views, transporting packages to the thousands of tech millionaires expected to inhabit the planet sooner if not later and also serving as scouts for astronauts and security forces.

a tax is a tax unless wink wink….

Erin O’Toole has committed the Conservative party to putting a carbon levy on fuel, while insisting it can’t be called a tax because the money doesn’t go into government accounts. The climate plan would be implemented without a consumer-based carbon tax and Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax would be repealed, omitting the fact O’Toole would still impose a new $20-per-tonne carbon charge on consumers.

O’Toole claims his own fuel charge — which would stop rising at $50 per tonne — isn’t a carbon tax because the money goes into a personalized savings account that consumers can spend on government-approved, environmentally-friendly purchases. (Oh Erin that sounds like the Nanny State tsk. tsk.)

With this explanation the Conservative base of anti carbon tax supporters breathed a sigh of relief….NOT!

Climate policy experts celebrated the fact that all major political parties now endorse carbon pricing. But they derided the carbon savings account as a bizarre, administratively-complex mechanism concocted for purely political reasons. noting that you get more money to spend if you burn more fossil fuels — the opposite of a low-carbon incentive.

O’Toole will have a tough sell with his party’s base that he’s not implementing a carbon tax. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is already gearing up for a campaign against it, citing this pledge signed during the leadership race: “I, Erin O’Toole promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”

The Post Millennial, a right-wing media outlet  is now filled with headlines opposing the climate plan. “O’Toole’s ‘government-knows-best’ carbon tax scheme is anti-Conservative Party,” says one. “Trudeau Environment Minister calls new Tory climate plan the ‘O’Toole carbon tax,’” says another.

Edited from Ottawa Citizen article by Brian Platt: Apr 17, 2021

The carbon price isn’t just about dollars and cents, it’s a culture war thingy.


Ontario will be “setting up checkpoints” along its borders with Manitoba and Quebec in a bid to limit the spread of the third wave of the coronavirus across the province, Premier Doug Ford announced Friday.

At a news conference, the premier said the province is struggling in its battle “between the variants and vaccines” and that stronger measures were necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its variants of concern.

Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said the changes along the provincial borders would take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 19. Jones said incoming travellers not meeting a list of prescribed exceptions will be turned back.

It was also announced Friday that Ontario will extend an existing stay-at-home order to last six weeks, instead of the planned four — a move a panel of experts had publicly recommended earlier in the day.

The province is also giving police new powers to enforce public health orders, with police having the authority to ask anyone outside their residence to indicate their purpose for leaving home and to provide their address. That includes stopping vehicles.

The new police measures drew immediate condemnation from civil liberties activists

Source: CBC News · Posted: Apr 16, 2021