On Bill Gates

This is a comment I wanted to leave on Slashdot, but I've run out of posts for the day. It is in response to this particular comment.

I find it a bit odd to describe a man as an "unrepentant criminal" and a "supervillain" because he was CEO of a company that was the subject of proceedings for anti-competitive practices.

He illegally acquired billions of dollars and did even more billions of dollars of damage to the industry. You don't think that has a human cost? Let's just get one thing straight, jack, the western lifestyle is hazardous to a lot of things, including lives.

I don't think your sources are quite as damning as you think. The second one is not reporting an investment by Gates at all - the purchase is by the Gates Foundation not the individual.

Sigh. Yes. He invests, and the foundation invests in the same shit. Then it purchases from the same entities. We call this conflict of interest when it's done by a supposedly philanthropic organization; Bill Gates can engage in insider trading with delays of years to throw off any charges of same, because he knows what these organization's largest customer will do years down the road. I should not have to spell this out to you.

That's not the big problem with this though. Even assuming that the Register article is correct and he did personally invest in pharmaceutical companies in 2002, your account remains inherently implausible. We have to believe that Mr Gates - an experienced businessman - could find no better way to make more money than to give away almost $30bn to try to boost the value of less than a billion dollars of pharmaceutical stock.

No, no we don't. There are other possibilities. One question you should ask yourself is why Bush's dog Ashcroft pardoned Microsoft and by extension, Gates.

We have to believe that Warren Buffett is presumably in on the scheme.

No, no we don't. He can be a sucker.

And then we come right back to the big problem again, which is the inherent implausibility of the claim that the richest man in the world would give 40% of his wealth to a charitable foundation in order to make a profit.

No, no he didn't. He put 40% of his ill-gotten wealth into a nonprofit organization that he controls, which means that he doesn't have to pay any taxes on it and yet he can still wield it in ways that permit him to make more money. That's three completely fallacious statements in a row. TIC-TAC-TOE! You lose. Unfortunately, I don't win. We all lose.

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