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Government Education Programming Politics

Think Tanks: How a Bill [Gates Agenda] Becomes a Law 165

theodp writes: The NY Times' Eric Lipton was just awarded a 2015 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting that shed light on how foreign powers buy influence at think tanks. So, it probably bears mentioning that Microsoft's 'two-pronged' National Talent Strategy (PDF) to increase K-12 CS education and the number of H-1B visas — which is on the verge of being codified into laws — was hatched at an influential Microsoft and Gates Foundation-backed think tank mentioned in Lipton's reporting, the Brookings Institution. In 2012, the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings hosted a forum on STEM education and immigration reforms, where fabricating a crisis was discussed as a strategy to succeed with Microsoft's agenda after earlier lobbying attempts by Bill Gates and Microsoft had failed. "So, Brad [Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith]," asked the Brookings Institution's Darrell West at the event, "you're the only [one] who mentioned this topic of making the problem bigger. So, we galvanize action by really producing a crisis, I take it?" "Yeah," Smith replied (video). And, with the help of nonprofit organizations like Code.org and FWD.us that were founded shortly thereafter, a national K-12 CS and tech immigration crisis was indeed created.
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Think Tanks: How a Bill [Gates Agenda] Becomes a Law

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  • with More Money than God.
  • Orwell (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Livius ( 318358 ) on Saturday April 25, 2015 @08:20PM (#49552597)

    Funny how little thinking goes on at think tanks.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday April 25, 2015 @11:07PM (#49553159)
      Lots of thinking goes on at think tanks. It's just not the sort any decent person wants going on. You shouldn't underestimate your enemy. They are well organized, highly motivated and well funded. They're fighting the best kind of war: one where the other side doesn't know there's a war on.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        They're fighting the best kind of war: one where the other side doesn't know there's a war on.

        And even when you try to tell them, they still believe hard work and grit is enough to win.

        I mean conservatives, of course.

        I'm not exactly a conservative myself, but I can't tell you how many times I've found myself defending them simply because I feel someone should try and give some arguments in defense of conservatism, if only for balance.

        And I've tried to make it clear to some conservatives just how out-matched

      • In the end their efforts are self-directed instead of directed to the greater good, thus a lack of at least deep thinking.

      • by Livius ( 318358 )

        Rationalization goes on at think tanks. I suppose that could count as thinking.

    • Schtink tanks think, whatever the person who is funding the Schtink tank thinks, that they should think. You get what you pay for.

      I met a guy in the US from IBM India who was working for their "Global Services" division. There were four of them living in a two bedroom apartment. I ask him out to lunch, but he said that they always cooked at home, because they couldn't afford to go out for lunch.

      Yep, that the way American managers would like to keep us, as well.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      Also funny how people assume I mean only the think tanks they personally disagree with rather than all of them.

    • Not really, me thinks, since those klepto-psycho-greedheads only dwell on money and their greed.

      Given that all those so-called think tanks were founded and financed by the super rich, and whenever they claim one is "liberal" --- like the Brookings Institution (where one finds the Hamilton Project, founded by Robert Rubin, to privatize EVERYTHING), nothing could be further from the truth!

      Then when you consider that former psychos from various bloody dictatorial regimes are employed at these so-called t
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 25, 2015 @08:27PM (#49552623)

    He's giving 90% of his wealth away before he dies[1], feeds the hungry in Africa[2], vaccinates populations at risk who don't have access to vaccines[3][4]. How can you say anything bad about the man? He only wants the best for the next generation of Americans.

    [1] .. to buy products from the very companies he owns which increases their value and dividends
    [2] .. with GMO produce that sterilizes rats after a few generations, gives cows and pigs organ problems, etc.
    [3] .. using live polio virus (unlike what we get here), causing almost 50,000 children to be paralysed leaving the population worse off than before brushing it off as a statistic, part of keeping our society safe from disease.
    [4] .. giving only one half of the vaccine for free, requiring the governments to buy the other half from his company

    • by JonWan ( 456212 ) on Saturday April 25, 2015 @09:14PM (#49552801)

      He's buying a stairway to heaven. It's legacy thing. He isn't going to leave his kids and grand kids broke.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Citations needed.

    • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Saturday April 25, 2015 @10:28PM (#49553053)

      >> He only wants the best for the next generation of Americans.

      Ahh so thats why he's trying to directly engineer mass unemployment of home-grown US engineers, and replace them with a dependency on a 3rd world country where the academic system is a complete sham that is based on widespread cheating and the sale of degrees as standard practice?

      • Remember, Bill wasn't one of those Engineers, having dropped out of Harvard. So was probably snubbed by them early on. This is Pay-Back!!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      He SAYS he is giving away 90% of his wealth. Most of what he has "given" away so far is in his charity - which he controls. Tax free and growing. Much of what he gives away is to promote his own interests like when the Indian province had its education system going Linux till he gave them money to buy Microsoft stuff. His charity has also lobbied in support of patent laws that Microsoft likes and against those that would allow cheaper drugs for places like Africa. When you still control it and use it f
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There isn't an US IT shortage, there is a shortage of US IT that will work for less then they are worth. Companies game H-1Bs and treat them more poorly than they could get away with. If one pushes laws to support this corruption don't be surprised when IT unions form to fight it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ranton ( 36917 )

      There isn't an US IT shortage, there is a shortage of US IT that will work for less then they are worth. Companies game H-1Bs and treat them more poorly than they could get away with. If one pushes laws to support this corruption don't be surprised when IT unions form to fight it.

      People who complain about H-1B visas usually have a misguided view of what the real options are in this debate. They see an option where companies don't use H-1Bs and simply hire more US citizens instead. The reality, however, is that the real options for companies are:

      1. Bring in H-1B visas so corporate IT teams stay in the US
      2. Build corporate IT teams in other countries

      Option #2 is essentially outsourcing, and it is not just some boogeyman intended to scare US workers. It really happens. Entire industrie

      • by garyisabusyguy ( 732330 ) on Saturday April 25, 2015 @11:22PM (#49553219)

        Welcome to business school circa 1998, where 'we'll send it all overseas and $profit$' was taught as a viable business practice.

        You manage to ignore many of the failures of outsourcing, such as language and cultural divides between customers (business and consumer) and the offshore workers, and the tendency for outsourcers to provide their A team at the beginning of the contract, then shifting their B and C teams into place as they attempt o land more contracts

        And, even if you decide that you are going to take the whole kit and kaboodle offshore, that may work for canned existing services that are fully commoditized, but it completely ignores that American tendency to innovate and create new services and companies

        As much as you seem to hate Americans, we are still fucking cool and continue to create what the rest of the world wants to buy

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ranton ( 36917 )

          You manage to ignore many of the failures of outsourcing, such as language and cultural divides between customers ...

          I am not ignoring anything. My post was not a detailed analysis of every pro and con of outsourcing labor and I didn't claim it was. I merely stated that outsourcing exists, and that industries can and do move overseas. Neither of these claims are false.

          There are plenty of complications that still allow massive discrepancies in pay between the developed and developing world, but no complications are impossible to overcome. My father in law travels to China a half dozen times per year to fix these kinds of p

          • Yes, 'American Exceptionalism' is the sort of hubris that let our auto industry fall back on their heels and let their lunch get eaten by Japanese manufacturers
            And, I will even go on to agree that protectionism has had a pretty horrible track record for building aggression between nations and probably helped to lead to the first two world wars

            However, the IT industry in America forms (and will continue to grow as) a significant portion of the middle class. This middle class is expected to educate their youn

        • But it isn't really about progress or innovation or creation, it is about the dismantling of the economy, while extracting as much profit as possible until the sad end. With every job, so goes a piece of the GDP, and now, in dramatic comparison to the 1950s and 1960s, the bulk of the tax base of America derives from payroll taxes, which the super-rich certainly don't pay, i.e., Amerika is so very effed!
    • Actually, If you look at the whole "contractor thing", you'll find that the employers treat contractors and H1-B's like shit. HR is nothing but a rubber stamp for the power-mad "executives" who get off on firing "because they can".

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Saturday April 25, 2015 @09:02PM (#49552735)

    We need a system less easily manipulated by people with money or hordes of mindless cultists.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only way to get that is to fracture the system. You will never ever eliminate the power of money and charismatic personalities. No matter how much money someone has, barring very few people, everyone always wants more. And charisma is just one of those things that you can't account for. Even highly educated people have been taken in by a charismatic person with an agenda. The only way to make the system less easy to manipulate is to fracture the system into smaller more autonomous segments. A strong shi

      • I agree, going to a more state centric system would be less prone to this manipulation.

        The frothing cultists don't like that though. All glory to Cthulhu, apparently.

    • It's called a revolution. Problem is it only changes (somewhat) who has power and influence, and the newly powerful are rarely better than the old. And the 'Golden Rule' (who has the gold makes the rules) sill applies.
    • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Saturday April 25, 2015 @10:25PM (#49553049)

      The problem with that plan is that so many aspects of the way the system is designed give people with money and/or time an advantage that you'd basically have to scrap it.

      For example, we have a bicameral Legislature and an independent Executive chosen via staggered elections. The Legislators are independent actors. That means policy-making tends to the crowd-sourced-cluster-fuck when things are going well. It also means intricate stratagems of getting Rep A to trade horses with Senator B, while bribing Subcommittee Chair C, etc. become possible. And Bill Gates is the guy who has the time/money/employees do engage in such stratagems. The staggered elections mean that the people in power are looking at vastly different electorates, which in turn means that the guy whose worried about being elected in a non-Presidential year has to worry more about older, whiter, more conservative voters who tend to vote every time; whereas the guy whose next up in a Presidential year is going to be much more concerned with younger, browner, leftier voters who are much more likely to only show up once every four years. If you add in our campaign finance system, and large districts (our smallest House District is a half-million people), it just gets worse.

      Compare this to Canada. They have a lot of the same trappings we do like a Senate, but their Senate is toothless. Half the bullshit that allows the wealthy to out-manuever the rest of us is gone because nobody gives two shits what a Senator says. One of their core principles is called "Responsible Government," which means the government is designed so that it's virtually impossible for anything of note to happen without everyone knowing precisely which two to three people to blame if it turns out to be invading-Iraq-level-dumb. See the Commons choose the Executive, the Prime Minister, chooses the Cabinet. If the Commons fail to agree with a PM they will vote against the bill they don't like, forcing a new election, and the next PM will agree with the next Parliament on that particular issue. That means that the only people who can really be blamed for fuck-ups are the PM, the relevant Minister, and possibly (but extremely rarely) somebody else for bullying them. There is very little space in the system for a clever person to game it by clever maneuvers, which means that clever people can't sell access to their clever plans to game the government.

      Don't get me wrong. The wealthy will always have more influence then their numbers indicate because a) they vote, and b) many of the not-wealthy figure "a poor man never gave me a job" and out-source their policy preferences to rich-ass-mother-fuckers. But the system we got amplifies that a huge degree.

      • I offered no plan.

        as to your notion that the parliamentary system is less vulnerable... I've seen no indication of that in fact. To the contrary, I've seen them just as beholden to such interests as anyone.

        • Ever heard of Matty Moroun and the Ambassador Bridge Company?

          They own the biggest border crossing between Detroit and Canada. Since it's about 80, and it was a bit small before NAFTA, there's a significant need for more capacity at that border crossing. They want a second bridge, owned by them, at the same location. Nobody else wants that because they're so crazy the Forbes profile [forbes.com] of Moroun was entitled "the Troll Under the Bridge." He's got political legs because he's got a lot of money, and he's very ski

          • I don't see how any one incident of corruption proves anything. Do you honestly think that it doesn't exist in your system. You think you have no corruption?

            http://www.thestar.com/news/ca... [thestar.com]

            Found that in about 5 seconds of looking.

            • I ain't Canadian. I learned about Matty Moroun because my Mom was one of the people who organized legal challenges to his more interesting plans for years.

              I apologize if I was unclear, but I'm not talking about corruption. Corruption is by definition illegal, what Moroun does is perfectly legal*. He tries to manipulate the political system so that it favors his companies. In the US, with it's intricately designed system of Checks and balances and numerous important political players; he has a lot of room to

              • My point stands that the parliamentary system has corruption as well.

                As to this notion of running things through multiple people... you say that like the US doesn't do that already.

                We have a congress and a senate and the you can't pass a law unless both agree and then the president can veto it.

                Then in the states things often have to go through the state senates and governor's office.

                The system used to have more checks and balances but a lot of our anti corruption systems were stripped out in the name of 'de

                • You're completely missing the point. Again.

                  We run everything through EVERYONE. Literally. Every single fucking politician gets a say on anything that is of any importance. These Iran negotiations? 535 members of Congress have bullied their way in despite the fact that the Constitution is quite clear that the President is the one who runs foreign policy.

                  I interned in Ottawa. One MP spent most of his day at Parliament sleeping in his office because nobody noticed when he was not doing his job.

                  And let me repea

                  • So you're holding up the idea of running things through people in canada as a good thing but saying it is bad when US congressman try to do it in the US?

                    What is more, the constitution is quite clear that treaties are to be ratified by congress. As such, while the president may negotiate on behalf of the American people, the agreements are not binding unless ratified.

                    For example, Bill Clinton wanted to sign the Kyoto Treaty and Congress refused to ratify it. The result was that the agreement was not binding

                    • For awhile I thought you might be a confused American, but you're well into troll territory now. I've been arguing, for several days, that the Canadian system has one ultimate decision maker. The US System has hundreds. Whether these numbers are humans, hyper-intelligent ants, or your mother is irrelevant as the the question of how many of them there are.

                      As for Civics, you really need to graduate to the Seventh Grade. Treaties are binding, even if unratified, during a President's tenure. This is because Tre

                    • As to trolling, I'm not trolling you.

                      As to hyper intelligent ants, I've seen no compelling argument for why the parliamentary system is superior. You've also contradicted yourself in a few places saying it is both good and bad that something is run by more people.

                      As to the binding nature of treaties... without ratification you really don't have much. Lets look at Kyoto again and how could that treaty work without congressional ratification? How are you going to limit emissions for example without passing a

                    • As to trolling, I'm not trolling you.

                      Considering you have yet to present a single argument that a) actually disagrees with my thesis, b) isn't based on a misreading of what I've posted I'm quite skeptical of that.

                      As to hyper intelligent ants, I've seen no compelling argument for why the parliamentary system is superior. You've also contradicted yourself in a few places saying it is both good and bad that something is run by more people.

                      Dude, I'm playing the engineer here. This whole "good" "bad" thing you're doing is partly an artifact of your own sick obsession with proving that our system is great,l and partly due to the fact that when an engineer sees a system is better at thing A then thing B, and people say "I want to maximize A" he will say that system is bett

                    • As to your ironic statement that I am not contradicting you at any point and this is all due to misreading... actually I have on many points and you could only have missed that due to your own misreading.

                      As to the parliamentary system reducing the power of the wealthy, that is asinine since the system was literally designed to protect the interests of English Lords. The system concentrates power in fewer hands than what you see in the American system which you assume means the system is less corruptible. Co

                    • As to your ironic statement that I am not contradicting you at any point and this is all due to misreading... actually I have on many points and you could only have missed that due to your own misreading.

                      As to the parliamentary system reducing the power of the wealthy, that is asinine since the system was literally designed to protect the interests of English Lords. The system concentrates power in fewer hands than what you see in the American system which you assume means the system is less corruptible. Contrary to that point, the more hands the power is distributed amongst the less susceptible to corruption the system becomes.

                      You do realize that the British system has changed in the past 250 years? Like a lot? The Canadian system, never had Rotten Burroughs, wealth-based voting requirements, or a hereditary upper house; which were the features that allowed the Gentry to dominate English politics prior to the reforms of the 1830s and 1910s. Moreover you're bringing up that straw-man "corruption" again. If it's not illegal it is (by definition) not corruption, and I;m arguing that in the US it is simply not illegal for the wealthy

                    • As to reforms in the parliamentary system, if you want to believe the parliamentary system has no means for the elites to manipulate it then you just keep believing that. There is no way that is true. They always have a way. If you don't know what it is that just means you don't know what it is... and frankly the elites tend to like it that way.

                      As to things not being illegal not being corruption, bullshit. Wallstreet for example is a master of legal corruption. Are you saying that if I just keep my corrupti

                    • Dude,

                      I have never said there's no way for elites to manipulate a Parliamentary system. I've said there are fewer ways then in the US. And you have presented no evidence that any method the elites of Canada use to manipulate their system are not present in the US.

                      On theology: you;re still arguing theology. You hasve no examples of how the actual system works in the real world, you just repeat the theories (now raised to theological precepts in what non-Americans call our :"Civic Religion") that the Founders

                    • As to their being fewer ways than in the US, I don't know what. I'd like to talk to an expert on Canadian corruption because corruption is always something that happens in the details. I don't think you're such an expert.

                      I'd have to do research on the topic to feel I had a handle on it.

                      As to my Latin, actually you're just looking at wikipedia and not reading it properly from the wikipedia article you should have read deeper into:
                      "Hence a literal translation is, âthe public thing/affairâ(TM)"

                      The "P

                    • On Canada's version of what you call "corruption," that's never been what I'm talking about. It's your pet strawman. I'm talking about the ease with which the wealthy can manipulate the system legally to gain an advantage on the working class.

                      Sometimes this is widely considered corrupt (ie: campaign donations), but most of the time it's just how it is. If Matty Moroun knows precisely which locally elected official to go to to advance his agenda, then that's not corruption. It's smart politics. In the US he

                    • As to the distinction between legal and ethical corruption, I am referring to ethical corruption which stands indifferent to the law. One can be both legal and unethical.

                      As to strawmen, my unwillingness to take the 180 degrees opposition to your position is not a sign of intellectual dishonesty on my part. My argument is my argument. You can't define my argument. You can define your own and I am able to define mine. You do not get to say "you're not taking the 180 degree opposition to my position so you're

                    • Your insistence on talking about corruption is irrelevant to my argument. It's like bringing up prostitution in a discussion of excessive campaign spending. I'm not talking about the things people do that are illegal (and almost everything you find online will be about somebody being charged for a crime).

                      I'm talking about maneuvers that can be done behind closed doors, perfectly legally, with no exposure ion the press whatsoever because they're routine. Those tend to provide advantages to the wealthy becaus

                    • I'm not trying to get you to take a 180 degree position. I'm trying to get you to explore the idea. Right now your argument that the US is not better then Canada consists of a) a point you freely acknowledge has nothing to do with my claim to the contrary, and b) you don't believe me because you've done no research.

                      BTW, if you were actually interested in this topic you'd know that one area a PM has less power then a President is in debate. In Canada every day, for an hour, the PM gets peppered with question

      • The problem with that plan is that so many aspects of the way the system is designed give people with money and/or time an advantage that you'd basically have to scrap it.

        This is a problem?

        • The problem with that plan is that so many aspects of the way the system is designed give people with money and/or time an advantage that you'd basically have to scrap it.

          This is a problem?

          Well, it does typically take more than a strongly worded letter. Come to think of it, last time we sent one of those to our king his reaction was much less than accommodating to our requests.

    • our Constitution was written to keep these guys in power. That's why we have a senate & house instead of a parliament. But good luck changing that. Lots of people will agree with you until you suggest scraping the Constitution. They've had it pounded into them while they were young and defenseless that it's a sacred document and if only we just followed it none of this would happen. Nobody questions whether the deck was stacked from the get go...
      • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

        No, the Constitution was written to prevent these people gaining power, by giving the Federal government so little power that there was no point trying to buy them.

        Sadly, the 'Progressives' came along demanding that government must be given more and more power, and it's been downhill ever since.

        • by meglon ( 1001833 )
          I think you need to go back and learn a little history, instead of relying on the spoon-fed-from-a-fucking-right-wing-insurectionst bullshit you've apparently been living on. The US constitution was designed to empower the federal government because the whole "weak fed, strong states" position proved to be a complete fucking disaster in less than a decade with the confederacy... and the founding father knew that because they lived through it. Fucking idiots now who think that the "weak fed, strong states"
      • by DaHat ( 247651 )

        Actually our constitution was written to give both the people and state governments a say in how the national government was running things (making bribery a lot harder)... alas the 17th amendment threw much of that out the window, largely removing the need for a Senate.

        More so the framers were also quite clear as to the importance of rotation in & out of office, the idea of a career politician was apocryphal to them, so much so that they didn't end up writing term limits (of any kind) in as they though

        • If you think that the framers of the constitution believed that politicians had virtue, you're not understanding them or their historical context. Politicians back then were even more thoroughly corrupt than anything on this part of the planet today, and the constitution attempts to minimize the damage with checks and balances. Some of the framers wanted term limits as well, but it's debatable whether term limits produce more virtue.

          Also, ending slavery was clearly not an accomplishment of the constitution

    • You need a system where you know who to blame for problems. Try eliminating the presidential elections and just have the Legislature choose the president instead. That means his (her) party has 2 of the three, meaning responsible for everything that happens. Also a Senators vote should be weighted by the number of voters in his/her riding, so small states can't hold the country hostage.
      • I don't think the solution is giving the people less power over their government or empowering career politicians with more power.

      • If you're going to make senate representation proportional, what's the point of the senate? Just eliminate it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    FUD.us.

    These are similar in style and lack of ethics or engineering rigor to the manufactured "compatibility" that got an ISO standard published despite the shrieking of every sensible, competent, non-Microsoft funded voter at the conference. Numerous attendees and members of the IFC committees resigned in protest, and even Microsoft is incapable of following the actual spec. The result is that Microsoft continues to violate the spec they sponsored even in their own software, but bureaucrat without technica

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If this is a real demand and supply problem. If it is a real damand problem, just make it more expensive to hiring foreign workers. For example, the companies who claims that they can't find Americans for the job should pay a special tax like say $50,000 every year to hiring each foreign worker. This will go a long way to address America deficit problems.

  • There are plenty of qualified American engineers in all fields. The public has been lied to about this, but doesn't care because there is plenty of entertainment to distract us. Gates may not be a different man from the early days of Microsoft when he was quite a cutthroat. He may be continuing an agenda that has been in play for decades. I don't know the man. I know he has no qualms about lying with a smile, as he did to Congress about H-1B wages almost a decade ago. He is still out for corporate interests
  • So the link in the summary: https://farm4.staticflickr.com... [staticflickr.com] has a line that says "Jobs-students gap = $500b over 10 years". What exactly do they mean by this? That the increased wages over 10 years will cost them $500b unless they find a way to suppress them? Or are they claiming it is some sort of lost productivity cost?

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