Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Columbia University's Public Health School and NYC's `Corona-Gates' Scandal: Part 2

Columbia University Public Health School: Spent 2009-2011 working for `Contagion' filmmakers
Columbia University Public Health School’s Hollywood Connection Revisited

One reason the Center for Infection and Immunity of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health may have neglected to spend enough of its time between 2009 and 2011 focused on preparing New York City’s public health system to respond more effectively to the spread of expected 21st-century viruses like COVID-19 is that the Center for Infection and Immunity’s director, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology W. Ian Lipkin (whose lab was then on the 18th floor of the Rosenfield Building at 722 West 168th Street), apparently also worked during those years as a scientific consultant for the producers of the Hollywood movie Contagion-- which cost $60 million to make, but eventually grossed $135.5 million after the film was released in September 2011.

According to an Aug. 27, 2011 Columbia Mailman School of Public Health website article, Hollywood movie director Steven Soderbergh and Contagion screenwriter Scott Z. Burns “sought out” Columbia Professor Lipkin “to tap his scientific expertise” for use in their commercially-oriented Hollywood movie project; and “after early conversations about the movie concept, Lipkin signed on as technical adviser to Contagion in March, 2009 and played an active role throughout production,” suggesting “the movie’s plot might be triggered by an outbreak of a virus similar to Nipah, a deadly virus that has, on occasion, migrated from animals to people.”

The same Aug. 27, 2011 article also noted:

“Dr. Lipkin also coached Contagion actors on the practices and process of scientific research. Kate Winslet and Jennifer Ehle visited the Center for Infection and Immunity to learn the mechanics of being a bench scientist, working with the lab’s equipment to do technical procedures. And Elliott Gould, who plays a research scientist named `Ian,’ talked to Dr. Lipkin about the intellectual process of making a scientific breakthrough. Suggesting to the actor how to look through a microscope and reflect on what it reveals, `I told Elliott it’s important that you get this right, because you are playing me,’ Dr. Lipkin recalls.

“The laboratory at the Center for Infection and Immunity, where Dr. Lipkin and his team of 65 conduct their research, also has an invisible role in the movie….Contagion’s production crew traveled to the lab to record centrifuges whirring, liquid nitrogen hissing, and even the squeaky noise of opening animal cage doors for the film’s soundtrack.”

In a Sept. 10, 2011 interview with Wired magazine, Columbia Professor of Epidemiology Lipkin also described his School of Public Health department’s role in helping to make the Hollywood movie in the following way:

“Actors met with people whose work they represented in laboratories and the field. Where feasible we used bona fide equipment in lab scenes. My colleagues and I were on set for critical scenes to address questions from Soderbergh, actors and other artists, or to help with dialogue or makeup on the fly….”

Then, on the eve of Contagion’s film premiere in late September 2011, Columbia School of Public Health Professor of Epidemiology Lipkin announced that a tax-exempt $500,000 endowment--named after the Hollywood director and screenwriter with whom he and his Center for Infection and Immunity had collaborated with in making the commercially-oriented Contagion movie--the “Scott Z. Burns and Steven Soderbergh Fellowship in Emerging Infectious Diseases,” was being set-up; to purportedly “support postdoctoral research in global infectious diseases at the center for Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School of Public Health.”

But neither the research work nor the work for the Hollywood’s Contagion filmmakers that the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia’s School of Public Health did between 2009 and 2011 apparently did much to prevent the deaths of the over 21,000 New York City residents, many with underlying health conditions or local elderly nursing home residents, who are estimated to have lost their lives since COVID-19 reached the Big Apple in 2020—although Columbia’s Center for Infection and Immunity claims to be “establishing and implementing programs for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of acute outbreaks of infectious disease.” (end of part 2)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Columbia University's Public Health School and NYC's `Corona-Gates' Scandal: Part 1

Columbia University's Public Health School at 722 W. 168th St. in Manhattan
“…What is this medical Columbia all about? It is a medical teaching, research, and service complex concentrated in the Washington Heights-Harlem-Upper West Side area in Manhattan…It is one of the richest medical centers in the world…The medical center has vast real estate holdings in the Washington Heights area…When the School of Public Health’s reputation began to skid in the early 1960s, it was commented that much of the faculty was doing consulting work or was active somewhere else in the nation or world…and was not spending the time doing…service…in the immediate environs…”
--from a 1970 report of the Health Policy Advisory Center, titled The American Health Empire: Power, Profits and Politics

“Columbia University's Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health has been awarded $50 million from Bill and Melinda Gates…”
--from a May 19, 1999 Columbia University Record website article, headlined “GATES FOUNDATION GIVES $50 MILLION TO PUBLIC HEALTH “

Did Columbia’s School of Public Health Fail To Protect NYC’s Public Health?

One reason over 21,000 New York City residents, many with underlying health conditions or living in local nursing homes, are estimated to have died from COVID-19 in 2020 is that New York City’s public health system in the 21st-century was apparently unprepared to either prevent the virus from spreading rapidly or to provide adequate medical care and effective treatment medication for many New Yorkers who contracted the virus.

Yet according to a Sept. 4, 1998 Columbia University Record article, titled “Mailman Foundation Gives $33 Million to Public Health,” then-Columbia University President George Rupp “said that this landmark gift will help the School of Public Health continue to play a leadership role in influencing and defining health care well into the next century;” and the then-Columbia University president was also quoted as claiming that “`Over the years, the School has made many important contributions to our nation's health and is widely considered one of the country's leading schools of public health.’”

In addition, the same 1998 Columbia University Record article quoted Columbia’s then-vice president for the health sciences and dean of the faculty of medicine, Herbert Pardes, as also claiming that “`the School of Public Health is taking the lead in the development of a Medical Center-wide program of research on quality of care, use of technological innovation, cost effectiveness studies and many other important health services research questions of concern to the health and well-being of the American people.’”

But if tax-exempt Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health was purportedly developing since 1998, at its 722 West 168th Street location in Manhattan, “a Medical Center-wide program of research on quality of care” and “many other important health services research questions of concern to the health and well-being of the American people,” why did it apparently fail to prepare New York City’s public health system in the 21st-century to more adequately prevent COVID-19 from spreading so rapidly in 2020? And why did Columbia’s School of Public Health apparently fail to create and provide more effective treatment medication for the thousands of New Yorkers with underlying health conditions or living in nursing homes, who are estimated to have died after becoming infected during the last few months? (end of part 1)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

`Hug Me Through The Night' folk song lyrics

A folk love song from the 1980's about expressing love feelings at home within a society that enslaves working-class people

There's nothing more to say, my friend,
There's nothing more to prove
There's nothing more to fear, my friend,
There's no need more to move;
There's love that flows from deep inside
Expressed in many ways:
So rest with me and live your dreams
And hug me through the night.

There's nothing more to seek, my friend,
There's nothing to possess
There's nothing more to keep, my friend,
There's no need more to test;
There's love that seeks to show itself
Revealed in many ways:
So rest with me and live your dreams
And hug me through the night.

There's nothing more to ask, my friend,
There's nothing more to know
There's nothing to protect, my friend,
There's no need more to show;
There's love that trusts quite easily
And kisses silently:
So rest with me and live your dreams
And hug me through the night.

There's slavery out there, my friend
There's prison and poverty
There's ignorance on top, my friend,
There's pigs and lies and greed;
There's love that's locked in chains by hate
And can't escape it seems:
So rest with me and live your dreams
And hug me through the night.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Did Multi-Billionaire Democratic Party Funder Bloomberg's Media Firm and Foundation Increase Wealth When Bloomberg Was NYC Mayor?

In his 2017 book, The Givers: Wealth, Power and Philanthropy, Inside Philanthropy media site editor David Callahan described Democratic Party Funder Michael Bloomberg's life after the multi-billionaire (who grew up in Massachusetts) ended his three terms as a "mayor" of New York City, in the following way:

"Michael Bloomberg prepared to step down as mayor of New York City after 12 years on the job...Bloomberg settled into his post-mayoral life...Bloomberg soon plunged back management of company, Bloomberg L.P....Bloomberg lived extravagantly...owning a private jet and some 13 properties around the world by 2013--which included estates in London, Bermuda, the Hamptons, and Westchester County...

"...Bloomberg...ended up owning 88 percent of a company that now has 19,000 employees and $9 billion in annual revenue. During his years as mayor, the value of the company had grown steadily. Bloomberg was worth just under $5 billion as he took office in 2002. By the time he left, that figure had soared to $33 billion. Within 2 years of leaving City Hall, his wealth had climbed higher still, to over $40 billion."

The same book also recalled how U.S. Multi-Billionaire Oligarch Bloomberg apparently used his "charitable" foundation to gain political power in New York City, to retain political power in New York City during his years as "mayor" and to continue to influence U.S. political decision-making after the Plutocrat from Massachusetts was no longer New York City's "mayor:"

"Bloomberg...started giving more once at City Hall...He gave many millions to nonprofit groups around the city--giving that some saw as a naked effort to co-opt critics and bolster his power...Never before had a major public official in the United States so adroitly used philanthropy to advance his agenda--just as Bloomberg set a new record for spending his own money to get elected in the first place.

"Bloomberg...quietly built up...his philanthropy during his years in government. He bought a $45 million...mansion on 78th and Madison in 2006 to house his foundation, and in 2010, he appointed his longtime aide Patricia Harris as CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies, a job she took on while still working at City Hall...You may have imagined that Michael Bloomberg's run as a power player would end when he stepped down as mayor of New York. Of course, nothing of the kind was true. He simply pivoted to pull other levers of influence. Bloomberg...used his great wealth to buy his way into office...

"...Not long before he was elected mayor of New York in 2001, Michael Bloomberg ran into his old friend Vartan Gregorian on the street in New York. Gregorian led the Carnegie Corporation...Bloomberg...soon sent over a very large check to Carnegie, which the foundation was free to use as it saw fit. More big checks followed after Bloomberg took office, arriving each December...Carnegie spread the hundreds of nonprofits around the city, particularly arts and cultural groups. Ultimately, by 2010 more than $200 million would flow from Bloomberg...While the grants were made by Carnegie,...Bloomberg stayed anonymous...The mayor had quietly become one of the largest...funders of nonprofits in the city...

"...The New York Times reported that when Bloomberg was pushing the City Council to revise the city's term limits law, to allow him to run for a third term as mayor, his `aides asked several groups that had received Carnegie grants to lobby for the change publicly'...The change in the law was ultimately approved, allowing Bloomberg to run for a third term in 2009...Bloomberg eked out a narrow victory...He spent $103 million on his final race for office, or about $183 per vote.

"The following year, Bloomberg pulled the plug on the Carnegie grants program for city nonprofits..."

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Did U.S. Multi-Billionaire Oligarch Zuckerberg Use Chan Zuckerberg Initiative To Avoid Paying Fair Share Of Taxes?

Like U.S. Multi-Billionaire Oligarch Bill Gates, the U.S. Multi-Billionaire Oligarch Mark Zuckerberg apparently has avoided paying a fair share of local, state and federal taxes in the USA by setting up a "charitable" organization. As Inside Philanthropy media site editor David Callahan noted in his 2017 The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy In A New Gilded Age book:

"On December 1, 2015, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan pledged to use 99 percent of their shares in Facebook to make the world a better place...These shares were worth about $45 billion...

"...ProPublica's Jesse Eisenberg...blasted the couple's choice to create a limited liability corporation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to handle their good works. That structure would allow them to avoid taxes, as well as oversight, said Eisenberg, since LLCs don't have to disclose their activities...Eisenberg wrote that `we are turning into a society of oligarchs. And I am welcome the new Silicon Valley overlords.'

"Other critics echoed these points...with charges that Zuckerberg and Chan's `non-charity charity,' as The Atlantic dubbed it, amounted to tax avoidance and an undemocratic power grab...

"...Many funders, particularly the newer givers arriving on the scene with huge fortunes, don't reveal much about their giving, and nonprofit laws allow rivers of money to sluice through society in opaque ways...Philanthropists often operate subtly, working behind the scenes to set agendas and shape decisions...Their fingerprints can be hard to see...These givers are becoming more powerful while ordinary Americans struggle to get their voices heard at all..."

The same book also observed:

"Many techies like to think they are on a grand mission to improve life on earth...But the moral blind spots...can be enormous. For instance, Facebook and Google...have both engaged in elaborate tax avoidance schemes using offshore subsidiaries..."

Monday, May 11, 2020

How Super-Rich in USA Block Radical Democratization Of U.S. Society

In his 1975 book, More Power Than We Know: The People's Movement Toward Democracy, long-time U.S. antiwar Movement organizer and 1960's Chicago 8 Conspiracy Trial Defendant Dave Dellinger indicated how Super-Rich folks in the USA [like Multi-Billionair Oligarch Bill Gates in 21st-century, for example] block the creation of a radically democratized society in the United States:

"...The persons who rob through banks are enabled to throw their weight around in ways that would make a feudal baron envious...They can use some of their stolen money to set up tax-exempt foundations, which often play a more decisive role in determining public policy and implementation of the law than either elected officials or the courts. They can serve as trustees of both private and state universities...They can buy a string of newspapers and radio and television stations and see that the news is filtered to the public in accord with their private standards of public policy...By their ownership of the media they can decide which members of the Movement are accepted as national spokesmen [or spokeswomen] and which get favorable or unfavorable publicity. They can decide which Movement activities are sympathetically reported and which caricatured and condemned, which aspirants for office have their name and faces constantly in public view, an absolute pre-condition for a successful campaign. In these and other ways they can exercise grossly undemocratic influence on both the Establishment and the forces that oppose it..." 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Time To Limit Life Of Billionaire Oligarch Bill Gates's Foundation?

Obama Awarding  Medal To Billionaire Oligarch Bill Gates  In November 2016
As University of Virginia Commonwealth Professor of History  Oliver Zunz observed in his 2011 Philanthropy In America book, "the foundation that Bill and Melinda Gates created in 2000 with their Microsoft fortune, reinforced by investor Warren Buffett's gift of part of his own fortune to it, is the world's, today's counterpart of the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1970's and the Ford Foundation in the 1960's.

But as the Philanthropy In America book also recalled:

"In legislation in the Senate Finance Committee [in 1969], Senator [Albert] Gore [Sr.] introduced...clause that limited the life of foundations to 40 years. `The record shows,' Gore argued, `that in overwhelming proportions and instances foundations are created for the purpose of tax avoidance, to extend economic benefits to members of the creator's family and to continue family ownership and control of property.'...

"...There was also some support on the left for putting a legal limit on a foundation's life...But...liberal philanthropists were opposed...The foundations countered [Gore's] charges against them...and the amendment to defeat the death sentence [proposed by Gore Sr. to put a legal limit on a foundation's life] passed the Senate 53 to 35 [in 1969]..."