“We now have a pseudo-expert advising the president,” Gates snarled during an interview at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit on Monday, denouncing Atlas – who, unlike the billionaire software tycoon, completed both college and medical school – as an “off the rails” bad influence on the Trump administration.
“The most malign thing is where you start to attack your own experts and suggest that maybe politicians know better than disease experts,” Gates continued. The billionaire is neither a politician nor a medical doctor, despite the vast sums he has spent through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its affiliates in an effort to vaccinate the developing world. Atlas, on the other hand, has a medical degree from the University of Chicago and has taught healthcare policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute.
While Gates’s words might seem to apply to his own denunciation of Atlas, the billionaire meant them as a condemnation of the Trump administration over its alleged line-by-line tweaks to health guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in May. He has bemoaned the “politicization” of both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for months, blaming the White House for both their loss of public trust and unspecified yet “very unfortunate” setbacks to the rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine.
However, medical experts have insisted for years that both institutions were co-opted long ago by the pharmaceutical industry, of which Gates is both a significant funder and a well-remunerated beneficiary.
Yahoo (and other media organizations, many of which have received and avoided disclosing funding from Gates’ foundations) have almost universally backed the avuncular software tycoon in his dispute with Atlas, suggesting it is the trained medical expert who stepped out of his place in dissenting from prevailing orthodoxy. Forbes even called Atlas a “bad scientist” for not deferring to Gates’ favorite expert, US corona czar Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Atlas has long been seen as a thorn in the side of Gates and his ideological cheerleaders for his refusal to toe the lockdown line, however. A tweet “falsely downplaying the effectiveness of masks” and an article warning the US’ pandemic-related economic shutdowns will have lasting consequences far worse than the deaths thus far attributed to the virus have been held up as proof Atlas knows not of what he speaks – even as experts in other countries have echoed his economic concerns and the science remains far from settled on masks.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gates has been hailed by the media as a venerable expert on viral outbreaks for a 2015 Ted Talk in which he bemoaned the lack of epidemic preparedness among the world’s governments. However, Gates was far from the only person to predict a pandemic (or the societal upheaval it would trigger).
The Rockefeller Foundation, along with the Global Business Network, predicted in a 2010 “scenario” that a devastating viral outbreak would bring about authoritarian crackdown, devastating entire industries while making totalitarianism palatable to the populations of previously democratic countries. And Fauci himself predicted in 2017 that Trump’s administration would be faced with a deadly pandemic it was unprepared for. The US military and private sector partners have also run several simulations of major pandemics, each time finding (yet never doing much to fix) that the government is woefully unprepared.
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