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COMMENTARY:

“Billionaires for Wealthcare” Serenade the Insurance Industy

by James Ridgeway
First published in his blog Unsilent Generation yesterday, 28 October 2009

Remember the Billionaires for Bush? They’re back, reincarnated under the new title Billionaires for Wealthcare, with the stated mission: “We’ll do whatever it takes to ensure another decade where your pain is our gain.”

In their best stunt so far, a group of well-dressed moles from BFW infiltrated a meeting of the industry shill group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). In the middle of a speech, they burst into song, in an homage to the public option scored to the theme of the Broadway show “Annie.” They managed to get to the end of their song before they were escorted out of the room. Here’s their performance, with commentary from Rachel Maddow:

You can find more videos at the BFW web site. In this one, the billionaires stage a mock counter-protest at a pro-health care reform rally in New York, carrying signs that say things like “Survival of the Richest” and “If We Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It”—and never once breaking character.

And here they are arriving in a stretch limo at a “tea party” in San Diego—where they turn out not to be the most outrageous members of the crowd.



Born in 1936, James Ridgeway has been reporting on politics for more than 45 years. He is currently Senior Washington Correspondent for Mother Jones, and recently wrote a blog on the 2008 presidential election for the Guardian online. He previously served as Washington Correspondent for the Village Voice; wrote for Ramparts and The New Republic; and founded and edited two independent newsletters, Hard Times and The Elements.

Ridgeway is the author of 16 books, including The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11, It’s All for Sale: The Control of Global Resources, and Blood in the Face: The Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Nazi Skinheads, and the Rise of a New White Culture. He co-directed a companion film to Blood in the Face and a second documentary film, Feed, and has co-produced web videos for GuardianFilms.

Additional information and samples of James Ridgeway’s work can be found on his web site, http://jamesridgeway.net.

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on October 29, 2009.