Billionaires for Bush, targets of NYC spying, are dangerous critics of Bush greed and war

In view of the news that Billionaires for Bush were among those targeted by spies run by NYC Mayor Bloomberg and his Police during the 2004 Republican Convention, here’s a reminder of the Billionaires’ dangerous tactics.

By Lucy Komisar

What would you choose for the opening music of a play about Dick Cheney and George Bush? “Money makes the world go around…” from “Cabaret,” of course. In the tradition of good satire, this tongue-in-cheek play-length musical skit by The Billionaire Follies, the performing wing of Billionaires for Bush, is witty political commentary and enormously entertaining.

width=252It’s Christmas Eve, and a frantic mother (Tanya Elder, aka Frieda Marquette – say the syllables slowly) who must buy her kid a “Binky,” whatever that is, is knocked out by sharper-elbowed competitors at “All-Mart,” which is what the country has become. The visions that dance in her head turn out to be “Dick Cheney’s Holiday Spectacular 2006!”

Jamie Jackson, who plays Cheney, is an unbelievable look-alike, with a smarmy grin and demeanor that could fool the guards at the West Wing. “Being Vice-president,” he complains, “is not all quail hunting, war and torture.” But the future will be worse. The ghost of Christmas past, Ken Lay (J. Simon, aka Rob Dapore), appears, burdened with silver chains, from one of which dangles the large letter “E.” “I wear the chains I forged in life. Yours will be larger than mine,” he tells Cheney.

The President is not slighted. George (David Bennett, aka Robin N. Steelin) sings about his rich benefactors, “They got me the best coke and kept me out of Vietnam.” Karl Rove (Dave Case aka Fillmore Barrols) also makes an appearance.

The singers, including the 24-Carat Rockettes in red dancers‘ gowns and glittering jewelry, have excellent Broadway-quality voices and comic style. Think “Forbidden Broadway,” except that the subjects here are all political.


A favorite target is the corruption of Big Oil. One is stirred by The Halliburton Chorus,” in which soaring voices, with a nod to Handel, commemorate the devotion of Cheney‘s old company to “Relentless greed! And Perma-War! Forever! And ever! Halliburton! Halliburton!”

Equally moving is We Three Kings of Petroleum Are, with the chorus,

“Oh-oh, OIL of wonder, OIL of might!
We drill and plunder, day and night
Bombs and rockets fill our pockets
We do what’s wrong, and call it right!”

The politics of exploitation at home and abroad is skewered in “Rest Easy Wealthy Gentlemen.”

Rest easy, wealthy gentlemen,
Let nothing make us sigh.
We give our workers tiny crumbs
So we can keep the pie.
We pay off politicians
So they bear our needs in mind
And they line up to kiss our fat behind.
If they’re inclined,
They line up to kiss our fat behind!

And in Toys for the World (Are Made by Kids)

Toys for the world are made by kids
And not by elves at all!
We work them night and day
For very little pay.
And little tiny hands
Make all your fav’rite brands
That fill up the shelves in every shopping mall.

Then in “Oh Come Ye Investors.”

O Come, ye investors, bold captains of commerce,
Let‘s get our products made in old Saipan.
Come for the people, peaceful and compliant
O come let us exploit them
O come let us exploit them
O come let us exploit them because we can!

Child, in our sweatshops, make designer watches,
Billionaires get richer from your twelve hour days
Who would not hire you for ten cents an hour?
O come let us exploit them
O come let us exploit them
O come let us exploit them because we can!

Finally, there‘s that old favorite, “I‘m Dreaming of a Right Christmas.”

I’m dreaming of a Right Christmas
Just like the ones we used to know
Where my war spoils glistened
And wiretaps listened
To hear liberals in their homes.

I‘m dreaming of a Right Christmas!
We had an empire on its way
But they kicked out Rummy”and that‘s not funny
No more no-bid contracts today.

“I hope they repeal the dynasty tax,” says one character. That‘s the estate tax on fortunes left by the mega-rich, the tax that Bush and other plutocrats want to chuck out. This troupe has a political as well as artistic purpose. Billionaires for Bush describes itself as “a national do-it-yourself grassroots media campaign using humor and street theater to expose politicians who support corporate interests at the expense of everyday Americans.”

Posing for publicity photos after the show, the cast in unison voiced their smile word: “greed”!

For those inclined to contribute, the donor headings in the program are “Golden Parachute,” “Silver Spoon,” “Robber Baron” and “Corporate Raider.”

“Dick Cheney‘s Holiday Spectacular 2006.” Head writers Melody Bates (aka Ivy League-Legacy) and David Bennett. Directed by Mahayana Landowne (aka Bella de Ball) and Melody Bates. Choreographed by D.J. McDonald (aka Seamus Lee Rich). Starring Tanya Elder, Jamie Jackson, David Bennett, Dave Case, J. Simon, Randy Howk (aka D. Forrest Calleigh), Melody Bates, Yvonne Willrich-Teague.

Billionaire Follies, Billionaires for Bush, at Ace of Clubs, 9 Great Jones Street (the eastern continuation of West 3rd St., between Broadway and Lafayette, subways Bleecker St. IRT 6; Broadway-Lafayette IND B,D,F,G) Wed. & Sun. 8 pm. Cabaret with drinks available from 7:30. $15; no minimum. Through Dec. 20, 2006. 212-352-3101. Billionaires for Bush.

Photo 1 by Dave Gochfeld, photo 2 by Randy Howk.

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