Saturday, May 30, 2009

Billionaires Meet in Secret; Oprah As Oligarch?

Some of the world's leading activist billionaires met in secret recently. News of the meeting is starting to leak out, thanks to initial reporting from the internet site,

Warren Buffett was there, so was Bill Gates, Michael R. Bloomberg , George Soros, Eli Broad, Ted Turner, Peter G. Peterson , Julian H. Robertson Jr. and, get this, Oprah Winfrey.

NYT reports that:

Even as details trickled out...participants steadfastly refused to reveal the content of the discussion. Some cited an agreement to keep the meeting confidential.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, along with David Rockefeller, were the catalysts for the meeting, according to

Ostensibly, the meeting was about philanthropy. But these billionaires are activist philanthropists. There's a lot of giving by other billionaires, who are quiet and traditional in their giving. This group is not.

Patricia Stonesifer, senior advisor to the Gates foundation's trustees, Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, told that the discussion "ranged from emergency relief efforts to scholarship efforts, to U.S. education efforts to global health." Hmmm, isn't President Obama planning a big healthcare push? And, just what kind of education are we talking about?


There remain as many questions about the meeting's details as there are about the logistics behind its organization. How did some of the world's most public figures coordinate their schedules, travel, and security with no one in media knowing about it?
A meeting of the country's top philanthropists is "extraordinary" and "really unusual," said Stacy Palmer, editor-in-chief of the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

According to NYT:

The gathering started at 3 p.m. on May 5, a Tuesday, and lasted through dinner at the private residence on the Rockefeller campus of Paul Nurse, the university’s president, while he was out of town, said Joseph Bonner, a spokesman for the university.

The university became involved after the elder Mr. Rockefeller, its former longtime chairman, requested the university to provide space for the meeting, Mr. Bonner said. “Our role was just to provide a site for those people to meet,” he said.

There is something very strange going on in America right now. First secret meetings of newspaper publishers, an aggressive new President who desperately wants to stamp a big picture FDR type change on the country, and now secret meetings by the wold's most activist billionaires.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not worried unless Monte Burns was there.