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August 04, 2012
You're Under Arrest
One of the positive things about our giant economic collapse has been an outbreak of honesty among the billionaires who run America. Now they seem to feel free to express how they truly feel about the rest of us.
Here are the views of David Siegel, timeshare mogul and star of the new documentary Queen of Versailles. He and his wife Jackie first got national attention for their attempt to build the largest house in America, a 90,000-square foot Versailles replica:
David and Jackie have been surprised by the criticism of their lifestyle. “So much negativity. You would think they would be happy for someone living the American dream,” Jackie says. … As for the notion that the divide between the wealthy and everyone else is grotesquely wide, David says: “There’s always been rich and poor, the 1 percent and the 99 percent.” And then he adds, “It’s like a prison. If you only have prisoners and no guards, you’d have chaos.”
So that's pretty straightforward: America is like a prison, and all non-billionaires are the prisoners. (Also, the prisoners should be happy for the guards.)
A lot of people are wondering how much influence a few rich businessmen will have on the presidential election. The rich businessmen might be wondering, too. But mostly they’re not talking about it. There’s one exception: David Siegel…In [The Queen of Versailles], Siegel says that he was personally responsible for the election of George W. Bush in 2000…
Here’s Siegel’s account of how he swung the election in Bush’s favor: “Whenever I saw a negative article about [Al] Gore, I put it in with the paychecks of my 8,000 employees. I had my managers do a survey on every employee. If they liked Bush, we made them register to vote. But not if they liked Gore. The week before [the election] we made 80,000 phone calls through my call center – they were robo-calls. On Election Day, we made sure everyone who was voting for Bush got to the polls. I didn’t know he would win by 527 votes. Afterward, we did a survey among the employees to find out who voted who wouldn’t have otherwise. One thousand of them said so.”
In the movie Siegel says he isn't sure whether what he did was legal. I wonder too, especially about using corporate resources to support candidates. Fortunately we don't have to worry about illegal election manipulation anymore, since now nothing's illegal.