Reality For Sale

            Yahoo News (who knew?) has something online called “Power Players” which interviewed public/private investigator Terry Lenzner who recently came out with a new book “The Investigator: 50 Years of Uncovering the Truth.” (‘Reality is not available for sale’: An investigator’s mission to protect the truth By David Kerley, Jordyn Phelps, and Alexandra Dukakis February 12, 2014 Power Players). Mr. Lenzner was hired by Mohamed Al Fayed to dispute the official determination for the death of his son Dodi and Princess Diana. ““When I called him up to give my final report, I said ‘There’s no way in the world I can tell you that we are solving this incident as being anybody’s fault except the driver and the drinking,’ and Mohamed Fayed said to me ‘That’s your conclusion?’ [and] I said, ‘Yes it is, sir,’ and he said ‘You’re fired,’” Lenzner recalled.” Lenzner accounts for this by saying ““This is a phenomenon now … in investigations, where people will spend a lot of money to buy reality, which in fact is not available for sale,””.

 

            “[Bud] Konheim, CEO and co-founder of luxury-fashion company Nicole Miller, said on CNBC’s ” Squawk Box ” on Wednesday that Americans not in the top 1 percent would be considered wealthy in most of the world. He said the 99ers should stop complaining and understand how lucky they are.” (The poor should stop whining, says luxury CEO CNBC By Robert Frank 2-12-14). “”We’ve got a country that the poverty level is wealth in 99 percent of the rest of the world,” he said.” Robert Frank critiques this with “But he happens to be correct–at least if you look at only the income numbers. In the U.S., you need around $500,000 in annual income to be in the top 1 percent. Globally, income of $34,000 a year gets you in the top 1 percent, according Branko Milanovic, a World Bank economist.”

 

            The VW UAW representation vote has been in the news lately and starts today at the VW plant in Chattanooga, TN. If you’ve been following that story at all you know it is about the union and management being on the same page but the powers that be (the Tennessee politicos and power brokers) along with several outside the state PACs have been vehemently opposed to any kind of union representation of workers. This all is one of the phenomena that has flown under the radar of the Citizen United revocation amendment folks. The Supreme Court’s C U ruling essentially made money speech, with all the first amendment requirements. In this private company/worker agreement (one promoted and favored by VW as part of their managerial approach worldwide), big bucks are flowing in from out of state sources to negate the endeavor. Recently many TN politicos have threatened elimination of the previous generous state incentives and perks used to “lure” VW to this production facility. VW is interested in expanding, and requires the people on the factory floor to take part in the running of the operation (through what is called the workers council. What a concept!). This is all becoming more medieval than the occupations in Kiev (business owners wanting workers represented and the business itself not being adverse to having a union, with the pro-business Republican dominated TN government, in conjunction with various outside big money PACs, being vehemently and actively opposed to how VW runs its own business!). Today, TN’s Senator ‘Bob’ Corker employed the nuclear option by intimating that VW would pull up stakes and head somewhere else if the UAW was voted in. “U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said on Wednesday he has been “assured” that if workers at the Volkswagen AG plant in his hometown of Chattanooga reject United Auto Worker representation, the company will reward the plant with a new product to build.” (US senator drops bombshell during VW plant union vote Reuters By Bernie Woodall 2-13-14) Roll Call listed Senator Corker as the 14th richest US congressman in 2011 with a conservatively figured net worth of 21 million dollars American. Corker fell to 22nd place in 2013 with only a net worth of $16.6 million. Hard times!

 

            Analysis reveals this is about identity, not wealth. Corker intimates VW will relocate to Mexico where they ostensibly can produce their anticipated new SUV model cheaper. According to Konheim the VW workers there would be better off. Following Corker’s and Konheim’s logic, US workers should move to Mexico in order to be better off. Of course they’d have to learn Spanish, and it would be a bit of a commute. Even more, the unspoken implication is that the folks from there would come here to work at the jobs left here (for there) in order to be better off here than they were there (by coming to live here). But they would be willing to do it for less. The logic really enters the middle ages when you find that the folks footing the bill to keep the UAW out also want to build massive barriers (physical and legal) to keep the outside workers, well, out (or in, depending on whether it is really better there than here for US workers as Bud claims it is) (but he’s here, not there. So how would he know?). No, it’s not about wealth. Income disparity continues no matter which zany and convoluted Abbot and Costello choreography is imagined. This is about identity, the identity of the 99%. Following the thinking and actions (contrary to what the US Supreme Court and Siri may say, speech is still a human action) of Al Fayed, Corker, Konheim, the Koch’s, etc. the identity of the 99% is to be determined by the 1% through whatever mediation proves to be effective. Eliminating any kind of worker/employee solidarity is effective. Eliminating any income disparity comprehension and discussion (through obfuscation, concealment, or misinformation) also works. Political party affiliation is a most excellent means (Democrats and Republicans are found on Roll Call’s top 50 wealthiest US legislators list). The mediated message (by the 1% who own that mediation, that media) is that America need always think of itself as individuals, standing shoulder to shoulder with their corporate counterparts. Group identity, group affiliation and organization, is for sporting events and fashion, not for self-governance.  

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