Ann/otations 2

It is my contention that Ann Coulter is one of the greatest performance artists of our era, portraying a "sassy" pundit who inflames the lust of Republican men who wish their wives had more ideological backbone in combating the various people these men would like to blame for not being everything their very own ideology commands them to be.  

A while back, I vowed to provide an "annotated" version of Coulter's book, Guilty.  Wrestling with Coulter's prose in such large portions, however, proved both daunting and depressing.  So instead, I have decided to sign up for Coulter's weekly column at Human Events, which happily comes in much more digestible nuggets of noxiousness.  By annotating these smaller columns, I hope I can keep readers of this blog informed as to Ann's latest "performances" while not actually driving myself insane in the process.

A special note to conservative readers: Given that modern American conservatism has now become indistinguishable from paranoid schizophrenia, there will be no attempt made here to "persuade" or "convince" you of anything.  Rather, much as one might address a co-worker who suddenly professes a belief that extraterrestrials are filling his head with voices telling him to kill the neighbor's dog, the following will proceed from the assumption that logic and reason are of little use in convincing you of anything, and that your best hope resides in a carefully monitored regimen of Haldol or Thorazine. I'm so sorry.  If somehow appeals to cooperative reason and socio-economic justice prevail in the future, we will try to send a time machine back to rescue the rest of you from yourselves.  Until then, good luck.  Also, I think someone on your local public access station just suggested adding a penny in sales tax to help clean up that toxic dump site that's been festering out by the Johnson place and breeding all them mutant super-raccoons---your time might be better spent writing a letter about how the free market is the only way to deal with the mutant super-raccoon problem, and that you'll shoot any city animal control officer who comes on your property to implement a socialist "one-size-fits-all" campaign of mutant super-raccoon eradication. 

In this week's column, Ann wants us to know that "public sector" workers are all leaches.  

AC: black
LD: red

The real class warfare in this country isn't rich vs. poor, it's government employees vs. we, the taxpayers, who pay their salaries.

Government workers, who help prevent airplanes from crashing into each other, put out apartment fires, and teach special-needs children, should either work for free or have their jobs privatized.  There is also the assumption that those working for the government, who are in fact also “taxpayers,” simply siphon money away from the “real” American taxpayers, and then spend this money by purchasing goods and services in an alternate universe that is also somehow wholly unrelated to the overall American economy. 

Working for the government is supposed to be a trade-off: You can't be fired and don't have to exert yourself, but you will receive smaller remuneration than in the private sector, where layoffs are common (especially in the Obama economy!). Instead, government jobs are safe, secure, pressure-free -- and now, amazingly lucrative!

Here Coulter repeats the beloved Republican canard that all public workers are lazy, like the snow plow driver who gets up at 3:00am to clear the very streets in Manhattan Coulter will later walk that day, or the various technicians necessary to make sure SSN and Medicare checks are processed on time each month for the millions who depend on them.  There is also the insinuation that a “lack of job security” is in fact a good thing, because nothing motivates an employee better than the constant fear of being fired.

Whether it's in Wisconsin, Illinois, California or the nation's capital, today's public sector workers expect to do little or no work (I'm not counting partying in Las Vegas as "work"), and then be lavishly compensated. Often, the only heavy lifting they do all week is picking up their paychecks.

Here Ann is making a joke about the recent GSA scandal where government workers were found “partying” in Las Vegas on the public dollar, implying that elementary school teachers in Wisconsin or librarians in Illinois are also regularly jetting off to Monte Carlo to get high and score prostitutes.  There is also a strategic decision here not to discuss how the cost of similar partying on the part of HMO presidents, Bankers, or even Snack Cake Magnates is also passed along to the consumer in the pricing of their various products.  

Ann also makes the hilarious joke that paychecks for government workers are so HUGE that they are in fact HEAVY to lift, even though we all know that a check for one penny weighs about the same as one for a million dollars.  This is the kind of joke that children enjoy quite a bit, especially as they are first acquiring language.  

When government employees mobbed the state capitol in Wisconsin last year, the upside was: They got to bully people. The downside: Voters finally found out what these public servants were being paid.

Their compensation included not only straight salary, but also lavish overtime benefits, pensions, health care plans, sick days and vacation time (most of which they spent protesting).

Here Ann identifies the following as outlandish job perks: overtime, a pension, health insurance, sick days, and vacation days.  The ideal Republican worker, by contrast, would work as much as demanded by his or her employer until that first prolonged illness caused termination.  In the meantime, there would be no retirement or health plan.  But if you were to make it past a year without getting sick, don't expect any vacation time either, you freeloader.
In typical conservative reverso-logic, Coulter maintains the fiction that union protesters are in the tradition of bullies, whereas the various historical forces that have shot, hosed, arrested, burned, and otherwise confronted unions with extreme violence over the years are in actuality a litter of sweet fluffy kittens. 

The unions thought they could fight back against Gov. Scott Walker's tiny pension rollbacks without anyone finding out the details. Most people saw what public employees were getting and assumed it was a misprint.

Two years ago, seven bus drivers in Madison, Wis., made more than $100,000 a year.

Here Coulter finds the seven bus drivers with the highest levels of seniority in Madison, and calls them out for being a drain on the public coffers.  It would appear, in Coulter’s world, that even if a person does a job and does it well for, say, forty or fifty years—his or her salary should never move a dime over the original paycheck—at least for those in the public sector.  Better to train a new batch of bus drivers every 3 years and keep them at low wages.  A middle-age bus driver--who may have no real skills beyond driving his bus through the streets of Madison really, really well--should be reminded that at any moment he can be replaced by a surly 24-year old who will work for half the salary, even if that means occasionally sliding a bus or two into Lake Mendota. 

A few years before that, we found out that the city manager of little Bell, Calif. -- per capita annual income $24,800 -- was making $787,637, or including benefits: $1.5 million a year. The chief of police was getting $457,000 a year -- $770,046 counting benefits -- making him the first chief of police to commit highway robbery on the job. The assistant city manager was taking home $376,288 per year, for a total compensation package of $845,960.

All were Democrats, the party of Big Government.

It seems like only seconds ago we were defending Scott Walker’s “tiny pension rollbacks” against an evil cabal of Madison bus drivers, but here Coulter cherry-picks the single most visible case of local corruption in the entire country and presents it as business-as-usual in all public sector jobs. 

Speaking of which -- whatever happened to that investigation Gov. Jerry Brown was launching into these thieving public servants drawing million-dollar pensions from California taxpayers? The Bell scandal broke during the California gubernatorial race between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown, who was then state attorney general. Brown vowed a no-holds-barred inquiry.

Anyone seen his report yet?

Jerry Brown will demand to see Obama's birth certificate before he will call for a rollback of these undeserved, million-dollar government pensions.

For the latest in the Bell investigations, we can go to Wiki: 

In September 2010, the California Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against eight former and current City of Bell employees, requesting the return of what the suit calls "excessive salaries" as well a reduction in pension benefits accrued as a result of those higher salaries.  Allegations about irregularities in the 2009 election also were examined by the FBI and California Secretary of State office. The city's high property taxes are also being investigated.

All of the above occurred while Brown was still in the AG post, so I’m not sure what Coulter is talking about here. 

Less than 20 percent of private sector employees get pensions. Most people save their own money for retirement -- for example, through 401(k)s. By contrast, government employees expect to be paid by us for the rest of their lives.

Former representative and amateur home pornographer Anthony Weiner was a member of Congress until he resigned last June in order to spend more time with his hard drive. He will probably end up collecting about a million dollars from his 80 percent taxpayer-funded government pension.

This is funny because we all saw those pictures of Anthony Weiner’s dick, and that was even funnier than it might have been precisely because his name was Weiner, a commonly accepted synonym for the "penis."   Here I can sympathize.  Writing 800 words a week is pretty tough, so all your points and/or jokes can’t be top quality.  Thank god for the dick joke!

These are the "1 percent" deserving of the public's wrath: We're paying their salaries. We weren't taxed to pay Mitt Romney's salary at Bain Capital. We aren't taxed to pay the salaries of Jamie Dimon or Alex Rodriguez. Anthony Weiner? Him, we pay for.

Coulter is on dangerous ground here.  While many New Yorkers are no doubt very angry that they will have to continue paying Weiner’s pension (much as they do so for Mark "Pages do it between the Covers" Foley and Larry "Wide-stance" Craig), I’m not sure using Alex Rodriguez as the "free market’ counter-example is necessarily a good idea.  

It is true, however, that New Yorkers are not “taxed” to pay Alex Rodriquez’s salary—instead, they are asked to pay $100 bucks for a seat and $10 for a hot dog at Yankee Stadium. 

Government employees expect to live like something out of the czar's court -- and then have us admire them as if they're Rosa Parks.

Czar is a great code-word for conservatives.  They believe Obama has surrounded himself with a thousand poobahs lounging on pillows who all consider themselves above the law and eligible for huge government salaries.  The fact that Bush, Jr. actually began the whole “czar” thing and actually had more of them on staff does not seem to phase them, for this is how they think. 

Coulter also implies that all public service workers see themselves as Rosa Parks, the famous civil rights icon.  I guess this means they all have an inflated sense of their self-worth.  This is much like saying a “free market” worker at the Foot Locker goes to the job each day thinking he’s Adam Smith, which is to say, it means nothing.

At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Barack and Michelle Obama both paid heartfelt tributes to themselves for passing up money-grubbing private sector jobs to work in "public service."

In her speech, Michelle boasted that she had "tried to give back to this country."

"... That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities."

She was hired by the University of Chicago Hospital as soon as her husband became a state senator. When he was elected to the U.S. Senate, her salary nearly tripled, from $121,910 to $316,962 -- and the junior senator from Illinois returned the favor by sending taxpayer dollars the hospital's way.

By Obama's second year in the U.S. Senate, in 2006, Michelle Obama's compensation from "public service" was approximately $375,000 a year -- more than triple the average salary for a lawyer in the United States with 20 years' experience. 

Lots of weird hocus-pocus above. pronounces this story about Michelle Obama's huge salary simply “incorrect,” and based on an anonymous email chain.  Coulter no doubt knows this, but who cares when you have a few hundred thousand knuckle-draggers waiting to rub one out to the latest in  hypocritical liberal impropriety?

It should also be noted that the University of Chicago is a PRIVATE institution, and by Ann’s logic, should be allowed in a free market to pay it’s employees, including Michelle Obama, whatever it would like.  But Ann is banking on the fact that most of her idiotic fans believe anything University related is supported by the taxpayer.  Right now there is a dimwit somewhere reading a copy of Ann's book, Demonic, incensed that his tax dollars helped bankroll the new football uniforms for Harvard.

(America to the Obamas: "You two have sacrificed enough. Please retire and kick back a little!")

Again, Michelle Obama’s salary was privately funded, so this advice to “retire and kick back a little” is nonsensical in a rant about public service workers.

Vice President Joe Biden, long touted as the poorest U.S. senator, took home $248,459 in household income in 2006, including his public school teacher wife's salary, also paid by taxpayers. In 2007, these working poor made $319,853. This puts the couple nearly into the top 1 percent of all earners in the U.S., where the median household income was $48,201 in 2006 and $50,233 in 2007.

The irony here, of course, is that Biden WAS in fact one of the poorest members of the Senate even while remaining well within the 1% of richest Americans.  Rather than meditate on how we are all ruled by the extraordinarily wealthy, from left, right, or center, Coulter instead pulls the "liberal-hypocrite" lever a final time. 

A career in "public service" pays well.

A last bit of easy irony for Ann’s dull-witted readers to process and repeat to their friends and relatives, no doubt with even more distortion and inaccuracy:   “See that guy scraping the dead raccoon off our street?  I hear Joe Biden made it so he’s making $240,000 a year.”

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