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Friday, February 25, 2011

Ann Coulter's Latest Drivel: Look For The Union Fable

Ann is up to her same tired act: talking out of her you-know-what.

This time she's making a pathetic attempt to comment about what's happening in Wisconsin with Walker's attempt to kill state unions. She then goes into some disjointed blathering about government in general.

Here are a few choice phrases from her rambling babble with my own following each! You decide which of us is crazy.

"Government unions have nothing in common with private sector unions because they don't have hostile management on the other side of the bargaining table."
-> That's idiotic on its face. Walker and the entire Koch Party is hostile to every state worker because they presumably tend to vote Democratic. If the Walkergate Tapes don't prove that, then you're living in the warm embrace of blissful and self-imposed ignorance.

"This is why the head of New York's largest public union in the mid-'70s, Victor Gotbaum, gloated, "We have the ability to elect our own boss."
- > Never heard of this guy so I did a search. Didn't find this quote. Even if it was something that he said, he does seem to be recognized at least in part for making concessions when it was in everyone's interest.
Under Gotbaum's leadership, DC37 successfully organized thousands of municipal hospital workers in the 1960s and helped create New York City's Office of Collective Bargaining. During the New York City bankruptcy crisis in the mid-1970s, Gotbaum and DC37 agreed to major collective bargaining concessions, which set a pattern that forced other municipal unions to do the same. The action helped the city avoid default on its bonds.[2] (

The reference source listed in the footnote led to this:
The New York unions in the Seventies, led by Victor Gotbaum and his colleagues, agreed to major concessions on their contract demands and to make investments in city bonds from their pension funds; both of these decisions will be difficult to duplicate.

Democratic politicians don't think of themselves as "management." They don't respond to union demands for more money by saying, "Are you kidding me?" They say, "Great -- get me a raise too!"
-> This is really effing stupid. Like Democratic politicians are the only ones who vote themselves pay raises and if they can't get that passed they just go to their pals in the government unions to decide how much to raise only Democratic pay. Typical idiotic Coulter hyperbole.

BTW, it's become popular among both parties in Congress to suddenly come to the realization that not only are automatic pay raises a bad idea, maybe they can curry favor with us if they vote to cut their pay.

I want to give special kudos to some GOP reps. Rigell (VA) is sending 15% of his pay back to the Treasury. Coffman (CO) wants to cut Congressional pay by 10%, supposedly saving the government $5.5billion. (You do realize that that means total Congressional compensation is $55billion. Can that be right?) Buchanan (FL) introduced a bill that would forbid any pay raises to Congress unless the budget was balanced. THIS ALL MAKES PERFECT SENSE TO ME!!!

Here was an eye-opening passage from the article:
With the economy still reeling, members of Congress - nearly half of whom are millionaires - are eager to show they are in touch with their constituents' economic pain

These are the people we elect and who are supposed to represent us? Opens up a tiny crack of understanding as to why some people are attracted to the tea party. Want a real slap of reality? Here are some net worth numbers of both parties that are jaw-dropping. Anyone not think these people fall under the generalized category of RWMFs?

In 1937, the American president beloved by liberals, FDR, warned that collective bargaining "cannot be transplanted into the public service."
-> FDR's letter sure has become popular.

Too bad the right continues to so blatantly take one or 2 phrases so badly out of context. The whole thing can be read at

It's obvious that what FDR was actually saying about unions and collective bargaining is that:
a) the administration (i.e., management) are elected officials sent to their position by us to represent us and as such,
b) they cannot agree to any old desire or demand, especially if it violates the law.

That's it. The reason that collective bargaining "as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service" doesn't mean that FDR thought that public service unions should be dissolved, disbanded, or kept from collectively bargaining. All he basically said was that union and management, alike, need to understand that there are different circumstances that govern public versus private service.

Here's the paragraph from which the quote is surgically removed and grossly misused by Coulter and everyone else on the right.

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

The preceding paragraph in FDR's letter is where he expresses unequivocal support of unions, including even in government and with special considerations for the differences that exist when compared with private sector.

The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.

George Meany, head of the AFL-CIO for a quarter century, said unions were not appropriate for civil servants.
-> When I did a search on this sentence, the search results page was pretty much full of results pointing exclusively to Coulter. Hints strongly that she might have made this up. I couldn't find any other resources on the quote, but I did find this:

Personally, I give no credence to anyone with "McCarthyist policies" regardless of who they were and what organization they led. In other words, who gives a if Meany said anything like unions are inappropriate for civil servants if he had anything in common with McCarthy.

There's never a recession if you work for the government. The counties with the highest per capita income aren't near New York City or Los Angeles -- they're in the Washington, D.C., area -- a one-company town where the company is the government. The three counties with the highest incomes in the entire country are all suburbs of Washington. Eleven of the 25 counties with the highest incomes are near Washington.
-> What's Ann claiming here, that overpaid school teachers, firefighters, park rangers, and government workers in DC are living in the lap of luxury?

And WTF does this have to do with Wisconsin?

As for DC, I wonder if she's ever heard of "government contractors?" I'd love to see some data on how much of the wealth encircling DC is actually private businesses started and/or led by ex-elected officials who legislated for corporate lobbyists instead of us and then turned that into a lottery win once out of office.

Teachers, whether in DC or Wisconsin? Clerks in state or federal government? Nurses in the VA? Low- and mid-level workers?

They are the ones living in mansions in Madison and Loudon County? Please.

Ann, you're an idiot.

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