Monday, January 28, 2002

Harry from Winter Park sent me a link yesterday from Front Page Magazine Ann Coulter -- The New York Times’ Crusade Against Capitalism. It reminded me how much I hate Ann Coulter.

As I wrote to Harry, Ann Coulter is such a stupid Republican Stepford bitch it makes my head hurt to read her drivel. The sole point of her writings seems to be take the issue of the day (any issue) and turn it into a tale of how liberals are trying to screw real Americans. If George Bush was accused of killing babies, she'd find some Democratic/liberal historical figure who years ago was accused of killing babies and eating them. Then she'd hold it up and say, "See, you liberals are hypocrites! You're bothered that President Bush killed babies but in fact, one of your own killed and ate babies, that makes you worse."

Ann's petty scam is the three-card monty of journalism. Her goal is to obfuscate news of the day with hopelessly muddled distortions, thereby giving her partisan readers the chance to ignore the evils of the reality before them. Ca'mon...Enron's not as bad as those Welfare Moms and NY Times writers.

Oh yeah, and she also claims the NY Times wants a recession. Please Ann, get real. Those reporters have 401k plans just like you. They're people, not communist Martians.

As with most right-wing media organs, Front Page Magazine appears to have no other pupose than to slam those who disagrees with the far right agenda, revise history so that every problem is blamed on the Clintons and claim the big bad liberal media doesn't give a fair voice to the entire politcal spectrum (oh Noam Chomsky's latest is going to appear in Front Page Magazine). As with many conservative media whores, Coulter's facts aren't worth shit. Here's are some examples:

Coulter writes: even after the collapse, Enron stock is still worth more than the entire Social Security "trust fund."

Hey Anne, don't let the facts get in your way. According to the Office of the Chief Actuary, the Social Security Trust Fund is worth $1,213 billion, as of Dec. 31, 2001. Enron's market cap post-crash is $365 million (but it was up 9% on Friday!).

But contrary to hyperventilating media stories, there is no causal relationship between the boss selling his stock and the employees' losses."

Bullshit. The connection is this - the boss knows the real story, promotes the stock to his employees so they buy more via their 401K and then he sells his own shares. The name of that game is Pump & Dump.

BTW - whether she likes it or not, Ann is a member of the "hyperventilating media." The only difference is she's stuck scrawling for right-wing rags and appearing as a rent-a-pundit on Fox TV instead of working for a real network. That's probably what she's most pissed off about. She might as well be writing a blog.

The only beef Enron employees have with top management is that management did not inform employees of the collapse in time to allow them to get in on the swindle. If Enron executives had shouted, "Head for the hills!" the employees might have had time to sucker other Americans into buying wildly over-inflated Enron stock. Just because your boss is a criminal doesn't make you a hero.

I love an employee's choice is to either be a swindler or a dupe? Ugh. The choice is not between loosing money or getting in on the swindle (although that's probably how that greedy little Ann lives her life). With the honest information, employees could have chosen to put their money elsewhere or perhaps gotten new jobs while the economy was soaring.

And BTW - Enron executives had a fiduciary duty to inform the market about any event which might materially affect the company. They didn't. They buried the dirt as far offshore as they could and hoped that it would all blow over until the company was acquired. That's not a beef, that's a crime. Coulter's implication that employees would then somehow be in the wrong for selling their shares to other Americans is simplistic swill. You don't sell shares to other people. Those shares would have been sold to market makers who usually make a tidy profit by always offering a price for the stocks in which they make a market. Here, they might have taken a bath, but that's the game. They probably would have made it up later.

The billions of dollars Enron employees "lost" in paper profits they had gained only in the last few years. Between 1997 and 2000, Enron stock quadrupled in price, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up only a few percentage points. In 2000, Enron stock was trading at an astronomical 66 times recent earnings.

Again, bullshit. Between January 1, 1997 and January 1, 2000, the S&P 500 went up just under 100% - that's a bit more than a few percentage points, no?. In the same period, Enron stock went up just over 100%. Since then, the S&P has fallen to about a 50% gain versus 1/1/97. While the S&P 500 was falling, Enron zoomed up to a high over 300% over 1/1/97, then crashed. It was really only during those recent years while Enron executives pumped and dumped that the stock shot up like a bat outta hell.

I could rag on Ann all day and night, but I think my point is clear. I hate Ann Coulter. I hate her because she's a vicious, partisan, sloppy journalist who adds nothing to the national political dialog but a screeching noise.

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