From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:
The New ‘New Tone’ of Our Politics, From Michigan: ‘There Will Be Blood!’
The massive public tantrum of Wisconsin’s unions didn’t work in that state in 2011, but labor unions are willing to try the same in Michigan.
“There will be blood,” State Representative Douglas Geiss threatened from the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives today as the body debated legislation that would make Michigan the nation’s 24th right to work state.
“I really wish we had not gone here,” Geiss continued. “It is the leadership in this house that has led us here. The same leadership that tried to throw a bomb right on election day, leading to a member switching parties, and came in at the 11th hour with a gotcha bill. For that, I do not see solace, I do not see peace.”
But wait, there’s more!
Jimmy Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, said Tuesday he expects Michigan unions and lawmakers to break out into “civil war” after the state’s legislature passed right-to-work bills that would weaken unions’ power.
“This is just the first round of a battle that’s going to divide this state. We’re going to have a civil war,” Hoffa said on CNN’s “Newsroom.” The Republican-controlled state House passed two bills that had already been approved by the GOP-dominated state Senate. Gov. Rick Snyder, also a Republican, is poised to sign the bill, which would allow workers at union-represented employers to forgo paying dues.
“There will be blood!” “We’re going to have civil war!” Meanwhile, outside the state capitol:
Tempers flared Tuesday morning here at the state Capitol as police — some on horses — moved into to break up a mob scene as the Republican-controlled House approved a contentious right-to-work bill.
Thousands of union members and friends of organized labor gathered to show their opposition, at times heated, to the legislation that prohibits unions from forcing unionized employees to pay union dues or join labor groups.
Gov. Rick Snyder had not yet signed the bill into law, although he has signaled that he would.
By mid-morning, the Capitol was a scene of chaos as union members and organizers from pro-right-to-work Americans for Prosperity got into a shouting match. Wisconsin Reporter’s Ryan Ekvall, at the scene, said right-to-work opponents grew increasingly agitated over AFP’s signs.
“There was some pushing and shoving. At one point, I was in the middle of the crowd; it was like a mosh pit where you couldn’t control yourself. You were being moved with the crowd,” Ekvall said.
He saw two lines of police officers forming, “marching like military,” with four officers mounted on horses. They dispersed the crowd and restored peace to the section of the grounds. Before doing so, union members pulled up the tent stakes, and the tent collapsed with some AFP members inside, according to witnesses at the scene.
Our Christian Schneider spoke with David Fladeboe of Americans for Prosperity, who was working security outside the tent:
Fladeboe said the tent, for which AFP-Michigan had received a permit a week earlier, held between 30 and 40 people before protesters began stabbing at its straps with knives. He said that at first, protesters were targeting random straps to avoid being caught — then, finally, they focused on one corner of the tent in an effort to pull it down. Fladeboe said that even once several of the straps were cut, the local police on the scene did little to help the volunteers re-secure them.
Eventually, protesters were able to snap one of the tent stakes in half and pull it from beneath the tent, causing it to collapse. Fladeboe said that despite reports that the tent had been cleared of people before it went down, there were about a dozen people still trapped inside after it had fully collapsed. “You could see people inside of it trying to get up, and you could see the tent moving,” he said — a problem exacerbated by the fact that protesters began “stomping” on top of the collapsed canvas while volunteers tried to help those trapped inside.
Before it had collapsed, the tent was held up by two 20-foot poles, which had to have fallen for it to collapse; volunteers were worried that those poles could have landed on someone stuck inside the tent. There also was hot coffee and hot chocolate served inside the tent that could have burned people if tipped over.
Fladeboe said that once the tent was clear of people, the protesters began pushing and shoving them — it was only then that the police got involved.
Here’s what’s left of the tent. A sports feature writer at Detroit Free Press characterizes the union mob’s reaction to the AfP tent as “taking the bait.” I suppose that’s one way of looking at it; it says something about those union members that all it took to “bait” them into a frothing mass of violence was someone being present and expressing a different opinion than them.
“Even if you hate me, nothing I could have done warranted being suckerpunched and threatened with murder,” Crowder said.
Instapundit reader Michael Lotus writes:
No matter what Obama does, there is going to be a lot more of this.
These guys are out of ideas, out of money, and have no sane argument to make for what they want everyone else to pay for.
Thank God for camera phones. Even ten years ago, they would have done a lot worse, and gotten away with it.
And to answer your question, my guess is Obama says nothing and the news media does not cover it, which means it never happened.
Or it would mean that if it weren’t for camera phones and the Internet.
Crowder showed good restraint. If he had thrown a punch, he’d have been stomped to death.
Glenn adds, “We need to identify this guy and make an example of him. And his union bosses. I’ve pledged $1000 toward the reward fund.”
“Obviously this is just another example of the Koch brothers’ inciting violence,” groans Jonah, with a good video posted in the Corner.
Our Jillian Kay Melchior was at the capitol and found:
Few of the protesters I spoke to argued against right-to-work on the merits. Instead, their complaint seems to boil down to the suggestion that this is an attack on representative government. Many of them seemed to think that if they don’t get to exercise their political rights through direct democracy, they are being denied their freedoms outright.
That’s a profound misunderstanding of the American political system (and most every political system, ever).
Iowahawk summarizes, “What’s the difference between Mafia and unions? One threatens to kill you if you don’t give them money, the other dresses snappy.”