Tags: Union Goons

Our New New Tone: ‘There Will Be Blood!’ ‘Civil War!’


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.

Conn Carroll:

“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.

And then poor Fox News contributor Steven Crowder, best known for making funny videos, got punched in the face repeatedly and chipped a tooth.

“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.”

Tags: Michigan , Union Goons

Are Wisconsin Government Workers Overpaid?


Ezra Klein says research shows that Wisconsin’s public employees are not overpaid, but in fact are underpaid. Not so, says Jim Manzi.

I’ve just read the study in question, and my sympathies are with Manzi, inasmuch as the control categories do not seem to me nearly sufficient to capture the real diversity of the work forces. As anybody who has ever met a high-school vice principal can attest, not all masters’ degrees are created equal. (The study controls for lots of things, like sex and ethnicity, but not the ones I’d be interested in, like I.Q. or standardized test scores. It also doesn’t control for such niggling factors as whether those government workers work, which strikes me as something that would be useful to know.)

Bearing in mind that none of this addresses the more fundamental question of whether those government workers are being paid/underpaid/overpaid to do anything necessary or even useful, which admittedly is hard to capture, here’s a thought: Mr. Klein claims to be an empiricist — so, how about an experiment? Let’s have Wisconsin cut its government workers’ pay by 5 percent and see if the state has trouble filling those government jobs. Let’s cut their pay by 10  percent and see if anybody notices.

Anybody want to place a bet on the results of that experiment?

—  Kevin D. Williamson is a deputy managing editor of National Review and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, just published by Regnery. You can buy an autographed copy through National Review Online here.

Tags: Debt , Deficits , Despair , Union Goons

DeMint: There Will Be No Bailout for the States


Here’s the question I put to Sen. Jim DeMint during a brief telephone interview last night:

Chances are pretty good that Illinois, California, and New Jersey, and maybe a dozen or more other states, are going to go broke — because they cannot meet their pension expenses. All told, the states are about $3 trillion short, and they’re going to come looking to Congress for a bailout. Are you going to write that check, or are you going to let them hang and watch the municipal-bond market collapse? Which angry mob do you want to face?

Senator DeMint did not exactly say, “We’re going to let the municipal-bond market collapse,” but it sure sounded a lot like that. Republicans have a three-part plan for the states’ fiscal crises:

First, create a legal process to allow states to renegotiate debts and union contracts in something akin to bankruptcy.

Second, forbid a congressional bailout of the states.

Third, forbid the Fed to buy states’ debt as part of a freelance Ben Bernanke bailout.

In other words, prepare a site for crash-landing state finances and then forcibly guide them to it.

That third part is interesting, no? Republicans are looking askew at the Fed’s new career as at-large bailout-maker.

The Republicans’ plan looks pretty ugly, but I do not see any plausible alternatives. And I see one big opportunity: This is the chance to pry the parasitic government-employee unions off the body politic. They have bankrupted the states, and the resulting crisis gives us the means and the opportunity to put an end to their plunder. When those contracts get renegotiated, Republicans should insist that they address more than pensions.

—  Kevin D. Williamson is a deputy managing editor of National Review and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, just published by Regnery. You can buy an autographed copy through National Review Online here.

Tags: Bailouts , Debt , Deficits , Despair , the Fed , The States , Union Goons

Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review