The Unions Aren’t Completely to Blame for this One… [Reader Post]

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Yes, you read that headline correctly, and this will probably draw a lot of friendly fire. First off, any of my regular readers know that I have no love for the unions. I’ve argued previously that public employee unionization is mostly unnecessary, and I’d just as soon see the same plague that killed the Twinkie and has spent decades rotting the auto industry should not be allowed to do the same to our public sector. And I am offering no excuses for the slime balls who assaulted the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) tent regardless of who might be harmed inside when it came down or the coward who sucker punched Steven Crowder.

First off, for those of you unfamiliar with the background, the Michigan State House & Senate passed a resolution to make Michigan a right to work state. The union bosses, who believe in high paying jobs for the few and misery for the many, marshaled their forces for mass protests in the capitol. Showing the "civil dialogue" that one should expect from the left, we had Michigan State Rep Douglass Geiss saying "there will be blood" from the house floor, we had trashing of public property, and massive police cordons to prevent further violence. This came to a head when the AFP set up a sizable tent (I heard it could hold 800 people) in the middle of the fray for a counter protest. The union proceeded to civilly start tearing at the tent with box cutters, Fox News contributor Steven Crowder was also on the scene interviewing union members when one decided to exercise his right to free speech by punching Crowder in the face. Part of this was on Crowder, as he tried pleading with some unionistas that there were women and elderly inside the tent while they were busy peacefully pulling up the stakes to bring the tent down on top of the people inside. A good summary, along with plenty of video footage, appears at The Other McCain blog. But my question to the AFP is this – "What were you thinking?"

You know what leftist rallies are like – Last year we had the thieves and rapists found in the Occupy Wall Street camps busy destroying public property, whether by outright vandalism or simply ruining the public spaces that they occupied. We saw in Wisconsin how the public union employees trashed the capitol building – nice to see that these public servants show so much regard for the taxpayers who they claim to serve. And I got to see this manner of peaceful protest firsthand at AFP’s November 2011 Defending the American Dream Summit here in DC. The members of the local occupy movement came out and surrounded the venue, pounding on glass doors and windows and screaming to be let in. They proceeded to peacefully shove to the ground an 80 year old woman who had to be treated at a local hospital, then when those inside asked if they could bring through an elderly blind couple to get to their car the occupiers civilly screamed louder and continued to bang on the windows, not allowing passage. They also bravely placed their children in front of them to act as human shields – hey, it works for the Palestinians in getting world support. The bottom line is AFP knew that they were dealing with a bunch of animals, and intentionally put its own in harm’s way. If you’re a young and attractive woman who wants to raise awareness for sexual assaults, you don’t go jogging in New York’s Central Park wearing hot pants and a halter top until something terrible happens. If you want to expose racism in the black community you don’t walk around Harlem wearing a sandwich board with racial slurs painted on it – that is unless you’re a cop being blackmailed by the brother of the ringleader behind the heist at Nakatome Plaza. This in no way takes the responsibility from those who might commit the acts of violence against the victims in my two examples, but there is also a degree of responsibility that goes with not placing oneself into dangerous situations.

To reiterate, in no way am I excusing the behavior for the union members who committed these acts of violence or the Democrat Party leaders and members of the press who coddle them. Nor do I think that their actions should be unopposed – there’s nothing wrong with standing up for the working people and the Michigan economy as a whole, but there’s a right way and a wrong way. Knowing how leftist protesters react to opposing views and the reluctance of the police to give them the treatment they deserve for breaking the law going in large to one of their rallies just doesn’t make sense. What was gained from this episode? Did they think that the media would expose this violence from union thugs, just like they did with the Occupy Movement? When I first checked on this as the story was developing on Tuesday night CNN’s site made no mention of the violence, MSNBC mentioned some minor scuffles outside a tent, and of course Fox News had full coverage. This is good for exposing the union thugs and firing up the conservative base, but what chance is there of this message getting to most of the country through the MSM firewall? Was this episode really worth putting our people in danger?

What would I have recommended? That’s a tough question. Send in a few reporters like Crowder to do interviews on the ground. There is still a some risk involved, but there is much less without a massive lightning rod for the leftists to focus their hatred. I know local citizens want to get involved – get them in spots closer to the capitol building itself where there will be a strong police presence, have them at home on the phones melting the lines of Democrat & unions leaders, not to mention the local news outlets about why they aren’t condemning the union thuggery. I know there are other constructive methods of resistance that I can’t think of right now. Or do you actually want violence? If you do bring the numbers to be able to fight back when the violence you know is going to happen anyway starts. No, I’m not advocating this last idea in any way, but my point is that if you’re going to do a potentially bad thing do it right.

Last night was the first time I tuned into Hannity in a long time – I did it because I saw that Steven Crowder was going to be on. He gave his firsthand rundown of the action, and also informed us the $6,000 had already been pledged to find the man responsible for assaulting him. Crowder also threw out a challenge if the man wants to avoid prosecution – the two can face off in a ring MMA-style and all of the money raised to find the thug will be donated to the charity of the winner’s choice. I’ll be happy to see either of these outcomes happen, and if the fight were o be on Pay Per View I’d be tempted to buy.

Before I go I don’t want anyone to think that I have an axe to grind with AFP. I’ve done phone banking for them, and as a direct result of that I won a free pass to that Defending the American Dream Summit mentioned earlier. I got to hear some interesting speakers and was lucky enough to get a picture of myself with Andrew Breitbart shortly before his death. I know that the left likes to make out AFP as the shadow organization that fronts for the Eeeevil Grover Nordquist, but they seem to forget that conservatives have their right to their own "community organizers" as well. While I think that his definitions of following the no tax increase pledge are too rigid, having someone hold politicians’ feet to the fire over raising taxes is not a bad thing. And is he really any worse than the ideologues on the left who force their leaders to refuse to even talk about entitlement reform?

I’m all for fighting the powers that be, but let’s be sure that we’re smart about it.

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog

Blogging by the credo of "Making the world a more offensive place, one blog post at a time", Brother Bob started writing posts around the beginning of the Obama presidency over at Brother Bob's Blog. A born-again Existentialist and self-professed libertarian with conservative tendencies, he has ironically chosen to live in the Washington, DC area - deep behind enemy lines. He has always loved history, and spent eight years volunteering as a tour guide on weekends, giving over 200 tours to roughly 2,500 mostly foreign guests. His tours were highlighted by stories generally not found in the history books or most other tours, such as the importance of the Battle if Antietam, the origins or Arlington Cemetery, and dispelling the myths of FDR's New Deal. Although his favorite subject to blog about is Economics, as seen in his Economics for Politicians series, his posts try to address angles that other conservative writers and the mainstream media (naturally!) miss. "There's no point in putting up a post on a subject that someone smarter than me has already written". He believes in the "Happy Warrior" approach, and tries to inject humor in his posts, sometimes successfully. Two such examples are his posts comparing the modern left to the horrible Star Wars prequels, and analyzing the laments of a DC woman in search of a feminist boyfriend. Brother Bob lives with his very patient wife known as Sister Babe, and their fantastic son. Little Bob. Little Bob is also the reason that being a tour guide came to an end, as spending Saturdays raising a son takes priority over giving lectures to foreign visitors on the folly of Keynesian economics. BB is also grateful for the opportunity to take his place among the outstanding writers at Flopping Aces, appreciates every person who takes the time to read his posts, and especially those who join him in the conversation in the comments.

15 Responses to “The Unions Aren’t Completely to Blame for this One… [Reader Post]”

  1. 1


    Living close to Madison I know very well how many of these people behave and act especially in a mob type setting. While I understand AFP should have been able to be at the Michigan capitol and not have to worry about any sort of attack, reality on the other hand is that this is not the way union members and supporters act when whipped into a frenzy by their union leaders.

    Secondly, you aren’t going to change union members opinions or beliefs by being there with your counter protests. Most are fully baked into the union mentality and any logic used will simply fall on deaf ears. It’s why I did not venture to the capitol in Madison although there was one great picture that I wish I still had.
    A member of CC Riders motorcycle club standing outside of the capitol with a Don’t Tread on Me flag and another that read something like “Be civil people are watching” or something along those lines. Interestingly enough the mob chose to avoid him which was actually a smart move on their part.

  2. 2

    Nan G

    Our planet has two opposing sets of thinking about human conflict.
    American judges used to regularly let ”rapists” off with no jail or a light sentence because, ”that women should not have been drinking/wearing that tight skirt/in that place.”
    This is not heard in American courts (out loud) anymore.

    Conversely in Islam an ”uncovered” (Western dressed) woman or little girl is simply uncooked meat for cats on the street to eat.
    It is always the woman’s fault if she is sexually molested after going out in public.

    AFP set up its tent in the wrong ”neighborhood.”
    But that day, any part of that capital park would have been the wrong neighborhood.
    IF AFP did what the Left/union wanted they would disband and not do anything anywhere at all.
    And, just as being quiet in one’s own home is a tried and failed tactic for Christians under Sharia, so, too, AFP cowering into inactivity would not be enough for these unions.
    Their storefronts would be attacked.
    Their tax-free status would be attacked.
    They would STILL be targets.

    But, left out of that discussion is the role AFP played in getting the bill passed.
    Mike Flynn writes: Americans for Prosperity (AFP) was on the ground for the entire effort and was instrumental in channeling the efforts of thousands of grass roots activists to help the law’s passage.
    AFP President Tim Phillips said the massive base of grass roots activists that arose during the debate over ObamaCare, and propelled the GOP to historic victories two years ago, is still there.
    They key to getting them involved is a fight on principle.
    Phillips said that, even with short notice, AFP had hundreds of activists show up in Lansing on the climatic day.
    Rejecting ObamaCare exchanges for many states is a result of countless hours of work by activists in those states.
    Pension reform will be high on the activists’ agenda next year.

    So, AFP is not going to cower in a dark corner.

  3. 3


    Brother Bob;

    But my question to AFP is this – “What were you thinking?”

    I am not involved with AFP, and certainly don’t assume to speak for them, but why should that question even present itself? AFP, or any other conservative group, had as much right to be on that square as did the union goons who feel their gravy train is being threatened. As just as the unions brought in out-of-state supporters, I am sure that AFP did as well.

    Are we, as conservatives, who are tired of seeing unions destroy cities like Detroit, and force our taxes to increase to meet the ever growing demands of the public sector unions, simply to avoid the possibility of a confrontation because we know, and understand, that the union goods will probably turn to violence? It’s what they do, and have been doing, since the union riots of New York during the Civil War.

    It is sweetheart deal for the unions, if you really take a look at their tactics. They support elected officials, with shoe leather and money, who will, in turn, support their demands for more pay, more health care benefits, more days off with pay, more rules for what the union member is allowed to do, and not do, forcing companies, and governments, to keep in their employ those who should be fired. The Teacher’s Unions are a prime example of how the non-productive are rewarded. It is called “tenure” and is so bad that the City of New York created “rubber rooms” to deal with teacher’s who should have been fired, but could not be because of union pressure. Recently, GM had to rehire a number of union members who were caught drinking and smoking dope on their lunch our, returning to the assembly line under the influece of a controlled substance. GM should have not been forced to do that since, had one of those workers been injured due to their own actions, the company would have been sued for Heaven only knows how much money. Sorry, there is just something morally wrong with that system.

    No, Brother Bob, AFP, or any other conservative group, even if it was only a group of taxpayers standing alone, had the right to represent their views in Michigan just as the unions did, and to not do so because the unions have a history of violence, only makes us like those who, in other lands where injustice occurred, did nothing because they did not want to get involved and suffer the consequences of their involvement and the “risk involved?”

    If we assume that the unions will turn violent, and they will when their easy street is being threatened, and we fail to take the “risk” involved in showing their violence to the rest of the union, then we have no excuse when they continue to do what they do best; intimidation.

    When there were talks of bailing out the auto industry, or at least two of the Big Three, I read the UAW contract with General Motors. I was shocked to see what they had managed to get put into their contracts, going back to my days when I was familiar with the Chrysler contract. UAW members were entitled to days off that totalled almost three months, including Election Day, and the day before, Good Friday, as well as Holy Thursday, pay during model change (which used to be two weeks in September and all the Chrysler employees planned their vacations during that time so there was no loss of pay), laid off workers still got paychecks if they sat in the union hall all day (much like the “rubber rooms”) or if they lived more than 50 miles from the nearest union hall, they were still kept on the payroll in case a union worker didn’t show for work, they could be called up, with 24 hours notice, of course. A UAW worker who set tires on a vehicle was not allowed to place hubcaps on the same vehicle. If the man who set the tires was out sick, the company called the union hall, requested a worker who was authorized to set tires, and had to pay him extra for even showing up on the job. All positions were job specific, and one could not do another member’s job. The contract was an abomination to all rational thinking people. Yet, it was voted on, enacted and helped to cause the downfall of the American auto industry.

    Sorry, but I have to disagree with you on this one.

  4. 4


    Your sarcasm is a bit confusing, Bob, since you are ultimately challenging the balance of blame. Some of the wrongs were civil, while others were both civil and criminal. e.g. Even if Crowder doesn’t press a tort charges, the DA could still press criminal charges for wrongs against society.

    Bob wrote:

    To reiterate, in no way am I excusing the behavior for the union members who committed these acts of violence or the Democrat Party leaders and members of the press who coddle them

    When your title says, “The Unions Aren’t Completely to Blame for this One…” it implies that some of the blame belongs to AFP and Crowder, so you are excusing union members from some of the blame. Your message is contradictory.

    Instead, what I think you mean to say is that the AFP and Crowder could reasonably expect hostility and, in your opinion, more harm was done than helping the cause.

    I agree that violence was a distinct possibility, but clearly exposing immoral and illegal tactics (without resorting to violence in turn) is always good. And it only serves to further expose the media that does not cover it and the police who do not protect them.

    If the AFP and Crowder are willing to take the risk, more power to them. They seemed to handle it very well.

  5. 5

    James S.

    Your premise only works if you think the union members are emotionally children. That they cannot help throwing temper tantrums and getting into fist fights when others disagree with them. The obligation to behave civilly is on the union as well as those that disagree with them.

  6. 6



    Bobachek says –
    “While I understand AFP should have been able to be at the Michigan capitol and not have to worry about any sort of attack, reality on the other hand is that this is not the way union members and supporters act when whipped into a frenzy by their union leaders.

    Bobacheck ummm… you forgot to add “by their union leaders” —>…AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES….don’t forget the Ofraud – he just loves whipping people into a frenzy…

    Thugs are all these people are….they are a disgrace… period!

  7. 7

    Brother Bob


    @Bobacheck: Damned shame that the CC Rider didn’t get more publicity, but sadly that’s never the story with leftist violence

    @Nan G: Thanks for the info on AFP’s role in getting the bill passed

    @retire05 & Kevin: Great points, both. I think that my biggest issue is not so much coming out in opposition but the way it was done. A massive tent in the middle of the battlefield serves as a good target. And did anyone actually expect something like this not to happen? If you’re going to go in, go big – have enough of your own numbers to be able to keep the thugs from even thinking of attacking. That won’t happen, but at the very least we should have had more cameras on the ground, hidden or in plain sight, to capture the inevitable. The final piece of this is that the GOP and conservative leaders who go on the news shows confront these cowardly talking hairdos for suppressing the bad behavior of their own kind. But that’s a post in itself for another time…

    @James S: Sad but true.

  8. 8


    Governor Snyder of Michigan and his cronies did nothing but push RTW in a lame duck session. It should have been put on the ballot. RTW laws are only to weaken unions. Snyder is on record as saying that he had no interest in RTW in Michigan. Snyder, Haslam (TN), Walker (WI) are the thugs!

  9. 10


    Brother Bob,
    That’s all fine and well to have one’s work judged on it’s merit, just depends on who’s doing the judging. That can work and does in a well managed shop. I’ve also seen the flip side of that too many times where favoritism and being friends with the boss prevails.

  10. 11


    Let’s see;

    I belonged to a union for almost 2 years (my union dues were taken out of my bi-weekly paychecks throughout this time). Yet, I later was told that I didn’t actually “belong” to the union because I had “missed an important meeting” back when I first started the job. So, I was in the union enough to have dues taken from my pay, but not enough to be “in” the union. And no, I had zero recourse of getting my money back.

    Then there was the time I worked for more than 5 years @ 5.5 days a week for a non-union business that “talked” me, and every other employee, into working through our 10:am, 12 noon, and 2:pm breaks. I would have walked away from this job except for the fact that the economy was in a downturn at the time.

    As for the “pay based on merit” comment; well… that doesn’t work when certain coworkers are judged according to the ethnicity, race, or some other “disadvantage/disability”… I’m sure that I’m not the only white person in here who has been shafted by this nonsense (i.e. “privileged” coworkers who do lousy work while routinely showing up late, or not at all, without paying the consequences like the rest of us).

    Unfortunately, there is (imo) no real answer to these problems due to the fact that our political system is full of socialist lib/Dems and corporate bribed RINOs.

  11. 12


    @FMB42: I can’t speak for all unions, but I am a member of the UAW and in the UAW you’d never be dismissed from the union because you missed a meeting. That is just not going to happen! Nor have we ever had any mandatory member meetings. We don’t work that way and never will. We recently got our first contract ratified overwhelmingly and we have Grievance/Arbitration which is priceless and worth what I pay in union dues!

  12. 13

    Brother Bob


    I’ve worked for companies that engage in that kind of cronyism, and allow the incompetent to rise. Fortunately it’s a free country and I left each of them to go to places that have treated me fairly, while those companies all wound up failing. Sadly for them but luckily for the rest of us they didn’t have unions powerful enough to force the taxpayers to bail them out.

  13. 15

    Brother Bob


    @Jeff D: Exactly how does not being forced to join a union equate abolishing them? Does this mean that your failure to pick up my bar tab make you a prohibitionist? Remember, Hitler would have fit in great with the Occupy Wall Street crowd – he was a vegetarian, failed artist who hated the banks and loved big state solutions. Of course, his one flaw was making anti-Semitism unfashionable for a few decades, but it looks like his views are finally being embraced again!

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