Thursday, May 20, 2010
Fortune columnist Nina Easton writes about a recent incident on her block:
Last Sunday, on a peaceful, sun-crisp afternoon, our toddler finally napping upstairs, my front yard exploded with 500 screaming, placard-waving strangers on a mission to intimidate my neighbor, Greg Baer. Baer is deputy general counsel for corporate law at Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), a senior executive based in Washington, D.C. And that -- in the minds of the organizers at the politically influential Service Employees International Union and a Chicago outfit called National Political Action -- makes his family fair game.
It's worth reading all of Easton's piece, and a partial response over at Huffpo (and, of course, the comments as well) to see that this could be described as a skirmish between the vanguard-left and the center-left (Baer worked in the Clinton administration, and his wife was formerly an advisor to Hillary Clinton). There's a small possibility this was a set-up of street theatre (that is, Baer knew in advance), but I seriously doubt it.
This story got air play on FOX News today, with one commentator stating that the SEIU has close ties to the current White House (true, in the sense that SEIU boss Andy Stern -- soon to step down -- has visited the Obama White House frequently), and alleging that the White House may have had foreknowledge of this rally, and tacitly approved of it in an effort to score political points as the financial regulation bill is being debated on the Hill. That's a pretty serious charge, and if true, means that we're sort of having an American mini-version of the Menshevik-Bolshevik street conflict. I exaggerate, but not greatly.
So, we are at a point where someone who is not a particularly senior officer at a publicly-held company can be targeted for union protests at his house ("IN MY HOME! IN MY BEDROOM! Where my wife sleeps... and my children play with their toys"). Remember, Baer is a deputy general counsel, meaning his decision making authority is pretty minimal in the greater scheme of things at Bank of America. In theory, the SEIU could get upset at any company, either for "charging too much" for its products or services, or simply not agreeing to hire its members. If I'm an officer of any standing at a listed company, I don't think I want my address known, nor (given the prevalence of Google Maps street view) would I post photos of the front of my house on the web. Evidently, it has come to that.
Next thing you know, we'll have former Clinton administration officials buying .30-30 rifles for home security.
UPDATE: Suggestions by commenters below as to how to best deal with difficult SEIU protest situations are helpful, and require a bit of pop culture visual reference:
With a nod to commenter PDQuig, the scene from Animal House when Bluto smashes the guitar (bonus points if you can name the singer) --
With a nod to frequent commenter Boludo Tejano, from the Seinfeld episode "The Fire" --
GEORGE: You know what you oughta do. You should go to her office and heckle her.
JERRY: Yeah, right.
GEORGE: You know, like all the comedians always say, 'How would you like it if I came to where you work and heckled you?'
JERRY: Yeah, that'd be something.
GEORGE: I'm not kidding, you should do it.
JERRY: But wouldn't that be the ultimate comedian's revenge? I've always had a fantasy about doing that.
GEORGE: Well, go ahead! Do it!
JERRY: Why can't I?
GEORGE: No reason!
JERRY: You know what? I think I'm gonna do that! She came down to where I work, I'll go down to where she works!
GEORGE: This is unprecedented!
JERRY: There's no precedent, baby!
GEORGE: What...are you using my babies now?
New scene - Toby in her office at Pendant. Jerry pokes his head in the door.
JERRY: Hey, nice shoes. What, you wear sandals to work? It's always nice to walk into a room and get the aroma of feet. That's real conducive to the work atmosphere. I'm sure your co-workers really appreciate it. 'Hey, let's go eat in Toby's office. Great idea! We can check on her bunions!'
TOBY: You know, I have work to do here! I'm very busy!
JERRY: Oh, is this disruptive? You find it hard to work with someone...interrupting?
TOBY: Well, how would you like it if I called security?
JERRY: Security? Well, I don't know how you're gonna make it in this business if you can't take it! Ya gotta be tough! Booo! Boooo!
Kramer arrives just as Toby gets upset and storms out.
KRAMER: Wait a second, what's happenin' here? Toby! Toby!
The SEIU wouldn't dare trespass in Texas.
DC, of course, is far more civilized.
I'm really torn here. This story illustrates the beauty of Make My Day laws. My state has 'em, and numerous of those people on the law would have found themselves staring down the receiving end of buckshot if it were my home.
On the other hand, Baer is a Democrat--a member of the party of gun control. He picked his poison. Screw him. I hope the protesters rip his property to shreds.
Separately, where the hell were the police?
Where will this type of thing end?
Is it effective in influencing the targeted?
If you legally fired upon the crowd yourself, who is to say one of them might come back and lob a Molotov cocktail into one of your children's bedrooms at 3:00a.m.?
I fear if this type of tactic is used more and more, eventually it will end badly for somebody.
They may be targeting a lefty in this case but there is no reason why they couldn't do the same thing to someone on the Right.
Of course, the left completely disregards the responsibility of the mortgagee to meet the contractual obligations that he agreed to and signed documentation explaining the consequences of such shortcoming on his part. And they wonder why inner city tax jurisdictions are rotting away, think Detroit. By the way, where do Andy Stern, Peter Orzag, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, etc, etc, live ? Perhaps a few similar types of visits by those of conflicting position might "exite" them.
" Next think you know, we'll have former Clinton administration officials buying .30-30 rifles for home security." Your average shotgun is a much more effective crowd control device. How fortunate these thugs didn't scare the kid into doing something rash, and irreversible.
What needed to have happened, in dialogue form:
“Attention: This is the police. All of you who are standing next to the house or on the grass are trespassing. You have two minutes to remove yourself to public property or face arrest Be aware you are all under video surveillance at this time, which can and will be used against you at trial.”
“(repeat): This is your last warning.”
“Attention: This is the police again. Those of you standing next to the house or on the grass are now under arrest for trespassing. Please sit down and an officer will be by in a moment to cuff you, get your ID, read you your rights, and load you into the police van. If you attempt to leave at this point you will also be charged with resisting arrest.”
“Next defendant please. You stand accused of resisting arrest and trespassing. How do you plead?”
“Guilty? Very well, $3,000 dollar fine plus court costs and 30 days public service.”
“Not guilty? Very well, bail is set at $20,000, the trial date will be set next week.”
Heck, at $3k each, a police department could make quite a haul for a nice afternoon. Just in that one photo, I see a couple of nice new cruisers and a couple boxes of ammo for the range.
You will see more of this... it is the hallmark MO of this administration -- yes, the Obama administration.
Make no mistake; don't kid yourself otherwise. This is what it is coming to and we are being pushed into it in a deliberate effort to divide the general populace! People divided can't discern the real problems and act collectively.
Breitbart uncovers three interesting facts about the protest.
First, the Washington DC cops escorted the protesters to the residence, out of their jurisdiction and without notifying the local cops. Frigging unreal.
Second, Nina Easton is now the object of the SEIU's hatred, and under coordinated attack. That's what you get for daring to speak out I guess. Will this cause a chilling effect on the press, do you think? (don't bother answering; that question was asked in a sarcastic tone.)
And, lastly, the SEIU owes an amazing amount of money to bank creditors. Since 2002 the union has upped it's borrowing from $8 million to $156 million dollars. The largest single bank creditor? Bank of America, to which the union owes "nearly $95 million". Is this how one negotiated with one's creditors now?
As usual, Breitbart is better at real journalism than much of the MSM (Nina Easton excepted apparently).
At my age it would almost be worth spending the last years of my life in jail for emptying a few of my Glock's 33-round capacity magazines into the SEIU crowd on my lawn. Then, like Belushi breaking the guitar at the party in Animal House, you shrug and say, "Sorry."