May 24, 2010

SEIU vs Bank of America: Cooler Heads Needed

Cooler heads should prevail on this one.  Hot Air, (apparently as well as Big Journalism and Fox News' Nina Easton) all are covering the story about SEIU thugs protesting outside the home of a Bank of America executive. What transpired resulted in no arrests but it certainly violated standards for decent behavior.  Whatever happened to common decency? It wasn't on display here.

 Nina Easton, a neighbor of the executive in question summed up the situation very well;
Sunday's onslaught wasn't designed for mainstream media consumption. There were no reporters from organizations like the Washington Post, no local camera crews who might have aired criticism of this private-home invasion. With the media covering the conservative Tea Party protesters, the behavior of individual activists has drawn withering scrutiny.
Instead, a friendly Huffington Post blogger showed up, narrowcasting coverage to the union's leftist base. The rest of the message these protesters brought was personal-aimed at frightening Baer and his family, not influencing a broader public.

Of course, HuffPost readers responding to the coverage assumed that Baer was an evil former Bush official. He's not. A lifelong Democrat, Baer worked for the Clinton Treasury Department, and his wife, Shirley Sagawa, author of the book The American Way to Change and a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, is a prominent national service advocate.

In the 1990s, the Baers' former bosses, Bill and Hillary Clinton, denounced the "politics of personal destruction." Today politicians and their voters of all stripes grieve the ugly bitterness that permeates our policy debates. Now, with populist rage providing a useful cover, it appears we've crossed into a new era: The politics of personal intimidation.
The right is all amped up over it.  The left is all amped up over it.  But in order to avoid a tit-for-tat "hey let's go protest at the homes of SEIU leaders and see how they like it!" type of escalation, where Archduke Ferdinand ends up getting shot, cooler heads must prevail.

Cooler Heads Are Needed

SEIU continues to display at a minimum, poor judgement. The fact that they they owe BoA $4 million in interest and $90 million in loans seemingly gives them the sense that they have the right to strong arm people and their children at their homes.  But the real leverage belongs with BoA.  They can certainly call their loan and doing so isn't thuggery it's just business.  In fact it's a business response to a thuggish act.  And since the banks are reluctant to start the lending taps flowing again, now would not be a bad time to do so.

While that can certainly be seen as an escalation, it is also certainly legal.  What also is legal is a civil suit by the executive whose family, quite literally felt threatened by the acts of a mob.  While the mob broke no laws, they did break some ethical boundaries.  That sort of act should not go unembargoed.  But it must be done in a legitimate way.  Since the SEIU's ulterior motive is quite possibly about it's debt, that's where the leverage must be applied.

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