Nina Easton’s account of the SEIU demonstration that terrorized the son of her next-door neighbor — the deputy general counsel of Bank of America — has drawn remarkably little attention. That’s the way that SEIU wanted it; the union only alerted one of its handmaidens at the Huffington Post of the event. Easton notes that only “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.”
Easton provided a straightforward eyewitness account of the demonstration, purportedly protesting mortgage foreclosures. Based on her reporting, Easton concludes that the protest was something of a pretext. She offered an explanation of SEIU’s demonstration based on its current organizing goals and noted in passing that “SEIU, suffering financially, owes the bank nearly $4 million in interest and fees. Bank of America declined comment on the loans.”
Easton is almost certainly on to something. We should pause to consider the event she witnessed long and hard. It provides another window onto the phenomenon that Michael Barone has dubbed “gangster government.”
The folks at Big Government and Big Journalism have followed up on Easton’s column. They note that the union and the lapdogs at Huffington Post and Media Matters have attacked Easton for reporting on the doings in her yard.
Big Journalism reports that the union demonstrators at the Bank of America lawyer’s house outside Washington, D.C., had a police escort. The escort comprised D.C. police offers; the primary role of the Washington cops in this event was to protect the protesters. Big Journalism observes:
A caravan of SEIU buses receive a Metropolitan (D.C.) Police Department escort to a private home in Maryland where the protesters, from all appearances, violate Montgomery County law by engaging in a stationary protest. The Montgomery County police were not informed by their cross-jurisdictional colleagues of the impending, unusually large protest pending in their jurisdiction.
What’s up with that? Had the mob decided to torch the house, the D.C. police would not have been authorized to intervene. Not their jurisdiction. They’re just escorts. Meanwhile, a teenage boy is home alone [at the Bank of America lawyer’s house], frightened by what’s happening outside his front door.
Big Government also takes a look at the loans SEIU has taken out with Bank of America. The aptly named LIberty Chick reports that as of 2007, the SEIU owed Bank of America nearly $95 Million. By the end of 2008, SEIU owed more than $156 Million in total outstanding liabilities. Ms. Chick speculates: “Perhaps all that campaigning for President Obama has emboldened the union to think that they deserve a free pass on their debts to Bank of America, and encouraged them to employ their usual thuggish shakedown tactics.”
At this point it is safe to make one point at least. The event outside Nina Easton’s house deserves more attention than it has received to date.
UPDATE: The Washington Examiner arrives on the scene today in its editorial: “No more police escort for union thugs.”
MORE: The Examiner editorial has been updated to note the denial of an escort by the D.C. police.