February 24, 2011

Rhode Island Union Rally Gets National Notoriety

Marc Comtois

As first reported on the Matt Allen Show, Adam Cole was in a confrontation with a union brother at the recent union solidarity rally held at the State House. National blogs are picking up the story, particularly the quote from a union brother, "“I’ll f**k you in the ass, you faggot!” Nice. Here's the video (confrontation starts around the 7 1/2 minute mark).

Another, longer video shows similar attitudes though, to be fair, it also shows that Cole and his fellow camera-wielders were somewhat confrontational during the pre-rally--asking about the Tea Party (and at least one mentioning that President Obama isn't a U.S. citizen and some One World Order stuff....Oy). That being said, it doesn't excuse a union brother threatening to "take them outside and stick it [the camera] up your a**" (about 7 minutes into the aforementioned longer video).

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And yet the GA is seriously considering "card check" legislation that would encourage such thuggery as a primary means of organizing?

This video should be seen by the entire Labor committee and the bill withdrawn by its sponsors.

Posted by: BobN at February 24, 2011 12:52 PM

Are you kidding me? What a bunch of f'n retards. It's like Jonestown!

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at February 24, 2011 2:50 PM

There are bad apples and lunatics on both sides of the debate to be sure, but this should not be a surprise to anyone who has dealt with these types before. Especially when their eyes roll back in their heads and they enter into their angry "solidarity" mob mentality. As somebody who has witnessed and personally faced down union intimidation in the workplace before, this kind of behavior is unfortunately very familiar to me.

Posted by: Dan at February 24, 2011 3:14 PM

Seemed alot like a tea party rally only with a bit more diversity.

Posted by: triplerichard at February 24, 2011 3:24 PM

I think it's great that union people try to claim to not be "thugs", yet that's exactly what this idiot does. Oh wait, no only did he do it, but he did it ON CAMERA!

And notice the immediate chants. They didn't even have solidarity there. People standing side by side had different chants going on.

Stupidity knows no bounds sometimes.

Posted by: Patrick at February 24, 2011 3:34 PM

We have a joke when on a fire or emergency scene, where nobody wants to be on camera. If a rookie happens to be lingering around we tell him to point at something-anything, or run. Guaranteed camera time.

Idiots and naivety abound. Take what you will from video, what matters is the overall message, which is often lost in the sea of stupidity. That message being that labor, ie. public and private union members owe a lot to their respective organizations, and the people who fought for the current labor laws which are under attack by representatives of the conservative movement, and will rally when attacked.

Private sector union members are not so blind as to think that separating from the public sector will advance their cause. The barrage negativity that surrounds labor as it stands today will dissipate when what is at stake becomes clear.

What is at stake you ask? Ask the private sector union members who are out of work while their former jobs are being done for slave wages in third world countries. Those laborers won't stay down for much longer, as current events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya show.

These are pivotal times. Labor will prevail.

Posted by: michael at February 24, 2011 4:15 PM

Michael - Rhetoric aside, how do you feel about state laws that require people to join unions against their will when they join a workforce? If you support these laws, what is your moral justification for denying people full freedom of association? I'd genuinely like to know.

Posted by: Dan at February 24, 2011 4:24 PM

"Ask the private sector union members who are out of work while their former jobs are being done for slave wages in third world countries. "

They're jobs are gone because Democrats have taxed their employers to the point where they can't afford to keep these jobs here.

Posted by: glockster at February 24, 2011 4:31 PM

"What is at stake you ask? Ask the private sector union members who are out of work while their former jobs are being done for slave wages in third world countries. Those laborers won't stay down for much longer, as current events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya show."

I also don't understand the reasoning here. The reason these jobs have been moved overseas is because labor costs in America are more expensive due to unionization, labor laws, taxes, etc. If you want to bring the jobs back, shouldn't you be arguing for less unionization and not more?

Posted by: Dan at February 24, 2011 4:43 PM

As mentioned in a previous thread, I am too dumb to respond to questions pertaining to legal issues or anything else that does not pertain to firefighting or emergency medical services and will keep my inferior complexed opinions pertaining to such matters to myself.

I will, however continue to make emotionally driven statements based on nothing other than my own opinions and my reaction to events as they unfold.

Posted by: michael at February 24, 2011 4:47 PM

All I was asking for was your opinion, Michael. Hence the word "feel." I want to know if you support laws that force people to join unions against their will when they are hired.

Posted by: Dan at February 24, 2011 4:51 PM

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come".
Hiding the facts is no longer an option. The viral new media, as evidenced in this video, will only hasten the demise of your "brothers". People are wise to why their taxes are going up while their services are being cut.
Public employee unions became egregious pigs. Public employee labor has seen their best days. It's simple math. Very simple math. To argue that this is some passing fancy indicates total lack of understanding.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at February 24, 2011 4:56 PM

Just log onto youtube.com and type in Tea Party into the search box.


Better than the Comedy Channel

Posted by: Sammy at February 24, 2011 5:08 PM

Just go to youtube.com
type Tea Party into the serch box


Better than the Comedy Channel

Posted by: Sammy at February 24, 2011 5:11 PM

What that guy said was pretty gay. Why would a straight man yell that phrase at ANY man unless they were in prison? Seems to me the guy with the pencil mustache had his "now out of the closet" moment in a fit of rage.

Posted by: dave at February 24, 2011 6:13 PM

It's unfortunate that both sides seem to focus on the worst outliers from each other. The second video is basically a crazy guy mumbling about Obama being from Kenya while keeping a camera trained on Pat Crowley. That's hardly informative, it's rabble-rousing.

Also, imagine what these people think of the Tea Party if these dopes are walking around saying 'Teapotty, teapotty, teapotty' like it's the cheeseburger skit on SNL.

Did anyone else notice how high the average age appears to be at this event? My guess is that there are a lot of younger, lower-step teachers salivating over the idea of having a more stable position next year if things are shaken-up on merit, and not just according to seniority. I know great young teachers who get pink-slipped every year, and sometimes have to revert to substituting because there are entrenched older workers who are holing on via seniority alone. Sure, experience has value, but if we measure results, 'experience' would speak for itself, and pink slips would be sent out on merit.

Posted by: mangeek at February 24, 2011 7:02 PM

Labor will prevail.
Posted by michael at February 24, 2011 4:15 PM

The public payroll predators have ALWAYS prevailed in this state since 1934.
Which is why we're doing SO great!

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at February 24, 2011 7:44 PM

Lets take a step back here.

First, teaparty rallies have had some seriously goonish antics take place as well.

Second, The Gov of Wisconsin is on tape saying he considered planting disrupters in the Wisconsin rally crowd but did not because he thought it would backfire if there were incidents large enough to cause people to want him to comprimise to just to end the protests and violence.

Third, Mark Williams, the former head of the Tea Party emailed supporters advising them of the following:
"impersonate SEIU organizers at upcoming labor rallies in an attempt to embarrass and discredit the union."

"Williams lays out a highly dishonest and fairly involved scheme to have “plants” sign up on the SEIU website to be organizers for an upcoming rally, dress up in SEIU shirts, target cameras and to then make outrageous comments to reporters covering the events such as "screw the taxpayers" and "You OWE me!" in order to “make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is”...

Considering this, Id like to see the proof that the offending party at the RI rally was indeed a Union member.

Not saying he wasnt, I dont know. Im saying, its proven that its not above the GOP and the Teaparty.

Posted by: Rich at February 24, 2011 8:07 PM

"Considering this, Id like to see the proof that the offending party at the RI rally was indeed a Union member."

Why, Rich, that's easy. The unions love sticking it to us up the @$$. It's what they do. That's what this hullabaloo is all about.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at February 24, 2011 9:59 PM

Between the infiltration. And parking police cars outside Wisconsin senators' homes (nice way to spy on innocent family members), it's become no holds barred. I'm already hearing tales of friendships ruined and family members not speaking to each other because of this union stuff.
I treat it with people I know like I'm a Red Sox fan and they're a Yankee fan - good-natured fun, long as nobody takes it to the next level.

Posted by: bella at February 24, 2011 10:19 PM

It seems as if these guys went looking for trouble and unfortunately they found it. They were clearly at he rally to push buttons and provoke. Do these guys represent the best of Rhode Island Republicans. They seemed like to very limited individuals who were just out to provoke some trouble.

Posted by: triplerichard at February 24, 2011 10:22 PM

Give me a f***in' break. Mr. Cole (whom I've known personally since the 9th grade) is a notorious rabble-rouser. The idea that this was unprovoked is utterly preposterous. Of course, that doesn't excuse a guy from being aggressive (especially in such tight quarters), but this "assault" would have barely registered as such in any other circumstance. Besides this, the way he characterized the event to me was completely different than what you see on film. For instance, he it took thirty minutes and 5 calls to 911 before security arrived and when they did, the crowd cheered the perp on. In reality it took less than one minute (three if you count the time it took to get through the crowd) and the crowd was clearly cheering in FAVOR of Mr. Cole. Stuff and nonsense, I tell ya.

Posted by: Ron Barron at February 24, 2011 11:21 PM

It looked like there was intent to provoke on both sides to be honest.
The union guy in the sweatshirt was definitley threatening the cameraman and the "We Are Change"people were throwing out the "Obama was born in Kenya" stuff-a good recipe for a confrontation.
I did notice Crowley hanging out with the most inflammatory union people.
All these rallies at the Statehouse bring out the bomb throwers on both sides.
It all devolves into street theatre.

Posted by: joe bernstein at February 25, 2011 3:40 AM

The attempt above to portray Mark Williams as a leader of the Tea Party is another dishonest smear of the Tear Party.

It is factually wrong in several ways:

1. Williams is not in a leadership position in the Wisconsin Tea Party. He is well-known as a guy who makes extreme statements, and few, if any, Tea Party members take him seriously. His statements are his own and I doubt that anyone took his advice.

2. There is no evidence that anyone took Williams's advice.

3. Rich's asserts "Im [sic] saying, its proven that its not above the GOP and the Teaparty." Where's your proof, Rich? Without convincing evidence, I'm calling your statement a lying smear.

Posted by: BobN at February 25, 2011 8:14 AM

triplerichard wrote:
"Do these guys represent the best of Rhode Island Republicans."

You can hear Alan Cole saying he works for Capitol TV. Capitol TV works at the pleasure of the Speaker. So are you saying that Gordon Fox is employing Rhode Island Republicans at Capitol TV and this represents the opinions of Gordon Fox?

But because the guy's behavior in the video is *so* stereotypical union thuggery, it really does make me wonder whether he was a plant. Add on to that his suspicious "You're ruining America!" statements. Since when did unions care about people "ruining America"?

Until the guy in the video is identified, I'm not convinced that he is a union member.

Posted by: Patrick at February 25, 2011 9:22 AM

I'm pretty sure I've met that guy at Nick-A-Nees, and he was chatting with a local organizer. I think it's pretty safe to say he's legit union. Not a teacher or muni worker, though, I think he works for some sort of construction outfit.

Either way, a few individuals acting like bozos shouldn't paint the picture for everyone. I spotted a few friends in the crowd, and they're great folks. I think stripping collective bargaining rights is a step too far, you can -limit- what can be bargained over in law, and that seems like a good compromise.

Posted by: mangeek at February 25, 2011 11:17 AM

Collective bargaining is not a "right". It is a special privilege afforded by statute, or a method of negotiation mutually agreed by the parties to the negotiation.

Rights, otherwise known as constitutional, human, or civil rights, are above the law and in this country are protected by the Constitution. Corrupt interpretation of the Constitution, initiated by the Supreme Court beginning in the 1940s after it was "packed" with Progressives by FDR, has distorted the concept of "rights" much to the detriment of our society.

It is important to keep the language clear of distortion and manipulation.

Posted by: BobN at February 25, 2011 11:44 AM

On the whole the people in the background look vacant-faced, being used for staging by the loudmouthed vocal old men in the foreground. No question there is a thug component to most of those guys on camera, suits or not.

Does anyone know who these people are? (1) old guy with the beard and ponytail; ? (2) old guy in red sweatshirt and beard moving around with the "stop the lies" sign; (3) old guy in hat with the gold emblem; (4) old guy speaker with plaid shirt who sounds like he's been screaming; (5) skinny old guy in Wisconsin red sweatshirt who appears to be intimate with Chafee.

I get the sense from this supportive rally that the public unions are run by a bunch of old white thugmen.

Posted by: riborn at February 25, 2011 11:50 AM

There's a 'thug' component to any group of people who feel as if they are about to lose something. It could be pay, job security, a few percentiles more of their property tax, abortions, their right to act as journalists...

And yeah, most of the folks on the 'ground floor' were officials or mid-tier employees from various local unions. I recognize them from out-and-about, on TV, or just visiting the state house to watch debate.

Posted by: mangeek at February 25, 2011 1:10 PM

Mangeek: What do you mean by that?

Is a homeowner or store owner witnessing a robbery of his property a "thug" because it is his stuff that is being stolen?

Is a family a "thug" because they litigate in Tax Court against an unfair valuation by the IRS of their parent's estate?

Were legal firearm owners in the UK "thugs" because a tyrannical government changed the law and forced them (at gunpoint, figuratively) to give their property to the government and be defenseless against violence for the rest of their lives?

I could come up with other examples, but hope you get the idea.

You might consider whether your statement reflect what you meant.

Posted by: BobN at February 25, 2011 2:05 PM

I'm saying that the 'emotionally-charged mob' feeling is present in many places. I've had Republicans shout me out of a room for suggesting that Moderates should be backed where no Republicans file to run for office. I was even called a baby-killer over that.

I will say that my experience overall has been that Republicans -tend- to be more willing to discuss issues than Democrats, and Libertarians much more so than either. The least friendly group to have a conversation with (in my opinion) are Progressives, because they start yelling as soon as you whip out a calculator.

Posted by: mangeek at February 25, 2011 2:21 PM


The Tea Party Nation supported Mark Williams idea and sent another EMail blast to its members calling it a "Great Idea."
Heres a link to an article with cached links to the original posts by Mr Williams and the Tea Part Nation endorsing it.


Here is the audio clip of Gov. Walker disgussing planting protesters as well was luring Democrats back under the guise of negotions in order to trick them into passing the bill while the legislature is in session.


Posted by: Rich at February 25, 2011 2:27 PM

Here's the second part of the audio clip

He also claims everyone is with him except public employees and their families when Fox news itself showed a poll that 66% of Wisconsin residents dont support abolishing collective bargaining.

Posted by: Rich at February 25, 2011 2:36 PM

TPN is one group among many, and while it might pretend to be a leader, it isn't.

It is not the style of the vast majority of Tea Partiers to stoop to such tricks, and while a few bomb-throwers might make noise with their loud mouths, I don't think that they count for much.

Given that the Left-aligned Big Media are on red alert for stories of wrongdoing by Tea Partiers, why aren't we seeing any? The most logical explanation is that it isn't happening.

Posted by: BobN at February 25, 2011 3:01 PM

(2) old guy in red sweatshirt and beard moving around with the "stop the lies" sign;

That's NEARI Secretary Lou Rainone. Notorious, ill-mannered, obnoxious trouble-maker in Cranston.

Posted by: Douglas Farnum at February 25, 2011 4:02 PM

Walker luring back Democrats who fled their official duties to torpedo the democratic voting process is supposed to reflect poorly upon him? If anthing, that just shows civic responsibility on his part. He is the chief executive of the state.

Posted by: Dan at February 25, 2011 4:41 PM

I dont think his ploy regarding lauring Democrats back is that big a deal. Thats just politics.

The fact that he considered planting imposters in the crowd to stir the pot and possibly incite violence is downright wrong. Whats scarier is the only reason he didnt do it was because if the violence and turmoil got too bad he might be pressured be the people of Wisconsin to cave in to quell the violence.

That he showed complete disregard for the fact the that such an ecalation could injure and endanger the people there as well as police who would have to eventually quell it is downright scary.

He put political gain over the safety of his people.

He said it himself

"I thought of that but my only gut issue with that is if escalated to the point where I would be pressured to cave in to quell the turmoil."

Posted by: rich at February 25, 2011 7:45 PM

"That he showed complete disregard for the fact the that such an ecalation could injure and endanger the people there as well as police who would have to eventually quell it is downright scary.

He put political gain over the safety of his people."

This just seems like posturing and hyperbole to me. I'm sorry, but I can't get that excited over something somebody "thought about" and then rejected. But he THOUGHT about it! So what, actions are what matter. I think about robbing banks sometimes. I've never actually done it.

Posted by: Dan at February 25, 2011 8:02 PM


I see that point. If he said I thought about it but the risk to the people outweighed the potential political gain Id have no problem.

He said I thought of it but if it got too violent and out of hand I might be pressured to give in.

It just says a lot about the man that that is his primary concern.

Posted by: Rich at February 26, 2011 1:01 AM

I liked the comments of Larry Purtill of the NEA. Whoever the person was who was responsible for that video seemed to have trouble concentrating on the speakers. (Maybe the type of hyperactivity and distraction so many teachers have to deal with on a daily basis) Notice though that the Capital police moved in to prevent an escalation and the person they had leave was the one who had made those offensive remarks. Just remember too that those officers while doing their jobs are also union members.

Posted by: Phil at February 27, 2011 7:57 AM

Although I was not at the rally above I did attend the one on Saturday and the same man who was walking around talking about the tea party showed up. STanding there minding my own business and in he comes...He was looking for trouble and trying to irritate people. Sorry but in this case both people was wrong but this guy was looking for a problem...

Posted by: Instigator shows up again at March 1, 2011 1:22 AM
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