October 1, 2009

Solidarity in Kicking the Blind Veteran into the Street

Justin Katz

Somehow I missed the story from last week that Joe Bernstein raises in the comments to the previous post. The Providence Journal story appears to have run on Saturday:

On Monday and Tuesday morning, [blind veteran Michael] Graichen said Friday, the bus driver explained there was a picket line [at the VA Hospital] he wasn’t going to cross, and he let Graichen out at Roger Williams Hospital. ...

A VA spokesman said his efforts to speak with protesters on Monday were met with profanities. Bullhorns and shouting disrupted traffic on Chalkstone, said James W. Burrows, director of communications at the VA Hospital. When he called the police, he said Thursday, the responding patrol cars honked in solidarity with the protesting unions.

On Wednesday, a 12-foot banner was added to the display. It said: "VA Medical Center / Construction workers with NO Health Care Insurance. / Shame on the VA."

On Thursday, Burrows said, a Providence police officer responded to the VA Hospital to tell protesters they had to stay on the sidewalk and not use the bullhorn.

By Friday morning, the tone had changed.

Think of the thoroughness of the union mentality (or dementality) necessary for no union members, of several occupations, to see the immorality of preventing disabled veterans from reaching the hospital or to take pains to minimize the effects of their "action.". The kicker? The picket wasn't even over current jobs, but was anticipatory of stimulus dollars potentially flowing out of state.

Yet, we allow the organizations that foster such an atmosphere and mentality to interweave themselves, through metastasis, into such critical public roles as police, fire, and education.


Comments Michael to the previous post:

It happened for a day, the bus drivers realized their mistake, the workers who were picketing apologized, in writing and the story should be over.

It appears to have happened for two days. More importantly, though, this was a "mistake" like mugging an old lady on a street corner is a "mistake." The point is that the perpetrator ought to know in advance that what he's doing is wrong.

And the story will not be over until the principles and practices of unionized groups are diverted from the culture of selfishness and aggression that fosters such "mistakes."

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I don't know what truly happened, only what was reported. My guess is the drivers drop the patients off at the door as a courtesy, rather than their exact route. Nobody is going to ditch a helpless person, union picket or no union picket. It the disabled vet was in need of help or asked for it every one of those picketing would have dropped their sign and helped that person out.

And that I do know.

This is a great story for certain people to hang their anti-union sentiments on, the John Dipetro's of the world are going to have a ball.

Posted by: michael at October 1, 2009 3:43 PM

The union members’ conduct is inexcusable. The lack of respect shown to veterans who need access to the VA hospital is a stain on every member of the unions they were representing. Shame on them all.

While the state may have no control over the picketers, there should be discipline coming to the bus drivers and police officers. Fire them, fine them, suspend them without pay, but make them pay. The only thing these legalized organizations of thugs care about or stand for is money. So take the money away from their members.

What a narcissistic crock that ‘if a veteran had asked for help the union members would have helped them’! I’m sure the veterans whose lives were made more difficult by those picketers were not of the mind that they should have to, or would ever, ask for help from unproductive mindless union lackeys who have nothing better to do than hinder veterans’ access to the VA hospital. By intefering with veterans getting to the VA hospital, by making a single veteran's life more difficult, the picketers loudly and clearly demonstrated one thing: they are more concerned with money and power than they are with veterans seeking medical care. Standing in the way of a disabled veteran getting to his doctor cannot be erased by an apology - written or not. Narcissists are easy apologizers, they are always "sorry" after they do whatever they want to exert their control and power.

The story is not nor should it be over. The story needs to be told and retold because it shows the true dangerous antisocial attitude of the unions. Such antisocial union actions must be widely reported, until people understand that unions are not about the public good, they are ONLY about money and power.

Posted by: riborn at October 1, 2009 5:00 PM

This is beyond disgusting. That it wouldn't occur to them that it was wrong until after the fact speaks volumes. I'm at a loss for words.

Posted by: Will at October 1, 2009 5:19 PM

Pile on gang, it's open season, who needs facts. This is way too easy for you folks, surely you can't believe the picketers intent was to stand in the way of disabled veterans. Stop and think for a minute, you are acting like sheep.

Posted by: michael at October 1, 2009 5:25 PM

Well, I'm sure their intention was to display numbers and create some tension so as to increase the cost of giving available dollars to other workers (because, you know, aggressive street protests are how everybody goes after business deals). That they weren't manifestly unconcerned about the effects that their picket of a hospital might affect those who needed care is egregious enough.

Would it be too much for you, Michael, to simply acknowledge that Rhode Island's unions had a week of stupidity of the sort that gives unions a bad name and that residents have a right to be incensed.

Or is it too thoroughly an "us versus them" game?

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 1, 2009 5:32 PM

Stupid? Of course it was stupid. I despise pickets, always have.

I'm not so sure about the state workers being stupid. I see this economy being used to destroy existing unions by opportunist polititians who should have done a better job managing the state from the start.

I'm not ignoring furthur comments, I just won't be anywhere near a computer for a while.

Posted by: michael at October 1, 2009 5:41 PM

Surprise, surprise! Just one more example of a bunch of lazy, stupid f'n union pigs!
michael , save your self-serving garbage.
Your f'n unions SUCK! They do more to destroy this state, and every municipality, than any other single element. They are a bunch of greedy, self-absorbed PIGS! I can't wait to see those pensions and health-care benefits slashed to the bone. That is exactly what you deserve for being such unmitigated PIGS!

Just curious. Is everyone starting to get a sense of what I have been saying for years. Is it finally becoming clear just what we are dealing with when it comes to these stinkin' f'n unions?? They do NOTHING but F the taxpayer.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at October 1, 2009 6:04 PM

I don't presume to know their "intentions," because unless they publicly stated them, or we all have a well-developed ability to mind-read, we can only know them by their actions.

As for the talk of sheep, that's ironically laughable. The apparent intention was to support the picket line no matter what -- and whatever else happened as a result seems to have been a secondary thought.

I'm glad that an apology was at least given to the offended party, but if people were thinking with their priorities intact, it shouldn't have been necessary at all.

Posted by: Will at October 1, 2009 7:16 PM

Rhode Island is and has been managed by politicians who answer to the unions. The state is on its knees because those politicians have been on their knees to the unions, bought and paid for. We will never have an honest general assembly majority serving the people until the existing unions are gone and the single lever voting option is outlawed. Otherwise it's taxpayers' money continuing to be used to the detriment of the citizens and state of Rhode Island.

The story about the picketing should get a front page. People should be named who picketed. The fact is that the picketing wasn't a mistake, it was an intentional, thought out action taken by a group of people who do not care about the common good or the people of the state of Rhode Island. They were not out there because they were trying to make Rhode Island a better place, or the hospital a better place, or to better the lives of the veterans who use the hospital. They were there for the money and power.

The more that people see unions for what they are - obsolete in their original intended usefulness and intent on taking as much power and money from the citizenry as they can, the better for Rhode Island.

Posted by: riborn at October 1, 2009 7:53 PM

Sounds like teabaggers at a health care meeting.

The tender concerns expressed by some of the writers in this blog would have much more moment if they had expressed similar concerns about the outrageous attitudes of the unruly thugs at many town hall meetings, where, "I'm sure their intention was to display numbers and create some tension so as to increase" the perception of their numbers.

Hi Justin, the first part of the quote is your words which are such nonsensical conjecture that any conclusion can follow.

I don't know what happened, but I'm betting Michael got it right.


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at October 1, 2009 10:08 PM

Wow, a four paragraph post from OTL and then he finally admits "I don't know what happened"

As for "the outrageous attitudes of the unruly thugs at many town hall meetings", let's see how well OTL scores on this little test:


Posted by: Patrick at October 1, 2009 11:59 PM

OTL-what seems to have happened is that some misguided asses driving buses tried to play the 'solidarity'game unasked and the result was that people with no dog in the fight and who shouldn't have been victimized were.
I have been to clinic appointments a few times since the picketing began and the pickets didn't interfere in any way with patients or medical staff entering or leaving.They gave out leaflets.
The bus drivers who did this should really be ashamed of themselves,but probably aren't or they wouldn't have done it in the first place.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 2, 2009 10:38 AM

Why do you allow commentary from Mike Capelli?

Posted by: michael at October 2, 2009 10:43 AM

Michael-I don't run this blog-i'm just a contributor like anyone else here,but I notice left wingers like Crowley are allowed to post here and spew their socialist propaganda without interference or a sissy "rating" system like they have on RIF.You seem to be a new poster here,and already you're trying to get a long time contributor banned.That is real "chutzpah",which translates to unmitigated gall.I may not agree with Mike(or anyone else here)
on various issued but I certainly want to hear what they say.Even Rhody.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 2, 2009 11:32 AM

I think Ive been around longer than you, Joe.

Posted by: michael at October 2, 2009 11:44 AM

Michael, Joe, lets call it a draw on AR tenure, ok.

There is nothing Mike Cappelli says that isn't true. In fact, I find his unfiltered statements, that are absent the sickening political correctness, very refreshing.

Mike Cappelli for Arbitrator!

Posted by: George at October 2, 2009 12:08 PM

Joe, since you're curious...
I've been up to the VA (mainly on Saturdays lately) quite a bit myself, and must admit I've yet to encounter picketers on my way in or out of the place. It's tough enough to get around in there without having to worry about people TRYING to disrupt traffic.
Basic human decency comes before the solidarity game, far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: rhody at October 2, 2009 3:15 PM

Rhody-are you calling me a liar?
I didn't get the picketers' leaflets from a pigeon dropping one in my hand.
I went there last Saturday for my flu shot and there weren't any pickets that I recall.Maybe they're only there on weekdays,and if you read what I said it wasn't the picketers that were at fault here.
Michael-you may be right if you're the fireman,in which case I stand corrected.I was a public employee union member for 26 years,so I certainly have creds on that issue.
Your book wasn't bad, by the way.
Mike Cappelli has a point of view and he voices it.You're free to disagree without having him banned.The thin skinned "revolutionaries"over at RIF are big on banning people.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 2, 2009 5:36 PM

Mike, don't bother trying to reason with "some" of these posters. They don't want the facts. Much like "some" of the posters at RIF.

The facts, as I heard on WJAR TV (which doesn't make them absolute), is that the bus driver(s) avoided crossing what they thought was a full fledged picket line. The protesters, from the beginning according to the news account, were holding an "informational picket". The purpose was to draw attention to their issue and "inform" people via conversation, signs and leaflets.

What happened was absolutely disgusting...but...it was an act of ignorance on the bus drivers part. He/she should have asked the picketers if it was a do-not-cross picket prior to avoiding the VA.

Posted by: Tom Kenney at October 2, 2009 7:36 PM

Throwing a blind veteran out on the street during an informational picket: "disgusting."

Throwing a blind veteran out on the street during an actual picket: a-okay.

Alrighty then.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 2, 2009 10:17 PM

Tom-To pick up on what Justin said:it doesn't matter what kind of picketing is going on-this is a hospital,not a department store.People(including myself) depend on their services for a lot of serious illnesses and the aftermath of injuries,most of which were incurred in the service of the American people.There is never an excuse to interfere with free passage of patients and providers at such a facility.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 2, 2009 11:03 PM

Justin & Joe,

I never said it was alright to block that veteran from going to the hospital if it were a do-not-cross picket line.

What I said was that the bus driver should have asked what type of picket it was if he/she were even considering "altering" his/her route in deference to the picket. Even then, I never said it would be justified.

Listen, I work at the Mt. Pleasant Ave. fire station and we're the first-in company to that campus. I don't care how sympathetic I might be toward their (the picketers) cause I wouldn't hesitate to cross that line for any type of response to the hospital.

A union delivery man who is delivering ink toner to the hospital, on the other hand, wouldn't cross a picket line - rightfully so, in my opinion. A true picket line (not an informational one) is designed to draw attention to your cause and to disrupt the company's normal operation of business - not to hurt the general public, and certainly not to discriminate against people with disabilities.

And just for the record - veterans of the US military (especially those who have been disabled due to their service) are true patriots and heroes in my eyes. They deserve much more respect and honor than they currently recieve. I salute them!

I called the result "disgusting". Justin, you seem to want (not surprisingly) me to "admit" that any do-not-cross or "informational" picket line should be banned. That is your belief, not mine...or the contitutions.

Posted by: Tom Kenney at October 3, 2009 9:37 AM

I don't think they should be banned. I think moral people should decline to participate.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 3, 2009 9:42 AM



Posted by: Tom Kenney at October 3, 2009 9:54 AM

Once again, Justin, in his guise as Little Jack Horner, defines morality for all of us.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at October 3, 2009 10:48 AM
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