Did you know that exercising your constitutional rights to take part in a strike is the same thing as terrorism?
That's what Lowell Ponte thinks. From his May 2 Newsmax column:
On May 1 a little-reported act of domestic terrorism struck the United States.
It cost our economy between $1 and $2 billion, equivalent to the theft of up to $26.66 from every American family of four – money you and your family will be paying in higher prices.
Even more troubling is that those who conspired to assault us have not been arrested, jailed, or even removed from their high-security-risk positions.
What happened along the West Coast on Thursday was sabotage designed to send an ideological message – and to intimidate both companies and politicians with a display of disruptive union power.
Two years ago Americans were concerned that the Persian Gulf nation Dubai was acquiring facilities in American ports, and that this might somehow open us to an increased risk of Islamist terrorism. These are not the only potential terrorists.
What terrorist event is he frothing over? The one-day May 1 work stoppage by dock workers on West Coast ports in protest of the Iraq war. Ponte offers no evidence to back up his assertion that the strike "cost our economy between $1 and $2 billion." Indeed, a 2002 report on the possible effects of a port strike projected a $4.7 billion impact in lost wages over a four-week strike, going on to note:
[A]ttempts to track down the source of the $1 billion a day and $2 billion a day figures widely quoted, which in each case turned out to be inaccurate reporting. To actually lose a billion dollars a day for two weeks, "we'd have to sink the ships," said [report author Patrick L.] Anderson, "the impact here is large enough to be reported without exaggeration."
Nevertheless, Ponte went on to claim that "In October 2002, the ILWU flexed its muscle through a work slowdown that cost shippers up to a billion dollars a day."
The rest of Ponte's column is largely guilt by association, attacking the alleged "radical leftist ideology" of the founder of the longshoreman's union. Ponte concluded: "We should remove security risks and saboteurs from America’s ports, starting with the 6,000 longshoremen who conspired to cause May Day’s shutdown."
Ponte isn't the only conservative to have recently expressed unorthodox views about constitutional rights. Last week, the Media Research Center's Brent Baker declared that "the First Amendment doesn't apply in North Carolina" because a couple of TV stations there decided not to air an inflammatory anti-Obama ad.