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If you've been living in a cave and don't know his schtick, James O'Keefe has got a bombshell for you: union leaders caught on video supporting government funding for a company that does nothing but dig holes and fill them back up! If you haven't been living in a cave, this is where you're asking, "How many minutes did O'Keefe edit out of the video?" The answer is gosh, a whole bunch. Like eight minutes edited out? And boy, are several of those minutes awkward, with O'Keefe's people flailing miserably in response to a series of pointed questions from union representatives.

Representatives of "Earth Supply and Renewal," a fake company at which "we dig the ditch, we take the dirt, and we put the dirt, we actually just take the dirt and we put it right back in the ground," met with two New York union leaders, John Hutchings and Anthony Tocci, and Tocci's brother Ronald, a union member and former state assemblyman, looking for union help getting public money. Of course, the edited version of the video suggests that the union leaders thought this was a great idea. But there's always a but:

In the raw footage, the union leaders repeatedly ask the "ESR employees" about the purpose of their projects. When they can't give any, Hutchings and the Tocci brothers gently propose they take on more useful work. Hutchings asks if they "dig prior to construction projects" for "historical artifacts." Ron Tocci asks if they analyze or remediate soil, then later says,  "I'm just trying to get a hook on how you sell your product." When one actor says, "There are people who have seen merit in what we're doing, especially from the green, more green circles," an incredulous Tocci replies, "Well, why would they see that as—besides the jobs that you would create, what are you doing for the environment?" [...]

As the faux-ESR workers press the union men for information on getting public funding, they emphasize that grant projects need to have a purpose; Ron Tocci says that federal support wouldn't be guaranteed, but would "be based on how good the grant is."

It's clear in the video that, as Ronald Tocci confirms now, the Toccis and Hutchings were torn between figuring Earth Supply and Renewal was a scam and thinking that O'Keefe's actors were sincere, but too stupid to live and in need of gentle guidance.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 10:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, In Support of Labor and Unions, Climate Hawks, and Daily Kos.

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