Saturday, February 26, 2011

Today's Rally and Tea Party Counter-rally in Sacramento

I attended today's rally and counter-rally as a citizen-journalist. I went there with the intention of taking still pictures and video showing the wrongness of the side and the rightness of the Tea Party side. I'm sad to report that I got it half right. The leftie gathering was as wrongheaded and goofy as I thought they'd be, but the Tea Party side did not acquit itself well, either. I was both ashamed and disappointed, as I expected better from them.

Let's look at the signs, which I'll divide into three groups. The first group is "their side", the union/ side:
click on pictures to enlarge
Oh, the irony.

How does collective bargaining help your students?

What is it with the Guy Fawkes masks?

Hanging from that sign were some Keds.

Gotta love college students, especially cute ones.

I saw three different signs referencing "plutocrats". Must be the word of the day for lefties.

Way to stay classy.

This was the among the most reasonable signs I saw among the lefties. At least it leaves some room for discussion and debate.

These pictures are also from "their" side--but what I don't understand is what Code Pink has to do with this rally, and what wikileaker PFC Bradley Manning has to do with union privileges. After all, Manning wasn't in a union!

Next, signs from my side of the political divide. Again, click to enlarge any of them:

Subject-verb agreement, dude.

Note the guy in the white shirt, between the two flags. We'll see him again.

It wouldn't be a Tea Party rally without a Gadsden Flag!

Well, there's "their" side and "our" side--what can the third group be? It's the group containing two pictures I took of a teacher I work with, that's what! He and I don't agree on these types of things, but at least I understand the point he's trying to make with his signs:

By my amateur count, there were maybe a hundred righties and a thousand lefties at these two rallies--a small turnout, in any event. And look at the sky, see how people are dressed--it's not like the weather was keeping anyone away! There were California Highway Patrol and Sacramento City Police on duty, on horseback and on bicycle, to keep the rallies separate, but I had no problem going back and forth across the street to get pictures and video from any vantage point I desired. For the most part it was tame; there were no Kenneth Gladney extremes today.

Judging from the signs shown above, I think it's clear that the Tea Partiers won the day on the merits of their written messages. Unfortunately, whenever someone on either side of the street opened his or her mouth, the result was disappointing. Honestly, can you do no better than talking points that you don't even think about or understand? Lefties, is anyone really trying to get rid of unions? Righties, is the very concept of a union evil? Lefties, do you even know who the Koch brothers are, and had you even heard of them before last week? The only person I really engaged was on the right, shouting into her bullhorn that, among other things, you couldn't be a taxpayer if you were a tax taker (she was arguing with a teacher across the street). I asked her if that same sentiment applied to soldiers, and she said yes. Way to stay classy, gotta love that patriotism. Here's some of her intellectually-stimulating and reasoned debate:

As I said so often today, way to stay classy.

If you're just trying to get someone's goat, I guess this kind of foolishness works. But if you're trying to get people to come around to your way of thinking, well, exactly what demographic are you trying to appeal to with those words? And yes, that goes for both sides, but I was particularly saddened by this woman who, with her ignorant speech, cheapens the side I believe in--and she wasn't the only one. There needs to be some intelligent message discipline--some talking points, as it were, so we on the right can come across as being reasonable, decent, informed, everyday folks. Because if we don't, the media and others will paint all of us with this woman's brush.

Let's watch this angry Teamster for a moment:

Remember the guy I mentioned earlier, the one in the picture, wearing a white shirt and appearing between two flags? Well, Teamster-guy attacked him (I didn't see it) and he needed a bandage on his left hand. Here he is talking to the police behind the News10 van:

And here's Teamster-guy being talked to by the police nearby:

Here's some general-purpose video I shot throughout the rally. As I said, I don't think either side acquitted itself especially well today.

For bandwidth's sake I'm posting only the low-resolution version of this video here on the blog. The clearer, high-resolution version can be viewed here.

Update, 2/27/11: Here's more detail about the injured tea partier and the rabid Teamster. Here's a report about the various rallies held across the country, and how sparsely attended they were.


Ellen K said...

I think we'll see more of this. I am just surprised to note that there is still a conservative middle class in California.

Geo. said...

Must concur, both sides seemed a bit incoherent. But give them time. Government by discussion includes labor-management wrestling and people will settle down to the idea eventually. Quality of life --and labor-- is a matter of general, not partisan, interest and won't be improved by either side shutting up at this point.

Scott Alexander McCall said...

Was that mr. Baird (however u spell his name, the physics guy) in a couple of those photos?

Darren said...


mazenko said...

The Boston Tea Party was a protest against a corporate tax break for the East Indian Tea Company. Just sayin.'

Darren said...

No it wasn't. Jeez, is that the new leftie talking point? It was a protest against a higher tax on tea. It was a *direct tax* on the citizenry.

Even if you were correct, though, how would that relate to unions run amok today?

mazenko said...

No, it really wasn't. I'm right. Check it out.

And it's not really about unions run amok ... whatever that means. I was just thinking about "the Tea Party."

MikeAT said...

And as I recall a it was a 3% tax on a staple of life back then. Give me a 3% sales tax anyday....

And it was one of the reasons the revolution started.

MikeAT said...


Watched the hi-res version of your trip into protest land and a few observations from the computer view:

1. Glad the mounted units were around to keep people civil…nothing like a 1700 lb animal coming around to make you think “it’s nothing to get worked up about…”

2. That woman giving the one fingered salute…and the rest of the union types…have they not heard B Hussein Obama has called for a new civility…they didn’t heed the dear leader’s command…what’s wrong with them.

3. I wonder how many of they union types are locals? Just curious.

Darren said...

Mazenko, revisionist history. When you can find some writing of the Founders saying they were protesting a reshuffling of the Townshend taxes as a corporate give-away, and not that they were *still* protesting taxation without representation, I'll give credence to your new leftist talking point.

BTW, a couple years ago on one of my trips to DC to attend the CEAFU conference, I bought (at the National Archives gift shop, I believe) a tin of tea of the type thrown into Boston Harbor. I paid a significantly higher tax on that tea than the colonists did.

mazenko said...

Kenneth Davis has a great book called "Don't Know Much About History," and it accurately reflects the naive and skewed view of history, politics, economics, and government that prevents so many Americans from having credible conversations. Revisionist history? Or simply the actual facts that you never learned in a society that speaks in snippets and sound bites.

The colonists threw the tea in the harbor because the colonial governor would not return it to London after it was exempted from the tax that other producers had to charge. It was a corporate tax break based on influence the East India Co. had on the crown.

The Tea Act was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of Great Britain to expand the British East India Company's monopoly on the tea trade to all British Colonies, selling excess tea at a reduced price. (13 Geo III c. 44, long title An act to allow a drawback of the duties of customs on the exportation of tea to any of his Majesty's colonies or plantations in America; to increase the deposit on bohea tea to be sold at the East India Company's sales; and to empower the commissioners of the treasury to grant licenses to the East India Company to export tea duty-free.) It was passed on May 10, 1773. Certainly, the larger issue became "taxation without representation" which was a reaction to the Townsend Acts.

Thus, when we look at the "Tea Party" in reaction to protests in Wisconsin, we have to remember that public employees did not contribute to Wisconsin's current budget crisis. They have not seen a pay raise in three years. However, after revenue dropped from a series of corporate tax breaks Walker declared necessary, the state began to fall into deficits.

As I've noted before in our posts, your name calling of me as leftist ignores the long history of pragmatic and moderate positions I've taken in our discussions.

Darren said...

I don't call you a leftist, I say you're using leftist talking points.

I'm aware what George and the gang were trying to do--exert their authoritarian control over the colonies by forcing out the illegally imported trade in Dutch tea.

The primary rub against the Tea Act was that it rubbed the colonists' noses in the fact that the Townshend Act was very much still applicable regarding tea, and that they were being taxed without representation in Parliament. To assert other motives is nothing more, or less, than revisionist history. After all, maybe the proletariat was just rising up against the bourgoisie....

Ginny said...

I'd love to hear from Mazenko why he thinks it's fair to require not only teachers to join the union (when according to the NEA's own polling, 50% of their membership self-identifies as conservative & only 43% identify as liberals), but taxpayers have to pay the teachers' salaries (whether they're effective or not), union dues, pension benefits, health care costs, union fat cats' salaries, expenses, capital expenditures (regardless of how much waste and fraud is involved there -- see today's L.A. Times' front page story) etc. ad nauseum) with NO accountability or choice given to those same taxpayers and their hostage children.


MiaZagora said...

I don't understand all this stuff about being the party of the "working class". There aren't that many unionized workers in America - private or public - and how many that are IN the unions would rather be OUT, but they have to pay a penalty in order to be OUT?

The "working class" are the people who pay for these people to have a job, and send their children to their schools, and pay for their pensions. Most "working" people have little to no benefits - and forget about a pension.

Why isn't Obummer lecturing these people on everyone having some "skin in the game"?

Dean Baird said...

For what it's worth, I got the sense that all the "union-types" were local, except perhaps some of the speakers on the stage. Given that there were similar events in SF, LA, and SD, I think it's safe to say this one was local.

I can't vouch for the Tea Partiers. The "Corrupt Unions Supports Illegals" truck was a head-scratcher. My sense is that guy would drive to a Halloween parade, if elementary schools still had them.

I was there to let anyone who cared know that attempting to crush collective bargaining willy nilly (per Wisconsin) was a great way to galvanize otherwise unorganized progressives. Scott Walker's tactics, though without rational merit, were not without some beneficial residue.

Such rallies, liberal or conservative, tend to draw freakshow elements. One must be careful not to paint the 1000 with a brush fit only for the 10.

That said, I will say as a proud "leftie," I've never been asked to or agreed to come out to protest the "other side's" rally. I'm happy to let the Tea Partiers party in peace.

I don't--as the Tea Partiers did on Saturday--come to THEIR rally equipped with my bullhorn in hopes of disrupting and provoking. Again, I have an awareness of the freakshow element.

I've seen complaints that "lefties" leave their rallies terribly littered. When I left this one, you couldn't tell there had been an event. It was spotless.

The rallies may have been sparsely attended, but remember: this was a hastily-organized show of support for workers in a state upwards of 2000 miles away. The fact that as many people came out as did should give the anti-unionists something to think about. (One sign design I didn't bring was my own Gadsden with "Union-Busting is Un-American." "Don't Tread on Me," indeed!)

Anyway, thanks for snapping the pics. A wise photographer once told me, "There is no history unless you record it."

Lastly, how does one injure his hand while being attacked by a short guy? My rudimentary understanding of physical confrontations lead me to think one usually injures one's hand by using it to hit someone else. And the Tea Partier claims to have been choked; the "video evidence" does not support his claim.

Darren said...

Dean, I'm sure you're aware that counter-demonstrations are not unheard of. If you'd like, I could point you to photoblogs of a few from "your" side of the street.

I don't view Walker's "tactics", assuming you mean his goals, as without rational merit. I view them as a much-needed correction--a check and balance, as it were--to privileges given to unions.

As for how the man was injured, he didn't strike. I saw him, he was very upset by the whole thing. I'll leave it up to the videos and the police/courts to determine how, exactly, he was injured.

Dean Baird said...

Oh I know about counter-demonstrations. But the point of this one? To show solidarity with Scott Walker for his attempt to bust the union? To each his own, I suppose. I can only speak for myself, and I speak as someone who's been to a rally or two (for causes you might not support). I don't protest someone else's rally, bull-horning my message in hopes of stirring up trouble. Legally protected, but far from civil. I know you don't want to saddle me with responsibility for random "lefties" at Tea Party rallies.

The unions didn't take anything that wasn't given to them via collective bargaining. Two to tango.

As you know, the workers in question have conceded on the economic issues. Walker demands the monetary concessions AND the abolishment of collective bargaining rights. That's simply not reasonable. Fellow governors are warning him that he's cutting his own throat.

MikeAT said...

I was there to let anyone who cared know that attempting to crush collective bargaining willy nilly (per Wisconsin) was a great way to galvanize otherwise unorganized progressives. Scott Walker's tactics, though without rational merit, were not without some beneficial residue.

Got it…you want to let the unions go nuts in spite of the fact the state is bankrupt. But the “unorganized progressives” as you put it is a bit of a contradiction. The left in the county has been organized for ages as they have gotten more and more of this nation’s wealth. Tell me, have you seen “rent a mobs” pushing for lower taxes…I have seen the bused in crowds in Madison WI supporting the union leadership (notice I don’t say the teachers). It is the excesses of the left in the last few years, particularly the abuses of Americans by B Hussein Obama and his regime that has galvanized the conservative (not Republican) majority of this country and gotten them involved in the process (protests, town hall meetings with members of Congress, etc).

BTY, which one of “Scott Walker’s tactics” are you referring to? I think he has proposed legislation to handle a major issue for his state (payroll funding of teachers) to the legislature and instead of debating the issue or proposing a solution the leftists in the Wisconsin Senate have run away. They seem to have an issue with something called democracy (small d). If you are the minority you generally don’t win…maybe GOV Walker should borrow the quote of a famous contemporary socialist, “I won.” Now personally I hope the Republicans do some procedural maneuvers to pass his reforms of collective bargaining. Some WI Senate Republicans are proposing attaching the bills to a budget bill that doesn’t require a quorum…if a Democratic Senator shows up to object the senate will have a quorum and the act will pass. It’s a more legitimate tactic than the fact the Democrats have abandoned their posts and God knows if the situation were reversed the Madison leftists would have no problem doing it.

That said, I will say as a proud "leftie," I've never been asked to or agreed to come out to protest the "other side's" rally. I'm happy to let the Tea Partiers party in peace.

Thank you…unlike many on your side you don’t lie about what you are. I’ve have a simple admiration of Senator Bernie Sanders for some time. Unlike Harry Reid and others he is an open socialist. I can appreciate honesty.

Lastly, how does one injure his hand while being attacked by a short guy? My rudimentary understanding of physical confrontations lead me to think one usually injures one's hand by using it to hit someone else. …

He injuries his hand. Don’t try and find logic in injuries in a fight.

Anonymous said...

That "Free Bradley Manning" sign has a misspelling. It should read "FRY Bradley Manning"!

BTW, to any union thugs out there. I do fly my large Gadsden flag at Tea Party rallies. I would love for a union thug to try to attack me then, as he'd no doubt be surprised at just how far a 6-ft flagpole can get shoved up his read end!


Wade and Cheryl said...

Great coverage of the event. It kills me that I had to miss this one.

Anonymous said...

Screw Bradley Manning, Dean Baird is right, and the Tea party is the most idiotic group of people I've ever seen. Pretty obvious they have no idea what the original Tea Party was about. Shame, really. Oh well.

Darren said...

Thank you for contributing at such a high intellectual level.