Fundraiser #2: The San Francisco Jazz Center

I then hustled at top speed down to Hayes Valley, to keep ahead of the official motorcade which was sure to follow soon. I already knew from previous intelligence gathering that this second event was to be the main focal point for the day’s protests. Even so, I was seriously underwhelmed.

Maybe a hundred (to be generous) anti-Keystone Pipeline activists from gathered across from the new San Francisco Jazz Center and chanted their usual conspiracy theories about fracking and “climate chaos.” And I will note that making a photogenic pipeline to protest the creation of said pipeline is not the right way to go about it. Since protests are based on magical thinking, when you create a visualization of the thing you hate, you’re unintentionally bringing it into existence.

But it’s the freelance protesters who are always the most entertaining.

Great artwork; incomprehensible message. One out of two ain’t bad.

Obama’s #1 fan in the whole wide world was screaming obscenities at the other protesters for daring to criticize his god.

Wait — “the 99%”? Occupy? Those people still exist??? Apparently there are still a few of them on the loose, if this guy is to be believed.

The Killer Pipeline will create Climate Chaos!!!!!!!

I’d only been there a few minutes when the motorcade arrived — on schedule, for once. If you watch carefully, you can see the presidential limousines pulling into the Jazz Center’s parking garage between 0:22 and 0:37 in the video. As you’ll hear, the protesters greeted Obama by chanting “Stop the pipeline!” over and over, until one guy breaks the monotony by reversing the chant with “Pipeline stop! Pipeline stop!”

Remember how over at the first event, the Secret Service ensured that no one had “the high ground” overlooking the venue, for security reasons? Well, for some reason, at this event they allowed a clutch of wild-eyed protesters to occupy the roof of a building towering many stories over the Jazz Center. Why these people were given a pass and deemed harmless, I could not say.

I had seen online that Code Pink and World Can’t Wait had also announced their intent to protest Obama at the Jazz Center, but they decided to stake out an entirely different corner, so as not to be overwhelmed by the Keystone Kops. Big mistake. Without a larger group to dazzle the eye, the truly pitiable tininess of the anti-drone protest was a sad spectacle. Not counting passersby, there were about nine or ten Code Pinkers and World Can’t Waiters, combined. Their own members couldn’t even be bothered to come out and protest against the president.

Pretty much the entire Code Pink contingent.

As usual, the wildcat protesters had the best signs.

Whatever your politics, you gotta admit: That is how to make an effective protest sign.

There was one — one — person protesting against NSA (and IRS, etc. etc.) surveillance. This should be the biggest issue of all, but for some reason it never caught hold as a protest topic. Perhaps because everyone concerned about it is too justifiably paranoid to show their faces at a public event.

I returned to the Keystone protest, but they were still chanting the same goddamn chant, ten minutes later. Get me out of here! I took my own advice and left.

As I did so I encountered a group of guys eating lunch on the corner, discussing how the White House had to drop the price of the fundraiser tickets because they weren’t selling. I managed to capture a few snippets of their bronversation.

On my way to the next event, I passed an art store on trendy Hayes Street that had marked Obama’s arrival with a window display of a 2008 poster commemorating his election. Kind of telling that they had to retreat into his pre-failure fantasy beginnings, back when he still had promise, and hadn’t become such a big disappointment. Sort of like a traumatized mother who still displays a school photo of her smiling 14-year-old cheerleader daughter — who is in reality now a 30-year-old meth-addicted stripper. Denial.