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Walking Tour of San Francisco Protests: Political tourism in the Age of Obama

OK, now it's back up to the street and on to our next stop. Put on your walking shoes, because we have a few blocks before we get to the...

2. SEIU Immigration Amnesty Protest -- 1:00pm, San Francisco Federal Building, 90 Seventh Street

The SEIU -- the Service Employees International Union -- has in the last couple years risen from relative obscurity to become one of the most powerful political groups in the country. Much of that rise coincided with the rise of Barack Obama: The union pinned all their hopes on him, and pulled every imaginable trick (legal or not) to help him get elected. And it worked. Now their man is in the White House, and the SEIU is not about to let this opportunity pass.

For example, SEIU's boss Andy Stern visited Obama in the White House at least 22 times just in the first seven months of the administration -- and doubtlessly many more times since then. SEIU's goals are the president's goals.

And what are those goals? Well, one of them was the purpose of this rally: Complete amnesty and full rights for illegal immigrants -- including voting rights. If they succeed in this drive, the electoral landscape would change suddenly and drastically, theoretically adding millions of voters to the SEIU voting bloc. And with that unstoppable momentum, SEIU would press for their other demands, leading to the unionization of America.

Nervous yet?

Even though the SEIU has a good friend in the White House and an Executive Branch bureaucracy actively working to promote their cause, the protesters chose to hold their rally directly outside the San Francisco Federal Building. Because of stringent security precautions in place due to a variety of terrorist threats and actions since 9/11, Homeland Security necessarily was on hand to monitor the situation. Luckily, this event was peaceful.

As we left the rally, I noticed something which may have contributed to the anger of the protesters. See the small plaque in the center of the picture? Scroll down....

The building's indentifying plaque still names George Bush as President. No wonder the SEIU protesters were pissed off!

(Click the next page button below for the next stop on the tour.)