by Conor Friedersdorf
This is the sort of event that confuses me:
An invitation-only political retreat for rich conservatives, run out of the spotlight for years by a pair of Kansas billionaires, became a public rallying point for liberal outrage on Sunday, as 11 busloads of protesters converged on a resort in the Southern California desert.
An estimated 800 to 1,000 protesters from a spectrum of liberal groups vented their anger chiefly at Charles and David Koch, brothers who have used many millions of dollars from the energy conglomerate they run in Wichita to finance conservative causes. More than two dozen protesters, camera crews swarming around them, were arrested on trespassing charges when they went onto the resort grounds.
Does standing across the street shouting at the luxury resort where the Kochs are staying help change the laws that govern campaign finance and political donations? Does it accomplish anything?
And there is this from Firedoglake:
Riverside Sheriff’s deputy Melissa Nieburger said that the sheriff’s department did have contacts with protest organizers, which included the California Courage Campaign, CREDO, MoveOn.org, 350.org, the California Nurses Association, United Domestic Workers of America and the main sponsor, the good-government group Common Cause, prior to the event, and that they were aware that some protesters would seek to be arrested for trespassing.
Why get arrested? Does that confer more media attention? Or is it some fuzzy thinking about civil disobedience? There are times when protest rallies make strategic sense. Participating can even be a morally righteous act. But I can't see how this is one of them. And I hope we aren't entering an era where angry progressives rabble rouse at private events for conservatives and Tea Party types respond in kind by protesting at George Soros sponsored events. Aside from bullhorn manufacturers I'm not sure who benefits, unless the idea is to intimidate the people who decide to attend such meetings, which is just dastardly. "Conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart, resplendent in shorts and roller skates, mulled around the crowd with a couple lackeys and a small video camera, talking to (and arguing with) attendees," the story notes. When he's filming your event, it's a pretty good bet that it isn't helping your image!