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So I figured out what I’m going to be for halloween this year…

October 22, 2009, 10:46 PM

So I found my inspiration for this year’s halloween costume:

 

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Categories: Halloween, Tea Party

On Sunday, the LGBT community and their allies took to the streets…

October 13, 2009, 8:19 PM

On Sunday, thousands came out into the streets to demonstrate in support of civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. I’ve always considered this to be a bit of a no-brainer. What part of “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” in the Fourteenth Amendment do some people not understand? Obviously, to some, all people are created equal, but some are more equal than others.

Thus we had the National Equality March. We marched for civil rights for the LGBT community in all fifty states. I’m not gay, but equal protection under the laws for LGBT individuals, including the right to marry whomever they wish, is something I feel very strongly about. After all, marriage in a legal sense has nothing to do with any alleged supreme being, or even anything to do with love. The minister on Spaceballs had it right when he said, “I am trying to conduct a wedding here, which has nothing to do with love.” While love certainly makes a marriage last, marriage ultimately is a contract between two people. And as a contract, it falls under the law, which according to the US Constitution, must apply equally to all.

Ahead of the march, much of DC’s radical community was deciding how it was going to handle the march. Of course, we support the underlying concept, but some of our views differ from the mainstream. Calls for pink-and-black blocs were put out, and ultimately there were two locations tossed about. One was for a pink-and-black bloc meeting on the Ellipse at 10 AM on Sunday. Another called for a pink-and-black bloc to meet at Dupont Circle at 11:00. As I considered the Ellipse location a little far-flung as far as Metro accessibility went, and a little bit early, I chose the Dupont Circle location. Thus I took Metro from Wheaton to Dupont Circle and arrived a bit early – around 10:30. I was early, but better to be early and waiting at the appointed location than to be waiting on the train hoping to make it on time, or to be late and potentially miss what I was going for in the first place.

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Categories: Activism, Black bloc

The raid of the Ideal Org was ideal in so many ways…

October 12, 2009, 6:44 PM

We had our first “real” raid at Scientology’s new Ideal Org at 1424 16th Street NW on Saturday. On our permit application, we listed a start time as 12:00 noon, and an end time of 8:00 PM, and I think we were at our peak around 6:00 in the evening. Very few stayed the entire eight hours, but all in all, it wasn’t too shabby, if you ask me, as this was a bigger crowd than some of the more recent “global” raids we’ve had in DC.

I showed up a little after 3:00. We had about five people at the Ideal Org, and as I would soon learn, a bunch of people at the Founding Org.

The Ideal Org was pretty quiet when I first arrived. Scientology spokesmodel Sylvia Stanard was there, Sadie was there, as well as a gentleman who smoked a lot.

The Ideal Org was pretty quiet when I first arrived. Scientology spokesmodel Sylvia Stanard was there, Sadie was there, as well as a gentleman who smoked a lot.

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Categories: Project Chanology

What exactly possesses people…

October 11, 2009, 11:55 PM

What exactly possesses people to bring their dogs to political demonstrations? Seriously, take a look…

 

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Categories: Activism

And the ice has been broken…

October 10, 2009, 12:48 AM

Yes, the ice has been broken. Scientology’s new Ideal Org at 16th and P Street NW in Washington DC has officially been raided. And the first raid at the new location was a resounding success.

Going in, people weren’t quite sure how the foot traffic would be at this location. I try my best to only be in the area during the day, because spending too many late nights at the office starts to toe that fine line between go-getter and workaholic. Obviously, we would have a good amount of foot traffic right after 5:00 as people in 1400 16th Street and 1616 P Street (the office complex I work in on the same block) start to leave work. And, in fact, I saw five of my coworkers as they left work, plus some people from other organizations in our building. And then as the office traffic trailed off, the foot traffic kept coming! Turns out that the area around my office really is hopping well into the night. I knew I usually saw a decent amount of people out at night when I would leave work late, but when I know I’m going to be staying late, I will usually drive, and so I never really got to really appreciate it. All I have to say is wow – the foot traffic is amazing.

And many of the reactions were priceless, too. Since this was our first raid at this new facility, many questioned why we were at this location, since people usually see us outside the Founding Org at 20th and R. All we needed to do was draw their attention to the big “CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY” lettering on the building, and their question was pretty much answered. Some had never given Scientology much thought, but now that it was going to be their neighbor, they readily took our You Found the Card literature. One woman said that she was embarrassed for the neighborhood to have them nearby now.

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Categories: Project Chanology

Funk the War 8 got the anti-war message out, and had a blast in doing so…

October 8, 2009, 8:16 PM

On Wednesday, October 7, anti-war protesters hit the streets of Washington once again in the form of Funk the War 8, organized by DC SDS. Demonstrators marched, danced, and all in all, had a great time in the process.

This Funk the War was a lot tamer than others I’ve been to – only one clash with police, no arrests, and no black bloc for the most part. Police let the unpermitted march take the streets rather than stick to the sidewalks. That last point in particular is important – when taking to the streets, it makes the demonstration far more effective, rather than pushing demonstrators to the sides. This also frees the sidewalks for regular pedestrian traffic. The crowd was also a bit smaller than in March, but while our numbers were smaller, it definitely gave the demonstration a more intimate feeling.

The message this time was specifically the war in Afghanistan. Much of the energy of the anti-war movement has been focused on Iraq, and Afghanistan has kind of taken a back seat. The march was timed to coincide with the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, and we were out there reminding all that this war must end, too.

The route was fairly predictable, going around downtown Washington, visiting the Washington offices of various companies allegedly engaged in war profiteering.

And so the people marched…

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Categories: Anti-war

And then, they raided.

September 17, 2009, 10:39 PM

After photographing all the teabaggers around the Capitol, my day wasn’t over yet – not by a longshot. Anonymous had planned to raid on Saturday as well, and thankfully, the two demonstrations did not conflict. I finished getting my “daily dose of outrage” around 2:00, took the Metro from Union Station to Dupont Circle, and joined up with Anonymous to raid Scientology.

This was an unusual raid for me in one way – no mask or other form of costuming. Usually, I “mask up” for Anonymous “global” raids, even though Scientology has confirmed in writing that they know who I am. I usually wear the black or green zentai suit in warmer weather, or the standard Guy Fawkes mask. This time around, I brought a costume for raiding – I had the black zentai in my backpack, as well as the relevant accessories for it. But since I was already somewhat tired from the teabag protest, I basically said “screw it” and passed on the costume. I didn’t feel like changing in and out of the costume, and so I just came as I was.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. Anonymous needs people who are “out” and unmasked to function properly. I’m the one who files for the protest permits, since if Scientologists get their hands on the permit somehow, they don’t get any fresh information. And sometimes, members of the public are more likely to interact with non-masked people vs. talking to someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. I gave out all of my You Found the Card cards, for one thing.

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Categories: Project Chanology

So the teabaggers put on quite a show, but they’re ultimately harmless.

September 15, 2009, 11:33 PM

So on Saturday, as promised, I was in downtown Washington covering the “Taxpayer March on Washington” with photos and videos. This was the big protest that the so-called “teabaggers” participated in on September 12. I’m planning on doing a full Photography set about this demonstration, but for now, here’s a little sampling of what went on, plus some videos.

If you want people to take you seriously, it's always a good idea to reference Joe the Plumber, who is neither Joe nor a plumber.
If you want people to take you seriously, it’s always a good idea to reference Joe the Plumber, who is neither Joe nor a plumber.

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Categories: Tea Party

Meanwhile, on the subject of protesters…

September 11, 2009, 7:52 PM

While I’m on the subject of protesters today, this is something I’ve been thinking about for a bit, and it relates to how my regular protest buddies handle their protests in the District of Columbia. I’m specifically referring to the radical crowd.

First of all, I believe that black blocs certainly have a place in the protest landscape. I believe that these people are far more dedicated to the various movements than most people that show up for large rallies, and that these people do a pretty good job in spreading the message that the system is rotten, and that all the bums need to be thrown out on their butts and the system rebuilt from the ground up.

However, I’ve observed that when engaging in demonstrations, the interactions with the police seem to become counterproductive more often than not. Specifically, the whole idea of keeping the police in the dark and not dealing with them directly. In my six(!) years of DC activism, the cops have started to get harsher with their tactics when it comes to anarchist blocs. They will forcibly shove protesters out of the street, and not being in the street and marching on the sidewalk instead tends to diminish the impact of a demonstration, since you’re kind of wedged into a narrow space between parked cars and the buildings. Likewise, if the police believe they’re forced to use force against demonstrators, they have demonstrated that they will gladly do so.

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Categories: Black bloc

So Saturday is going to be a lot of fun in more ways than one…

September 11, 2009, 7:03 PM

Saturday ought to be exciting. Lots of activism in the air on Saturday.

First of all, the teabaggers are going to Washington. I’ve never been to one of these “tea parties” before, and so it ought to be interesting to see what the right wing is like when they protest. I don’t believe they’re right by any stroke of the imagination, but we’ll see what happens. I’m going to be really inconspicuous about it, and hopefully get lots of interesting photos and movies of the event, and then post it up, most likely as a Photography set of some sort. It ought to be amusing.

The teabaggers’ plan is fairly standard as far as protests go. They’re gathering at Freedom Plaza, and then marching to the Capitol, where they’re having a rally. However, the timeframe is pretty ambitious, if you ask me. They’re starting up at 9 AM at Freedom Plaza, and beginning their march at 11:30. Then they expect to arrive at the Capitol and begin their rally at 1:00. I looked at that agenda, and was like, damn… After all, for most of the left-wing events I usually go to and participate in because I support the cause, they often don’t get started until noon, and things run a little later. And even then, things still run on “activist time”, where they’ll say noon, but it really means 12:30 or even 1:00. So we’ll see how well these guys keep to their schedule.

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DC Anons join Scientology staff… (like they’d have us)

September 6, 2009, 2:17 AM

Well, not really. What we did is a parody of a video at thefoundingchurch.org (site for the new Ideal Org). The recruitment video is laughable, and now we made it even more laughable by making a parody of it, just for the lulz.

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Categories: Project Chanology

As promised, here is the photo of our flash raid.

September 1, 2009, 8:42 PM

Recall that in this Journal entry, two of my coworkers came by our raid, and one of them took a picture of us, while the other posed with us with a piece of styrofoam on his face. Well, I finally got the photo from my coworker. Take a look…

The flash raid on August 28

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Categories: Project Chanology

A Friday night flash raid was full of win…

August 29, 2009, 3:24 PM

Well, I had fun on Friday night. A bunch of Anons, including myself, flash raided outside the Founding Church of Scientology for about four hours or so, and had a blast in the process. Beret went in superhero garb to an extent, wearing bright blue shiny tights, a cape, a black top, and of course, in the style of too many superheroes, underwear on the outside. Plus, of course, the customary Guy Fawkes mask. I had my Power Rangers tee on, and coupled that with a Guy Fawkes mask. Not bad, if you ask me.

We got going right around 5:00, holding signs and passing out You Found The Card cards. Soon, the Scientologists showed up, such as “camera girl” and Scientology spokesmodel Sylvia Stanard. Funny that they never show up for our global raids anymore, but will certainly come out when we flash raid. Sylvia and a few of her goons came out with a flyer entitled “ANONYMOUS Frequently Asked Questions”.

The flyer was quite amusing, as they cited various YouTube videos and Web sites, and unverified Wikipedia passages. As a Wikipedia geek, that particularly amused me. The passages they cited were added on April 9, 2008, citing Uncyclopedia (hardly a reliable source). Scientology cites a revision on May 17, 2008, and the passages that they quoted were removed as unsourced on June 5, 2009. Yes, when you have a user-generated encyclopedia, sometimes stuff goes in that shouldn’t be there, and Scientology latched onto something with no sourcing. Fail on them. Plus using information about Anonymous as it existed in early 2008 to describe today’s Anonymous protests is kind of off, since much of that was before more mainstream Scientology critics such as Mark Bunker (aka “Wise Beard Man”) and Tory Christman joined the fold and helped Anonymous find its way. Now, many of the people involved in the early stuff are no longer active, and today’s group has little to no connection to the hacker group.

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Categories: Project Chanology

“Cut your cheese in style” probably didn’t go over as well as the writers hoped…

August 12, 2009, 10:46 PM

First of all, let me just say that I am WIRED tonight. One of my coworkers, who recently came back from an extended vacation overseas, brought a loaf of palm sugar and a plate of coffee beans to work, and the idea was to take a pinch of sugar (it has the consistency of brown sugar), and some coffee beans, pop both in at once, and enjoy. Something tells me I had too many coffee beans today – on top of my regular daily cup of coffee. And to add to it, today’s coffee was the best kind – that bottom-of-the-pot coffee that’s super strong. My coworkers even commented that I was particularly “animated” today. I blame the excess caffeine. Perhaps crunching on coffee beans and then washing it down with a cup of coffee wasn’t the best idea…

But the caffeine buzz might just work, because I have a lot to say today.

First of all, the title of this entry. I spotted this on the front page of the Express today:

"Cut your cheese in style"
Image: Express

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The mark of Xenu?

July 29, 2009, 9:15 PM

The building next door to my office building is being renovated, and has been under construction since around April, and has been thoroughly driving me crazy with all the noise while I’m trying to work. You name it, I’ve heard it, from dumpsters banging to jackhammers to the movement of various equipment. Plus dust in the vicinity as I’m walking to Whole Foods. And you know who the new occupant will be?

The Church of Scientology. Yes. THEM.

This must be their way of harassing me at work. Rather than sending nasty letters to my office as some Anons have alleged has happened to them, they’re instead putting a facility right next to my office building. This is supposed to be their Ideal Org, as I understand it. So for the past three months or so, they’ve been gutting and rebuilding the Embassy Building at 1424 16th Street NW. First they did some demolition. Then asbestos abatement (hopefully performed better than on the Freewinds). Then more demolition. Then all the construction stuff disappeared. Then a new company took over and demolition continued. Now they’ve removed the windows and covered them with plastic.

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Categories: Project Chanology