Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Ok, not free of anything nearly as dramatic as slavery, but thanks to the judge's ruling today, I won't have to be checking in to pretrial services in person once a week at the courthouse, and I am now in full possession of my first amendment rights and am able to poster in the District of Columbia again. Not being able to poster in the district was a condition of my pretrial release. Thankfully, no one noticed [section redacted]

Today was the long awaited trial for the charges of defacing public property for defendants Tina Richards and Adam Kokesh and assaulting a police officer for defendant Ian Thompson. Carl Messineo and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard represented Tina and I respectively and Mike Madden represented Ian Thompson. These guys are the best. Carl and Mara work at the Partnership for Civil Justice and are the best at what they do. Mike is sharp as all hell and I give him a big part of the credit for getting the September 15th charges dismissed against us.

After all of the preliminary motions, the prosecutor said that he wanted to introduce two videos as evidence in the case. He referred to them as the “Fox Video” and the “YouTube Video.” Then, “with the permission of the court” he took us downstairs to the witness room to watch the videos. When it came time to introduce them as evidence in court, he ran into some technical difficulties. About two hours worth of technical difficulties. They even tried to bring up the computer from the basement, but then couldn't log on because it was set up for the network. (Sounds like NMCI.)

[Section redacted]

By then, she had already granted the motion for judgment of acquittal in the case of Tina and myself. After the prosecution rested, the motions were requested and the judge granted them on the basis that the government had not proven that the box in question was under Parks Department jurisdiction rather than DC.

Anyway, so Tina and I got off and Ian and Carl had to call all of their witnesses and go through their defense, only to get a guilty verdict. For assaulting a police officer. For picking up a bucket.

So we scored a victory for freedom of speech in our cases, but the criminal justice system has managed to disgrace itself yet again.

This is me checking in at pretrial services. Since they screwed me at my arraignment by saying that I was delinquent by not calling in once a week, (which led the judge to order that I come in person) I requested a record of having checked in every time I went. Only once did I get a hand-written note saying I had checked in that day. Every other time I took a photo with my camera phone. Then, as I was walking away, someone would say, "You can't do that! You need to erase that photo. Seriously, I'm going to call security." "OK."

[There's a lot more to be said here, but I'm tired and have a plane to catch for a fundraiser in Santa Cruz in a few hours. Look for a video soon with interviews from key players in this case.]

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pack the courtroom!

Defend anti-war activists, defend free speech!

Come to the courtroom:
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 9am
Judge Kaye Christian
DC Superior Court
500 Indiana Ave. NW
The ANSWER Coalition urges everyone who can to attend an important free speech trial that begins Tuesday, Feb. 26 (tomorrow). On trial are three anti-war activists arrested on Sept. 6, 2007, while holding a press conference to publicize a mass anti-war march held on Sept. 15. The arrests, captured on video, provoked national outrage. The youtube video, which has drawn over 80,000 viewers, can be watched here: Despite these intimidation tactics, 100,000 people turned out on Sept. 15 for a spirited march from the White House to the Capitol.

Now the activists -- Tina Richards (CEO of Grassroots America and mother of a disabled Iraq war veteran), Adam Kokesh (of Iraq Veterans Against the War), and Ian Thompson (ANSWER organizer from Los Angeles) are facing up to 6 months in jail wrongfully charged with defacing property and assault on an officer. This case is a fight for free speech: whether or not the anti-war movement has the right to publicize its events without persecution.

Come pack the courtroom, and let these brave activists know that they are not alone, that they speak for all of us, and we will not let the Bush administration persecute them for their pursuit of peace and justice.

Come to the courtroom:
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 9am
Judge Kaye Christian
DC Superior Court
500 Indiana Ave. NW

*from an email from the ANSWER Coalition*

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Iraq Veterans Against the War DC & Ft Meade Outreach

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Love and Hate and Cell Phones

Yes, I have a serious love/hate relationship with my cell phone. And it’s probably not healthy. Let me start with the love. I love people. I love talking to people. OK, some people, some times. But the soothing sound of my Alberto Gonzales (I don't recall) text message alert ringtone telling me that there is a new text from my girlfriend is always exciting. And when I hear "it’s business time" (by Flight of the Conchords) and I know there’s good news, it’s pretty exciting. It is, after all, business time. Oooh yeah, it’s business time.

But there are a lot of times when I don’t want to talk to anyone, and when I’m trying to get away from work, the last thing I need is for it to be "business time." I have another ringtone for restricted calls, and I get the appropriate apprehension when I hear Nixon say, "Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal." When I get a call without caller ID, I’m reminded by Bush himself that, "I’m the decider!"

Caller ID is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, it’s the greatest invention since the cell phone itself. OK, to be honest, there have been a lot of good inventions since sliced bread, and that’s a damn stupid thing to say anyway. But I love caller ID because it let’s me say, "Cool, I can just let this person leave a message, and I don’t actually have to talk to them!" But if they listen to my voicemail recording, it tells them that they’re better off sending me a text message. That way, I can even answer them without having to talk to them! Actually, it’s just a lot quicker than having to dial into my voicemail and listening to a tedious voicemail.

I never want to talk to reporters who don’t know what they’re doing. I just got asked by someone who is covering PTSD issues to give me some examples of my daily symptoms. "For instance, do you drink more now than you used to and does that effect your life...missing meetings, getting out of control, sitting alone depressed and crying?" How fucked up is that? I don’t even drink. And I get a lot of calls from people who want to invite me to something because I’m an IVAW member and then want me to tell them my whole story as if they don’t believe I’m a real Iraq vet. That on top of the phony soldier bs that messes with my head on a whole other level.

Then there’s the death threats. Apparently, calling out the YAF for their racism set off a lot of their old timers. When I get a call from an unrecognized number, that’s the worst because I have to answer it. It could be a vet in need of help, it could be a big interview request, but it could also be a whacko "Eagle" who wants to castrate me and then try me for treason.

Love or hate, I am undeniably dependent on my phone. It is my lifeblood and my livelihood. It is the alpha and the omega.

The best of my ringtones I got from

Monday, February 18, 2008

Stop-Loss Congress!


This was an idea I came up with over dinner at Busboys & Poets about a month ago. I was with Ashley Casale and Robbie Diesu (who are organizing Our Spring Break) my roommate Geoff Millard, Jamilla El-Shaffei, and David Rubinson. We were just brainstorming for stuff around the anniversary and this campaign just popped into my head almost fully formed. Of course, I am focusing on Winter Soldier right now, and there is no way I could imagine taking on organizing a project of this scope, but David and Jamilla liked it enough that they decided to give it a try. I did the basic graphics for the banner with some conceptual help from Geoff (we brainstorm together a lot) and let them have at it. What they have developed now is something powerful beyond my wildest dreams. It is such an honor to be able to share a vision with someone and see it get stronger and stronger the more that it is shared. When I finish the video for Sick Of It Day, I'll tell that story too.

NWNW Call to Action

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Maybe This Will Help Put Things In Perspective

Every day there are news reports about more deaths. Every night on TV there are photos of death and destruction. Why are we still there?
We occupied this land, which we had to take by force, but it causes us nothing but trouble. Why are we still there?
Many of our children go there and never come back. Why are we still there?
Their government is unstable, and they have sporadic leadership. Why are we still there?
Many of their people are uncivilized. Why are we still there?
The place is subject to natural disasters, from which we are supposed to bail them out. Why are we still there?
There are more than 1000 religious sects, which we do not understand. Why are we still there?
Their folkways, foods, and fads are unfathomable to ordinary Americans. Why are we still there?
We can't even secure the borders. Why are we still there?
They are billions of dollars in debt, and it will cost billions more to rebuild, which we cannot afford. Why are we still there?
It is becoming clear...


(from a chain email I got about four years ago, still poignant)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Marlboro Announces New Healthy Cigarettes With Vitamins & Minerals

Unfortunately, a lot of folks didn't get this because they didn't know about Diet Coke Plus, which isn't really a bad thing. I figured if I had heard of Diet Coke Plus, (considering I don't watch TV) then most people probably had. For those of you who really live in a cave, you can read more about Diet Coke Plus at Wikipedia.

Now, eager to cash in on the latest fad, Marlboro is getting in on the action:

Too funny, have to share these

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thank You and One Final Sign Waving

I got this wonderful email from a friend I met through a Ron Paul meet up group in Virginia. This seems to capture the sentiment of a lot of us in the "Freedom Movement" as I have heard it called, or those of us who proudly call ourselves part of the "Ron Paul Revolution." So for all of you who thought we might go away after this election and were breathing a sigh of relief because McCain has all but locked up the nomination, think again. You cannot stop freedom.


I can only speak for myself and echo the words of so many with whom I have
spoken. Failure to get the party nomination for Ron Paul does not end it for
me. I've been called delusional for supporting Ron Paul. I would be delusional
to think that our movement ends with Dr. Paul not being elected as president
or that we would be able to reset this country over night. I've been honored
to meet and get to know so many good hearted people, true patriots, who I am
honored to know and stand with against corruption and oppression. We have
accomplished so much in so little time. Because I know you're still there, you
know who you are, and willing to continue the fight so stand I here with you.
I'm not quitting, sitting down or shutting up. I continue daily to educate
myself, friends and family. I continue to take action when and where I can. I
continue to believe that someday, hopefully in my life time, that we will once
again enjoy the freedom, liberty and way of life that made this country the
envy of the world, a safe haven for an ideal to emulate and a true source of
individual pride when one say's, "I am an American." Thank you all for being
there and letting me know that I am not alone.

semper vigilance,


Monday, February 11, 2008

A Chance Encounter With GOE National Director for Operations Chris Hill, An Apology, and a Challenge

On my way to a speaking engagement at Wesleyan yesterday, I ran into Chris Hill. I was at Union Station in DC when he approached me, got in my face, and asked me if I wanted to hit him. “Remember, ‘heaven help this guy.’ This is your chance. Take your best shot.” Of course, I had no intent to physically harm him, but he was very angry about the story that I reposted on this blog about him. I repeatedly asked him why he was so angry, and he started to calm down.

He explained to me that after the incident on September 15th of last year and the allegations that he had beat up gold star father Carlos Arredondo, he had received numerous threats, including one against his three-year-old daughter. I won’t get into the details of the event that day, but he claims that when Carlos was surrounded by members of GOE, he was trying to help him and that Carlos later thanked him. I have not been able to confirm or disprove this and there is no clear evidence to show that’s what he was doing. There are only the photos that show he was there and various conflicting accounts of what happened. However, the version of events that I posted here accused him of harming Carlos. He believes that this has contributed to some of his personal harassment. I have apologized to him personally, and would like to publicly apologize now for using unnecessarily inflammatory language.

I have also received death threats for my activism, and can relate to what he has experienced. The people that do this, for whatever reason, are usually mentally disturbed. There are certain things that those of us in the public debate say that can trigger them, and the language that I used may have done so. I hope that everyone who may read this realizes that things said in the public arena can have repercussions in private lives, and for those of us that have any kind of platform, we need to take this seriously.

It turned out that Chris and I were on the same train, and so when the call for final boarding came, we walked and talked our way through the gate and onto the platform. He was still quite agitated at this point, but when there was no one else on the platform, I suggested we board before we get left behind. We ended up talking in the aisle by the bathroom on the train for the next hour.

It turns out that Chris Hill and I have a lot in common. We both believe that Americans in general don’t have nearly enough of an idea of what goes on in Iraq to appreciate what our troops are going through. We both believe that going into Iraq was a mistake. We both believe that the war has been grossly mismanaged. We both believe this country needs to do a better job of taking care of veterans. Surprisingly, we both consider ourselves libertarian. (At least with a little “L.”) Chris also describes himself as “socially liberal,” and told me about how he actively supports pro-choice causes.

We talked a lot about Winter Soldier, and although he wants veterans to tell their stories, he kept saying, “I disagree with your tactics.” He asked if he could attend Winter Soldier along with Pete Hegseth, the ED of Veterans For Freedom and I told him that we would at least consider it. There may be a lot to be said for inviting the most scrutinizing eyes possible to hear the testimony. We are putting so much effort into our verification process, that I know we will all be proud to stand behind the veracity of the testimony.

Now, he described himself as libertarian, but only as a framework. I am a libertarian not as a framework, but rather as a matter of principle. The fundamental principle of libertarianism is the non-initiation of the use of force, or as it says on the back of my Libertarian Party lifetime membership card, “Statement of Principles - We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.”

Because Chris’s political views are not grounded in principle, they are subject to circumstance. By contrast, I extend the principles of liberty into a foreign policy of free trade, and non-intervention. In regards to why we need to stay in Iraq, he repeatedly referenced 9/11. Chris is not stupid, and made it clear that he understands there is no direct link between 9/11 and Iraq, “but 9/11 changed things.” Tragically, he’s right. 9/11 gave our “leadership” a chance to change things by exploiting the fear it caused in average Americans.

Before 9/11, we knew how the world was growing smaller and how technology changed the threat of terrorism. Suicide “bombers” hijacking airplanes to use as missiles could have happened decades ago. 19 guys with box cutters do not by themselves justify an entire reorientation of our foreign policy to justify a preemptive strike doctrine. Chris believes they do. His theory of the manipulation of the intelligence process that led us to believe in the big yellow cake lie is that a few eager to please hacks at the CIA made a mistake. Knowing Cheney’s involvement in the process, that’s hard to believe.

He thinks that the war has been mismanaged, but now has faith in “the surge” and General Petraeus. I had to point out that “THE surge” is really the third or fourth surge, it’s just the first to be advertised as “the surge.” He agreed, but believes that the change in tactics is significant enough to give it a chance, and that “winning” is the important thing. I have a bad feeling that if we stay in Iraq for a hundred years as McCain suggests, there will be a new strategy every two years, and there will always be people saying, “but this time the new strategy is going to work.”

This is how people in abusive relationships view their partners. “I know he hurts me, but he really loves me.” “I know he’s lied in the past, but this time it feels like he’s telling the truth.” “We’ve been through so much, I have to give him one more chance.” The American people seem to be behaving a lot like the kind of person who goes from one abusive relationship to another, always desperate to believe what we are being told, always hoping for something better, and even now, after realizing how bad Bush has been for us, we look to the next leader, hoping things will be better. But until we change, the leadership won’t. Despite repeatedly being lied to, most of us so desperately want to believe our government.

While Chris is generally a good guy, an assertive one no doubt, and a proud veteran who has served honorably, he seems to represent a tragic part of today’s American psyche. We were attacked, and we are afraid. We have been lied to, but we want to believe. We know how we are being screwed, but we let it continue. We know that people are dying every day in Iraq, and we can’t stop talking about Heath Leger. We know that torture is being done in our name and we go back to watching TV.

Towards the end of the conversation, I asked Chris, “So with all of our common beliefs and shared objectives, where does this conversation leave us? What can we do to work together to achieve our shared objectives?” That was when he challenged me to a boxing match. I thought he was joking, but we tossed the idea around a bit and decided that we could do it as a fundraiser for a charity we both support like the Disabled American Veterans or Homes For Our Troops. Someone I mentioned the idea to said, “Why don’t you just have a debate?” “Because no one would come.” At least not nearly as many as would come to see “the anti-war movement” versus “the pro-war movement” duke it out in a boxing ring. And this way we could sell tickets and actually raise some serious money for a good cause. Of course for fairness’s sake, we would have to find a charity that would host it, so that neither of our organizations have anything to do with putting the event together. Given that, Chris, I officially accept your challenge. Let’s do it for our shared American values.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Why I Must Testify

These truly are times that try men’s souls. There are too many veterans returning from futile occupations with heads full of lies and hearts full of sorrow. Minds full of bad memories and bodies full of shrapnel. Fists full of anger and families full of confusion. It’s not a strong place from which to make yourself politically relevant. But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause. Some of us couldn’t live with ourselves if we weren’t doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible.

The environment may be unkind, but that is why I will be testifying and that is why it will be necessary. I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules Of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies. It won’t be easy but it must be done. Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

This Video Needs To Get Around (tell your friends about it)

An Interview I Did Yesterday With "Russia Today"

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Jonathan de Wald on GOE

The Gagglefuck of Pigeons has recently decided on a new flag, but Jonathan de Wald's parody below is much more apt. I'm not sure what "NEVER AGAIN" refers to. But I have some ideas:
"Never again will we think before we yell obscenities."
"Never again will we be seen in public without making asses of ourselves."
"Never again will we respect anti-war veterans' freedom of speech."
"Never again will we question any of Bush's lies." Oh wait. Nevermind. That never happened to begin with.

This is the new GOE flag:
Jonathan de Wald's version: