If it seems like you're jumping into the middle of something, try going to page one.

Here's what the turnaround looks like. The people are tourists crazy enough to wait in line in the cold to ride the cable car. Funny tourists!

There's leather jacket guy, Jo, and Frank Chu in the background. Looks like I found the right place but I'm a bit early.

She was making some point about how much water different activities use.

Another one of those signs!

This guy had a boom box and was trying to collect some cash from the tourists. There were also two Salvation Army guys and a number of people playing guitar.

At this point some self hating vets left the shopping center across the street. I guess it went OK but there were quite a few police so I can't imagine they did a whole lot. Update: Their own pictures show them striking a pose in two or three places in the shopping center and hoping to attract crowds. Fancy.

Then they came to our side and started this big fuss with the citizens. It basically had nothing to do with the description

12:15pm / Powell Turnaround
...Checkpoint > Iraqis trickle through our checkpoint, get harassed for a few minutes
...Taking Fire > Sound machine will sound and we will "take fire"
...Eddie's hit! > We'll take him out of the way and return fire on everyone
...Die - in > Blood packets for those who want 'em, pile up and remember to be dramatic!

Except that everybody fell over and had a "die in" in the least dramatic way possible. By the way, the point of a die in is to make a sidewalk or better yet a road impassible. Protesters do that all the time because it's very hard to clear out limp deadweight like that. When you have a die-in blocking off part of a public square and make sure that people can get around it so you won't be arrested for blocking the sidewalk all that's left is this visual. Which almost nobody could see unless you were a photographer and pushed your way to the front or were one of just a few shoppers who were curious as to what this was about (you can see their bags in the above photo). And of course even if you were watching this they only stayed "dead" for a minute and then all jumped up. Big whoop.

And that the SHV declared one guy wounded and ran off a half block away. You can see the running in the video, but they ended up in sight so here's a still.

Oh, yeah, he's held an actual rife before. I believe.

Nobody cares. Somehow this hasn't stopped the war. Amazing, I know.

But really, what did they think was going to happen? They'll probably say "raising awareness" but the war's not exactly new at this point. People probably have an opinion already. And all this running around arresting people stuff is just BS - it might have resonated a bit five years ago but now? In post-Awakening, more-Marines-killed-by-motorcycle-accidents-than-gunfire Iraq?

And their one hook is that these are vets - so they are supposed to speak with a moral authority and knowledge that's beyond us mere civilians. But they offer no proof of this, and don't even claim that they were combat troops or ever saw combat. And I've heard some of them argue that we're all veterans of the war because it affects us all and we're all soaked in Iraqi blood. But even by some miracle if some of them had actually seen combat in Iraq - was it current? The place by all accounts is very different than even a year ago. And we're rotated, what, a half million or million troops through the region? What percentage of them have to be self hating, mentally ill, or just looking for attention to come up with a few willing to act out this idiocy? So the irony is that I think they probably could have found some vets to do this... but that they didn't even bother, because they'll just take anybody who's willing to hit a surplus store, throw on some mixed cammo, and act out their little skit.

12:45pm / Walkover to UN Plaza (2 blocks)
...Civilians go on ahead at normal pace, assemble and start
protesting, carrying signs, and chanting "U.S.!", "Out of Iraq!".

1:00pm / UN Plaza
...IVAW squad will arrive later because we'll be marching at patrol speed. Once we arrive we work on riot control.
...Depending on the reaction from the crowd we can drag this out or end sooner, we'll get a feeling for it. But the result will be U.S. Forces being overthrown by PEOPLE POWER, we will retreat to the UN Plaza Fountain to deliver the press conference

~1:30pm LUNCH! Thanks to Food Not Bombs.

I looked at the Food Not Bombs website and they said they'd be feeding the homeless to bring attention to lots of homeless being vets, or claiming they're vets.

At this point I decided that doubling back to Union Square and checking out the anti-fur protest was my best bet. Update: Interestingly enough I couldn't find any coverage of the rest of the day on leftie sites. Either their photographers gave up too, or it just wasn't very dramatic.

There they are!

The text basically says that you don't know without a DNA test if your "rabbit" coat is actually dog or cat, especially since most fur these days comes from China with horrible standards and slave labor and probably that same lead machine they use to spray toys. OK, I made that last part up.

Not a huge number of people, but it seemed effective combined with people handing out flyers on the sidewalk. Oddly enough much more effective than the anti-war thing. I can see somebody thinking about buying fur - "Surely that whole social stigma thing's over, right? You can buy fur again, right?" Well, no, not in San Francisco. Besides, with our climate there's probably two days per year you would really want it anyway.

If you didn't gather from the photos, this isn't PETA, it's "In Defense of Animals" (IDA). No, I hadn't heard of them either but they seem to be pretty well established. Right now they seem to have a lot of irons in the fire but as an example they're trying to get Amazon.com to stop carrying fur. That seems pretty straightforward - it's not exactly a conservative company - they're probably just afraid that if they say "yes" it will be leather next... the thing about every pro-animal group I've seen is that when they focus in on some particular abuse they can be effective but they always seem to have this larger agenda that ends up with no pets, no scientific use of animals, no entertainment use of animals, no food or clothing use of animals... I wonder how many people who love their dogs and hate the idea of dogs skinned for their coats in China gave these guys money today not realizing IDL is turning around and using that money to try to make sure they can't have dogs as pets and to shut down the local zoo where they're teaching their children to have a love for animals and the environment.

I have no idea.

Yes, San Francisco has a big Christmas tree in Union Square. It may have LED lights, multiple protests in the area per day, and it's probably officially there to honor pagans or something but everybody knows what it really is. It's a big Christmas tree and we love it.

Headed back to the turnaround. What's that at the end?


I am so screwed.

Remember, these folks are exactly where the anti-war folks were a minute ago. The tourists in line for the cable car put up with the moonbats and now this - and these guys have a sound permit so they're using amplification to carry their message of... well, hate unfortunately.

This is the back of Frank's sign. Yes, he's sponsored. You think he's walking around for his health?

One lone protester remained, plus one guy handing out flyers.

And home... note there's a huge line to get out of the station. The modern pattern seems to be to hit the morning sales in the 'burbs and then get lunch and head into the city later. Yes, that means all of these protesters missed peak crowd time.


Want to see the video? Here it is. If you don't see it, or want to see it in high quality, here's the direct link. I recommend checking it out if only for the audio - you really don't see how nutty these folks are from the stills.


Update: While I was able to find no major media coverage (there was a radio guy I spotted but I don't think they ran anything - he was there to cover the shopping crowds), there are several stories on indybay.org if anybody is curious. They portray the "action" as wildly successful and dramatic, using extreme closeups to maximize drama and minimize the fact that almost nobody was actually paying attention to these people for more than a minute or two. Ironically their videos show the truth with a majority of shoppers milling about and totally ignoring the "action" and the rest just curious as to what was going on, and leaving once they found out it was "street theater".

If you're interested in learning more about IVAW/SHV and this event you might want to check out this thread at This Ain't Hell. The comments are very educational.

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