User Picture

Wednesday Watercooler

By: Kit OConnell Wednesday July 9, 2014 8:53 pm


Old Growth Trees in Humboldt County

Watercooler solidarity: A new direct action campaign seeks to protect old growth trees in Northern California.

Tonight’s video is “7 Myths About The Brain You Thought Were True” from ASAPScience.

Earth First! reports on a new ongoing blockade against logging in the old growth forest near the Mattole River in Northern California.

A blockade was deployed on a logging road in the Mattole forest yesterday morning, preventing the extraction of over 1,000 acres.of old-growth forest

There has been communication between the company and the blockaders, but efforts to remove the technically complicated monopod-tripod complex had not been made as of last contact with the forest defense team.

This marks the second action in as many weeks. Last week a tree sitter going by the name Skunk climbed into the canopy, insisting, ‘Our main demands to Humboldt Redwood Company are very simple—don’t cut unlogged forest, and don’t cut old-growth. This road threatens to destroy forest that has never been logged before, and will pave the way for logging even more important habitat if the community does not rise up to stop it.’

Bonus: 23 Amazing Things America Would Be Missing Without Queer People, via Huffington Post Gay. Thanks Dana Sayre for this link.

Housekeeping notes:

  • Please review our About Us page if you need a refresher on site rules, and
  • We encourage you to use our flag system — if you see an abusive comment, user or post, please flag it rather than replying. We review every flag and take the best action available to us.
  • If you have questions or concerns about Firedoglake-specific issues, please limit their discussion to Watercooler posts rather than starting new posts or making off-topic comments in others. But remember,
  • Firedoglake editors and staff are not allowed to comment on any moderation decisions.

The Watercooler is an open conversation. Ask questions, share links and your thoughts. How is your week so far?


Drafted by Circumstance

By: David Cox Wednesday July 9, 2014 10:48 am

Welcome to Independence Day 2014, the day we celebrate our independence through revolutionary violence from Great Britain.

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Wow, that’s tough talk, especially since declaration was illegal. In the eyes of the British Government, the Continental Congress was no more legitimate than the New Black Panther Party. In legal circles, our founding father’s were nothing more than common criminals, rabble rousers and yes, terrorists. George Washington, Ho Chi Min or Che Guevara all wore the same uniform, as revolution is a different kind of war. Wars are fought to preserve the established order; revolutions are fought to create a new order.

Tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens, willing to throw their lives away for an idea, a smoky, nebulous proposition of a better world, somewhere in the future. Maybe not even a better world for themselves, but a better world for someone. Stop and ask yourself, just what would it take to make you leave the comfort of your homes and join a general armed insurrection against the most powerful military in the world?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Seems crystal clear, doesn’t it? We have the inalienable right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. That’s government’s job, that’s what we pay them for. Under the North American Free Trade Act, American’s were promised tens of thousands of new jobs, which never arrived. Instead, 5.5 million American jobs have been shipped overseas. It has created massive unemployment, poverty and hardship for millions, rewarding only the bottom feeder and the speculator. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, i.e. sending millions of jobs overseas.

Without a job, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, becomes a cruel joke. A minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a cruel joke. Forcing American workers into direct competition with third world wages constitutes an act of treason. A government sponsored policy, working directly against the average American’s financial ability to enjoy Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. ‘Necessitous men are not free men.’ People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. –Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Our Wal-Mart Greeter-in-Chief has declared immigration reform to be a top priority for his second term. Despite public opinion polls declaring by a wide margin “Jobs” to be the nation’s top priority. How can government be considered legitimate, if it ignores the people and fails to restore the economy? Public opinion polls show public’s approval of Congress wavering between 5% and 8%. What would you think of the headline: “Russian Public Support for Vladimir Putin’s Government Hovers at 8%?”

VIDEO: Why At Least one FIFA Player Should Protest The World Cup Final

By: Dennis Trainor Jr Tuesday July 8, 2014 4:36 pm

Originally posted at

Imagine the impact if a player from one of the remaining FIFA semifinal World Cup teams (Germany, Brazil, The Netherlands, or Argentina) were to engage in an act of protest against FIFA for it’s Imperial practices that have literarily displaced at least 250,000 Brazilians? Imagine if Lionel Messi, Thomas MullerArjen Robben, or even the injured Neymar were to pull a John Carlos sometime during the semifinals or finals of the World Cup?

If any sports organization deserves to be protested, FIFA is it.  As Dave Zirin correctly pointed out, Luis Suárez May Bite, but FIFA Sucks Blood.

In this clip from Acronym TV with Dennis Trainor Jr – Derek Poppert of Global Exchange talks about his Re-Think The Cup series of articles and the potential impact a player from one of the remaining teams calling FIFA out.

Governor Kasich Kisses Planet Bye-Bye

By: williamboardman

Ohio: Poster Child for Mindless Global Self-Destruction 

Kill people, kill the planet – whatever makes a big profit is cool  

A caricature of John Kasich in front of an American flag.

Ohio’s governor pursues an ALEC-sponsored anti-environmental agenda.

John Kasich is a smart guy who knows better than to be an overt serial killer, so, as Governor of Ohio, he joins with others who prefer to do their mass killing by stealth, maybe spread the carnage out over future generations, who will be unable to hold the Kasiches and the ALEC’s of this world to account. Ever. However long that turns out to be.

This is not to single out Republican Gov. Kasich as the worst environmental monster in office (current term 2011-2015). On the contrary, his behavior seems rather centrist in the context of contemporary American Republican politics.

But his decision to make Ohio the first state to roll back alternative energy on behalf of ALEC, the front organization for the Koch brothers, the rest of the oil industry, and the rest of the fossil fuel establishment is, quite realistically, a crime against humanity. The fulcrum for that claim is climate change, which even the  deniers acknowledge would be globally devastating, if it turned out to be real. Amazingly, Kasich accepts the scientific reality, which makes his actions to exacerbate climate change quite literally a crime against humanity.

Self-Evisceration: the New American Way of Governing?  

In May 2012, at an Ohio energy conference hosted by The Hill, Gov. Kasich made his understanding of reality pretty clear, including his belief in the reality of global climate change:

I am a believer — my goodness I am a Republican — I happen to believe there is a problem with climate change. I don’t want to overreact to it, I can’t measure it all, but I respect the creation that the Lord has given us and I want to make sure we protect it. …

But we can’t overreact to it and make things up, but it is something we have to recognize is a problem. …
We are going to continue to work on cleaning coal, but I want to tell you, we are going to dig it, we are going to clean it, and we are going to burn it in Ohio, and we are not going to apologize for it. …

I believe there is something to [climate change], but to be unilaterally doing everything here while China and India are belching and putting us in a noncompetitive position isn’t good, but some of that is the presidential leadership. … I am just saying that I am concerned about it, but I am not laying awake at night worrying the sky is falling. [emphasis added]

If you say you believe one thing, but act as if you believe another…

Gov. Kasich may or may not be worrying about the sky falling, but he’s taken actions that will help pull it down. This June, on Friday the 13th, Gov. Kasich signed the bill that put his state in the lead in the fossil fuel industry’s attack on alternative energy. Gov. Kasich chose this pro-global-warming path despite significant opposition from some big businesses (Honda, Whirlpool, Honeywell, Owens-Corning), as well as most environmentalists and climate scientists.

In 2008, the Ohio legislature voted nearly unanimously (one No vote) to establish alternative energy standards for Ohio that would help slow climate change. This “renewable portfolio standard” was signed into law by then-Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat. Under this act, Ohio energy generation by 2025 had to come 25%  from alternative energy sources, and half of that (12.5%) from renewable energy sources; the bill also required consumers to be 22% more energy efficient by 2025.

By 2010, the state ranked #2 in solar production (behind Oregon) and was reliably in the top five for “green energy.” Ohio utilities were required to buy their renewable energy from Ohio companies. An April 2014 poll showed more than 70% of Ohioans supported the 2008 energy bill and its achievements over six years. As Climate Progress noted about the alternative energy standards of 2008:

Since the standard came into effect, Ohio’s clean energy sector provided 25,000 jobs and at least $1 billion in private sector investment. This has saved ratepayers roughly $230 million, dropping electricity rates by almost a percent and a half….

[Utility company] FirstEnergy’s CEO said that his company is ‘being hurt by various mandates that drive down electricity demand.’ The company has even asked its customers to push for the bill freezing the clean energy and efficiency standards.

Yet FirstEnergy admitted to state regulators that the law’s efficiency standards helped consumers save $2 for every $1 spent. In total, the energy efficiency program has saved Ohio $1 billion in formerly wasted energy.

If it looks like a fascistic cabal is in control…

The bill Gov. Kasich signed June 13, Senate Bill 310, attacks all this. The bill “freezes” the 2025 mandate to allow for a two year “study,” which look more like time to organize to repeal the legislation entirely.  One indication of the bad faith at the heart of the Kasich bill is that it no longer requires utilities to buy Ohio renewables, both a gift to the big utilities and a blow to renewable energy companies, with ratepayers picking up the expense. Green Tech Media fears the bill will “end new wind farms in Ohio.” The bill also cuts the renewable energy annual benchmarks already enacted in 2008 by as much as 55% each year. This literally requires energy producers to make no progress whatsoever on climate change until the end of 2017.

All the Way to the Sky

By: Isaiah 88 Tuesday July 8, 2014 10:07 am

Graffiti: If Voting Changed Anything They'd Make It Illegal

Jon Queally, Common Dreams . . .

As reported by the Washington Post on Saturday, President Obama is heeding the instructions and advice of pollsters and political consultants as the administration abandons its flirtation with populist rhetoric and a brief White House push to make the scourge of economic inequality a political issue. Instead, according to officials who spoke to the Post’s Zachary Goldfarb, the administration will pivot towards more ‘politically palatable’ messaging less likely to draw critique from Wall Street and the political right.

I don’t have to tell you why Barack Obama and those triangulating “Democrats” in Congress have concocted this worst possible campaign strategy at the worst possible time. You know why. And we all know what the end result in November will be–millions of Americans struggling to survive in this rigged economy will see no point in voting for a party that keeps betraying them. Republicans will win big because midterms are always base elections, and “Democrats” will have the convenient excuse they’ve been looking for to move even more to the right.

Moral cowardice is not the underlying motivation for that strategy.

Not anymore.

It’s coldly calculated treachery.

Welcome to the Citizens United Century, behold the smoke and mirrors of another midterm election, get ready for the fully-scripted consequences of it, get ready for even more corporate control over the “government,” brace yourself for even more surveillance, for drones in the sky across this country, for escalated fracking and drilling, for environmental carnage from the Redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, for pipelines through the amber waves of grain, for a crashing economy from California to the New York islands, for the full implementation of TPP and TISA and God only knows what other horrors. From now on you might as well just mail your paychecks directly to a Wall Street bank, damn near every dollar you earn is going to end up in their vaults anyway.

How can any progressive still possibly think that we can vote our way out of this?

Thanks to the exemplary “journalism” of the corporate media, millions of “low-information voters” still have no clue that the political system is broken, that the judicial system is broken, that the “news” is nothing but propaganda, that all the clocks are striking thirteen–that corporations have become people, that money is speech now, that war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. Add to that the harsh reality that 50 million “conservative” voters will always be against us, seething with outrage behind their barricades of white supremacy, raging about imaginary socialism, howling at everyone in sight that conservative lies are true because conservatives say they’re true.

We’re going to overcome all of that by voting?

For who?


The last few years in politics have been a Golden Age of Reason compared to what’s coming next. The bat shit is going to be ten feet deep in the streets of Washington.

Have I mentioned the beneficial and unifying influence of the NRA yet?

Let’s put it this way—don’t forget to dodge the bullets when you walk out the door, the US of A has become a free-fire-zone. Fascism isn’t on the way, it’s here, that’s the blunt, bitter truth and pretending it isn’t is the worst possible response. It’s time to put the euphemisms away, it’s time to call it what it is.

There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who stand looking.

How much longer are so many people on progressive websites going to keep pretending this political culture of militarized police, massive surveillance, and corporate-control of damn near everything isn’t fascist? Does Wolf Blitzer have to announce it on CNN before it’s official?

Is that what it’s going to take?

Summon all the courage you can when you get up every morning, you’re going to need it. Honor the moral imperative of resistance. Stop voting for the lesser of two evils. That’s not the solution, it’s the problem. Defy the bastards, defy them all. Never give in, never give up. Resistance is a long, hard road, but it leads to the sunrise.

Lauren Oliver . . .

You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them.

53 Palestinians, 0 Israelis Die in Air and Missile Strikes …

By: fairleft Monday May 9, 2011 6:01 pm
Smoke rises from Palestinian buildings after air strikes.

Is the US media biased in its reports on Israeli airstrikes?

And yet still we get obscene propaganda from the mainstream ‘news’ masquerading as a headline:

Gaza rockets land deep in Israel as it bombards Palestinian enclave

The Reuters article above, with its propaganda headline, reports that 37 53 (see comment 39) Palestinians have died so far, but differing data on the dead and injured is provided in a more balanced article in the Guardian:

The air assault continued throughout Wednesday morning bringing the Palestinian death toll to 32 in two days, including several senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants. More than 150 people have been injured. There have been about 440 air strikes since the beginning of the week.

Palestinian medics in Gaza City said two women and four children had been killed in strikes in the north and east of the city near the border with Israel on Wednesday morning.

‘Four Palestinians were killed in air strikes, including two brothers who are 12 and 13 years old in Shejaiya, while a four-year-old boy and a woman were killed in a raid on Zeitun,’ emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told Agence France-Presse.

The Guardian reports that the U.S., which means Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama, supports without reservation the air war on a largely defenseless population:

The White House condemned the rocket attacks against Israel. ‘No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks,’ said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Oh of course, the Gazans are vicious for killing no one, but ‘no comment’ on the Israeli air strikes that have killed 29 civilians according to Reuters.

I bet most Americans oppose Israel’s deadly civilian-killing response to being attacked by so far harmless unguided missiles. They would oppose Israel’s actions even more strongly if they were allowed to read and listen to unbiased/balanced news reports in/on the mainstream media. The thing is, I wish it weren’t an issue of whether the U.S. ‘supports’ or ‘doesn’t support’ Israel’s actions. My question is, why are we giving Israel so much money every year? Can’t we find more deserving nations for our charity?

Terry Sutherland’s Appearance Explained with New SBA Fraud Protection Policy

By: Lloyd Chapman

I have been wondering why one of the most tenured and experience Pentagon spokesmen suddenly popped up at one of the smallest agencies in government, the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Portrait of Terry Sutherland

Sympathy for the devil.

It makes perfect sense. Terry Sutherland is there to help journalists understand why the SBA needs a policy to create a “safe harbor” from penalties for firms that are guilty of the fraud that is absolutely not happening at the SBA.

Terry Sutherland is there to help the public understand why the SBA needs a policy to essentially legalize the fraud that has not been uncovered in over a dozen federal investigations and countless reports in the mainstream media. They have not all found hundreds of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts that have actually wound up in the hands of some of the biggest corporations in the world.

Commander Cover-Up has taken over the SBA Press Office to help journalists understand they need a new “safe harbor “policy to protect fraudulent firms from penalties because Lloyd Chapman is a conspiracy nut.  CNN did not uncover wide spread fraud in a federal program designed to help small businesses.

Terry Sutherland is there to help the mainstream media understand there is no fraud in SBA managed programs. That’s why the Government Accountability Office released Report 10-108 that stated, “By failing to hold firms accountable, SBA and contracting agencies have sent a message to the contracting community that there is no punishment or consequences for committing fraud.”

Terry Sutherland is just there to help the media clearly understand that even though the SBA Inspector General has named the diversion of federal small business contracts to big businesses as the number one problem in the SBA ever year for a decade, there is no fraud at the SBA. That’s why the SBA needs a new policy to protect fraudulent firms with a “safe harbor” from penalties.

I hope it’s clear to everyone the fact that one of the Pentagon’s top cover-up hit men went from the largest agency in government to a teeny tiny agency with a budget that is .001% of the Pentagon’s budget because there is no fraud at the SBA or the Pentagon.

And of course Lloyd Chapman is just a conspiracy nut with his 40 national television appearances, his endless press releases and blogs and his 30 legal victories over the federal government and his Bill in Congress, H.R. 1622.

Federal law mandates a penalty of not more than 10 years in prison, a $500,000 fine per occurrence, or both, for big businesses that misrepresent themselves as small businesses to hijack federal small business contracts.

Since there is clearly no fraud in SBA managed small business contracting programs, Terry Sutherland simply wants everyone in the media to understand that’s why the SBA has proposed a new “safe harbor” from penalties for firms that commit fraud.

Cleveland Gets a Chance [To Be Screwed] By the RNC

By: cmaukonen Wednesday July 9, 2014 6:17 am

Clint Eastwood talks to an empty chair – DonkeyHotey

Well it seems that the RNC has chosen Cleveland for the Pointless Political Schmooze-Fest.

As they look to the Republican National Convention arriving in 2016, Cleveland business leaders are envisioning themselves as storytellers.

They see an opportunity to present a new, more accurate image of Cleveland to a curious world.

A fresh perspective, they expect, will spark a new era of business interest and investment.

Oh really? Well, guess who foots the bill which can cost up to $100 million bucks to the tax payer?

Federal taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $136 million to cover the cost of the major political parties’ presidential nominating conventions.

That’s the estimated total taxpayer tab of this week’s Republican Party National Convention in Florida, and next week’s Democratic Party National Convention in North Carolina.

And that does not include how much the city will wind up paying in the end to clean up their mess. As I commented to the article above. “Does Cleveland really want to play host to a bunch of sociopathic,narcissistic megalomaniac Tea Party creeps masquerading as a political party?” They and the Democrats have proven themselves to be cheapskates and deadbeats more than willing to give the host city and the taxpayers the shaft. It only marginally benefits the slimy business interests and gives everyone else the shaft.

Cleveland needs to Just Say NO to the GOP and the Democrats as well.