Sunday, December 23, 2007


These tidbits were gleaned from the local newspaper on December 20. They give me faith in the Cheney-Bush Team and their minions, faith that we Americans can rest safely in our beds at night knowing that we are safe from terrorists, our financial well-being is secure, and our environment is protected.

- The Customs and Border Protection folks at Miami International Airport spend significantly more time searching for and busting Americans with illegal cigars and rum from Cuba than they do looking for terrorists.

- The government of China is now the second-largest shareholder of the second-largest financial firm on Wall Street, Morgan Stanley, with a $5 Billion bail-out investment.

- The Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that the strict automobile emission standards implemented by the State of California (and many other states) can not be put into law, under provisions of the federal Clean Air Act. The EPA concluded that state law cannot be more strict than federal law, even though EPA has approved more strict state laws many times in the past. (A big party was certainly held at the auto industry lobby, with drinks probably donated by the White House.)

I feel so safe and secure right now that I think I'll jump in my big rig and go shopping out at the mall on the interstate!


It has been about 5 months since my last post. Chalk it up to blogger block (blogck - maybe a new term that will catch on...). But more likely it's unbridled cynicism combined with a feeling of total helplessness. Can things get any worse than they are - yes.

But thanks to the NYT News Service, a story today jolted me back from blogckitude, and here I go again.

"A newly declassified document shows that J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the FBI, had a plan to suspend habeas corpus and imprison some 12,000 Americans that he suspected of disloyalty." This plan was sent by Hoover to the Truman White House shortly after the Korean War began in 1950. The plan was not implemented (as far as we know).

This revelation solves a number of mysteries for me, particularly a nagging one about Lord Darth Cheney. It all comes together now with two possibilities: 1) Hoover's brain is alive and active in a big jar in Darth Cheney's office, where it provides ideas to Darth, or, 2) Darth Cheney actually had the living brain of J. Edgar Hoover implanted in his head. Both of these make sense, and explain where some of Lord Cheney's ideas and pronouncements originate.

Wow...I'm glad that one is solved!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Stunning revelations in a 2-week period! Medical procedures reveal close-kept Administration secrets.

Last week, President George W. Bush underwent a colonoscopy procedure, and leaked reports have shed some light on one of the mysteries of the Bush years - the whereabouts of WMDs. After awakening from the routine colon exam, President Bush was overheard saying: "I saw them - Weapons of M'ass Destruction!!"

Meanwhile, Vice-Royal Darth Cheney has been hospitalized so doctors can replace his defibrillator. Replacement of the defibrillator provides some clues to the Vice-Emperor's success - his constant fibbing about Iraq, government spying, energy policy and many other topics is enabled by the defibrillator!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


When last we visited the Axis of Weasels and the Dark Lord, Darth Cheney (November 11, 2005), things were looking bad for the Lefti Knights and the entire galaxy. But cracks were beginning to appear in the Axis of Weasels armor, despite the spin-saber tactics of the evil MachiaRovean. But the forces of good underestimated the power of the Dark Side, particularly their Dark Lord. Darth Cheney continued to spin and lie and paint as evil and unpatriotic those who dared speak out against military campaigns of the Axis. The Dark Lord became more secretive and harder to find, all the while planning his evil doings.

And so it came to pass that, in the year of 7 in the Second Millennium, the Dark Lord, Darth Cheney, put in motion his secret plan to gain control of the Empire. The Dark Lord, brushing aside the puppet Emperor Dubya, declared a new branch of government comprised of - himself. Under this new ruling structure, Darth Cheney became part of whichever branch of the Empire he chose on any particular day, depending on the politics of the moment. If rules governing the behavior of the Executive Branch of the Empire got in his way, well, he was not part of that branch, despite his title of Vice Emperor. If rules governing the Legislative Branch got in his way, well, he was not part of that branch. Darth Cheney, the Dark Lord, was his own branch of the Empire.

And so the Axis of Weasels continued to careen down the path of history, leaving in it's wake a ruined planet wracked with war, greed, pollution and hatred. And Darth Cheney, the Dark Lord, smirked as he watched the results of his planning.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


We've been busy here at FISHMAN for POTUS galactic headquarters (see the last post for the announcement of my candidacy). The issues I want to address are numerous; the planks in my platform are many; and we've been pondering how to start off by "hitting the nail on the head," so to speak. At long last, the Unifying Issue became clear.

Global Warming is what I consider to be The Unifying Issue. Global Warming is not a for-or-against, Democrat vs. Republican, liberal vs. conservative, east vs. west, Christian vs. Jew vs. Muslim issue. This issue is reality smacking all of us up side the head and saying "do something now for future generations." This one issue demands all nations to rethink public policy, foreign policy, public planning, transportation, energy and environmental policy, tax structure, international trade, education and health care. This issue demands all people to rethink their life styles and consumer habits - particularly those of us who are privileged.

Look at the news on any day and consider each news item in the context of Global Warming. Think about your own activities and decisions through one complete day in the context of Global Warming. Think about the ridiculousness of fighting between people over religious beliefs, claims to land, ethnicity or old scores to settle contrasted to the future for everyone everywhere on a planet with a climate irrevocably altered by our own stupidity.

As President, I will consistently lead a national and international discussion about this Unifying Issue. I will work tirelessly to change the basic concepts of our society from one based on consumerism and greed to one based on principles of sustainability. I will work to change our foreign policy from one of domination to one of cooperation - using the innate creativity, generosity and compassion of Americans to lead by example.

Just as there is a major human-induced climate shift on this planet, I envision a human-induced paradigm shift towards a world with a future based on the realities of a finite planet.

not just for the halibut

* President of the United States

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I'm using this post to announce my candidacy for President of the United States.

This is not a decision made lightly. The tipping point was the recent candidates "debate" for the eight announced Democratic Party candidates. Although I only heard the media sound bytes, they were enough to push me over the edge. Basically, I'm tired of politicians dancing around the real issues because they don't want to alienate any potential constituencies. As a result, we have: Senator Clinton stressing that she's tough enough to retaliate against terrorists who attack us; Senator Obama endlessly reminding us that he was always against the Iraq War - from the beginning; and then there's Mr. Edwards, who admits that, yes, he lives a privileged life as evidenced by his $400 haircuts , but we need to remember that he comes from poverty. Oh give me a break!!

My candidacy stands firmly on one single pledge: I will always talk about the real issues - honestly and from my heart.

Future posts will provide details about my programs. I'll talk about foreign policy, the "Global War on Terror," education, environment, health care, justice, and communication.

I hope you'll visit again and read my opinion. I hope you'll comment so we can have a national, and international, dialogue about reality.

Thank you, and remember:

Not just for the halibut

Thursday, April 05, 2007


I'm generally not a person who is afraid, particularly about things that could seem, well, weirdly paranoid, like fear of my own government. But we recently listened to an interview that scared me and kept me awake for a long time after going to bed.

Every citizen of the USA should listen to the interview broadcast on March 19, 2007 on the National Public Radio program Fresh Air. Jeremy Scahill is the author of the book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. "Blackwater USA is a secretive private army based in North Carolina with a sole owner: Erik Prince, a right-wing Christian multimillionaire." Their web site proclaims that Blackwater USA is the most comprehensive professional military, law enforcement, security, peacekeeping, and stability operations company in the world. Numerous media stories refer to the company as training and contracting out mercenaries. Blackwater has thousands of armed personnel for hire, aircraft, armored vehicles of their own design, and at least two very large training bases. Blackwater has played a large role in the Iraq war under contract to the United States, and has had numerous casualties.

The interview presents a picture that I found to be very chilling. Blackwater's presence is becoming more widespread both abroad and in the United States, and the politics of the company, based on those of it's owner, are very right of center.

What scared me is the realization that the right-wing politics of the Bush administration are matched by a large and growing private military with close ties to the White House. We citizens of the US have seen our civil liberties increasingly narrowed by the Bush-led government, and have witnessed large increases in the number of government services and jobs that have been out-sourced to private firms. The abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, Guantanamo prison camp, secret CIA-run prisons around the world, "extraordinary renditions" (disappearings) of people and their subsequent torture, abolishment of habeas corpus, etc., etc. are very disturbing, and not in line with what most Americans think America stands for.

Is there a scenario in which the President announces that, because of the imminent risk of terrorist attacks, our country is under martial law and elections are suspended, and this is enforced by military units and the Blackwater forces loyal to President Bush? This is just paranoia, right? These things don't and can't happen - not here - can they?

Maybe we should all be afraid just enough to speak up now - loudly and clearly and together.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


"They're not supporting the troops. They're undermining them," is how Darth "Buckshot" Cheney referred to the House of Representatives. And, oh yes, let's not forget that these truly unpatriotic SOB's are "sending a message to terrorists that America will retreat in the face danger."

Oh give me a frickin break!! I'm beginning to believe that ol' Darth actually had The Big One a couple of years ago, and this dark-side apparition we see on the TV is really a robot who has been programmed with about three repetitive statements. Does anyone actually believe anything this old fart says? OK, yes, there must be some believers, those who take their daily dose of koolaid.

Darth, listen to me - it's time to retire. You've done enough damage to the world to last a lifetime. You have so totally screwed things up that the world will never be the same. Step down Darth - others are standing up, and you can stand down - NOW!

Friday, March 02, 2007


The small article on page A-11 of The Oregonian today is about an announcement by the U.S. Energy Department for a new contract to develop a new Hydrogen Bomb, intended to replace the aging warheads now in the U.S. arsenal. With all the media attention, prompted by White House press releases and statements, about the impending doom represented by North Korea and Iran developing nukaler weapons, we are left in a fog of ignorance about our own nukaler capabilities.

What does this small article tell us? Mainly it's about the competition between the three U.S. national weapons laboratories, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia, for the lead position on this contract. The contract value is "secret," but experts say it is worth billions or tens of billions of dollars. We need this new H-bomb because the old ones are, well, old and maybe unreliable; however, "critics" say that the existing stockpile is reliable and can be safely maintained for decades.

I've always had problems with the nuclear nations (the Nukaler Club) telling everyone else that they can't become members because, well, nukes are bad. It's OK for the club members to have nukes, and I guess to also build new ones, but any other nation that moves in that direction is being evil.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not proposing that any and every nation should have nukes; quite the opposite, I don't think any nation should have nukes - they're bad. We've certainly gotten beyond the idea of nuclear deterrence within the Nukaler Club - it's inconceivable that any of the Club members would use nukes against another member because of the realities of nuclear warfare. And nukes aren't very useful against terrorist cells.

Imagine, if you can, being a North Korean or an Iranian. You've been named by an American President part of the "Axis of Evil" and one of the three countries in that Axis has been invaded, occupied, and basically destroyed by the American cowboy President. He's rattled his swords in your direction, moved warships into your neighborhood, used veiled threats of military action against you. So maybe your only defense, so you think, is the threat of nuclear deterrence - that just might be logical thinking. And, oh yeah, by the way, the US is also developing a new H-bomb.

The above is not to condone the actions of North Korea and Iran, and the actions of those countries are certainly much more complicated than this simplistic imagining. But why is it OK for a few nations to have The Bomb and tell everyone else they can't because it's too dangerous?

Sunday, February 25, 2007


In case you haven't noticed, the world is different now. Nothing is, or ever will be, the same as it was before. Human actions have changed the earth's climate, terrorism has changed geopolitics, the Internet has changed communication and commerce, economic globalization has changed the boundaries between state and corporation, international transportation has changed the dispersal patterns of disease. These new realities are difficult to understand and accept, but we need to put aside our old ways, and adopt (and adapt to) new ways.

Old style leaders using old ways of thinking aren't what we need. Their time is over; their ideas and methods don't work anymore and are actually doing more harm than good. We know this; it's in the news every morning, it's the topic of our conversations every day.

Who will our new leaders be? Who actually understands the new realities of the world? Who can articulate the new realities in ways that help us understand and accept them? Who has the ability to translate this awareness into new paradigms for moving ahead and thriving in a new world?

In the USA we already have a number of announced candidates for President (even though the election is almost 2 years away!). I look at this field of politicians and see mostly people who are part of the old way, and by their statements and positions let me know that they can only think in that old mind set. Those who are closest to my particular politics say things that sound good, use the right buzz words and phrases, and identify the right issues, but it really all sounds the same, and I've heard it all before. I'm actually hoping that Senator Obama, because of his age and not-yet-solidified connections to the old politics, might be the candidate who breaks away from the old paradigms and presents us with a new set for a different world.

I honestly don't have a lot of hope that things will change in this world the way I know they need to change. This lack of hope is based on experience - after all, U.S. voters elected George W. Bush not once, but twice! Elections aren't based on reality, they're based on hype and spin, and who does it best. I hope someone surprises me this time around.


Unfortunately, the fact that this question is asked means that we're not ready. If this is truly a democracy, why does it matter what gender, color, religion, etc. a candidate is? I wonder if this would even be a question if the media didn't keep hyping it. Perhaps we need to get beyond gender and color and religion identity, and just talk about candidates in terms of their qualifications, experience and positions on critical issues. I look forward to the day when the news isn't that so-and-so is the first woman or black such-and-such, and the focus is on the real story.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Such a great word, really, but not one that is often heard in public. But now scrotum joins the ranks of many other august terms as a rallying cry by some (not all) of the Protectors of Young Minds - school librarians.

Scrotum appears in this years Newbery Award childrens book. The NY Times tells the story, and that the 10-year old boy in the book hears someone say that his dog was bit by a rattlesnake on the scrotum (ouch!). A number of school librarians have pulled the book off the library shelves because scrotum, I guess, is a word children should not know. Is there a better word for a scotum than scrotum?

I have to say here that I like the word scrotum. It's a great word, a fun word. I imagine a scene from a movie in which Mel Gibson ( I think he has one) and a horde of blue-and-white face-painted men in skirts brandishing swords and battle axes and clubs are charging across a windy plain, holding high a banner with a curvy "W"-shaped icon, and screaming, in a Welsh or Scottish brogue "SCROTUM - SCROTUM; FOR THE HONOR OF SCROTUM." Or something like that.....

So what's the problem here? Don't all kids know the words "penis" and "vagina?" Shouldn't they? So why ignore scrotum?

One school librarian quoted by the NY Times had this to say: “I don’t want to start an issue about censorship, but you won’t find men’s genitalia in quality literature.” Well, maybe she should worry more about sticking her nose where it doesn't belong.

So I say, why pick on scrotum, it's a nice word, a fun word, a playful word - and it's a real body part, too. Don't be afraid of scrotum, use the word proudly and often, fight back against the anti-scrotumers of the world. Scrotums of the world - unite!

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Excuse me for a moment while I go find my crying towel. The oil industry, specifically the gasoline refinery companies, are resisting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) efforts to impose limits on benzene in gasoline, a substance harmful to human health. The refiners are crying that these proposed limits, which would become effective in 2015 or even 2030, will cost them too much money to meet. I find it difficult to sympathize with the oil industry on this one, after reading yesterday about the all-time record net income recorded by Exxon Mobil of $39.5 billion in 2006.

An article in The Oregonian today listed three refiners that met with federal officials to push for less strict rules; Tesoro, Sinclair Oil, and Giant Industries. Each of these three firms owns multiple oil refineries. Tesoro had a 2006 net income of $801 million, up about $300 million from 2005. Sinclair, a privately owned firm, had 2005 sales of $5.6 billion. Sinclair owns 3 refineries, about 2,600 gas stations in the U.S., and numerous upscale hotels and resorts. Giant Industries (love the name) had $104 million net income in 2005 from $3.6 billion revenue.

These companies are putting profits before people. The long-term health effects of benzene exposure (source: CDC) include: effects on the blood (harmful effects on bone marrow, decrease in red blood cells, excessive bleeding, immune system effects); leukemia (cancer of the blood-forming organs); possible birth defects (demonstrated in animal studies). This is particularly bad news for people in the Pacific Northwest states, where benzene in gasoline is much higher than the US national average.

The Core Values of Giant Indutries, Inc. are: "Do your best. Do what's right. Treat others the way you would like to be treated." Tesoro Corporation touts it's social responsibility, including environmental responsibility. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world indeed if these were more than words from these industrial giants. Real responsibility would be to step up and say "the health of people is more important than the magnitude of our profits." Don't hold your breath for this to happen - but do hold your breath if you live near automobile exhaust.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


On January 25, we were at Portland City Hall for the press conference of Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Oregon 3rd District, about his "New Direction for Iraq Act of 2007." Explaining that, for the past six years under Republican control, congressional Democrats could not hold hearings or introduce legislation, Earl presented a summary of his proposed legislation. I'm highlighting this proposed act here because it is a lot more than a plan and timetable for withdrawal of US military forces; Earl's legislation addresses and plans for corrections of the very serious flaws in US actions in Iraq, US foreign policy in the Middle East, and war profiteering resulting from the outsourcing of the war effort. Equally important, the legislation addresses the needs of the Iraqi people for security, jobs, an end to sectarian conflict, and reconciliation. The US has broken Iraq, and Earl's proposed legislation is perhaps our best shot to help mend it.

In their last gasps of administration, the Bushies are still trying to find a way to "victory" by "surging" more US troops into Iraq, and using the same old worn out red herrings that anyone opposing this escalation is "emboldening the enemy." Nothing can embolden the enemies of peace and democracy more than the failed invasion and occupation of Iraq by the Bush Administration, and the continuation of their failed policies. Congressman Blumenauer has proposed a series of reasoned and reasonable steps for coming out of the Iraq mess with the possibility of hope for the Iraqi people, US military forces and their families, and the credibility of our country. It's about time!

Photo: Congressman Earl Blumenauer (foreground), Portland, Oregon Mayor Tom Potter (background); photo copyright:

Friday, January 19, 2007


A clever plan to solve Portland's increasing traffic congestion has been quietly implemented by the City of Portland, Oregon. Faced with a rapidly growing population (another one million people in the next 20 years) and a limited capacity to handle traffic, the new City plan makes mass transit use a more attractive option for commuters. The plan is ingenious in it's simplicity: make travel by automobile so difficult, people will flock to mass transit or other options.

Evidence of the Plan is visible everywhere in the city. Closures or lane restrictions on one or more Willamette River bridges, streets closed for construction without adequate warning or signage, detours that lead nowhere, areas of the city that seem impossible to get to from where you are. The frustration of all this makes drivers think about the bus, light rail, streetcar, bicycling, walking, and even The Tram. Brilliant!

The only possible down-side of this plan is the transit mess downtown resulting from new light rail construction. Oh well, nothing is perfect.

Monday, January 15, 2007


It is fitting, on the U.S. holiday Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to contemplate the condition of our world in terms of human relations. There is so much hatred of "the other" that one has to wonder if humanity can survive.

A small science item in the local newspaper truly enlightens the discussion: "Fossil skull offers proof modern humans migrated out of Africa." A team of scientists has concluded that a skull of modern humans (the species Homo sapiens) found about 50 years ago in South Africa closely resembles those of humans in Europe, far-eastern Asia and Australia from the same time period, about 36,000 years ago. This finding corroborates archaeological and genetic evidence by providing a crucial fossil link for the period of 70,000 to 15,000 years ago.

This additional support for the conclusion that modern humans originated in sub-Saharan Africa and migrated to Europe and Asia is meaningful for all people on Earth today: we are all related, and our common ancestors were Africans.

Alas poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio!

Saturday, January 13, 2007


President Bush's speech the other night seems to have been about as convincing as Richard Nixon's statement "I'm not a crook." The way I interpret Bush's bold "new way forward" is that the U.S. will rely on the Iraqi government to provide the security it has never been able to provide. Great plan, George!

I have three key questions that Congress needs to ask, and that President Bush needs to answer, before this new plan is supported:

1. What do the Iraqi people want? I think the Iraqi people should decide whether or not they want an escalation (no Condi, it is not an "enhancement") of the U.S. occupation of their country. Iraq is, after all, a democracy, isn't it?

WPO Report dated January 13, 2007. A new poll of the Iraqi public finds that a large majority of Iraqis think the US plans to maintain bases in Iraq permanently, even if the newly elected government asks the US to leave. A large majority favors setting a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces, though this majority divides over whether the timeline should be over a period of six months or two years. Nearly half of Iraqis approve of attacks on US-led forces—including nine out of 10 Sunnis. Most Iraqis believe that many aspects of their lives will improve once the US-led forces leave, but are nonetheless uncertain that Iraqi security forces are ready to stand on their own.

CNN Report dated September 27, 2006. Seventy-one percent of Iraqis responding to a new survey favor a commitment by U.S.-led forces in Iraq to withdraw in a year.

2. How do you define "victory." President Bush and his apologists insist that the U.S. must have a victory, and that a defeat would be a disaster. But has anyone defined what a victory is, and how we'll know when we have one?

The definition of a victory should be based on achieving the goals of the invasion and occupation. Now, this has been a moving target since the beginning, but this is what I remember:

Mission 1: find and destroy weapons of mass destruction. Well, we looked, and there weren't any, so that mission was accomplished, and that equals victory.

Mission 2 (stated when Mission 1 didn't pan out): depose the evil dictator Saddam Hussein. He was deposed, he was tried, he was hanged. Mission accomplished, and that's a victory.

Mission 3: create a democratic government in Iraq. Well, the Iraqi's wrote a constitution, they had democratic elections, they have a democratically elected government. Mission accomplished, another victory (wow, three for three!!).

So what's the problem here? Come on guys, if fact isn't good enough, certainly Carl Rove can spin it so everyone is convinced that victory is ours!

And by the way, Bush's rhetoric about "winning the war on terror" is a red herring in this conversation. If he wanted to win the so called "war on terror" he should not have established the world's largest terrorist training camp - Iraq - in the first place. Show me the analysis that says Iraq is the key to world terrorism. This is more of the Bush-Cheney scare tactics.

3. What's the price tag for this "surge?" Why would any American buy an expanded occupation in Iraq without first knowing the cost? The Iraq War is not a budget item in The Decider's budget - I have no idea how it's paid for (but I bet my grandkids will find out). A government agency recently published their calculation that this misadventure is costing two billion dollars per week ($2,000,000,000). That's one hundred four billion dollars per year ($104,000,000,000). Who approved that kind of expenditure? Congress needs to get ahold of the purse strings and cut of this irresponsible little boy's allowance, unless he can really justify why American taxpayer money should be spent like this. Talk about fiscal irresponsibility!

So, let's review: the Iraqi people don't seem to want us there, victory has already been achieved at least three times, and this occupation is costing us a fortune, using money that could be doing a lot of good right here at home. And the President wants us to commit more troops (with many more injuries and deaths), many more billions of dollars, and further destroy the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world.

I would say it's a no brainer.