Friday, December 31, 2004

I Hinemhom

Gi i mas homhom na patten i puengi
I nana-ta yan I tata-ta siha, manmapuno'
Man ma amot hit
Sina un hungok i mililak i hagan-niha
Gi guinaifin i manglo'
Sina ta hungok i chalek-niha
Gi i pineddong i ichan
I mengmong i korason-niha
Poddong taiguihi i estreyas ginnen i langhet
I puengi yan i halom tano', sagan-niha pa'go
Guihi gi i hale yan i hagon siha ni' muna'chochocho i anti-ta
Ni' ma o'oppe I finaisen-ta siha put i tano'
Kueston-ta put hayi hit? yan Ginnen manu hit magi?
Si nana-ta yan tata-ta na gaige siha gi respuesta
Siha umaladu i edda', ma tanom i trengko siha, mameska i tasi
Siha muna'i hit ni' i haga' ni' malalgo kulang saddok siha gi halom i tahtaotao-ta siha
Ginnen i mas homhom na patten i puenge yan i tano'
Manonoghe siha, kesnuda yan manmana'atan gi entre i trengko siha
Huyong giya Hita
Manmannangga.
Manmanhahasso.
Sina un li'e i langun-niha gi i kinalamten i tasi
I kinekuyong i tasi

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Despensa

Despensa na apmam desde pumost yu' guini. Estaba gaige yu' giya Hawaii para Krismas, ya put i bumabakashon-hu, sigi' ha' maleffa yu' pumost. Lao esta matto yu' ta'lo giya San Diego, pues bei tutuhun ta'lo.

Lao para pa'go, este ha' sa' tumunok yu' ginnen i batkon aire gof taftaf gi i egga'an, ya mampos yayas yu'.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Agent Orange

I was just surfing the net, and I googled "michael moore" and "Guam," and the first thing that popped up was a anti-Michael Moore website message board, which have this link, describing the places outside of Vietnam where Agent Orange was used.

http://www.vetshome.com/agent_orange_use_outside_of_viet.htm

Monday, December 20, 2004

Abstract from Easter Island Conference

Rapa Nui and the Marianas: Approaches to a Comparative Analysis.
Steve Pagel, Martin Luther Universitaat

Abstract
Clarence Darrow once said that history repeats itself, and that this is just one of its failings. Taking up this hypothesis, this paper will contrast the current language contact on Rapa Nui with a simliar historical situation at the opposite end of the Pacific: the Marianas. In 1898 an era of spanish hegemony came to an end on these islands that had lastet nearly three centuries, a timespan in which the intensive contact with the colonial power left its profound marks on both the islands' culture and language. Rogers (1995), for instance, states a hybrid culture for the major island Guam at the end of the 19th century which had entirely absorbed the indigenous population, the Chamoru, and thus it may not seem surprising that the language of these "Neo-Chamoru" has long become an essential part of the language-contact debate (cf. Albalá Hernández/Rodríguez-Ponga 1986; Rodríguez-Ponga 1995; Stolz 1998, 2004; Pagel/Pfänder 2001; Pagel 2003). In fact, especially the typological status of modern Chamoru is controversial: loans from Spanish have found their way into every field of the language to various degrees, but the hispanity of the chamoran morphosyntaxis in particular seems to be crucial regarding a classification of the language (cf. Topping 1973; Pagel 2003; Stolz 2004).

A comparison with the actual contact-situation Rapanui-Spanish is therefore rewarding in many respects: the conditions and circumstances on both ends of the Pacific are considerably similar, be it the opposition of a language from the austronesian language-phylum to the same indoeuropean language or the certain geographical isolation; and similar active processes of language change can be observed in both contact situations. One fundamental question of this presentation will therefore be, whether such factors as bilingualism, borrowing and interference as described for Rapa Nui (cfr. Makihara 1999, 2001, 2004) already prepared the ground for a development similar to that of the language of the Marinas — another question will deal with factors counteracting this process, and whether this "mistake" of history as described by Darrow could not be avoided.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Guinife-hu, silly ha' lao i guinife-hu ha'

Miget: Hey, hafa lai. Mamaolek ha' todus giya Hamyo?

Jose: Hunggan lai, maolek todu.

Jesus: Hu'u nai.

Miget: Hey, kao en egga' ayu na nuebu na mubi ginnen Si Shah Rukh Khan?

Jose: Manu ayu?

Jesus: Kao kumuekuentos hao put ayu yan Si Pretty Kinta? Hafa ma a'gang ayu?

Jose: Veer Zaara lai.

Jesus: Hunggan nai, kao ayu?

Miget: Ahe' ahe'. Guaha ni' mas nuebu. Mafana'an gui' Swades.

Jose: Hafa kumekeilek-na Swades?

Miget: Gi fino' Chamorro, kumekeilek-na "Taotao."

Jesus: Ke ya hafa? Esta un egga'? Kao ya-mu?

Miget: Ahe' tribiha, agupa' para u mana'huyong giya San Diego, pues bei egga'.

Jose: Pues sangani yu' hafa hinasso-mu put Guiya. Ya-hu Si Shah Rukh, gof fotte na petsona.

Jesus: Ya bunitu lokkue. Hehehe. Fihu i famalao'an ma cheflayi gui', nai humalom gui' gi i screen.

Miget: Magahet hamyo, lao para Guahu, esta o'sun yu' nu ayu na petsona ni' sigi ha' ha play. Ga'na-ku an pau chagi nuebu. Sa' sesso pretty boy ma ayeki gui'.

Jose: Hunggan, guse'na flop este Swades siempre linemlem hao.

Jesus: Nu Guahu, i mas bunitu na lahi Si Hritik, yan i mas bunita na palao'an, Si Mahdri Dixit.

Miget: No way palau, todu matungo' na Si Rani Mukerjee i mas sinexy no palao'an gi i kachidon Hindi.

Jose: Manatmario hamyo na dos, Si Malaika siempre!


Kao sina magahet este na guinife? Kontat ki na ti meggai na taotao sina fumino' Chamorro, ahe'.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A dash of Hindi

For anyone who wants to bust out some Hindi on an unsuspecting someone... after describing how something sucks, but you've gotta do it, or it must be done, repeat the following phrase.

Sab Ganda hai
Par Sab Danda hai

Here is an example of how its used in conversation:

Jose: Lana prim, kao un hongge' i taimamahlao-na este na maga'lahi pa'go?

Jesus: Ahe' lai, baba este. Batbarias todu.

Jose: Lao hafa sina ta cho'gue? Taya'...sab ganda hai, par sab danda hai

Friday, December 17, 2004

inafa'maolek part 2

There are two parts of our consciousness on Guam which must be gotten rid of. 1. That we are isolated. 2. That we are too small.

While most people will state this things as if they are detatched unquestionable facts, the acceptance of these things feeds forcefully into the limiting ways we see ourselves on Guam.

These two points come from centuries of colonization by at least three imperial powers, Spain, Japan and the United States.

The by product of most colonial missions, is the indoctrination of the colonized with not just feelings of inferiority, but crucial needs and desires to depend on the colonizer. So on Guam, we see ourselves as being very very small, very very far away, therefore the only real way that we see ourselves connected with the rest of the world, is through the United States.

But because this relationship, this connection isn't innocent, but instead part of our colonial and colonizing relationship, it helps us see this connectedness in very specific and narrow ways. So the military? HUNGGAN! Connected, firmly and proudly!

But what about the fact that the United States is the largest polluting country in the world and is leading the industrial world's efforts to globally warm the world? Global warming is leading to the slow by steady melting of the earth's icecaps, which puts places like Guam and other islands (in particular atolls) in serious danger.

All the talk about dependency on the military, the desperate need for it, conjures up conversations about Guam's survival. Isn't this issue just as pertinent? Isn't this about Guam's survival too? We aren't, however supposed to see this. As a colony, we are socialized to perceive ourselves in relation to the colonizer in certain ways, and while we can react and resist, few people on Guam today seem willing too.

But then in another way, the fact that human beings can separate the possible social and environmental consequences of their actions from its economic bounty is just another testiment to the power of modernity!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Tuck in your shirt handsome...

I just had a moment of cultural clarity the other day.

While trying on some new pants that my ex-girlfriend had bought me, I tucked my shirt in to see what it would look like. Normally unless someone demands that I tuck it in, I never tuck my shirt it. When I was modelling it, my ex remarked, "how whoa, nice pants. Now you look Chamorro."

Guana? Hu hasso na'ya put i sinangan-na. Kao magahet este? Pues hu hasso put fihu i trihin i Chamorro lahi, ya hu realisa na magahet, hunggan! Sesso ma tuck in i franelan-niha.

So, sporting my new "Chamorro" look I realized one of the many reasons why Chamorro girls never hit on me. I don't do tucked it, which means I'm hip hop, but then I don't dress hip hop and I don't act hip hop, so therefore, this combined with my painted clothes, that fact that I speak Chamorro and speak English weird means that I slip through all sorts of categories of attraction.

Will this epiphany lead me to para mo'na tuck in my shirt? I doubt it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

inafa'maolek

When Europeans created modernity, a centerpiece to its development was the doing away with the primitive and premodern idea that everything is and should be interrelated. The natural world and the human world must be isolated from each other, and only through their vigorous separate investigations can we find true "modern" knowledge.

We can see the effects of this is an infinite number of ways in which our lives and our existences become dependent upon keeping certain parts of ourselves separate from other parts.

Powerful interests are also at work in these demarcations. The development of the atomic bomb and other powerfully nasty and dangerous weapons depended on people only thinking that these things were being created for "scientific" purposes only, therefore not needing to question their human consequences.

On Guam today we see ourselves connected to the rest of the world in very narrow and specific ways. The most obvious and dominating connection is ours to the United States. This is what dictates what we can see as being connected or relevant to us, and more importantly what isn't supposed to be.

So what is good for the military is good for Guam. What is good for the US is good for Guam. These are connections which are so supported by Guam's media and so many everyday conversations they don't require any proof or articulation whatsoever.

But the hypervisibility and limited ways in which we are a part of this world, keeps us from seeing other less patriotic ways. Therein lies the need to look beyond America, to step outside of and beyond it.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Water privatization giya Guahan

This was published last month in the Guam Federation of Teachers magazine. Just thought I'd share it. Water privatization is something everyone on this planet should know more about, as it means turning over the basic needs of life, to an institution whose desire is to make money. Just think about health care, and then think about privatizing water. Na'ma'a'nao no? Hunggan gof na'ma'a'nao...

The goal of capitalism has always been to sustain profits, the purpose and goal of water has been to sustain life. If some of our political and business leaders have their way and privatize our island’s water utilities, the purpose of water on Guam will soon be to sustain profits.

In 2002 the United Nations finally got around to formalizing what every indigenous culture has known since ever since, when it consecrated water and access to water as a sacred right, a human right. But while the nations of the world met to designate water as something which must be used for the public good, campaigns to privatize this resource were wreaking havoc, physical and cultural destruction around the world.

From India to the Philippines to Argentina to South Africa to Puerto Rico, people are suffering and dying because governments have handed over the water of their communities to corporations and then let them make profits off of peoples' needs and suffering. In India, hundreds of thousands of indigenous people are being cleared from their lands to make way for dams which irrigate less land than they submerge. In Africa, corporations have cut off water to millions causing epidemics, one such outbreak of cholera in South Africa infected 250,000 people, killing 300. In Bolivia, water prices skyrocketed so out of control that the people actually revolted, force the president from power.

After reading this list of horrors, there must be temptation to just blame it all on these countries being impoverished third world basket cases. One letter to the editor of the Pacific Daily News from last year made such an excuse, claiming that such travesties would never take place on Guam because we bask in the glorious protection of the United States Constitution. Rather then criticize him on his apparent lack of knowledge about Guam's political status and our so-called "constitutional" protection, I would like to challenge him on his statement that the United States Constitution protects against this type of abuse.

The fact of the matter is, this type of abuse is taking place all over the United States as well, and not just with water, but also with health care, electricity and other basic services. Reports by the Public Citizen, a national non-profit public interest organization reveal that around the country the privatization of water has often led to worse service and skyrocketing bills.

The predatory capitalist framework that drives these efforts, sees human beings and the needs of human beings as thing which can be exploited and used to make money. The right to life and the pursuit of happiness, which is supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution is only guaranteed so long as you can afford to create profits for corporations and insurance companies. The tragedies that other communities around the world are experiencing now, exist on smaller scales in the United States today, and will continue to intensify. The rights of the market or the corporation it seems, have become more important and more secure than the rights of humans.

On Guam, most of our leaders seem in a great hurry to give away our water as quickly as they can, and all of them have different reasons and serve different interests. Some see this move as the only way the military will dramatically increase its presence on island. Others see it as means by which they can line their own pockets. Others see it as some ideological ploy to weaken an already weak government, because of their fanatical love of the private sector. All of these things have merit, depending on how much you make each year and who you are really looking out for, but in terms of long term planning, none of these motivations take into account the interests of the people of Guam.

As a community we have to take a stand on this issue. Although Guam’s water system has serious problems, bringing in an outside company only interested in using the people of Guam to make more money cannot be considered in the best interests of the island. So long as the water is publicly distributed and publicly owned, then we, the people of Guam will control it.

For those who struggle regularly with little to no water, it is easy to think that handing it over to the private sector or to anyone but GovGuam would be a good idea. But if you really think about that for a moment, you will see how risky that idea is. Regardless of who controls our water, the same problems will exist and have to be fixed. So we can have the government work at it, at less cost, and although it may seem like it, things are slowly improving (often times water shortages result not because of GWA, but because the Navy limits the amount of water we receive). Or we can hand over our water to a private corporation who will also fix the problems but in the process make a profit, which will be added onto each of our bills. Considering the already high cost of living on Guam, this fact should make everyone very concerned. What if our water rates were to increase by 204% as they did in Pekin, Illinois? Or become 1/5 of our income as they did in Bolivia? Or what if privatization failed and we were left with our infrastructure in worse condition and a bill for $8 million, as the residents of Lee Country, Florida were?

Water is essential for human life, and to let a company only interested in profits control our access to it is a very dangerous proposition. The leaders of our island who are pushing for privatization are treating this sacred and vital resource as if it was just another commodity to be traded on the stock exchange of our lives. But what they are really proposing and pushing for is the selling of our island’s future to the highest bidder.

On Guam we are somewhat fortunate to live in a democracy, but one mistake that people make is confusing elections for democracy, they are not one and the same. Elections often just mean substituting one rich/powerful person for another rich/powerful person, all of whom claim to represent “the people” yet go about it in surprisingly opportunistic and self-centered ways. Democracy however means people having and exercising power, which means although a vote has some value, it doesn’t mean anything alone. Democracy means putting constant pressure on those who have been voted in, and making sure they remember in whom the real power is supposed to reside. It means that if we want our water protected then we have to fight for it, and come together as a community and recognize that what we are not just in danger of losing control of our water, but control of our future as well.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

TITEK BUSH!

Wondering how to take down Bush? (metaphorically)

One important point to attack is the commonplace notion amongst those within the military and outside of it that Republicans support the troops more, or that Bush, because he is manly and talks like he was lobotomized by a broomstick, is the man who really loves our troops in a manly, ass pat, gang rape kind of way.

This and using 9/11 are big parts of what gives Bush power. Note that he may not actually have any affection for the troops or they may have no real loyalty towards him, but the perception is more important than actually loyalty in this instance.

This is why I am very excited to hear more and more about soldiers resisting indoctrination, and soldiers resisting being sent to war. CBS news recently reported that more than 5,000 troops have deserted since the war in Iraq began. Several months ago, a group from Mississippi, just flat out refused a mission because they weren't properly supplied and were certain that the mission was for nothing. Rumsfeld took a pounding earlier in the week from soldiers who demanded to know why they aren't being properly armed for this war, if the administration is on a "war-footing."

It is only because the soldiers do not speak out that Bush's appearance of power is maintained.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Rethinking the Chamorro Place in the American Empire

I wrote this last year in Minagahet to commemorate the 62nd year since the United States started a world war and ended up killing hundreds of Chamorros because of it. The issues haven't really changed, so I thought I'd reprint it here. You can find the original here, http://www.geocities.com/minagahet/hacha.htm.


Happy US Imperialism Day! Rethinking the Chamorro Place in the American Empire

by Michael Lujan Bevacqua

This December 8th will be the 62nd anniversary of the Japanese invasion of Guam, and coming next year in July, will be the 60th anniversary of the “liberation” of Guam. But before we unpack our American flags, or start practicing Uncle Sam won’t you please come back to Guam again, it is time for Chamorros to really rethink about what they are celebrating, which is far from a liberation, or reoccupation, or patriotism, but in actuality war, imperialism and militarism.

But how could this not be expected, really? Considering that our, and therefore Guam’s value to the US has always been military in nature. And the most influential and jarring event in Guam’s recent history was the second world war, and the Tiempon Chapones. And even after the war, the military became a ticket off the island, or a paycheck to find that better life, after so many lands were stolen/taken and even more livelihoods disrupted. Today, the idea of war is much closer to your average Chamorro, than it is to your average American, for three reasons; one: the impact of the sufferings of I manamko’ lives on in our daily discourse through regular constructions like “before the war” and “after the war.” Two: The fact that 1/3 of the island is held by the US military. Three: That every Chamorro has several relatives who are members of the armed forces. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the military is a big part of Chamorro culture.

When the United States was mobilizing for the “war” in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of men and women around the country shouted and protested “no!” Around the world, millions more echoed the same. On Guam however, while many may of felt that the war was wrong, there was no organized dissent, no shouts for "no war for oil" and so on (I only remember one protest, and it was small, organized by some UOG professors and mostly Academy girls). The loudest voices and the ones which ended up in the PDN or on KUAM all said it was our patriotic duty to support our troops, or that this was good news, because it would surely help our economy.

One of those arguments doesn’t make sense, and the other says the wrong things. “Support our troops?” I have always been of the mind that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home, and most people not standing underneath an American flag or attending a NRA meeting would feel the same way. What really scares me is the economic excitement over war that we all, not just Chamorros tend to get on Guam when we hear more troops are coming in, or maybe a ship will home port here. Are the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Middle East, as well as the hundreds of US and Coalition deaths worth the construction contracts Black Construction gets for new hangars or readiness centers? Most people would say yes probably, as long as the war was just, or necessary or in the interests of our defense.

Good wars or just wars?

Most American justifications for wars or interventions in other countries come from their romantic memories of wars such as the American Revolution which was fought against colonialism. Or the Civil War which was fought to end slavery. Or the Second World War, which was fought to stop Hitler and save the Jews from the Holocaust. And besides, America's not bad, they only jumped in after they were attacked at Pearl Harbor. I guess if these justifications were all true, then Americans would have the moral high ground in terms of war, all the wars they fought were good ones, because they were for good reasons. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, and on Guam, the real nature of these wars and war in general is a vital distinction that we need to digest.

The Revolutionary War didn’t save the world from colonialism, as Guam and many others are still very much American colonies. The Civil War wasn’t fought to end slavery, as Lincoln very clearly said that if he could save the Union without freeing any slaves he would do so, and the racism that drove the slave trade, now ensures that some minorities and African Americans remain underclasses. And World War II? This is where Guam fits into the American picture, and this is the point with which we must begin.

Pearl Harbor is thought of as an unprovoked attack on the United States. And the US because of blatant Japanese aggression is brought into the war. At the same time Japanese planes from Saipan attacked Guam, bombing Hagatna and Sumay. A few days later the Japanese invaded and the occupation began. The US saves the world from the brutality of the German, Italians and the Japanese, and starts a new world order in which idea of freedom, liberty, capitalism and democracy are spread through the world, like the gospel. With press like that, it would be hard to imagine that war is a bad thing. In fact, it is because of this overwhelming propaganda effort that the US media has termed the Second World War, “the good war,” and refer to its soldiers who served overseas and helped keep the economy alive at home as the “greatest generation.”

Since the war has played such a large role in shaping our people to this very day, it is vital that we look at it with clear eyes and heads, and not become consumed by the patriotic propaganda. Because if we are to actually look back at the beginning of the war, with Pearl Harbor, and reread what unfortunately became our history, when we accepted the red, white and blue, we can see very clearly that the Untied States not only expected war, but actually forced Japan into war.


Books such as President Roosevelt and the Coming of War published in 1941 and more recently Day of Deceit by Robert Stinnett chronicle the steps that the White House and President Roosevelt took to force Japan, and therefore America into the world war. One step was the imposing of economic sanctions on Japan, others were ultimatums and demands to the Japanese that they rescind their treaties with Germany and Italy and pull out of China and Indo-China. In other words, capitulate to American economic and political dominance and stop your imperialistic activities. The Japanese unofficial response was classic. We’ll stop our imperial activities as soon as you do; we’ll pull out of China, when you pull out of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Faced with an uncompromising imperial power such as the US, the Japanese were either to surrender or go to war (in the face of resource shortages, such as oil, they decided to go to war)

In his text Dreaming War, Gore Vidal discussed at length the intentions of Roosevelt in bringing about the war. For instance, if Roosevelt had actually wanted peace, he had plenty of chances to pursue that route. In the year before war, there was a Peace Party in Japan, led by Prince Konoye, who repeatedly asked President Roosevelt that they meet and discuss a plan for peace. Roosevelt however, continually postponed their planned meetings, all the while meeting with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and preparing for the upcoming war.

As for the idea that the United States was taken surprise by the attack, it most certainly wasn’t. By November 1941, the US had broken the Japanese diplomatic codes, but also most of their naval codes. And on November 15th, 1941, General Marshall, the US Army Chief of Staff called in several Washington newspaper bureau chief, and informed them that the Japanese attack would come in the first ten days of December.

Even the stories of America valiantly saving Europe from Hitler’s grasp, or of the US rushing in to save the Jewish people needs to be rethought. Hitler was a monster yes, but much like Saddam Hussein, he was allowed to be a monster by other industrial nations. Men such as Churchill and Roosevelt (like California’s current governor, ARNOLD) admired Hitler for his skills in re-energizing Germany’s economy, and for whipping his country into shape, at a time when much of the world was hurting from the Great Depression. They did nothing to stop his preparations for war, did little initially when he began expanding his empire, and despite reports of atrocities against Jews for years before Pearl Harbor, the US did nothing, as American businessmen were too busy making money off his war mongering.


What does all this mean for Chamorros? First of all, our ideas about Pearl Harbor and the war need to be rethought with this information. If the United States people were set up to go to war, because of the agenda of the President, then that means that the Chamorros on Guam, were set up as well. And in actuality we have known this for a long time, but never really acknowledged it.

The idea that the US abandoned Guam was never really given the credence it needed, because Chamorros were so happy to be “rescued” in 1944, but it is something that we should always remember, especially at the most patriotic times of the year, such as now. Chamorros then knew it, even if they didn’t openly discuss it, or talk about it. Nowadays you will find it spoken of, mostly by younger Chamorros, but occasionally by I manamko’ who still can’t understand how “the greatest country in the world” would just abandon and leave people to die like that?
Let’s acknowledge this year what this anniversary truly represents. Yes, it is the day the Japanese invaded and attacked, but it is also the day the American’s left, and the day many Chamorros learned that to America they meant nothing. And although the roaring wave of patriotism of the last half century has washed away most of this dissent and discomfort (at least consciously), the old questions still persist. Why didn’t the US defend Guam? Why didn’t they tell us? Why didn’t they prepare us? If they evacuated their families, why did they not evacuate us? I was in the Navy, why didn’t they evacuate my wife, or my kids? These are all valid questions, from people who suffered so much, and unfortunately they can only be answered in a rough and difficult way, and that is that the US interest here have always had to do with the military and nothing else. The Chamorros on Guam were considered expendable during World War II, they were considered expendable during the Cold War (in case of a nuclear attack), and we are probably considered expendable today in case of any North Korean aggression or terrorist attack from Indonesia or the Philippines.

All nations become imperial nations and empire when they become large enough and the United States is no different. The US has dozens of army bases around the world, in Guam, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Great Britain, Japan, Germany (and now in Iraq and Afghanistan) and more. It has colonies in Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands and others. Through the CIA and other interventions it has installed or supported loyal dictators and puppet regimes in Congo, Indonesia, Chile, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, Haiti, Greece, Italy, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, South Vietnam and others. The United States is a global empire, and we on Guam are just a piece of that puzzle, nothing more. In broad and general terms, we are a pawn on the imperial chessboard, and to prove that we should think of these two things: first, if another island had a bigger harbor than Guam in 1898, the US would of taken that. Second, the US “liberated” Saipan first, which was a Japanese colony, rather than save their loyal subjects at Guam. Pieces on the board, nothing more.
The forcing of Japan into the Second World War shows that the interests of nations and empires go beyond mere human concerns. They are governed by other less rational concerns like hegemony, geo-political theories about dominos and rogue states and so on. The United States stopped Japan, because it was forming an empire in Asia and the Pacific, similar to the one the US had in the Americas. The United States unofficially endorsed Hitler’s economic expansion and empire building, because of the economic benefits it brought, however they were forced to remove him, when it became apparent that he couldn’t be contained.

These are the true natures of war and of empires and governments. They care nothing for people, most especially people who don’t pay direct federal income tax, or have votes in Congress. And it is with this in mind that we must negotiate our place in America or our place outside of America. It is with this in mind that we must move forward into our future, not relying on the goodwill of a country that didn’t give us Constitutional protections because Chamorros were dark and spoke a different language, or won’t make us an equal part of the US because we are too small? But rather knowing full and well our history, and the fact that it is a colonial history and not one based on equality or altruism, but one based on exploitation and racism.

These are all things that you should remember the next time you wave that flag high. Happy US Imperialism Day!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Happy US Imperialism Day!

Time to once again celebrate how important U.S. Imperialism is to us on Guam!

While so many on Guam are celebrating the feast day of Santa Maria Kamalen, let's not forget that 63 years ago, the Chamorro people of Guam were abandoned by the United States military, left to fight against the Japanese, in a war the United States helped to start.

Thinking back to that day, we should remember that we, as a people weren't of any value to the US military then, and we shouldn't feel that we are any more valuable now.

This is what drives me nuts everyday. Why do Chamorros have so much love for the military? Liberation Day is the usual answer (as well as 'we can't survive without them!'), But my answer to that is, US Imperialism Day. When will we have a parade to celebrate our abandonment or our being treated as expendable?

When will the ghosts of those tortured or killed during the war on Guam ever rest? Don't we see how we dance across their deaths keeping them from peace with our mindless patriotism and loyalty?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Bill Moyers

This week the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School presented its fourth annual Global Environment Citizen Award to Bill Moyers. In presenting the award, Meryl Streep, a member of the Center board, said, "Through resourceful, intrepid reportage and perceptive voices from the forward edge of the debate, Moyers has examined an environment under siege with the aim of engaging citizens." Here is the text of his response to Ms. Streep's presentation of the award:

I accept this award on behalf of all the people behind the camera whom you never see. And for all those scientists, advocates, activists, and just plain citizens whose stories we have covered in reporting on how environmental change affects our daily lives. We journalists are simply beachcombers on the shores of other people's knowledge, other people's experience, and other people's wisdom. We tell their stories.

The journalist who truly deserves this award is my friend, Bill McKibben. He enjoys the most conspicuous place in my own pantheon of journalistic heroes for his pioneer work in writing about the environment. His bestseller The End of Nature carried on where Rachel Carson's Silent Spring left off.

Writing in Mother Jones recently, Bill described how the problems we journalists routinely cover - conventional, manageable programs like budget shortfalls and pollution - may be about to convert to chaotic, unpredictable, unmanageable situations. The most unmanageable of all, he writes, could be the accelerating deterioration of the environment, creating perils with huge momentum like the greenhouse effect that is causing the melt of the arctic to release so much freshwater into the North Atlantic that even the Pentagon is growing alarmed that a weakening gulf stream could yield abrupt and overwhelming changes, the kind of changes that could radically alter civilizations.

That's one challenge we journalists face - how to tell such a story without coming across as Cassandras, without turning off the people we most want to understand what's happening, who must act on what they read and hear.

As difficult as it is, however, for journalists to fashion a readable narrative for complex issues without depressing our readers and viewers, there is an even harder challenge - to pierce the ideology that governs official policy today. One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.
Remember James Watt, President Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior? My favorite online environmental journal, the ever engaging Grist, reminded us recently of how James Watt told the U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, 'after the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.'

Beltway elites snickered. The press corps didn't know what he was talking about. But James Watt was serious. So were his compatriots out across the country. They are the people who believe the Bible is literally true - one-third of the American electorate, if a recent Gallup poll is accurate. In this past election several million good and decent citizens went to the polls believing in the rapture index. That's right - the rapture index. Google it and you will find that the best-selling books in America today are the twelve volumes of the left-behind series written by the Christian fundamentalist and religious right warrior, Timothy LaHaye. These true believers subscribe to a fantastical theology concocted in the 19th century by a couple of immigrant preachers who took disparate passages from the Bible and wove them into a narrative that has captivated the imagination of millions of Americans.

Its outline is rather simple, if bizarre (the British writer George Monbiot recently did a brilliant dissection of it and I am indebted to him for adding to my own understanding): once Israel has occupied the rest of its 'biblical lands,' legions of the anti-Christ will attack it, triggering a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. As the Jews who have not been converted are burned, the messiah will return for the rapture. True believers will be lifted out of their clothes and transported to heaven, where, seated next to the right hand of God, they will watch their political and religious opponents suffer plagues of boils, sores, locusts, and frogs during the several years of tribulation that follow.

I'm not making this up. Like Monbiot, I've read the literature. I've reported on these people, following some of them from Texas to the West Bank. They are sincere, serious, and polite as they tell you they feel called to help bring the rapture on as fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That's why they have declared solidarity with Israel and the Jewish settlements and backed up their support with money and volunteers. It's why the invasion of Iraq for them was a warm-up act, predicted in the Book of Revelation where four angels 'which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man.' A war with Islam in the Middle East is not something to be feared but welcomed - an essential conflagration on the road to redemption. The last time I Googled it, the rapture index stood at 144-just one point below the critical threshold when the whole thing will blow, the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire.

So what does this mean for public policy and the environment? Go to Grist to read a remarkable work of reporting by the journalist, Glenn Scherer - 'the road to environmental apocalypse. Read it and you will see how millions of Christian fundamentalists may believe that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed - even hastened - as a sign of the coming apocalypse.

As Grist makes clear, we're not talking about a handful of fringe lawmakers who hold or are beholden to these beliefs. Nearly half the U.S. Congress before the recent election - 231 legislators in total - more since the election - are backed by the religious right. Forty-five senators and 186 members of the 108th congress earned 80 to 100 percent approval ratings from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups. They include Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Conference Chair Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Policy Chair Jon Kyl of Arizona, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt. The only Democrat to score 100 percent with the Christian coalition was Senator Zell Miller of Georgia, who recently quoted from the biblical book of Amos on the senate floor: "the days will come, sayeth the Lord God, that i will send a famine in the land.' He seemed to be relishing the thought.

And why not? There's a constituency for it. A 2002 TIME/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation are going to come true. Nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the 9/11 attacks. Drive across the country with your radio tuned to the more than 1,600 Christian radio stations or in the motel turn some of the 250 Christian TV stations and you can hear some of this end-time gospel. And you will come to understand why people under the spell of such potent prophecies cannot be expected, as Grist puts it, "to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when the droughts, floods, famine and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible? Why care about global climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a word?"
Because these people believe that until Christ does return, the lord will provide. One of their texts is a high school history book, America's Providential History. You'll find there these words: "the secular or socialist has a limited resource mentality and views the world as a pie…that needs to be cut up so everyone can get a piece.' however, "[t]he Christian knows that the potential in God is unlimited and that there is no shortage of resources in God's earth……while many secularists view the world as overpopulated, Christians know that God has made the earth sufficiently large with plenty of resources to accommodate all of the people." No wonder Karl Rove goes around the White House whistling that militant hymn, "Onward Christian Soldiers." He turned out millions of the foot soldiers on November 2, including many who have made the apocalypse a powerful driving force in modern American politics.

I can see in the look on your faces just how had it is for the journalist to report a story like this with any credibility. So let me put it on a personal level. I myself don't know how to be in this world without expecting a confident future and getting up every morning to do what I can to bring it about. So I have always been an optimist. Now, however, I think of my friend on Wall Street whom I once asked: "What do you think of the market?" "I'm optimistic," he answered. "Then why do you look so worried?" And he answered: "Because I am not sure my optimism is justified."

I'm not, either. Once upon a time I agreed with Eric Chivian and the Center for Health and the Global Environment that people will protect the natural environment when they realize its importance to their health and to the health and lives of their children. Now I am not so sure. It's not that I don't want to believe that - it's just that I read the news and connect the dots:
I read that the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the election a mandate for President Bush on the environment. This for an administration that wants to rewrite the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act protecting rare plant and animal species and their habitats, as well as the National Environmental Policy Act that requires the government to judge beforehand if actions might damage natural resources.

That wants to relax pollution limits for ozone; eliminate vehicle tailpipe inspections; and ease pollution standards for cars, sports utility vehicles and diesel-powered big trucks and heavy equipment.

That wants a new international audit law to allow corporations to keep certain information about environmental problems secret from the public.

That wants to drop all its new-source review suits against polluting coal-fired power plans and weaken consent decrees reached earlier with coal companies.

That wants to open the arctic wildlife refuge to drilling and increase drilling in Padre Island National Seashore, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and the last great coastal wild land in America.

I read the news just this week and learned how the Environmental Protection Agency had planned to spend nine million dollars - $2 million of it from the administration's friends at the American Chemistry Council - to pay poor families to continue to use pesticides in their homes. These pesticides have been linked to neurological damage in children, but instead of ordering an end to their use, the government and the industry were going to offer the families $970 each, as well as a camcorder and children's clothing, to serve as guinea pigs for the study.

I read all this in the news.

I read the news just last night and learned that the administration's friends at the international policy network, which is supported by ExxonMobil and others of like mind, have issued a new report that climate change is 'a myth, sea levels are not rising, scientists who believe catastrophe is possible are 'an embarrassment.

I not only read the news but the fine print of the recent appropriations bill passed by Congress, with the obscure (and obscene) riders attached to it: a clause removing all endangered species protections from pesticides; language prohibiting judicial review for a forest in Oregon; a waiver of environmental review for grazing permits on public lands; a rider pressed by developers to weaken protection for crucial habitats in California.

I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer - pictures of my grandchildren: Henry, age 12; of Thomas, age 10; of Nancy, 7; Jassie, 3; Sara Jane, nine months. I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, 'Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.' And then I am stopped short by the thought: 'That's not right. We do know what we are doing. We are stealing their future. Betraying their trust. Despoiling their world.'

And I ask myself: Why? Is it because we don't care? Because we are greedy? Because we have lost our capacity for outrage, our ability to sustain indignation at injustice?

What has happened to out moral imagination?

On the heath Lear asks Gloucester: 'How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly.'"

I see it feelingly.

The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist, I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free - not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called 'hocma' - the science of the heart…..the capacity to see….to feel….and then to act…as if the future depended on you.

Believe me, it does.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Finals

I'm sitting in the library at UCSD pouring through the entire run of Pacific History. Lana, ti hu hongge este na manapa'ka siha. The things they write about us! Did they think we would never learn how to read? Or never see it?

But I should be careful though, and not make it seem like you can only find this stuff in dusty, cob webbed, graduate student filled libraries. You can find it on the pages of the PDN, or in press releases from the Department of Interior, or from just talking to a politicians in Washington D.C. about the future of Guam.

If we don't start talking about ourselves, then we are gonna end up being ruled by the ways others see us. One can already see this happened in how decolonization is discussed or how the govermnet of Guam is discussed. Think about what we take to be common sense on Guam, chances are if we were to step back from it, we can see ourselves just parroting Joe Murphy.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

finakpo' i quarter

Chatsaga' yu' gi i finakpo'n i quarter-hu pues mappot para bei post esta ki munhayan todu.

Despensa yu'...lao mungga chathinasso, bulala' ha' na malago yu' sumangan...hehehehe.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Na'tufok i kannai-ta
Faniente na sumiha
Na'lahihot
Na'lamafnot

Na'dana i kannai-ta
Na'unu i mengmong-ta
Na'lahihot
Na'lamafnot

Mungga
Mapula'

Na'inos i kannai-ta
Na'fitme na humita
Taihinekok
Guinaiya-ta

Mungga
Mapula'

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Fina'sahnge part 1

The seperations in our lives have to be re-thought.

I'm currently in a Ph.D. program, and nearly everyone in my group thinks and acts based on assumptions that our lives must be divided, most specifically whatever is learned in school or from books, must stay in that context and not seep into their "real" lives.

For me personally, I don't see how anyone can really believe this. The ways our lives are divided up aren't natural, but rather constructed based on specific histories and elevation of certain ideas about how humans are supposed to live. This division between our "work" and our "play" is one clear example, and although to most people it might seem like a very "real" division, in what ways are we limited if we subscribe to this idea?

First of all, it allows us to see how stuff created in universities, probably just stays there. This might be true in some ways, but it keeps us from seeing the powerful role universities and scholars play in shaping the world outside of the academy. Manifest Destiny was a clear example of how knowledge created in universities, can weave its way into the world outside and push racist agendas across borders and into different cultures. Scholars have incredible power over the "real" world, and to think that they are merely up there in their ivory towers, lets those who create racist, unsituated and uncritical knowledge off the hook, but also excuses those of us in positions to do something about it, from doing something about it!


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Taimanu sina ta goggue i Inetnon Demokratik?

A few ways the Democrats in the US can be saved, courtesy of Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's former campaign manager.


Democrats can't keep ignoring their base. Running to the middle and then asking our base to make sure to vote isn't a plan. And to those who say talking to your base doesn't work -- Read the Rove 2004 playbook!

Democrats must reconnect with the energy of our grass roots. One of the failures of the DLC was that its ideas never helped us build a grass-roots donor base. As a result, Democrats held a lead over Republicans in only one fundraising category before this election cycle: contributions over one million dollars. That shows how far the party had strayed from grassroots fundraising before the Dean campaign. We must build a base of at least seven million small donors by 2006. With the Internet it's possible. But it can't just be about the money, it also has to be about ideas.

The one thing we learned in the Dean campaign was that the 30 people in Burlington weren't as smart as the 650,000 Americans who were part of our campaign. Instead of a DLC in D.C., Democrats should be holding Democratic Grassroots Councils in every county. Democratic National Committee members in each state, along with the state party, should host and moderate these meetings to develop ideas that come from the people, instead of the experts in D.C.

A party that ignores the needs of state and local parties is doomed. We must begin to invest aggressively in states we continually write off in national elections. If we don't, the decline of the party in these states will continue until we're non-existent. Look at the south.

In a world in which companies like Wal-Mart pay substandard wages with no real benefits, our party has got to find innovative ways to support organized labor's growth. A declining union membership is not good for the country, it's not good for working people, and it certainly isn't good for the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party has to be the vehicle that empowers the American people to change our failed political system. We all know the damn thing is broken. Democrats should lead the way by placing stricter money restrictions on candidates than the toothless Federal Election Commission does. A party funded by contributions from the people can do this. A corrupted and corroded party cannot. The Democratic Party shouldn't wait for campaign-finance reform -- it should be campaign-finance reform.

Finally, what is the purpose the party strives for today? What are our goals for the nation? You couldn't tell from the election. Very few good ideas come from the middle, and they tend to be mediocre. Consultants have become adept at keeping candidates in that safe zone. But the time has come to develop bold ideas and challenge people to sacrifice for the common good. Experts will tell you that you can't ask the American people to sacrifice individually for the common good. Those experts are wrong -- it's just been so long since anyone has asked them.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Minahalang

Hekkua' hafa bei post pa'go.

Taya' gi hinasso-ku fuera di na gof mahalang yu' nu i tano'-hu.

Ai adai, ti ya-hu i lina'la' guini.

I kistumbre, ti ya-hu. Sa' debi di bai individual guini, ya ga'na'-ku an gi linahayan.

Mankinenne' todu guini ni' inindividual, lao ti magahet yan ti anggokuyon.

Gi este na lina'la' debi di ta na'chilong i sinienten ininu yan linahayan.

Yanggen un aguguiyi unu ni' i etro, siempre pon na'basnak todu.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Tinige' Naomi Klein

Un otro na tinige' Si Naomi Klein...

Kerry and the Gift of Impunity
by Naomi Klein

Iconic images inspire love and hate, and so it is with the photograph of James Blake Miller, the 20-year-old Marine from Appalachia who has been christened "the face of Falluja" by prowar pundits and "The Marlboro Man" by pretty much everyone else. Reprinted in more than a hundred newspapers, the Los Angeles Times photograph shows Miller "after more than twelve hours of nearly nonstop deadly combat" in Falluja, his face coated in war paint, a bloody scratch on his nose, and a freshly lit cigarette hanging from his lips.

Gazing lovingly at Miller, Dan Rather confessed that, "for me, this is personal.... This is a warrior with his eyes on the far horizon, scanning for danger. See it, study it, absorb it. Think about it. Then take a deep breath of pride. And if your eyes don't dampen, you're a better man or woman than I." A few days later, the LA Times declared that its photo had "moved into the realm of the iconic." In truth, the image just feels iconic because it is so laughably derivative: It's a straight-up rip-off of the most powerful icon in American advertising (the Marlboro Man), which in turn imitated the brightest star ever created by Hollywood (John Wayne) who was himself channeling America's most powerful founding myth (the cowboy on the rugged frontier). It's like a song you feel like you've heard a thousand times before--because you have.

But never mind that. For a country that just elected a wannabe Marlboro Man as its President, Miller is an icon, and as if to prove it he has ignited his very own controversy. "Lots of children, particularly boys, play 'army' and like to imitate this young man. The clear message of the photo is that the way to relax after a battle is with a cigarette," wrote Daniel Maloney in a scolding letter to the Houston Chronicle. Linda Ortman made the same point to the editors of the Dallas Morning News: "Are there no photos of nonsmoking soldiers in Iraq?" A reader of the New York Post suggested more politically correct propaganda imagery: "Maybe showing a Marine in a tank, helping another GI or drinking water, would have a more positive impact on your readers."

Yes, that's right: Letter-writers from across the nation are united in their outrage--not that the steely-eyed smoking soldier makes mass killing look cool but that the laudable act of mass killing makes the grave crime of smoking look cool. It reminds me of the joke about the Hasidic rabbi who says all sexual positions are acceptable except for one: standing up, "because that could lead to dancing."

On second thought, perhaps Miller does deserve to be elevated to the status of icon--not of the war in Iraq but of the new era of supercharged American impunity. Because outside US borders, it is, of course, a different Marine who has been awarded the prize as "the face of Falluja": the soldier captured on tape executing a wounded, unarmed prisoner in a mosque. Runners-up are a photograph of 2-year-old Fallujan in a hospital bed with one of his tiny legs blown off; a dead child lying in the street, clutching the headless body of an adult; and an emergency health clinic blasted to rubble. Inside the United States, these snapshots of a lawless occupation appeared only briefly, if at all. Yet Miller's icon status has endured, kept alive with human interest stories about fans sending cartons of Marlboros to Falluja, interviews with the Marine's proud mother and earnest discussions about whether smoking might reduce Miller's effectiveness as a fighting machine.

Impunity--the perception of being outside the law--has long been the hallmark of the Bush regime. What is alarming is that it appears to have deepened since the election, ushering in what can best be described as an orgy of impunity. In Iraq, US forces and their Iraqi surrogates are assaulting civilian targets and openly attacking doctors, clerics and journalists who have dared to count the bodies. At home, impunity has been made official policy with Bush's nomination of Alberto Gonzales--the man who personally advised the President in his infamous "torture memo" that the Geneva Conventions are "obsolete"--as Attorney General.

This kind of defiance cannot simply be explained by Bush's win. There has to be something in how he won, in how the election was fought, that gave this Administration the distinct impression that it had been handed a "get out of the Geneva Conventions free" card. That's because the Administration was handed precisely such a gift--by John Kerry.

In the name of "electability," the Kerry campaign gave Bush five months on the campaign trail without ever facing serious questions about violations of international law. Fearing he would be seen as soft on terror and disloyal to US troops, Kerry stayed scandalously silent about Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. When it became clear that fury would rain down on Falluja as soon as the polls closed, Kerry never spoke out against the plan, or against the illegal bombings of civilian areas that took place throughout the campaign. Even after The Lancet published its landmark study estimating that 100,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the invasion and occupation, Kerry repeated his outrageous (and frankly racist) claim that Americans "have borne 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq." His unmistakable message: Iraqi deaths don't count. By buying the highly questionable logic that Americans are incapable of caring about anyone's lives but their own, the Kerry campaign and its supporters became complicit in the dehumanization of Iraqis, reinforcing the idea that some lives are insufficiently important to risk losing votes over. And it is this morally bankrupt logic, more than the election of any single candidate, that allows these crimes to continue unchecked.

The real-world result of all the "strategic" thinking is the worst of both worlds: It didn't get Kerry elected and it sent a clear message to the people who were elected that they will pay no political price for committing war crimes. And this is Kerry's true gift to Bush: not just the presidency, but impunity. You can see it perhaps best of all in the Marlboro Man in Falluja, and the surreal debates that swirl around him. Genuine impunity breeds a kind of delusional decadence, and this is its face: a nation bickering about smoking while Iraq burns.

Naomi Klein is the author of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (Picador) and, most recently, Fences and Windows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (Picador).

© Copyright 2004 The Nation

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Nina'chalek Chamoru

Chamorro jokes and jokes from other islanders/peoples in the Pacific. Some of them are messed up, others of them are hysterical.

http://pacifictimes.tripod.com/jokes.htm

Friday, November 26, 2004

We are a COLONY!

from the Pacific Daily News

Thursday, November 9, 2000

Status change lacks legs to stand on.
by Charles Troutman

I am not surprised that our political leadership is not leading the way toward status change. There is nothing to which they, or any other group, can lead us. No one seems to have a publicly accepted philosophy of government sufficient to support a status change and certainly none that is internal to Guam.

The right to self-determination is generated by the United Nations Charter, to which the United States adheres when it is convenient. Our discussions over commonwealth status have made it abundantly clear that the United States, despite Guam's problems, finds it inconvenient to recognize anything but the status quo.

No one has suggested, apart from commonwealth and statehood, just what our new government would look like. Compare that to the 13 colonies before and during the American Revolution. They possessed the three pillars -- or stool legs -- necessary to sustain an evolving, independent government in the future.

The first was a serious dissatisfaction with Britain's policies. Except for land issues and the corrosive effects of being treated as not part of the "people" of the American Constitution, there is really little to sustain enough dissatisfaction with the United States to support a major change in status, especially against their opposition. The second was a philosophy of government. While this evolved extensively from the time of the Declaration of Independence to the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution, and through the Civil War and New Deal, the basic philosophy has remained strong. I have heard of no positive philosophy of government expressed by any leader or group on Guam. The third pillar is/was the strong belief that the Creator endowed men with certain inalienable rights. They were not granted by governments, thus not subject to withdrawal by the government. Rather, the government was tasked with upholding and protecting these rights.

John Adams wrote that about 30 percent of the colonial population supported the revolution, 30 percent didn't care and the remainder supported staying with Great Britain. Not exactly a formula for unanimity. Still, enough of the founding fathers knew in what direction they were going to endow the Revolution with a complete purpose, not just of being free from Great Britain, but of forming a new government and society in America. Where is that purpose on Guam?

Since all three legs are necessary for stability or status change, as well as for stools, I see no successful movement for status change until Guam can formulate a complete set of reasons, internally, for our status change.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

US War Crimes (so what else is new?)

From http://www.commondreams.org
Why is this assertion ridiculous? Why is it insane that we hold US troops and leaders to the legal standards which others such as Saddam Hussein, Milosovich, Agusto Pinochet are being held? If the United States is truly interested in spreading democracy and equality before the law and before humanity, then shouldn't it begin by signing international law treaties? Which would make all nations the same before the law? Ask someone who disagrees with this to explain why, and they won't have much to say except that its "ridiculous."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 12:30pm

by Russell Mokhiber


Mokhiber: Kofi Annan in September said that the Iraq war is an illegal war. If it is an illegal war, then the 100,000 who have died there – according to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health – are victims of war crimes. Now, the President is going to Canada later this year. And the largest circulation newspaper in Canada (the Toronto Star) printed a column yesterday titled “Should Canada Indict Bush?” – raising the question of a war crimes prosecution. They have a war crimes law in Canada. And I’m wondering –

Scott McLellan: Do you have a question or is it just a statement of opinion?

Mokhiber: No, this is the question. Has the White House counsel looked at the President’s legal exposure to a war crimes prosecution?

Scott McLellan: It is a ridiculous question that you bring up. You were out on the Nader campaign at the time that this issue came up. It was addressed at that time. And I’m not going to go through it again.

Guaiya yu' an un atotga

Ai gof fotte este na kachido', lao ti siguru' yu' na bai hu hulat umeksplika gui' gi fino' Chamorro.

Egga' i kachido' "love me if you dare," (mismo gi fino' Frances). Pau fina'nu'i hao na gof tahdong yan gof kaduku guinaiya. Meggai i manera na sina humuyong, lao todu dipotsi tahdong. Impottante na ta espiha i tinahdong na siniente, enlugat di i inannok na sinangan. Mungga ma hongge ha' an guaha ni' sumangan "hu guaiya hao," atan para i kinalamten ni' sumangan "guinaiya" pat muna'siente hao i tinahdong-na nu Hagu.

Impottante i tinahdong, sa' gof piligro guinaiya. An un bense hao na mangguaiya hao, debi di un baba hao todu, yan babayi gui' (nu i taotao ni' un guaiya) ni' Hinagu (todu ni' Hagu). Gof piligro este, sa' achokka' sina un siente na gof tahdong ni' inasinienten-miyu, taya' siniguru esta ki umatoktok hamyo yan umunu i hinasson-miyu.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I Manaiguma' giya Guahan

Kao linemlem hamyo ni' i matulaika-na Guahan? Estaba mangof banidosu hit put i minangge' i kutturan Chamorro giya Guahan, sa' gof geftao, ya pues taya' ni' taiguma'. Lao sigun i PDN, matulaika todu, ya sigi ha' mamta i manaiguma' giya Guahan.

Hayi ta sukne put este? Hita? Sa' ti ta dalalalaki yan o'osge i kistimbren i manaina-ta? Achokka' hunggan matulaika i Chamorro pa'go, sa' manggof geftaotao siha kalang i antes na tiempo, isaon i United States este. Desde ma na'dokko i sisteman gubetnamento yan lina'la' guini, manninahulo'guan todu este na problema siha.

Achokka' dipotsi na manchilong (manequal) todu gi i sisteman US hun, ti magahet ayu. Mas maolek siempre nai i hinasson Chamorro i sisteman hinasso-ta. Lao desde ta aksepta i nina'in i US, manmatulaika hit taiguini, ya pa'go bula mannaiguma' yan manmasa'pet giya Guahan.

Yanggen malago hit ta fa'maolek este, debi di ta na'la'la' ta'lo i minangge' gi i kettura, yan suhayi i binaba yan mineskinu gi i kitturan Amerikanu.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Mapula'

I just finished watching "The United States of Leland" a pretty good movie, but not in the conventional sense. Its not a feel good movie, if you are looking for pre-packaged morality. This film explores how the way we traditionally think about things being right/wrong, or what can be considered an acceptable or believable cause for something are so limiting, and can't really explain things, both large and small.

When we search for a specific cause for something which has happened, how does that prevent us from understanding anything at all? When looking for something which will align itself with our existing beliefs and proofs, what do we miss? We can we not see in that blind spot that is ourselves?

Anyways, here are the lyrics from a song from the film titled "Undone" by Imperial Teen. When you hear the song, and listen to the lyrics you can definitely feel as though the artists and the filmakers have stumbled across something they probably didn't mean to. In the skeletal like framework of this song's lyrics, one can attempt to fill in the empty spaces with an infinite number of specific feelings, points and pieces of logic or illogic, but ultimately the only thing which even remotely seems to fit, is a "whoo-whoo" sound the singers make, which leads into any number of interpretations, but ultimately the only one which is satisfying is the one which is most unsatisfying. That there is no real way to fill in the gaps and be satisfied. For for every meaning you assign to that sound, there will always be the feeling that something is missing, something is being left out, seen awry.


Undone by imperial teen

Put your ear up to the radio
What you hear is a miracle
Go the other way
There's another way

Put your ear up to the radio
You know more than you think you know
Go the other way
There's another way

To feel undone

Put your ear up to the radio
Now you see where the pieces go
Go the other way
There's another way

To feel undone

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Voting irregularities continue to be studied

For those of you interesting in the massive evidence that there was fraud in this election, there are several liberal sites out there which are dilligently keeping track of what the mainstream media has decided to ignore.

These investigations might not change the election, but they might yield some damaging indictments or cases against certain Republicans, such as the Secretary of States in Florida or Ohio, who were obviously making partisan moves prior to the election.

Sties which can tell you more are:

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com
http://www.democraticunderground.com
http://www.boboharris.com
http://www.commondreams.org
http://www.alternet.org
http://www.dailykos.com

Also, we should all be grateful to the Green Party for forcing a recount of the votes in Ohio. It seems nowadays that only people like Ralph Nader, John Anderson, the Greens and others know what democracy is supposed to be about.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Stale Americanizing Dreams

American dreams...that seems to the be most significant problem of consciousness and identity in our people right now. This emphasis on attaining the American dream, which of course ends up Americanizing their own dreams. "If you are caught in the dream of another, then you are lost." Our people have become obsessed with American dreams, and actively work to trap and tangle themselves in them. The problems with these dreams is that they dictate the ways in which we think and act, and believe about ourselves. I attended a presentation by a lady who has collected three volumes of interviews with Pacific Islanders, titled "Pacific Islanders Talk Story." It is all about the ways in which Pacific Islanders deal with being invisible or tiny in big bad America. She discussed how we as Pacific Islanders need to work harder to achieve the American dream. How we need to figure out what in our culture is holding us back, or what doesn't let us succeed in America.

My question is, what happened to our own dreams? Why is having a good life in every banal sense an "American dream" only? This is the trap that this type of thinking places us in. If we are reaching for American dreams, then we are stripping ourselves of our culture and changing ourselves based on what America perceives us to be, and what it wants us to be. These are not natural, ideal, perfect dreams, and we should be wary of their power over us. These are the types of dreams which trap us, and force us into certain forms of cultural change, which meet the needs of an ideal, abstract, American dream, rather than the dreams we ourselves have.

NPIEN CONFERENCE

There is a Pacific Islander Education conference this weekend at CSU Long Beach, I'll presenting there about Pacific Islanders in higher education with i kayu-hu Si Mike Perez from CSU Fullerton and Soledad Santos from Evergreen College in San Jose.

If you can make it, please try, its a great opprotunity to discuss issues and make plans for the future.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Na'ma'ase

Ai adai, guaha na hu post guini, lao ma'pos nai hu "load" gui' gi halom i computer. Ya apmam na tiempo maloffan desde hu post este, pues esta maleffa yu' hafa mismo i pinest-hu!

Despensa yu'...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Chamoru Blogs

I'm looking for any Chamorus or Chamorros out there with blogs who want to link to mine. As you can see down on the right, I have a section for blogs I feel people should check out. So far there's only one there from Guam, but I'd like to find more out there, especially from people who are as concerned about the future of the Chamorro people as I am.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

NINE REASONS WHY CHAMORROS SHOULD BE HAPPY BUSH WON

For those needing a little pick me up/ cheer me up, here's 9 reasons why we Chamorros, as a colonized people should be happy that Bush won!

(na'on fan iyo-mu sense of humor antes di un tutuhun tumaitai este, sa' gi minagahet mampos tinemba yan triniste yu' put i manggana-na Si Bush. Lao hinasso-ku na maolekna an hu hatme gui' ni' nina'chalek enlugat di fino' chatli'e. Gi este bai hu fa'nu'i i binaba yan i dimalas ni' mamaila ni' nina'chalek.)

1. Whenever Bush speaks about Chamorros or Guam, we'll have new lexical identifiers! Get ready! Liberation Day 2005, we'll be the Guamorro people! Liberation Day 2006, we'll be the Chaumerican people! And who knows what Bush's badly damaged brain has in store for us in 2007? Guaminese? Chamorrainian? MINAGOF SIEMPRE!

2. George Bush in 2000 said that he against status changes for any of the US colonies. Well that's good, because think of all the money we'll save by not having to change our stationary from "territory of Guam" to "something else of Guam" in the near future!

3. David Cohen, the sexy half Samaoan under-secretary at the Office of Insular Affairs will continue to grace us with his work on behalf of the colonies.

4. The diaspora or, migrational scattering of Chamorro people will shift drastically over the next few years! Everyone seems to be tinemba about the fact that there are more Chamorros in the states, than in the Marianas Islands. Well, thanks to Bush's re-election this won't be a problem anymore! That's right, in the next few years, we'll all be complaining that there's more Chamorros in Iraq than in the Marianas and the United States! Isn't that exciting? Camel Kelaguan anyone?

5. Front row seats for any nuclear war! We shouldn't forget that it is part of Bush's National Security Policy that if the United States perceives a threat to its sovereignty or authority, it will use nuclear weapons, preemptively! So when Iraq quiets down and no one is left standing or breathing to resist American oppression, who knows where America will hit next? If North Korea, then we've got great seats for all the nuclear weapon slinging action! Forget about legalizing casino gambling on Guam, with George Bush as president everyday is like gambling for our lives!

6. More media coverage of Guam in the states! That's right, in the coming years we can look forward to alot more coverage of Guam issues and Guam stories because so many Chamorros are probably gonna die in the Middle East! With the United States military currently building more than a dozen bases in Iraq alone, there are going to be alot of Chamorros there fighting people who don't want to be ruled by a foreign power, who will need to be killed or tortured. So, we can probably expect a few more sons of Guam to end up in the Washington Post's "Faces of the Fallen" page, which means more press for Guam! Do I smell the start of patriotic tourist propaganda!? I can see the ad now, "Come to Guam! Where we are so patriotic we don't care whether we have a vote in Congress or not, we're just proud to be something attached to the greatest country in the world!" Someone give the Guam Visitor's Bureau a call!

7. More military presence which we locally have no control over whatsoever, except what they let us believe we have! Cash infusions into our economy which we don't analyze or question, because we have been so colonized to accept whatever the military offers. Get ready to see alot more of the Thunderbirds! And predator drones, and bunker busters, daisy cutters, B-52s, Ospreys...Increase the military presence anymore and you won't have to go to Iraq to experience a sky full of machines of war and death soaring over you, which can obliterate you with the press of a button, you can get it right here on Guam!

8. For those of you who are haunted by the ghosts of Joe Ada's poor English capabilities, I'd like to remind everyone that since Bush was re-elected, our entire Legislature and Executive officials all speak better English than the President of the United States! For those of you with long memories, this sort of thing hasn't happened since the early 80's when Paul Calvo was governor and Ronald Reagan was asleep, mumbling policy directives for 2 years. We should be proud that once again we are more Americans than Americans!

9. Recently the scientific community has become more aggressive in trying to get the United States' government to start paying attention to the dangers of global warming. As we all know, George Bush pulled the US out of the Kyoto treaty, which was designed to slow the process of global warming, and despite the fact that Russia recently decided to sign on, Bush is still stubborn about not giving permission slips to non-George Bush's for running the United States. While some people might be scared to death, especially those living on islands, that the world's largest polluting country isn't doing anything to stop the rising of the ocean's water level, we should be excited that our leader is taking a bold stance against those people who would try to save the world! I mean, those people who would try to terrorize America's economy! With the water levels rising, guess what that means? New beachfront property!

Limosna button (hint hint)

For those with some extra money on them, please notice the donation button to the right of this post. Feel free to donate any amount, and take comfort in knowing that your money will go to help this struggling, starving college student buy food, books or gas.

Put fabot fan, na'i yu' fan ni' limosna. Ti gefsaga' yu' desde matto yu' gi lagu, yan todu manguaguan guini, sa' taya' familia-ku, pues Guahu ha' fumahani yu' ni' gas! Ai na'ma'ase todu, yanggen gefli'e hao na taotao, na'i ha', siempre magofna hao, sa' un ayuda un gof na'ma'ase na patgon.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Simila's Sense of Numbers

An interesting quote from Simila's Sense of Snow...

"The number system is like human life. First you have the natural numbers. The ones that are whole and positive. Like the numbers of a small child. But human consciousness expands. The child discovers longing. Do you know the mathematical expression for longing? The negative numbers. The formalization of the feeling that you’re missing something. Then the child discovers the in-between spaces, between stones, between people, between them and that produces fractions."

Sunday, November 14, 2004

You know you're doing the right thing when...

You know you're doing the right thing when you make the haolified or deeply colonized Chamorros uncomfortable. I happened to type "minagahet" into Google and came across a lovely message thread where someone was trashing my websites as "brown trash" calling those who write on it or post on our message boards as "racists."

The fact that someone actually typed this down, and actually spelled the words properly means that I am having some sort of impact. Check out this exchange I came across.


Some guy...

I just wanted to say I surfed through the webring at the member sites and want to ask why you let members in that detract from the good spirit of the island? have you looked at the Kopbla Amerika page and their forum as well as minagahet zine? boy what a bunch of brown trash.

So some other cool guy responds...

What part of "anything and everything Chamorro" did you not understand? We are Chamorro's by birth and Americans by proclamation. So I feel that the first amamendment rights apply to all. Negativity is in the eye of the beholder. Those "negative" people as you so call them feel they are positive in their approach to what they feel.

The first, not cool guy responds...

Such racists, that's all. If that is the association you want for the ring, cool. I just thought you didn't read some of that garbage.

Then some other guy chimes in...

I agree with you, that place is kind of extreme thinking going on.


I am proud to be a part of the extreme brown trash segment of the Chamorro population! The only ones who seem to be doing any real critically thinking about the future of our island, rather than just praying that Uncle Sam will do everything for us.

I'd like to remind everyone that there was once a time on Guam where thinking that Chamorros could be US citizens was an extreme thought. And even thinking that a Chamorro was more civilized or better than a haole was insane (and if you listen to most Chamorros, its still unthinkable).

Draft fan i Balate' para u mumu giya Irak!

Letter sent out November 13, 2004 about the Draft and Guam's Balate' Population

Hafa Adai todus i manaina-hu yan mane'lu-hu siha,

Si Yu'us Ma'ase Sinot Dabit Herrera para i gefli'e na fino'-mu put i tinige'-hu. Annok na ti manchilong hit yan i taotaogues giya Amerika, pues sa' hafa na sigi ha' i Chamorro manaonao setbisisu yan tekuni i banderan US, mas ki ma respetu i banderan Guahan? Debi di ta kulu (estudia) este na hinasso mas, sa' yanggen sina ta komprende i hinasson i "mampatriotik na Chamorro siha" sina ta komprende lokkue taimanu mannina'colonized i hinasso-ta siha ni' kosas Amerika yan lina'la Amerika.

Yanggen ma fa'draft ta'lo guenao giya Guahan, debi di ta mumu ayu. Sa' yanggen maloffan ayu ta'lo, maloffan lokkue i atdet na mafa'ga'ga'n i Chamorro. Dimalas este, sa' yanggen i taotao-ta sigi ha' ma dimu pappa' gi me'nan i Amerikanu siha, kalang Si Yu'us, taihinekkok siempre este na gof baba na estao-ta pulitikat.

Gof magof-hu na en mentiona i BALATE', sa' maolek na hemplo enao para hafa sina ta cho'gue giya Guahan, para ta na'la'la' yan na'sustainable i ekonomian Guahan. I kestumbren Amerikanu yan haole na todu i "ventures" taiguini debi di u dongkalu yan gaimiprebechu. Lao para un dikike' na isla, maolekna para todu na i ventures-ta siha dikike yan dikekena. Gi fino' Chamorro, ti pumarehu gefsaga' yan riku, ya impottante este na punto. Sina gefsaga hao achokka' didide' i salape'-mu, lao ti sina rumiku. Yanggen sina ta fa'dikike' na markets siha giya Guahan, para BALATE' ya otro na tinilaika (commodities), maolekna para i taotao siha, ya mas fasit para mama'gasi, yan menos i inatotga. Hafa otro na materiat naturat ni' gaige giya Guahan, ni' sina ta na'setbe para ta fa'market? Gof impottante na ta faisen este na finaisen yan sigi ha' aligao gi i eriya-ta, sa' esta meprueba meggai biahi na ti anggokuyon yan ti dipende'yon i ekonomia ni' fina'tinas mambiaheru (tourists) siha ha'.

Yanggen mappot kumonmprende i Chamorro-hu, despensa yu'. Esta kuatro na meses desde hu dingu Guahan, ya put i hassan na chansa na sina hu na'setbe i fino'-hu, esta kalang mafnas yan machalapon gui'.

Gof mahalang yu' nu i bunitu na isla, ya Si Yu'us Ma'ase para este na chansa para bei na'lamenggua este dinechon na siniente. Kada na mana'hasso yu' taiguini put Guahan yan i metgot na taotao-ta siha, magong yu'. Adios todus, esta ki manakuentusi hit ta'lo.

Sahuma Minagahet yan Na'suha Dinagi,
Miget (Lujan Bevacqua)
"Sahuma Minagahet"
Nasion Chamoru

Saturday, November 13, 2004

ROCKET THE VOTE!

From http://www.NoLogo.org

"Rocket the Vote" by Naomi Klein > November 9 2004

P. Diddy announced on the weekend that his “Vote or Die” campaign will live on. The hip-hop mogul's voter-registration drive during the U.S. presidential elections was, he said, merely “phase one, step one for us to get people engaged.”

Fantastic. I have a suggestion for phase two: P. Diddy, Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the self-described “Coalition of the Willing” should take their chartered jet and fly to Fallujah, where their efforts are desperately needed. But first they are going to need to flip the slogan from “Vote or Die!” to “Die, Then Vote!”

Because that is what is happening there. Escape routes have been sealed off,homes are being demolished, and an emergency health clinic has been razed—all in the name of preparing the city for January elections. In a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S.-appointed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi explained that the all-out attack was required “to safeguard lives, elections and democracy in Iraq.”

With all the millions spent on “democracy-building” and “civil society” in Iraq, it has come to this: If you can survive attack by the world's only superpower, you get to cast a ballot. Fallujans are going to vote, goddammit, even if they all have to die first. And make no mistake: they are Fallujans under the gun. “The enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He lives in Fallujah,” Marine Lt. Col. Gareth Brandl told the BBC. Well, at least he admitted that some of the fighters actually live in Fallujah, unlike Donald Rumsfeld, who would have us believe that they are all from Syria and Jordan. And since U.S. army vehicles are blaring recordings forbidding all men between the ages of 15 and 50 from leaving the city, it would suggest that there are at least a few Iraqis among what CNN now obediently describes as the “anti-Iraqi forces.” Elections in Iraq were never going to be peaceful, but they did not need to be an all-out war on voters either. Mr. Allawi's Rocket the Vote campaign is the direct result of a disastrous decision made exactly one year ago. On Nov. 11, 2003, Paul Bremer, then chief U.S. envoy to Iraq, flew to Washington to meet with President George W. Bush. The two men were concerned that if they kept their promise to hold elections in Iraq within the coming months, the country would fall into the hands of insufficiently pro-American forces.

That would defeat the purpose of the invasion, and it would threaten President Bush's re-election chances. At that meeting, a revised plan was hatched: Elections would be delayed for more than a year and in the meantime, Iraq's first “sovereign” government would be hand-picked by Washington. The plan would allow Mr. Bush to claim progress on the campaign trail, while keeping Iraq safely under U.S. control.

In the U.S., Mr. Bush's claim that “freedom is on the march” served its purpose, but in Iraq, the plan led directly to the carnage we see today. George Bush likes to paint the forces opposed to the U.S. presence in Iraq as enemies of democracy. In fact, much of the uprising can be traced directly to decisions made in Washington to stifle, repress, delay, manipulate and otherwise thwart the democratic aspirations of the Iraqi people.

Yes, democracy has genuine opponents in Iraq, but before George Bush and Paul Bremer decided to break their central promise to hand over power to an elected Iraqi government, these forces were isolated and contained. That changed when Mr. Bremer returned to Baghdad and tried to convince Iraqis that they weren't yet ready for democracy.

Mr. Bremer argued the country was too insecure to hold elections, and besides, there were no voter rolls. Few were convinced. In January, 2003, 100,000 Iraqis peacefully took to the streets of Baghdad, with 30,000 more in Basra. Their chant was “Yes, yes elections. No, no selections.” At the time, many argued that Iraq was safe enough to have elections and pointed out that the lists from the Saddam-era oil-for-food program could serve as voter rolls. But Mr. Bremer wouldn't budge and the UN—scandalously and fatefully—backed him up.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Hussain al-Shahristani, chairman of the standing committee of the Iraqi National Academy of Science (who was imprisoned under Saddam Hussein for 10 years), accurately predicted what would happen next. “Elections will be held in Iraq, sooner or later,” wrote Mr. al-Shahristani. “The sooner they are held, and a truly democratic Iraq is established, the fewer Iraqi and American lives will be lost.”

Ten months and thousands of lost Iraqi and American lives later, elections are scheduled to take place with part of the country in grips of yet another invasion and much of the rest of it under martial law. As for the voter rolls, the Allawi government is planning to use the oil-for-food lists, just as was suggested and dismissed a year ago.

So it turns out that all of the excuses were lies: if elections can be held now, they most certainly could have been held a year ago, when the country was vastly calmer. But that would have denied Washington the change to install a puppet regime in Iraq, and possibly prevented George Bush from winning a second term.

Is it any wonder that Iraqis are skeptical of the version of democracy being delivered to them by U.S. troops, or that elections have come to be seen not as tools of liberation but as weapons of war? First, Iraq's promised elections were sacrificed in the interest of George Bush's re-election hopes; next, the siege of Fallujah itself was crassly shackled to these same interests. The fighter planes didn't even wait an hour after George Bush finished his acceptance speech to begin the air attack on Fallujah, with the city bombed at least six times through the next day and night. With the U.S. elections safely over, Fallujah could be destroyed in the name of its own the upcoming elections.

In another demonstration of their commitment to freedom, the first goal of the U.S. soldiers in Fallujah was to ambush the city's main hospital. Why? Apparently because it was the source of the “rumours” about high civilian casualties the last time U.S. troops laid siege to Fallujah, sparking outrage in Iraq and across the Arab world. “It's a centre of propaganda,” an unnamed senior American officer told The New York Times. Without doctors to count the dead, the outrage would be presumably be muted—except that, of course, the attacks on hospitals have sparked their own outrage, further jeopardizing the legitimacy of the upcoming elections.

According to The New York Times, the Fallujah General Hospital was easy to capture, since the doctors and patients put up no resistance. There was, however, one injury, “an Iraqi soldier who accidentally discharged his Kalashnikov rifle, injuring his lower leg.”

I think that means he shot himself in the foot. He's not the only one.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Donggat siha ni' Progressive

Bright Spots
By Evan Derkacz, AlterNet. Posted November 10, 2004.


Asking people to look on the bright side of Election 2004 is, to quote Kristina Wilfore of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, "a little like asking Mrs. Lincoln how the show was." Progressives are reeling and grasping for bearings after a confusing and upsetting loss on Nov. 2. And why shouldn't they be? For millions, it was the first time they'd dared to hope in a long, long time.

But there are reasons to remain hopeful. Despite the high-profile electoral losses and the passage of 11 anti-gay measures, there were dozens of successes and encouraging trends for the progressive cause – most of which came at the local level. Poor Dr. King; he's always turned to when things look bleakest – and now is no different. The latest of his inspiring words making the rounds in post-election e-mails: "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."
This story is about focusing for a moment on some of the important successes from this past Tuesday. And "success" isn't simply code for "where Democrats won." Success, for the purposes of this article is defined by initiatives, candidates and trends that favor anti-war stances, a strong defense of the environment, sane drug policies, and a movement toward a just and tolerant America.
Down to business.

Conscience and Politics Can Play Nice Together
The seven Democratic senators who voted against the Iraq war all won re-election – and they did it by an average margin of nearly 30%.

Anti-war Democrat senators who won:
Barbara Boxer – California – 58%-38%Daniel Inouye – Hawaii – 76%-21%Barbara Mikulski – Maryland – 65%-34%Patty Murray – Washington – 55%-43%Russ Feingold – Wisconsin – 56%-44%Ron Wyden – Oregon – 63%-32%Pat Leahy – Vermont – 71%-25%

Zoom in and the point becomes even clearer. In Oregon, where Kerry, who voted for the war, won by a mere 4 percent, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden won by over 30 percent "despite" his vote against it. Wisconsin, which was too close to call on election night, didn't take very long to declare Russ Feingold, who voted against the war (ignoring warnings from his staff), the winner. He won by 11 percent. Writer John Stauber concludes, "The lesson is this: Russ Feingold proves that an anti-war, populist Democrat, a maverick campaigning to get big money out of politics, can win and win big."

These statistics should strike fear out of the Democrats the next time issues of war and peace are on the table. Maybe, just maybe, if they can persuade the Democratic establishment to disabuse itself of the mistaken belief that reelection comes to those who adopt the safest position, rather than to those who make a strong case for the values they hold most dear, it has a shot at being relevant in the 21st century.

Dean Dozen
Howard Dean supporters were devastated when their man was taken down after the press, doing a fine impersonation of a pack of wolves, disingenuously played and replayed "the scream" 633 times – before apologizing for it. Curiously you didn't hear the press dub themselves "flip-floppers."

But Dean didn't just drop out and angle for a cabinet position. He quickly threw his weight, and organizational structure, into a new group called Democracy for America (DFA) whose mission is to support progressive-minded candidates in primarily local elections "from city council or local school boards to U.S. Senate," and to ensure that every race is contested.

Every two weeks, a pool of 12 candidates was chosen from races around the nation, dubbed the "Dean Dozen," and given public support by the governor himself – though sometimes, the group's spokesperson Laura Gross conceded, "it was a baker's dozen, or two dozen; it depended."

On the premise that "Democrats can't be afraid to run in certain places like Montana and Georgia and Texas, just because they're so-called red states," DFA campaigned for candidates who would otherwise have been left to the wolves or who may never have run at all. "We never said we'd win all the races," Gross said, "but you've got to start somewhere and you can't be shy about running, and that's what we did."

Amazingly, in what were not cherry-picked races designed for a boastful post-election press release, 31 of the 102 of the Dean Dozen candidates were victorious. An amazing 15 of the 31 had never run for office before. Among the highlights:

The mayor of Republican-dominated Salt Lake City, Utah, is now a Democrat.
Openly gay candidate, Nicole LeFeveur, won a seat in the Idaho state legislature.
In heavily Republican Alabama, progressive Anita Kelly was elected as Circuit Court Judge.
In Florida, a first time, Dean-inspired candidate, Susan Clary, won as Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor.
Montana's governor is now a Democrat, Brian Schweitzer.
Heavily Republican New Hampshire elected Democrat John Lynch, kicking the incumbent and ethically challenged Gov. Benson out of office.
Arthur Anderson won the race for supervisor of elections in electorally-challenged Palm Beach County, Fla.
Suzanne Williams won a state senate seat in Colorado, giving the upper house a Democratic majority.
In North Carolina, openly gay Julia Boseman was one of several Democrats to defeat Republican incumbents to take back control of the State House.

According to Gross, "These are all types of people: male, female, black, white, Latino ... when people talk about rebuilding the Democratic party, that's the start of it. You have to start at the base of this organization, the grass roots level and build your way up. That's what the Christian Coalition did 30 or 40 years ago and hey, they're obviously pretty successful."
And DFA's activists? Gross said that "after the election, our people were more energized than ever. There were 450 meet-ups on Wednesday night. Our blog traffic is up 300 percent, our site traffic is up 300 percent. People don't want to have this 'woe is me attitude.' They want to get up and get active again."

Taking the Initiative
The received wisdom spewing from pundits and papers that the nation is overwhelmingly conservative and that the election constituted a "mandate" for the Bush agenda. But the reality is of course more complex than that. This view is buttressed by the number of progressive initiatives that managed to pass across the nation.

Residents of the "red" states of Florida and Nevada, for example, voted overwhelmingly in favor of something Bush refuses to even consider: raising the minimum wage. Despite "intense opposition from pro-business groups," not to mention Florida Gov.Jeb Bush in his neck of the woods, both states raised their minimum wage by a dollar to $6.15. In Nevada, 68 percent of voters went voted for it; in Florida, the number was 71 percent. Meghan Scott, the communications director for Floridians for All, the group that sponsored the Florida initiative, said, "Once people heard what Amendment 5 was and what it would do for Florida's working poor, people really got it."

On education, the story was similar. Bush passed, yet perenially underfunds, the much-mocked "No Child Left Behind" program. So, while voters in the "red" states of Arkansas, North Carolina, and Nevada supported their president, they also felt the need to support initiatives that strengthened their education systems beyond No Child's parameters. Whether it was the Nevada voters' majority decision to require lawmakers to fund K-12 before anything else, Arkansan's decision to use lottery revenue for education, or North Carolinians' decision to use money collected from fines for schools (they also chose to have a more equitable distribution of funds between schools), voters demanded that their tax dollars fund their public schools. Once again, a progressive value supported by "red" state majorities.

In California, voters supported a stem cell research initiative at which, on the federal level, Bush barely throws pennies. While California tends to be more liberal on social issues, it's difficult to overstate the importance of this measure. Due to its size, and thus the size of the measure's funding ($3 billion), California support for stem cell research effectively is U.S. support for stem cell funding. Call this a smart investment. Watch how California's state economy will be further diversified and enriched when the dividends from this potentially life-saving research start coming in. Speaking to the L.A. Times, Berkeley professor Bruce Cain noted that this initiative, "really highlights how California has become the capital of the 'second nation' and is going to the left when the rest of the country goes right ..."

But the "second nation" didn't stop there. Californians also passed a measure that goes against the prevailing wisdom of the Bush tax cuts. In order to expand mental health programs, those earning more than $1 million per year will see their income tax rise by an earth shattering 1 percent. The San Andreas Fault is expected to survive the hike.

In a similar move, Maine voters opposed a cap on property taxes. It's difficult to overstate the importance of this vote as well. Flying in the face of the think tanks, pundits and rhetoric of the right, citizens who vote to keep the door to further taxation open are citizens who understand the true meaning of family. Taxes are each American's contribution to the well-being of all Americans. If this isn't a victory for progressive values, it's difficult to say what is.

Going Green
The environment, according to (and thanks in big part to) the League of Conservation Voters, was a big winner. Of the LCV's 18 "Environmental Champions," all 18 won. Of the "Dirty Dozen," four went down in flames. In the eight congressional races into which significant LCV resources were invested, the LCV won seven of them. Sure, a candidate like Barack Obama was destined for victory, but others like Ken Salazar, who beat millionaire Pete Coors by just three percent, were surely given a boost by the LCV's effort to expose Coors' anti-environment agenda which, in addition to helping elect the greener candidate, may make others reluctant to embrace an anti-environment agenda. And indeed, LCV president Deb Callahan asserted, "LCV will now take this successful electoral blueprint and apply it in both elections and policy debates around the country. We will not rest until all three branches of our government are represented by pro-environment public servants."

Writing about drug policy initiatives that were on the ballot this November, Steve Wishnia notes that, "Even as 59 percent of (Montana's) voters were going for George W. Bush and two-thirds opting to ban gay marriage, Montanans were approving Initiative 148, which would allow medical marijuana use by patients with a doctor's recommendation, by a 62-38 percent margin." Basic initiatives (like decriminalization and/or medical use) also succeeded locally, in Oakland and, surprisingly, in Columbia, Missouri. Bolder initiatives like full legalization or less restrictive medical use laws, were only narrowly defeated in Oregon and Alaska – an amazing trend in a nation weaned on DARE and the drug war.

The Ultimate Measure
Conventional wisdom holds that Americans voted against their best interests on Nov. 2. While focusing only on the broad stroke does lean toward that conclusion, a careful analysis reveals a more complex picture. Progressive issues and candidates won by big margins at a state and local level. On many of the issues that would positively effect the majority of Americans: minimum wage, the environment, taxes, and sane drug laws, for example, significant advances were made when put straight to the electorate. Sure, there is the daunting cultural divide with respect to gay civil rights and women's rights but it's certainly not the wholesale "values" difference we're led to believe.

Likewise, if voters' support for those who voted against the Iraq War teaches us anything about the ability to present a diverse electorate with an attractive progressive platform it's that progressive candidates must articulate the fact that all issues are reflective of our values and not simply questions of gays or abortion. Sure, they'll lose blocs of voters devoted to single issues, but those voters simply seeking to elect the candidate they can believe in will follow the candidate who firmly believes in their own position. And they'll do it every time.

Did we miss some examples of progressive victories on Nov.2? Send them in to http://www.alternet.org/election04/20436/”mailto:yourstory@alternet.org”,
Evan Derkacz is a New York-based writer and contributor to AlterNet.

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