Monday, July 30, 2007
Sen mangge’ i korason-ña Si Rashne, ya gos makkat este. Hu tungo’ na siempre ti in hasngon umana’lamen taiguini, lao todu i fino’ lalålu, mahålang pat layo’ manmalasgue pat mas kalaktos put i chinago’. Gi este na sakkan ha sungon todu i “complications” gi lina’la’-hu, pi’ot put i nuebu na patgon-hu, ya para este hu gof guaiya gui’, ya todu tiempo hu tatanga na siña hu toktok gui’ ya hulos i fasu-ña.
Esta hu na’tungo’ yu’ na triste yu’ put taimanu hu na’layo’ gui’, lao malago bei na’li’e gui’ gi otro na manera na hu guaiguaiya ha’ gui’, ya magåhet na hu tutufong todu tiempo i ha’åni siha, esta ki umali’e ham ta’lo.
Rashne, i baloo-hu, hu dedicåyi hao ni’ este na kachido. Hu guaiya hao yan sen mahålang yu’ sin Hågu.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
ON July 21, 2007, the people of Guam will again celebrate the glorious "Liberation Day." It's sad to say that our Guamanian leaders back on July 21, 1944 did not know that the American liberators became the re-occupation armed forces for the next 63 years. Guam and the Chamoru people continue to remain under U.S. colonial rule to the present day.
The following are excerpts from a letter dated approximately five years ago by American liberators Mr. Darrel Doss, Marine; Mr. Robert Arzenberger, Navy; Mr. Loran "Pee Wee" Day, Marine; Mr. Carilisle "Ki" Evans, Marine; Mr. Elmer Mapes, Marine: "…We have been honored as liberators, but did we truly liberate Guam? The answer is no. We only partially liberated you. The Congress of the United States could earn the title of true liberators by granting this paradise of the Pacific commonwealth status. Congress should also grant the citizens of Guam equal rights and voting privileges that we in the 50 states have enjoyed for years…"
The excerpts indicate that Guam was not truly liberated. So what liberation are the people of Guam celebrating? Should our Guamanian leaders rename the activities as "Partial Liberation Day" or, better yet, change it to "Re-occupation Day" or the "Recapture of Guam Day" or "Guamanian-American Friendship Day"?
Fanachu, Chamoru! Biba Chamoru!
VICENTE "FA'ET" GARRIDO
Maga'lahi, Nasion Chamoru
From Charissa Aguon
Mr. Darrel Doss was interviewed by Sonya Artero on KUAM Extra a few days ago. He recalled with heartfelt emotion- the strength and determination of the survivors of the Japanese occupation that he and many encountered on that day. He told of his life long love for our people and determination to advocate on our behalf -full rights as American citizens. I commend him and the many other "liberators"who continue to advocate and support our people's quest for self-determination. Mr. Doss had stated in his interview, that in his heart- he is Chamorro and I believe that he truly feels that way. He strikes me as a human being who understands that we are all in essence, members of one race- the human race.
As the Liberation Day celebrations come around the corner, many of us may have mixed emotions about the celebration. While we continue to do the important work of raising consciousness about the "reality" of our "liberation",our liminal political status and other injustices-let us not forget in the process to commemorate the end of a truly brutal period in our history. Let us not forget to remember those who died, those who survived and with great courage moved forward and share their stories with us today. Their stories serve to remind us of the ugly human potential for brutal destruction but more importantly- remind us of the strength , will and valor of our people in times of great tribulation.
We should also remember to commemorate those like Mr. Darrel Doss. Despite the "real" intentions of the larger political forces that brought them to our shores-they did put their lives on the line with the truest intention to "liberate" our people and they have since, made it their life's quest.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Clinton, Kissinger and the Corruptions of Empire
by John Nichols
Of all the corruptions of empire, few are darker than the claim that diplomacy must be kept secret from the citizenry.This hide-it-from-the people faith that only a cloistered group of unelected and often unaccountable elites - embodied by the nefarious and eminently indictable Henry Kissinger - is capable of steering the affairs of state pushes Americans out of the processes that determine whether their sons and daughters will die in distant wars, whether the factories where they worked will be shuttered, whether their country will respond to or neglect genocide, whether their tax dollars will go to pay for the unspeakable.
It allows for the dirty game where foreign countries are included or excluded from contact with the U.S. based on unspoken whims and self-serving schemes, where trade deals are negotiated without congressional oversight and then presented in take-it-or-leave-it form and where war is made easy by secretive cliques that are as willing to lie to presidents as they do to the people.
Unlike the excluded and neglected people, however, presidents have the authority to break this vicious cycle by making personal contact with foreign leaders, by publicly meeting with and debating allies and rivals, by taking global policymaking out of the shadows and into the light of day. When the president is personally and publicly in contact with the world, diplomacy is democratized.
As the most scrutinized figure on the planet, an American president who meets and maintains contact with leaders who may or may not follow the U.S. line on any particular issue involves not just him- or herself in the discussion but also the American people. The president lifts the veil of secrecy behind which horrible things can be done in our name but without our informed consent.
So it matters, it matters a great deal, whether those who seek the presidency promote transparent and democratic foreign policies or a continuation of a corrupt status quo that has rendered the United States dysfunctional, misguided and hated by most of the world - and that has caused more than 80 percent of Americans to say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
In the race for the Democratic nomination for president, the two frontrunners are lining up on opposite sides of the question of whether foreign policy should be conducted in public or behind the tattered curtain of corruption that has given us unnecessary wars in Vietnam and Iraq, U.S.-sponsored coups from Iran to Chile, trade policies designed to serve multinational corporations and a seeming inability to respond to the crisis that is Darfur.
Hillary Clinton, the candidate of all that is and will be, wants there to be no doubt that she is in the Kissinger camp.
The New York senator’s campaign is attacking her chief rival, Illinois Senator Barack Obama ☼, for daring to suggest that, he would personally meet with foreign leaders who do not always march in lockstep with the U.S. government.
In Monday’s night’s YouTube debate, candidates were asked it they would be willing to meet “with leaders of Syria, Iran, Venezuela during their first term,” Obama immediately responded that, yes, he would be willing to do so. He explained that “the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.”
Clinton disagreed in the debate and now her camp is declaring that, “There is a clear difference between the two approaches these candidates are taking: Senator Obama has committed to presidential-level meetings with some of the world’s worst dictators without precondition during his first year in office.”
Leaving aside the fact that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, a popularly elected leader, is not one of the “world’s worst dictators,” it is particularly galling that Clinton — in her rush to trash Obama — is contradicting her own declaration in an April debate that, “I think it is a terrible mistake for our president to say he will not talk with bad people.”
Unfortunately, Clinton’s vote to give Bush a blank check for war in Iraq and her defense of that war, her support for neo-liberal economics and a Wall Street-defined free trade agenda and her general disregard for popular involvement in foreign-policy debates suggests that the senator is showing true self when she dismisses the value of presidential engagement with the leaders of foreign lands.
Clinton is playing politics this week. But in a broader sense she is aligning herself with a secretive and anti-democratic approach to global affairs that steers the United States out of the global community while telling the American people that foreign policy is the domain only of shadowy Kissingers.
She is not just wrong in this, she is Bush/Cheney wrong.
John Nichols’ new book is The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders’ Cure for Royalism. Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson hails it as a “nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic [that] combines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use of the ‘heroic medicine’ that is impeachment with a call for Democratic leaders to ‘reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by the founders for the defense of our most basic liberties.’”
Copyright © 2007 The Nation
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
16. Ethnic Studies and Sovereignty: The Difficulties in Critiquing a Settler Society
15. Sovereignty and Decolonization
14. Airport Thoughts: Indigenous Studies Conference Wrap Up
13. Good Morning Norman! The Indigenous Strike Back...With a Conference!
12. A Visit To Hogwarts: Group Guest Lecture at a Social Movements Class
Special Guest: Roberto Alvarez
11. The Wrath of Ross: A Reportback from The Ghosts, Monsters and the Dead Conference
Special Guest: Ross Frank
10. Lost Podcast: Decolonization and Decoloniality
Special Guest: Jose Fuste
8. Onward Indigenous Soldiers: Let's Talk About Religion, Ba-by
7. Harry Potter and the Indigenous of Azkaban: Home, The Military, and a Surprise
6. Sound of Indigeneity: Songs From Our Lives
5. East of Indigenous: Special People in Our Lives
4. Indigenous Jane: Our Work
3. The Indigenous of the Ring: Why We're Here (in Ethnic Studies)
2. Second Podcast: Describing Indigeneity
1. First Podcast: Madel's Kitchen Table
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Rashne: Hafa adai Miget!
Miget: Maila halom, maila.
Rashne: Si Yu'us Ma'ase. Hafa na kachido para ta egga' pa'go?
Miget: Hekkua', bei aligaoñaihon gi i fanrikohiyan.
Rashne: Kao guaha giya Hågu Dhoom 2?
Miget: Ahe’, ti hu fahån gui’, lao esta hu egga’.
Rashne: Ya hafa hinasso-mu? Kao ya-mu?
Miget: Hunggan, ya-hu sa’ bula stunts, action, ya chalek siha.
Rashne: Kao kinahnåyi hao lokkue nu i mambunita na famalao’an? Kao masakke i rason-mu?
Miget: Ahe’, ahe’. Actually, gi minagahet, ti parehu este na kachido yan i meggaiña na otro na kachidon Hindi.
Rashne: Sa’ hafa?
Miget: Well, mafa’na’an este na klasin kachido “transnational.”
Rashne: Ma agang siha enao put i diferentes na lugat nai ma fifilm?
Miget: Hunggan, giya Dhoom, yan otro na kachido pot hemplo Don (i mina’dos na chinagi) yan Krrsh, ti manmaloloffan i fina’pos giya India ha’. Manhahanao i actors siha gi todu i movie, ya mañasaga’ gi otro na nasion, pat mambisisita.
Rashne: Fihu hu li’e enao lokkue. Kulang gi este na kachido siha, ma kekeprove, siha ni’ fuma’titinas, na esta sumen modern yan gaiadilanto India gi entre i pumalu na nasion gi hilo’ tåno’.
Miget: Hu konfotme ni’ enao. Hu hasso nai mamakcha’i giya Youtube, un kachido fuma’nu’nui Amitabh Bachan yan i “India Poised Campaign.”
Rashne: Mungga mana’hasso yu’ put enao! Ai adai, kalakas! Ti hu hulat kumomprende i fino’ este na ya-ñiha mangglobalization yan i mambulacherun neo-liberalism.
Miget: Hafa ta’lo, ti hu komprende?
Rashne: Gi ayu na commercial, kumekeilek-ñiha na modern hit lokkue, lao debi di ta cho’gue mas, guaguaha ha’ bula na debi di ta yabbao gi i hinasso i nasion-ta ya gi i kuttura yan kustrumbre-ta. Ma sasångan na esta sen metgot na nasion hit yan lokkue na debi di ta dalalaki i tinago’ yan hemplo i manapå’ka na nasion achagigu!
Miget: Ginaddon i islå-ku taiguenao. I meggaiña na Chamorro ma hahasso na tåya’ lina’la’ sin i Amerikånu siha, ya yanggen malago hit mula’la’ mo’ña, debi di ta osge todu ma sångan, yan dalalaki todu este macho’gue.
Rashne: Ai adai, pa’go ha’ humasso yu’ na ti umakuentusi hit put kachidon Bollywood.
Miget: Ai, tåya’ guaha, impottånteña este na kinentos kinu ayu na kachido. Well, buente ti magåhet este, sa' siña mas impottånte para todu i taotao i mundo i kanta, "Crazy Kiya Re."
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Masångan na enkantao i maneran Yu’us, lao ta tungo’ todus lokkue, na siña achaenkantao i maneran guinaiya. Kasi un sakkan ha’ na sumiha este na dos gi guinaiya lao esta umasagua. Gi i sanhiyong siempre kulang chaddek dimasiao yan piligrosu este na inayek na para u asagua. Lao gi i sanhalom, para i dos ni’ kosaron siha dumådaña ti chaddek dimasiao, gi minagahet esta atrasao. Sigun i difunto na Poet Rumi, lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They are in each other all along.
Este i magåhet na sinienten guinaiya. Ti kulang put fin or at last, umafakcha’i hamyo gi i kerraran i lina’lan-miyu, lao kulan desde na mafañågu na dos hamyo, esta umatungo’ gi i espiritun guinaiya!
Este fina’niña na kasimienton Chamoru na hu li’e gi lagu, pues gof interesao nu Guahu. I mas ya-hu na patten, anai i dos umaprometi ni’ lina’la’-ñiha yan fino’-ñiha ya para u a’attende, a’asiste yan aguaiya para todu tiempo. Ti uniku este gi kasimiento no? Gi kada na kasaimento, kontodu i kasimienton chaddek giya Las Vegas, ma sångan este. Lao gi i kasimienton Rhea yan O.J., ma sångan este gi fino’ Chamoru yan umakantåyi!
Ti bei dagi, sen pinacha’ yu’ ni’ este, pues malago yu’ na bei appåtte hamyo i palabas ni’ umakantåyi. Hinassosso-ku na maayao este na palabras ginnen un kantan K.C. Leon Guerrero:
Bai hu prometi hao palao’an
Nu i guinaiyå-ku
Bai hu pega i aniyu-mu gi kaluluot-mu
Bai hu asiste hao mo’ña gi lina’la-ta
Maseha popble pat riku Kirida
Bai hu cho’gue todu
Para bai hu na’magof i korason-mu
Bai hu guaiya hao esta finatai-hu
Bai hu prometi hao lahi
Nu i guinaiyå-ku
Bai hu pega i aniyu-mu gi kaluluot-mu
Bai hu asiste hao mo’ña gi lina’la-ta
Maseha popble pat riku Kiridu
Bai hu cho’gue todu
Para bai hu na’magof i korason-mu
Bai hu guaiya hao esta finatai-hu
Otro na fino’-ta, este na fina’pos, i fine’niña na kasimiento na Si Sumåhi ha mattogue. Ma fahåni gui’ un sen bunita na bestida, atan este na litratu yanggen ti un hongge yu’.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Why Live Earth Will Fail
by Mark LeVine
Tomorrow the world will once again be blessed with a world wide concert featuring the leading concerned citizens of the rock ‘n roll world playing for free (although all the free publicity certainly makes it worth while) to help educate the rest of the world about the dangers of global warming.
Live Earth certainly is long overdue. In fact, many of the same processes that are at the root of global warming — thoughtless consumption and the wars, exploitation, environmental degradation and the wholesale violations of the rights of entire peoples — were also at the root of the African famines that 1985’s Live Aid concert were organized to combat. In the intervening 22 years, however, the situation for the majority of the world’s poor has only gotten worse, not better. And we in the Global North are continuing to consume way beyond the means of the earth to sustain itself, all the while telling the rest of humanity that with enough hard work, World Bank loans and inducements (complete repatriation of profits, lax labor and environmental laws) to Western corporations to invest in their countries, they too can join the global consumer paradise. We seem always to forget to mention that if Americans, at six percent of the world’s population, needs to consume about a quarter of its wealth and resources to maintain our standard of living, the idea of the rest of the world even approaching our levels of consumption, energy usage and exploitation of land, water, resources and people would mean the end of civilization, if not most life on the planet, in a very short period of time.
Two years ago, some of the same people now organizing Life Earth worked with Live Aid originator Bob Geldoff on Live 8. This time the goal was to raise awareness rather than money about the continuing plight of Africa, in order to get average citizens around the world to pressure their governments to enact the huge increases in debt relief, aid, and lowering of our own agricultural subsidies systems without which much of Africa will be doomed to sink even further into the hell of war, ecological disasters, drought and famine in the near future — particularly as global warming becomes more prevalent across the continent.
I knew then that Live 8 was doomed to fail. And sure enough, a few months ago reports detailing whether governments who signed onto the Gleneagles Summit’s call for increased aid and debt relief to Africa have lived up to their pledges revealed that almost none have. Even Bono’s warning in May that the failure to live up to their promises could spark violent protests didn’t move the G-8, whose leaders in their May meeting in Germany reminded us by their inaction that they were never interested in anything more than a photo up with Bono and his famous friends and maybe a few autographs for the grand-kids.
The reality is that there was no way that Live 8, as Bono argues on the concert’s home page, would give “the poorest of the poor real political muscle for the first time.” It is, unfortunately, most likely that the only thing that will give the poor muscle in places like Nigeria or other resource rich but horrifically corrupt and despotic states is literally muscle — that is, powerful mass based resistance movements, with enough capacity to use violence against the corrupt governments and multinational corporations that they will be forced to share the profits extracted from the territories in which they operate with the people who live there.
Of course, the people of the third world understand this all to well. This is why, for example, in Johannesburg, ticket sales for Live Earth were tepid enough so that the concert had to be scaled back significantly. Rio’s concert will draw the usual million people; but that’s because Brasilians never pass up an opportunity to party, not because anything thinks Live Earth will help stop global warming. Indeed, Brasilians don’t need Al Gore or Sting to advise them on the need to do more about global warming; the country is already in the lead among major CO2 producing countries through its use of locally produced ethanol instead of gasoline and other measures.
Even Geldoff has criticized Live Earth for not having a clearly defined program of action that people could engage in and pressure their governments to do the same, a criticism clearly shared by Who frontman Roger Daltrey, who exclaimed “the last thing the planet needs is a rock concert.” Of course, that didn’t stop him and remaining Who member Pete Townsend from doing a few concerts in Ireland this past weekend (there was no mention of whether carbon offsets were bought to cover the energy used to rock the crowd in Dublin). Similarly, Live Earth will do nothing to convince 99% of the people who watch it to take meaningful — that is, painful — steps towards reducing the harm their lifestyles are doing to the planet. Indeed, for all but the already greenest of us, joining the fight against global warming would be a bit like going into the UFC Octagon against Quinton Rampage Jackson — who beat reining champion Chuck Liddell in one minute and fifty-three seconds. Except that we’re more like Homer Simpson than Chuck Liddell.
For me, however, the biggest problem with Live Earth is not that it is a concert, or that rich rock stars are once again telling the rest of us how to behave. Artists and art more broadly have long been crucial to successful struggles for social change, and global warming should be no different. The problem is that Live Earth is reproducing the very top down and relatively painless notion of activism that doomed Live 8, and is refusing to make clear the obvious links between global warming and the policies of the Bush Administration and other governments of supporting war and dictatorships to ensure our access to oil. And most important, the organizers of Live Earth have left the grass roots activists at the forefronts of the struggles against global warming and environmental devastation more broadly, especially in the developing world, out of the conversation when in fact they should be leading it.
The most glaring evidence of this comes from the concert that was proposed, and then canceled, for Istanbul. As soon as I heard about Live Earth I contacted the producers to urge them to include the people of the Middle East and larger Muslim world in the concert planning. After all, the strategically most important location for petroleum extraction is the Middle East, and the entire foreign policy system of the US for more than half a century has been geared, largely, towards preserving our control and/or management of the most important reserves in the region. The “military industrial complex” that President Eisenhower warned about half a century ago — which today is more properly called the “arms-petrodollar complex” — has been the primary planner, executor and beneficiary of US Middle Eastern policy since that time, from supporting some of the most corrupt, autocratic and violent regimes in the world, to invading Iraq, all for the sake of maintaining an “American way of life” — exemplified by President Bush’s exhortation after 9/11 for Americans to “go shopping” which is literally poisoning the planet to death.
From my frequent travels to the the Middle East I have become away of the strong if little discussed environmental movements who have sprung up with civil society’s development across the region. More important, if the Middle East is at the center of the problem of global warming, it stands to reason that it should be part of the conversation about the solution, especially since the impact of global warming, particularly as regards increased desertification, will hit the countries of the region harder than almost anywhere else on earth.
I told them about the vibrant and growing rock, metal and hip hop scenes across the Muslim world, many of which are quite political, and whose members have already begun taking on issues related to Live Earth. I even put them in touch with an amazing array of environmental activists in Turkey who are at the forefront of the global warming movement in the country, and have put on huge festivals in the last few years bringing tens of thousands of people together, all in a spirit of DIY grassroots activism. They were already planning a concert on July 7 and were happy to work with Live Earth to bring in bands from around the Muslim world to make it a truly global affair (as far as I can tell, apart from a last minute addition of Yusuf Islam to the Hamburg show, there is not a single artist from the Middle East or North Africa performing at any of the concerts, although I can’t be sure because not all the lists of performers has been made public).
But it was clear that this was not a major concern for the organizers, although ultimately they did decide to organize a show in Istanbul. But instead of working with local grass roots organizers who had a track record of doing exactly what Live Earth has said are its main goals, the producers sought out a big time concert promoter who was a convicted felon with ties to the mafia, a horrible reputation among artists, and who has no history of environmental activism. Sadly but not surprisingly, the Istanbul show was canceled because of “financial and logistical snags.” My friends have still organized a great concert, but no one outside of Turkey will know about it.
The simple but profoundly depressing fact is that the entire world economic and political system as it exists today is based around practices that are destroying the planet slowly but surely. The corporations, political elites and others who benefit from the existing system are not good Christians and will not be swayed by Bono’s religiously grounded arguments. They are not good environmentalists and will not be swayed by Al Gore’s arguments at Live Earth. They will do whatever is necessary — lie, cheat, steal, oppress, exploit, murder and wage war — to maintain control of a world economy that sees half the world living on $2 per day or less while inequality and poverty increase in line with the amount of CO2 in the air, in order to continue to reap their huge salaries and bonuses and maintain their stranglehold on power.
Against such a superpower few alternatives exist. One is al-Qa’eda, but its ideology and actions have only strengthened rather than weakened the system, while enriching the oil and arms barons who most benefit from it even more than they could have ever imagined possible. Another is comprised of the multitude of grass roots movements around the world who, before 9/11 gave governments the excuse to use increasing levels of violence and abuse of rights against them, were achieving enough success in raising awareness about the current system to have been considered, for a brief moment, a “second superpower” that could potentially alter the shape of the world economic system with its demands.
In the middle stands all those movements on the front lines of the “arc of instability” around the world, who are fighting a life or death battle against western oil and mining companies and their own corrupt governments and economic elites, and who will increasingly use whatever means necessary in that struggle — in the process coming to look either more like al-Qa’eda or like Seattle’s turtle people, depending on what the rest of us do to help them.
If Kanye West, Sting, Melissa Ethridge, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the dozens of other artists donating their time to the effort to combat climate change really want to do some good, they should take their digital cameras, go to the third world communities on the front lines, record their stories — and their music — and stand with them against the corporations and governments (including ours) who are committed to exploiting their lands and resources down to the world’s last drop of fresh water and clean air. Anything less than that is just a concert, and as Roger Daltrey points out, the world already has enough of those.
Mark LeVine is the author of, Why They Don’t Hate Us (Oneworld, 2005) and Heavy Metal Islam (forthcoming, Randon House/Verso)
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Put i "corruption" i mangga'chong Bush, meggai esta manmatai giya Iraq yan meggaigai mamadedesi. Ti sina ta tungo' pat komprende pa'go hafa todu i lina'la yan tano' siha para u madestrosa ya para u mafunas put i isao i manggubetno i United States.
Editorials Hit Libby’s Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card
by E&P staffwriters
Published on Tuesday, July 3, 2007 by Editor & Publisher
NEW YORK - The bloggers, politicians, and TV pundits weighed in quickly Monday after President Bush took the surprisingly sudden step of commuting Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s 30-month prison sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case. Now newspaper editorials are appearing, and nearly all of them have condemned the Bush act.
First up, The New York Times and The Washington Post, which had viewed the case quite differently, each ripped the Bush move.
From the Times’ Tuesday editorial: “Mr. Bush’s assertion that he respected the verdict but considered the sentence excessive only underscored the way this president is tough on crime when it’s committed by common folk …
“Within minutes of the Libby announcement, the same Republican commentators who fulminated when Paris Hilton got a few days knocked off her time in a county lockup were parroting Mr. Bush’s contention that a fine, probation and reputation damage were ‘harsh punishment’ enough for Mr. Libby.
“Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell.”
The Post, which had often mocked the court case, declares today: “We agree that a pardon would have been inappropriate and that the prison sentence of 30 months was excessive. But reducing the sentence to no prison time at all, as Mr. Bush did — to probation and a large fine — is not defensible. … Mr. Bush, while claiming to ‘respect the jury’s verdict,’ failed to explain why he moved from ‘excessive’ to zero.
“It’s true that the felony conviction that remains in place, the $250,000 fine and the reputational damage are far from trivial. But so is lying to a grand jury. To commute the entire prison sentence sends the wrong message about the seriousness of that offense.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “President Bush’s commutation of a pal’s prison sentence counts as a most shocking act of disrespect for the U.S. justice system. It’s the latest sign of the huge repairs to American concepts of the rule of law that await the next president.”
The Denver Post found that “such big-footing of other branches of government is not unprecedented with this administration. The president’s abuse of signing statements show his disrespect for Congress’ power to make law. His insistence that terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay be denied Habeas Corpus rights mocks legal tradition. It’s a shame that his actions in the Libby affair will add to that list. Libby should be held accountable for his crimes.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “In commuting the sentence of former White House aide Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, President Bush sent the message that perjury and obstruction of justice in the service of the president of the United States are not serious crimes.”
But The Wall Street Journal sees it differently: “By failing to issue a full pardon, Mr. Bush is evading responsibility for the role his administration played in letting the Plame affair build into fiasco and, ultimately, this personal tragedy. … Mr. Libby deserved better from the President whose policies he tried to defend when others were running for cover. The consequences for the reputation of his Administration will also be long-lasting.”
New York Post: “If Bush thinks such parsing will spare him the political backlash an outright pardon would produce, he’s wrong. The jackals are tearing at his heels this morning — and for doing only half the necessary job. Bush knows a pardon is warranted. He should grant it.”
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s editorial declares that “mostly this commutation fails on the most basic premise. There was no miscarriage of justice in Libby’s conviction or his sentence. The trial amply demonstrated that he stonewalled. Like President Clinton’s 11th-hour pardons of an ill-deserving few, this commutation is a travesty.”
New York’s Daily News: “However misbegotten was the probe by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, the fact is that Libby did commit a federal crime and the fact is also that he was convicted in a court of law. Thankfully, Bush did not pardon Libby outright, but time in the slammer was in order. Sixty days, say, wouldn’t have hurt the justice system a bit.”
Chicago Tribune believes that “in nixing the prison term, Bush sent a terrible message to citizens and to government officials who are expected to serve the public with integrity. The way for a president to discourage the breaking of federal laws is by letting fairly rendered consequences play out, however uncomfortably for everyone involved. The message to a Scooter Libby ought to be the same as it is for other convicts: You do the crime, you do the time.”
The Arizona Republic: “We thought Scooter Libby was going through the criminal justice system. Just like anyone else. Then, President Bush whipped out a get-out-of-jail-free card. This is the wrong game to play on a very public stage.”
San Jose Mercury News: “Other presidents have doled out pardons and the like, usually on the way out of office. It’s never pretty. But few have placed themselves above the law as Bush, Cheney and friends repeatedly have done by trampling civil liberties and denying due process. Chalk up another point for freedom. Scooter’s, at least.”
The Sacramento Bee: President Bush, a recent story in the Washington Post tells us, is obsessed with the question of how history will view him. He has done himself no favors on that count by commuting the prison term of I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby.”
The Dallas Morning News: “Perhaps the president felt he had nothing left to lose, given his unpopularity. But considering how much trouble the White House faces in regard to congressional subpoenas, the last thing this president needed was to further antagonize Capitol Hill regarding abuse of executive power.”
The Rocky Mountain News, in Denver, in the most bizarre comment, accepts the “compassion” argument and just wishes Bush had waited a little bit so his move could not be wrongly “perceived”: “Bush’s statement exudes compassion, and it carefully gives credit to those who criticize prison time for Libby as well as to those who defend it. But the president should have restrained his compassion — and delayed his commutation — for at least a few more months, lest he be perceived as subverting justice, too.”
© 2007 VNU eMedia Inc.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Power is often associated with simplicity, with idea that something arrives with the force of law, or the force of the natural. For Hegel the only ethical and fully developed political community, is not a democracy, but rather is a hereditary monarchy. In order for a political community to be fully formed, the rule of law, the status of the sovereign and the transmission of sovereign authority must place consistently above or apart from, the play of meaning, the game of hegemony, where identities and meanings are never secure but constantly being contested. In democracies, the figure of the sovereign is supposedly filled through a regularly occuring election to determine the will of the people. For each candidate, for each possible subject to fill that sovereign role emerges, he or she must ride a wave of explainations as to why he or she is the best person for the job, or must be chosen for that role.
While we may be used to this sort of thing, and say its an obvious point, for Hegel this need for justification means simply that this political community has not matured enough to the point where they fully embody the Spirit of their nation. Society is still open, there is still uncertainty, indeterminancy, the will of the people is not complete and is always left open to be contested and questioned. What the creation of this ruling class does, is it closes off society, leaves the ruling of it to a group which has become developed in such a way that they inherently embody the will of those who they rule but are no longer truly accountable to.
The argument appears to be more logically than practical, if something can be argued about, then it hasn't evolved or been developed enough to the point where its essence is known or can be felt. If society must continue to debate who will be its leaders, then its obvious that society hasn't figured out what it wants, what makes it tick, or what its spirit is.
That which is powerful is therefore that which arrives with shock, force, incites awe and stuns those who view it or are ruled by it, into dumbfounded, quiet and complacent silence without comment. My reference to Rumsfeld's infamous statement about "shock and awe" is intentional. The military hardware and conventional war power gap (non-nuclear) between the United States and the rest of the world is huge! In a way it might seem to duplicate the distance that Hegel proposes for a fully evolved society. When the United States military rolled like thunder and death into Iraq and Baghdad they expected to be felt with the incredible power of that military gap. They intended and expected that the roar of their tanks would be felt as truth and their bombs from heaven be read as the Word of God himself. That is of course why, the planning for the invasion and occupation was so poor. It was not that the Iraqis would actually feel in their hearts that they were being liberated or that the US was bringing freedom to them. It was rather that the force of the invasion would be so massive and imposing that whatever the Iraqis were would melt away beneath the power of this simple strike, leaving behind fawning beings, which if they were told to lay down flowers would do so, of even if they were told to lay down chocolates or bonelos aga', would scurry to do so.
I have gone through this long explaination because I received an email the other day, which was delivered with the same "shock and awe" simplistic force. Because of the almost pure and obvious way in which this man made his arguments, it could only be assumed that he was either 1. the world's most incredible historian, so well advanced in the ins and outs of history that what to him was the rich intricate complexity of Guam's history appeared to me just like a lightning quick punch to the face. 2. someone, who expected that because of his position everything he did would be interpreted as such. So that whatever he said, because he was possibly American or possibly in the military, due to the distance from which he hovers above me in history, in technology, in politics, in culture, in wealth and in development, all should feel like a strike from heaven upon poor old me, and therefore he expected his simplistic, stupid statement to be treated as if a high speed transmission from God.
Finally, let me introduce this person who with such force and deftness seemed to feel that history was his to wrap around his finger and shove into my face so that my identity and my resistance, my disgust may fade away and I be re-made in his understanding of the world.
This world-class historian was an anonymous, I'm assuming apa'ka person, named Jeff Kruger, who sent me a one line email, on the history of Guam. This line was:
For the next large conference that Famoksaiyan has, which should be either sometime this November or next Spring, I would really like to either organize or develop a workshop to prepare people for this sort of historically, supposedly indefensible bumrush. Over the past few years I have met many Chamorros and people from Guam out here, who desperately want to speak out on issues such as justice, decolonization, Chamorro activism, or other necessary but risky critiques of the United States. I tend to get worried however, when seeing the energy and drive in the eyes of these young Chamorros, for despite their obvious enthusiasm and emotional investment in helping their people or their homeland, nonetheless seem to be little prepared for the hegemonic smackdown that awaits them. Where a digustingly stupid sentence such as "who saved your ass from the Japanese" is not just made with the twisted hope of shutting you up, but also might actually have that effect on you. For many Chamorros, the liberation of the Chamorro by the United States, i magoggue-na, and therefore its eternal dependency on its colonizer is a sort of foundational common sense. When someone says, hayi gumoggue hamyo ginnen i Chapones? its intent is to smack you in the face with that which you as a Chamorro whose legacy is supposed to be loyal subordinate patriotism to the United States, is already supposed to understand as the ways things simply are...
The invoking of the brutal occupation of Guam by the Japanese during World War II is supposed to be some sort of magical gesture whereby the sins of anyone else, ko'lo'lo'na the United States must be forgotten or washed away as if nothing. As the spectre of Japanese colonialism in Guam haunts the present, propping up the necessity and liberating aspects of the United States, its role in keeping us happy, healthy, alive and American, then we reach the point that in Puerto Rico can be defined as the "none of the above" complex, where colonialism in whatever banal, racist or comfortable forms it exists in locally, seems to be a much more attractive option than anything else. To bring this to Guam, as one Chamorro, very much a reckless American apologist put it, “If America colonized Guam, then maybe colonialism isn’t so bad."
In terms of potential new colonizers, we have scattered throughout Asia, an incredible number of nations which, if the United States is critiqued, threatened or pushed out of Guam, would overwhelm and ultimately destroy us. Its important to remember, that Guam is barely a First World Colony! At any moment it could descend hellishly into Third World Country status, and it is only the goodness of America and its colonizing grip on us, which keeps us from that free fall. If critiques are made of the United States from Guam, its very common that someone with a base knowledge of the geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific region, who is in some way invested in represented, defending or protecting the "greatness" of the United States, will respond that such ideas are bad and dangerous since, if you are not with the United States, then the Chinese will take over you!
I had written about this point last year, when I was discussing the work of Chamorro organic intellectual Jose Camacho Farfan in my post, "From the Invasion of Guam to Liberation of Guam," and want to reiterate some of my points. When people use these two phrases to reproach critical speech or to incite fear and dread in those who are attempting to be critical, they are using the heavy emotional and material damage and weight of the war experiences of Chamorros, to continue the colonization of Guam. To continue to make hegemonic or keep dominant the idea that the Chamorro and its island exists as a thing to be passed amongst larger powers, and can not and should not have any sovereignty or real power in the matter. They use those very real and concrete, raw, angry and fearful scenes and emotions, to create the feeling that to speak ill against the United States, to make necessary critiques of it, or to attempt to surpass it so called awesomeness and weaken its authority and influence, will bring about the destitution, violence and destruction of World War II. The colonization of Guam through this everyday statement is perpetuated because the fantasy that drives almost any process of colonization and control, is the eventually development and concretization of a relationship between colonizer and colonized, whereby the colonized understands itself as existing solely because of the colonizers kindness, largese, wealth and power.
Decolonization here means making very deliberate and concerted efforts to break this mindset and to destroy the notion that in order for our lives to be livable and enjoyable on Guam, we must not have any control over our lives, any semblance of sovereignty. As I've put it in other works and posts, we must break the links between negativity and Chamorroness, and positivity and Americaness, which creates the impression that for the most part, as we move closer towards the United States and further away from what is perceived to be Chamorro (laziness, corruption, oppressive family structures, loinclothes, backwardness, violence, etc.) we get better, we exist better, our lives are just all around better. If, even in the smallest and most mundane ways we assume this dynamic to be true, whether excitingly or grudingly, then we condemn ourselves to continued colonization, because we will only be able to perceive decolonization as an acceptance of all the negative, suicidal and corrupting things in the universe. If this is the case, then colonization is necessarily to "fix" or "civilize" the native, and therefore must always be governed, administered and controlled.
Decolonization is fundamentally a breaking of this "spoil of war" "impossible culture" consciousness, and the mindset that we exist to be passed back and forth between all necessary, but some better and some worse colonizers. It means carving out, clearing out and demanding nothing less than the simple admission that the Chamorro can exist, can survive without it being helplessly colonized. Gi finakpo', when any of us interested in decolonizing Guam are asked the question of "under who ass would you prefer?" it is crucial that we do not respond within the framework of the question, which is narrow and crudely assumes the impossibility of the Chamorro. Instead we must reject the limits of these question, and reject forcefully and in everyway we can that colonizing notion that the Chamorro must be under someone's ass in order to survive.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
ATLANTA -- The political discussion in the United States is, for the most part, disappointing -- not merely because it is too ideologically and intellectually narrow but also because it is too backward in focus.
Instead of imagining what might be, contemporary politicians spend most of their time talking, at best, about treating existing wounds to the body politic and, at worst, about "threats" that no longer exist. In the former category, place all the Democratic and Republican politicians who promise a "new direction" with regard to the Iraq quagmire but never get around to rejecting the neo-conservative -- or more precisely, neo-colonial -- policies that got us into the mess in the first place. In the latter category, place all the partisans who suggest that the problem with our health-care system is too much government involvement -- which is a little like claiming that the problem with a headache is too much aspirin.
At a certain point, you just want to say: "Get over it! At a point when only one in five Americans think the country is headed in the right direction, isn't it time we changed course?"
That's the message of the thousands of Americans who have gathered in Atlanta in recent days for the U.S. Social Forum.
Modeled on the World Social Forums initiated by the South American left, which have brought together activists from every corner of the planet to strategize about organizing across border to promote fundamental change -- ending poverty, addressing environmental threats, rejecting war and genocide as responses to conflict -- the U.S. Social Forum says radical reform is both a realistic goal and a reasonable one.
It adopts the World Social Forum mantra: "Another World Is Possible."
And it adds an essential second line: "Another U.S.A. Is Necessary."
As the diverse range of peace and social justice groups that have organized the U.S. Social Forum recognize, only when the U.S. becomes a more responsible player will the planet become a more functional and humane place. This is not a matter of blaming the U.S. for everything that ails the world; there is plenty of blame to go around. Rather, the point is a positive one: By making the United States live up its founding promises of democracy, respect for the rule of law and avoidance of entangling alliances, this country can both lead by example and by the practice of respecting the right of others for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
There is a good deal of optimism on display in Atlanta this weekend. But it is an optimism rooted in bitter experience. Activists like the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution's Ben Manski have long track records of battling against empire, injustice and environmental degradation. They know how hard it is to change the course of American politics and governing.
Yet, they believe that the American people, if freed to shape the country of their desires rather than their fears, would make the U.S. a better player on the planet. In other words, they argue that America is not the sum of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Rather, it should be the expression of the best insti of three hundred million basically decent people who, given an opportunity, would opt for peace, fairness, equality and sustainability.
Manski, the executive director of Liberty Tree, has played a critical role in developing the U.S. Social Forum's "Democracy Track," a series of events designed to get people thinking about how to renew and extend citizen participation in decision making at the local, state and federal levels. As a participant in several of the plenaries, I've been genuinely impressed with the seriousness of everyone involved to, as Manski puts it, "build a democracy movement for the U.S.A."
There is no question of the need for such a movement. Our electoral processes are a shambles, as evidenced by the dubious results of the last two presidential elections. Our campaign finance system is a crime. Our media aids and abets all that afflicts the nation. And working families find it harder and harder to make their voices heard on the job, in the school or in the community. The crisis is clear. What's exciting about the U.S. Social Forum is that the solutions -- fundamental structural and policy changes in foreign and domestic policies, rather than tinkers around the edges -- are coming into focus.
Monday, July 02, 2007
For those of you who need some background on the film and the damage its done to Guam, I'm pasting some links (including the trailer on Youtube) to check out before you read the article:
Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon's Wikipedia page.
Article by a member of the Film's Crew published in Minagahet Zine.
A previous post of mine from this blog titled "Hollywood Havoc Comes to Guam!"
The trailer on Youtube.
Camera, legal action!
The making of a kung fu flick on Guam turns into court battles on both sides of the sea.
By Kim Christensen, Times Staff Writer
June 13, 2007
The Los Angeles Times
It was supposed to be a win-win, with Guam gaining a toehold in the film industry and two Hollywood moviemakers getting the island government's backing for their new kung fu franchise.
"Max Havoc: Curse of the Dragon" was the first of at least two action flicks that producer John F.S. Laing and director Albert Pyun planned to shoot on Guam as part of an unusual deal with the U.S. territory's economic development agency.
But instead of generating jobs and a box-office bonanza, "Max Havoc" triggered the biggest battle on the Pacific island since the Son of Godzilla tangled with giant insects in 1967.
Guam officials contend that Laing snookered them into putting up $800,000 to guarantee a bank loan on which he later defaulted. Laing counters that they broke their promises of financial support and caused his company to lose $1.5 million.
Territorial Sen. Ben Pangelinan splits the blame, accusing the filmmakers of peddling "the glitz of Hollywood" to star-struck officials who were all too eager to buy it.
"If somebody on Guam wanted to meet Carmen Electra, there are a lot cheaper ways than backing a film in which she had a three-minute part," said Pangelinan, a lonely voice of dissent when the plan was hatched three years ago.
In the resulting 90 minutes of cinematic chop sockey, Swiss-born Mickey Hardt stars as a champion kickboxer-turned-sports-photographer drawn into a web of intrigue on Guam. The plot revolves around women in bikinis, clashes with Japanese assassins, a coveted jade dragon filled with cremated remains and a sinister "grand master" played by David Carradine. Electra has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo as a beach vendor.
"The whole thing was just bad all the way around," said Ralph Coon, a Pasadena lighting technician who worked on the movie. "This thing was really destined to wind up in the cutout bin of some truck stop on the way to Barstow."
What sets "Max Havoc" apart from other low-budget, straight-to-video gobblers is how and why it came to be filmed on Guam, a remote locale 1,500 miles south of Japan and 6,000 miles from Hollywood — with no moviemaking infrastructure.
Although the island has been the backdrop for "Son of Godzilla," the 1962 war movie "No Man Is an Island" and some Japanese commercials, "Max Havoc" marked Guam's most concerted effort to fetch Hollywood dollars.
In all, 30 states and various countries try to attract filmmakers with tax breaks, free office space, police services and other incentives, said California Film Commission director Amy Lemisch. But she knew of none that had plunked down cash to guarantee a third-party loan, putting taxpayers' money on the line if a producer defaulted.
"That, like, blows my mind," she said.
In dueling lawsuits filed in the Superior Courts of Guam and Los Angeles County, the island government seeks to recoup its money from Laing. He denies owing it and wants $2 million in damages.
Their now-soured relationship began in October 2003, when Pyun contacted the Guam Economic Development Administration about shooting the movie on the island after terrorist bombings scuttled his plans for Indonesia, e-mail records show.
The director made his debut in 1982 with the generally wellreceived "The Sword and the Sorcerer." Since then, it's been mostly B titles such as "Bloodmatch" and "Brain Smasher: A Love Story," prompting one online reviewer to dub him "King of the Hacks."
In a November 2003 letter, Pyun told a Guam official that he and Laing's Los Angeles-based Rigel USA Inc. were interested in starting a feature-film company on the island.
"These motion pictures will be repeatedly broadcast in major markets like Japan, Korea, USA and Europe for many years to come, giving Guam and its tourism industry unprecedented and ongoing exposure and promotion," he wrote, later predicting as many as six films a year.
Those rosy projections were no more than "a bill of goods" sold to Guam officials, said Matthew Borden, one of the government's lawyers.
Sen. Pangelinan agrees, accusing Pyun and Laing of dealing in bad faith with then-economic development chief Gerry Perez, Gov. Felix Camacho and other officials.
"They were not able to distinguish a real deal maker from pie-in-the-sky, promise-'em-the-moon deal makers who promised to bring things to Guam and in the end took things from Guam," Pangelinan said.
Robert Underwood, who lost a bid to unseat Camacho last year, said dropping $800,000 wasn't the worst of it.
"The money is not as big as the fact that it symbolizes the ineptness and the naivete of some of the people in the government of Guam," said Underwood, who formerly represented Guam as a nonvoting delegate to the U.S. Congress. "It's more an embarrassment than anything else."
Camacho and Perez declined to comment.
Laing, a former head of Orion Pictures' international television division, insists that he was the prey, not the predator. When he first visited the island in late 2003, he said, Guam officials treated him like a foreign dignitary and eventually pledged $3 million in loans and other incentives.
"I had no reason to go and sell a bill of goods to Guam," Laing said. "Basically, they sold me a bill of goods. They said, 'We can do all these things, just come.' "
Guam officials deny making any such promises, and Laing acknowledges that he got nothing in writing.
Ultimately, Guam agreed to put up $800,000 in cash as collateral to secure a $1-million loan from Comerica Bank to Laing's newly formed Guam Motion Pictures Co. In return, Laing agreed to repay the $800,000 if his company defaulted.
In March 2004, production began with a crew hastily rounded up mostly from Los Angeles, along with a few locals.
"The pay wasn't any good, but I wasn't working that particular three weeks, so I went," said Coon, the assistant lighting director, who made $150 a day but had to wait six months for all of it.
The crew worked 14 to 16 often chaotic hours a day, he said, mostly "shooting people running up and down the hallways" of the luxury-class Outrigger Guam Resort hotel.
"We'd shoot one scene on the fourth floor, then move all our lighting and camera gear to the 11th floor for a scene there, and then move all our gear back to the fourth floor for another scene there," he said.
Electra generated a buzz on the island, Coon said, despite her fleeting role and her repeated mispronunciation of "Gluam" while filming a public service spot. She also brought some star power to a gala dinner with island leaders.
"The governor is standing next to me and we're behind Carmen Electra and he's looking down her bustier and he says to me, 'Wow, look at that. That's Hollywood!' " Laing said.
Guam businesses, eager to encourage the production, contributed about $1 million in goods and services, including cellphones and food for the cast and crew.
Primo Surf owner Linda Yeomans said she chipped in about $8,000 worth of clothing and accessories and paid her own expenses for related buying trips to Australia and Bali.
"I didn't see any return out of it," she said. "I just wrote it off as a loss."
Laing calls the Guam experience "the most extraordinary debacle of my life" but lays much of the blame on Pyun. The director was replaced for a 10-day reshoot in Los Angeles, when Carradine and actor Richard Roundtree of "Shaft" fame were added to prop up the movie.
"Someone, usually the director, is always blamed when a project doesn't realize everyone's hopes," Pyun said in an e-mail, citing problems with funding and equipment. "The film was shot on a shoestring and a prayer. I did the best I could."
The producers struggled to find distributors for the film, for theaters or television, according to an e-mail Laing sent to Guam officials in February 2005. His company defaulted on the loan in June 2006 and the bank foreclosed on it, seizing Guam's $800,000 and the film.
In his lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, Laing contends that his agreement to guarantee the collateral should be voided because he signed it under "duress and menace" by Guam officials.
"I would say that, given the circumstances, we did what can only be described as an extremely noble and honorable job in delivering the best we could," he said.
Coon is among those who have a different view.
"I'll give you $20 if you can watch 20 minutes," he said.