Tuesday, April 26, 2011

UOG Screenings of Guahan: Fanhasso, Fanhita, Fanachu

Inetnon Gefpago is proud to present three special screenings of Guahan: Fanhasso, Fanhita, Fanachu at the University of Guam this week.

April 27 - 11 am  and 6:30 pm
April 29 - 11 am

At the CLASS Lecture Hall

The duration of each screening is 2 1/2 hours.

Admission is $10.

If you are a student of mine at UOG (and there are close to 200 of you) then you can get extra credit for attending.

Gof magof hu na ma fa'nu'nu'i este giya UOG. Hu ayuda fuma'tinas este, yan Hami yan i male'-ku as Victoria tumuge' gui'.

Monday, April 25, 2011

An End to Colonialism

Political status has been such a huge issue lately, even to the point of bringing the infamous Dave Davis out of his temporary hiatus from writing columns for the Marianas Variety back to the forefront of racist denigrating rhetoric on Guam. There are bills flying around the Legislature, the Governor is not only having meetings but also make soft promises about a vote taking place in 2012. As a staffer from the Legislature noted last week, the next few years may be the most significant chance that our generation gets at resolving an issue which has been stewing for centuries, that of Guam's colonial status. I'm someone who is very willing to take on that challenge, but we'll see how serious Guam's leaders are. Political status is something great for rhetoric and for giving the illusion of having a political ideology, but action on it has been historically minute.

The recent snub by 15 US Senators who visited Guam on their way to Asia has even gotten embroiled in this issue, as you can see from the press release below. Had self-determination not arisen as a general topic of conversation things would be very different in this release. It might have still been wounded, angry or hurt, but it most likely never would have called for an end to colonialism.


Powerful U.S. Senators Arrive in Guam; Guam Governor Calls on U.S. Senate to End Its Bipartisan Colonialism

Office of the Governor of Guam
Immediate Release: April 18, 2011

(Hagatna, Guam) Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo, one of the 55 United States governors, found out this morning that fifteen percent of the U.S. Senate landed on Guam in secrecy today. The contingent includes the Senate Majority and Minority leaders and other powerful U.S. Senators. These U.S. Senators, both Democrat and Republican, have decided to thumb their noses at the island and its government. The Governor, who is a member of the National Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association, releases the following statement about how this snub can severely affect Guam colonial-federal relations as the U.S. government pushes a $15 billion realignment of Asian-Pacific forces on Guam:

“This morning, Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo asked whether I would be greeting the 15 U.S. Senators scheduled to arrive at Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base today. We were both surprised and extremely upset that no one in the federal establishment informed Guam of their visit. We called the Navy to verify this stopover and we were told that the U.S. Senators will not entertain any meeting or discussions with Guam leaders or the Guamanian people. Instead of landing at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam, they have decided to shield their visit in secrecy and land within the confines of Andersen Air Force Base.

“In the 100 years we have been a colony of the United States, the U.S. government hardly did anything to resolve our colonial status. What kind of democracy allows colonialism to flourish? I am livid the U.S. Senate, a body created by the will of the people of 13 colonies who wanted freedom and democracy, would turn its back on the Guamanian people. It is obvious we are not part of their constituency, and they do not consider us a valuable part of the American family. This only serves to inflame our long-held belief that we are an American colony of second-class citizens who matter only when our geopolitical position is needed by the U.S. government.

“This is a sad state of affairs. This is the third time in the last year that Congress has made it clear that we are of no importance to the nation. This snub follows Congress trying to sell our own resources to us at Fena and Congress taking away our Delegate’s voting power in House committees. These U.S. Senators are only hurting American interests abroad. Look at the great relationship we’ve built with the U.S. military. Congress’s actions only undermine that work. Why? If Guam was so important to U.S. strategic interests, then why would the nation’s leaders continue snubbing Guamanians?
“If the Senate wants to thumb its nose at Guamanians, then perhaps it is time for Guamanians to call in every injustice ever committed upon our people by the U.S. government. And we can start with the Insular Cases of the same U.S. Supreme Court of the 1900s that said people of color were separate but equal. How many times have Guamanians answered the call to serve? How many have died for a democracy that doesn’t even fully apply to us? How many more times must Guamanians accept colonial treatment before Congress ever recognizes that our voices count, too? How much more oppression can our people take before they get fed up and tell the Congress to take their buildup somewhere else?
“We can have the greatest relationship with the U.S. military and the Department of the Interior, but if Congress continues ignoring Guam like the colony it is, we will never truly enjoy the America that the Marines of 1944 fought and died to bring to Guam. What happened to the pledge of a “One Guam” policy? It’s clear these U.S. Senators have no intention of uniting our best interests. To them, there is an American inside a military fenceline, and an American colony outside of it. They want nothing to do with that colony. Here is yet another compelling reason the Guam Legislature, Lt. Governor Tenorio and I are working together to call for a vote of self determination. We cannot continue on as a colony of the United States. We should either be a part of the U.S., with voting membership in the House and Senate and the right to vote for President, or we should govern ourselves. This is a message we will share with U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Carl Levin when they visit with us next week. At least these gentlemen have the consideration and decency to meet with their fellow Americans in Guam.
“I want Guamanians living in the U.S. States where these U.S. Senators are from to remember what these U.S. Senators did to Guam in the next national elections.”
Guam is an organized unincorporated territory of the United States, a colonial status that has not changed. Its residents are called Guamanians and were granted U.S. citizenship by an act of Congress called the Organic Act of 1948. Only certain provisions of the Constitution's Bill of Rights apply to the residents of Guam, called Guamanians. Guamanians have among the highest enlistment rates in the U.S. military. There are 183,000 Guamanians living in Guam. An unknown number reside throughout the U.S. mainland, Hawaii and Alaska. A 2000 census of those who call themselves Chamorro (the ethnicity indigenous to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) or part-Chamorro says that 33,849 Chamorros alone live in California. This does not include the broader number of Guamanians of other ethnic backgrounds who live in California. According to the 2000 Census, nearly 100,000 Chamorros live in the 50 States and Puerto Rico.
Office of the Governor of Guam

Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex
Adelup, Guam 96910

Tel: (671) 472-8931/6
Fax: (671) 477-4826

Saturday, April 23, 2011


As someone who hikes every weekend and is interested in making sure people are informed about the possible negative impacts of the military buildup to Guam, I was particularly interested in the most recent edition of We Are Guahan's Grey Papers. These papers are just tidbits of information about the military buildup from the documents created by the military buildup. They are not opinion pieces, but simple bullet points, stark statements the majority of which come from documents that the Department of Defense itself creates. They are filled with things they have to say, have to write down and admit to, but would rather no one knew about, and that no one would put in the proper context.

For example, in the most recent Grey Paper, which deals with the amount of jungle which will be lost because of the proposed buildup, we see that the number is estimated at 2,000 acres. If you don't know the context, this might seem like either a lot or a little, but when you consider that this amounts to 10% of all the forests on Guam being destroyed, it is almost scary.

People already complain about Guam being a concrete jungle or at least moving in that direction and we can see through the sharing of this simple statistic, that the buildup will drastically help get us there.


Hafa adai,
We Are Guåhan has released its sixth installment of the Grey Papers, which is a compilation of information from the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) and various federal and local agencies regarding the impacts of the proposed buildup on Guam’s jungle and wildlife. Governor Calvo’s signing of the Programmatic Agreement (“PA”) cleared the way for DoD to begin work on the 160+ projects related to the proposed buildup.
Some of the impacts of DoD’s proposed projects identified in the EIS include:

The destruction of over 2,000 acres of jungle, which includes 1,580 acres of limestone forest.

The destruction of over 1,300 acres of recovery habitat for the endangered fanihi, Mariana crow, and Micronesian kingfisher.

DoD’s proposed projects will destroy up to 10% of the total amount of forest cover on Guam.

“The total area of jungle that DoD plans on destroying is larger than the villages of Mongmong-Toto-Maite and Hagåtña combined,” says We Are Guåhan member Cara Flores-Mays. “The destruction of 10% of the forest cover on Guam is probably why Under Secretary Robert Work only talked about efficient energy when explaining DoD’s commitment to a ‘Green Guam.’”

One example of DoD’s proposed mitigation for the destruction of over 1,300 acres of recovery habitat for the endangered fanihi, Mariana crow and Micronesian kingfisher is to have a biologist go to construction sites one (1) week before a project begins. If the biologist sees one of these endangered species, DoD will postpone destroying the jungle in that area until the bat or bird has left.

“Some DoD officials may be hurt by us raising these issues,” continued Flores-Mays, “but the destruction of thousands of acres of jungle - as well as the impacts on our hospital, our schools and our homes - are important issues to our community. The people who call Guam home deserve honest answers to these questions, not rehearsed talking points.”

Download a copy of the Grey Paper and view a story on the expected impacts at: http://tinyurl.com/3fp8jnl

Si Yu'us Ma'ase,
We Are Guåhan

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Island of Snubs

The Marianas Variety has a habit lately of putting huge images of people talking on their front page. A few months back, when there was some back and forth debating between JGPO and We Are Guahan at the Rotary Club. The front page of the Variety first had a large, almost poster size image of i matan WAG and my Starcraft 2 bromance buddy Leevin Camacho, in the middle of a word. The week after, they had an image of Colonel Jackson from JGPO, also mid-word. The images weren't that interesting, since it was just people speaking, but the size of them caught me and others off guard.

In today's Marianas Variety there was another tall and large frontpage image, yet this time rather than merely representing the act of someone speaking, it was meant to convey deep and serious emotions. The Governor of Guam, Eddie Calvo is standing tall, his hands folded below his waist before him. Rather than the usual images of politicians that we find in the media, which show them staged as happy, blissful or concerned, Calvo's emotional portrait is very abstract. It is unclear what exactly he is thinking or what has happened. It is clear that there is much on his mind, a great deal weighing him down. His face is neither angry, nor sad, but pensive, and his face is shattered in such a way to appear as if wounded or hurt. It is a very serious looking picture, and the topic of the article it is attached to as well is also very serious, although the gap between the look on the Governor's face and the tone of the headline is interesting. The title says "Calvo angered by snub" but the image is Calvo looking more hurt than anything. He seems dejected and rejected.

The point of the article and image is that 15 US Senators were recently on Guam, to refuel their plane before continuing on their trip to Hong Kong. Although they were only on Guam for a short period they made no plans to meet with any local officials. Calvo only heard about their trip when he was asked by Congresswoman Bordallo if he would also be going to say hi to them. Calvo, was naturally upset by the snub, but also given Guam's dependent position in relation to the US, the anger was heavily tempered with sadness and feelings of being rejected. Such is life in one of the last remaining colonies in the world. It doesn't matter if you are the colony of the greatest country in the world, it still means that by definition you "get no respect."

But on one hand, Calvo should expect this. Stopovers happen all the time, and they are always by definition pointless, insulting and ridiculous. So many of the infamous visits that Presidents have made to Guam over the years were painfully short, even if they were jubilant. Although people remember fondly Bill Clinton's visit, with the thousands of people gathered in Adelup, and the promises that if Guam wants another political status then the White House would work with them to get the island there, it is important to remember that Bill Clinton was on Guam for about 3 hours. Memorable to the people of Guam, but in any real terms, barely anything. It was like a quick peck on the check from someone who you have just pledged eternal undying and unyielding devotion and loyalty to forever even should a cup of wrath freshly poured between you by the Archangel Michael flow and froth between you. Such is the wonderously frustrating gulf that is Guam's emotionationalism.

Richard Nixon's famous visit to Guam where he declared the Guam Doctrine was also a short visit. So was Dick Cheney's visit in 2007 where he famously never left the bases and while talking up the important work of the military stationed on the tip of the spear, forgot to mention the rest of us who get to live here. Even if you want to leave politics out of this issue, Guam as a stopover and a pointless transit point, like a rest stop in the middle of a horridly uninviting wasteland still holds true. I hate to remind people about Mariah Carey's visit to Guam, but I will do so nonetheless.

In 2000, Mariah Carey stopped in Guam not for a tour, but simply to stop and check out the snake stories she had heard. At this point in her career she was famous and rising in celebrity and conventional finayi says that pop and rock stars come to Guam as if brought here by the Charon on the River Styx taking them to the underworld (metaphorically the end of their careers). We get the acts which were once famous, on their way down from their height of glory, and they usually come for the troops and not much else.

Mariah Carey, according to legend, always had a fascination with the word Guam. I said the word "Guam" not the place Guam, not the state of mind Guam, but just the word. The way it sounds, the way it rolls around in your mouth and makes your jaw drop when you say the "ahhh" sound. Or perhaps the way your lips get smashed together when you bring home the word with the "mmmm" sound. Carey had heard about Guam's snake problem and supposedly wanted to have a concert there in order to give the people of Guam a certain type of dog which hunts snakes. She even named one of her many dogs "Guam." Her visit on Guam was short, brief, like a strange fever dream which you can never really get into because you aren't really sure if it has started yet or if you're just watching previews for upcoming hallucinations. She swam, signed some autographs and was pleasantly surprised when she didn't see snakes overflowing out of people's ear canals and eye sockets.

Guam is small in so many ways in which you calculate importance and important so many ways which are only important to a very limited sector of any society, such as it's military. It has been a hub, a transit point for so long, and although a link in a chain can eventually take on a life of its own, it usually doesn't. It usually remains a place where people gas up, use the bathroom, or buy unhealthy snacks to keep themselves awake on the road. This is not a unique event, this is the normal course of events. By calling it normal I am not saying it's right, but I'm saying that given Guam's history and current political status this is the way things usually go. For the Governor to expect anything different he is believing too much of the rhetoric of Guam's inclusion and not spending enough time focusing on it's political reality.

The only thing which was strange about this is that usually these stops involve some hand shaking and face timing with the troops, but it seemed that in this trip none of that was planned as well. I could be wrong about this, but given what I read in the Variety article nothing was mentioned. So you could call this abnormal since both the troops and the people of Guam were snubbed.

Although I did kase' Calvo's image in the Variety, I was still impressed with the level of anti-Washington rhetoric that he brought to bear. His press release on the issue was both stirring and incoherent. His statements in the news were inconsistent and wounded, but nonetheless reached a level we haven't seen since the Governor before. But this is the reality of Calvo's term; he is a Governor of Guam in a post-Camacho era. He is a Governor on this island where the previous Governor let political status flounder and die for 8 years. He is a Governor on this island where the previous Governor appeared to employ a "wish for the best."

The Government of Guam exists in a very weird place in both political and philosophical terms. The case Sakamoto v. Duty Free Shoppers famously found that the Government of Guam is not really a government, but because of Guam's exceptional status actually acts as a part of the Federal Government. This explains why for example there is a constant pressure as Governor to be a simple extension of the Feds. Guam is a place which places alot more faith than most in the Federal Government. Most communities in the United States have a natural loathe and love relationship with the Feds, and see mandates from the Feds as out of touch and not connected to the needs of the local people. On Guam this is rarely the case, as you can find an almost hard chemically induced robust distrust of the local government, which is built through generic ideas that in the states nearly all forms of governments, state or Federal are fantastic and light years better than. Most people in a battle between the Feds would instinctively side with their local government because it is made up from their people. Their friends, relatives, neighbors and so on. Guam is very different in that people tend to side with the Feds because the local government is filled with their friends, relatives and neighbors. The lack of self-trust on Guam is very dangerous and is also indicative of colonization and how embedded it has become. There is an idea that the Feds have more money, know more, have done better things, are less corrupt, less lazy and so you should always put your faith and hope in them.

This was one of the reasons why the military buildup was left unquestioned or unanalyzed for so long by most of Guam. If the Government of Guam had come out with a massive proposal of similar size, it might have been shredded to pieces in a thousand ways. There was a blind faith similar to what historian Pedro Sanchez wrote deluded Chamorros in prewar Guam that America was going to protect them from the Japanese in 1941, in terms of the military buildup. It was the Feds, it was the military, and so it was assumed that even if they had a $15 billion proposal to destroy every form of life on the island, people still would have enthusiastically supported it around the watercoolers and the tanke' siha.

So given this tendency, you might think that the best approach for Guam's Chief Executive to take is to simply be a yes-man for the Federales or for the military. To simply nod and smile and hand out flower leis and let them do whatever they want. This is what Felix Camacho chose to portray for several years during the military buildup. Perhaps he was the most thinking person in the world, perhaps he had huge gigantic plans which mapped out every aspect and so his whole lack of action or engagement and critique was really just a supreme strategy. Mama'brodie gui', lao gi minagahet puru ha' finayi.

But the problem that Camacho soon found himself in, is that although people may feel like the Feds are the best and that they can run this island better than we can, and it would therefore seem logical that all they would want is a Governor who is more a figurehead than anything, this isn't the case. What is the point of having a Governor then, if all they are going to be is a smiling, patriotic, flag-waving pushover or rubber stamp? The Governor has to do something, it needs to exist for some reason, or else we should just have some other Federal agency administer the island and be in charge. Guam's Governors were not elected for the first 70 years of US control over the island. When this right was finally "given" to the people, it was celebrated as fantastic progress, as at last the US recognizing the right of the people of Guam to be politically mature enough to chose their own leader.

The Governor of Guam, despite all the rhetoric cannot be the lap dancer for the Feds. He can be agreeable, he can be friendly and nice, but he cannot appear to be on the sides of the Federal Government. There is that residue that every community longs for in some way, even if they find a multitude of schemes for talking themselves out of it, which is that they should take care of themselves, that they should take responsibility for things and not just depend on others to do everything for them. No matter what on the surface a community appears to represent or feel, its leaders, by definition are meant to represent them and not someone else. And so on Guam there has long been an expectation that the Governor does not exist to hug, kiss, wax or polish the daggan of the Feds. This does not mean that he should be a raving kaduku na independence advocate, who is burning American flags at Adelup each day. But it does mean that even if he wants to support something like the military buildup, he has to do so, not with a gushing and overflowing heart of glee and subordination, but rather with the steely temperament who may see something which appears to be good for his people, but would be willing to throw it all away if it wasn't in the best interests of Guam.

This was one of the weaknesses of Camacho during the early military buildup years, was that while he may have been acting in such a way that he thought was best for the island, what he was doing did not appear to be leading. He was leading, but he was doing so in such a way that he there was almost no point to his existence. If he wasn't willing to stand up to something, to challenge, question something, to throw some monkey wrench into the machine in order to give himself a purpose, then why have him at all? Camacho could have supported the buildup all he wanted to, but still lead on the issue. He could have done what no one actually has done to date, which is an adequate and objective study of the buildup. He could have been more proactive working with the Legislature to ensure that Guam maximizes its benefits from the buildup, even if that means making the deal less sweet for certain contractors. He could have come up with some incredible radical ideas, but he did not. Instead his ideas seemed limited to going with the flow, hoping for the best and finding banal ways of telling people that the train is moving ahead and you can either get on board of get left behind. It is interesting to note and to remember for future reference that the past six years on Guam have been a great lesson in how believing in something or supporting something which you believe will make the island a lot of money, has little to no direct correlation with the actual making of money.

Although you cannot call Camacho a failed Governor, since anyone, including G.W. Bush who is at least re-elected is successful, but one reason why Camacho may never get the type of legacy that he feels he deserved is because he didn't play the game so many other Governors of Guam have learned and turned into their own artforms. That while it may be prudent to kiss the daggan or the Feds to their faces and in meetings, but it serves no real purpose to have that be your public persona or your public position. All Governors, not just in Guam have to use the local against the national or the Federal. It is part of their particular games of politics. Even if it is cynical, fake and pointless, it is how you assure people that you are doing your job. It can be a game of good guys and bad guys, connected and disconnected ideas, or even a simple matter of a community's spirit being protected, but that rhetoric is essential in ensuring that people understand that you are truly leading them.

Calvo is Governor of Guam after Camacho and so he is fortunate that he gets to learn from the lame duck mistakes of his predecessor. As we see today in the news with his wounded but also angry rhetoric at being snubbed by the 15 Senators, we are seeing him creating that rhetorical position from which he'll need to constantly return to throughout his term.


"Calvo Angered by Snub"
Therese Hart
April 19, 2011
The Marianas Variety

GOVERNOR Eddie Baza Calvo said the 15 United States senators who stopped on Guam yesterday – to refuel as they headed to Hong Kong – without the courtesy of informing him was a slap in the face.

He warned that the senators’ thumbing their noses at the island and its government can severely affect Guam’s relations with the federal government as the U.S. pushes the $15 billion agreement to relocate the U.S. Marines and their dependents from Okinawa to Guam.

The U.S. delegation included: Sen. Harry Reid, Majority Leader, a Democrat from Neveda; Sen. Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader, a Republican from Kentucky; Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Democrat from New Jersey; Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama; Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California; Sen. Richard Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois; Sen. Michael Enzi, a Republican from Wyoming; Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York; Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Republican from Georgia; Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon; Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado; Sen. Mike Johanns, a Republican from Nebraska; Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican from Kansas; Sen. Robert Portman, a Republican from Ohio; and Sen. John Hoeven, a Republican from North Dakota.

“These U.S. Senators, both Democrat and Republican, have decided to thumb their noses at the island and its government,” said Calvo. “I want Guamanians living in the [U.S. mainland] where these U.S. senators are from to remember what these U.S. senators did to Guam in the next national elections,” he added.

The governor said he was extremely upset that no one in the federal establishment informed Guam about their visit.

“We called the Navy to verify this stopover and we were told the U.S. senators will not entertain any meeting or discussion with Guam leaders or the Guamanian people. Instead of landing at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, they have decided to shield their visit in secrecy and land within the confines of Andersen Air Force Base,” said Calvo.

The 15 lawmakers make up 15 percent of the U.S. Senate – powerful members of Congress who make decisions about Guam’s future without any input from its local leaders, said Calvo.

“You’re talking about 15 percent of the U.S. Senate and the kind of power they have, and for America’s westernmost soil, they look at it as a pit stop – with no regard to discussing issues, especially in light of decisions they have made and the decisions they will make that are so impactful for our people,” said Calvo.

Calvo said that as Guam moves forward as America’s tip of the spear, “very powerful elected officials cannot overlook the people of Guam. They’ve gotta hear us and if they don’t hear us, we’re going to continue to speak even louder and louder.”


Calvo said he loved America and described the United States as “the greatest democracy in the world.” At the same time, however, Calvo said he sometimes views the U.S. with disgust and distain.

“I am disgusted by some of the actions made by some of the most powerful people. The Senate is an august body and a powerful body. And for 15 of them to come to our territory ... they can blame it on the scheduler; or they can blame it on their travel plans, but folks, we’re not interstate 5. We are far from the continental United States.”

“Whether they are coming or going to Tokyo or Seoul, or Taipei or Australia, this is American soil. At this point, all it was, was a pit stop, and that’s unacceptable,” he added.

“This is a sad state of affairs. This is the third time in the last year that Congress has made it clear that we are of no importance to the nation,” said Calvo, mentioning Congress trying to sell Fena back to Guam, and Congress taking away Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo’s voting power in House committees.

“These U.S. Senators are only hurting American interests abroad. Look at the great relationship we’ve built with the U.S. military. Congress’s actions only undermine that work. Why? If Guam was so important to U.S. strategic interests, then why would the nation’s leaders continue snubbing Guamanians?” queried the governor.

Political status

The snub, said Calvo, further fortified his standpoint on Guam’s political status. Calvo vowed to work with the legislature and the whole community to bring closure to Guam’s quest for political self-determination.

“We can really never exercise our ability to govern ourselves without a change in status and that either means they will accept us as full-fledged partners or we’ll have to go on our own. But this is typical, being a territory and we don’t have any representation with the Senate – not even a non-voting delegate – and as far as I’m concerned, we are nothing but either an asset or a liability depending on what the situation is,” said Calvo.

Calvo is determined to call for a vote of self-determination and said Guam cannot go on as a colony of the United States.

“We should either be a part of the U.S., with voting membership in the House and Senate and the right to vote for President, or we should govern ourselves. This is a message we will share with U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Carl Levin when they visit with us next week. At least these gentlemen have the consideration and decency to meet with their fellow Americans in Guam.”

The governor said for those in Congress who want to work with Guam – the One Guam approach – he will continue to push those issues forward.

And for those who don’t care?

“It’s clear these U.S. senators have no intention of uniting our best interests. To them, there is an American inside a military fenceline, and an American colony outside of it. They want nothing to do with that colony,” said Calvo.

Calvo said if the Senate wanted to thumb its nose at the people of Guam, “then perhaps it is time for Guamanians to call in every injustice ever committed upon our people by the U.S. government. For every slap in our face, those old wounds just open up a little bit more.”

Calvo said he had no idea the delegation was coming and was only informed yesterday morning, when he received a phone call from Bordallo. She knew about the delegation and was invited to meet with them.

Bordallo responded, saying she understood the governor’s concern.

“I appreciate the governor’s concerns regarding the notification of visits by federal officials to Guam. I will do what I can to ensure that future congressional delegations give proper notification to the governor regarding their visits. I can also appreciate that any congressional delegation’s plans are usually tentative until military planes can be confirmed. The governor’s point is well taken and I will work with military officials and appropriate committees to ensure proper notification and all due respect are given to the governor and other local leaders,” Bordallo said.

Sen. Judi Guthertz, oversight chair of the military buildup said she has expressed similar concerns in the past regarding disrespectful treatment of Guam by the federal government.

“Sometimes we don’t get the respect for the island, not for us as individuals, just because we’re elected officials – no, I’m talking about the people of Guam. They’re coming to our home ... sometimes it seems that they’re coming through our home, and to disrespect the governor, that at times it seems that they’re coming through our home, and to disrespect the governor, that’s very bad, that’s not nice. I understand how the governor feels, I feel badly for him and I hope he understands that this has been my concern in the past and I’ve been vocal about it. Respect the island, respect the people, give us the time of day. They could have at least invited the governor to be at Andersen,” said Guthertz.

“They just don’t get it. All these years, all of our efforts, and they still don’t get it. They just don’t take us seriously and they make us feel that we have no value, but I want to remind these senators that we are Americans, too. We are Americans, too,” she added.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

To A Crazy Chamoru Nationalist

I used to get alot more hate mail through this blog. I would get random people, sending me angry comments or emails about random things which they felt I was somehow responsible for. It is intriguing how people paradoxically see activist or dissidents as being both powerful and powerless at the same time. On the one hand they see them as having so much authority and power in terms of tearing things apart and ruining things, but in precisely the same sentence or moment event, they can see them as having no power or authority or say, belonging to a ridiculous and blind minority or splinter group. Intriguing how stupid the world can be isn't it? That someone can say so passionately that you represent the end of the world and nothing in this world at the same time. For me that doesn't really make sense. If the activists have power because of what they say or do it means they represent something much larger than themselves. It means if you are going to say that they are ruining something in any real way then they do have power and are not a foolish group of maladjusted malcontents.

This hate mail stopped for the most part when I installed moderated comments and now internet trolls and chachatli'e' who feel their power through the cloak of anonymity cannot help but feel weakened by even the mere act of creating a fake account through which to spew their mindless crap. This doesn't mean that I don't like debate or arguments, but they work much better when you know who is on the other end and they have to live with the burden of knowing that you know.

Publicly announcing who I am on my blog, what I do and what I think, puts me at a disadvantage in terms of debating most trolls, since they keep those things secret precisely to give themselves more options. To find more ways of twisting who they will say they are in order to create an aura of authenticity behind the strange things they say. I remember getting a flood of emails several years ago from one person who despite my repeated attempts to get him to identify himself (or herself) never did. This person complained constantly about Guam and said he was Chamorro, but seemed to hate everything about Chamorros, except the ways certain things in their history would fit with theories about Guam being part of ancient cities such as Atlantis or sunken continents as Lumeria. The only thing he actually liked about Guam or Chamorros was because he could fit it into some grand theory that he liked.

This person complained constantly about activists and he hated with a burning passion the late Angel Santos. He would often refer to Angel Santos with a litany of derogatory terms after his name and when he wanted to attack you he would say you were like Angel Santos. When pressed as to why he hated Angel Santos so much, this person would tell stories of how his mother worked for Angel Santos and how he was nice to everyone else in the world but treated his mother like garbage. He would be mean to her, say cruel things to her and figuratively spit on the work she did for him when he was a Senator.

When this person first told this to me, I wasn't phased by it, everyone has a dark side and a side that they keep hidden from most people. No one is perfect and so based on this you can argue that either no one should be made a saint or that people should be made saints based on a calculation of their good outweighing the bad. But I wanted to know who he was and who his mother was to see if it was even true. The person would never reveal their name however and so I wondered if I could really believe any of it. In the context of any argument, being able to say that I have an intimate sort of evidentiary experience here to use against you is a great advantage. You can say all the great things in the world about Angel Santos, but if someone comes forward with some sin or crime or bad behavior in this vein, it is hard to just dismiss it. In the mind of this  person, Angel Santos was such a horrible man privately, then for him to claim to be a good and moral man publicly makes him the biggest hypocrite!

The point of keeping yourself secret is because then this evidence can grow and grow. I have no idea as to whether or not it is true, it very well could be. But the beauty of keeping yourself hidden is that the next time you email and attack, you could have some brand new story, some brand new sin, some brand new line of attack and there is absolutely no way to respond. I couldn't even ask other people if they knew about this since I have no idea who I would be asking about. I can imagine asking people "Do you remember if Angel Santos was particularly cruel and mean to this one woman who worked for him?"

So while my blog is pretty safe now from hate mail, I still get some of it randomly through my email and interestingly enough sometimes through my Youtube accounts. The other day I got some very interesting hate mail through my main Youtube page that actually made me laugh more than anything. The night before I received it someone had left several angry, racist attacks on myself and a friend of mine Victoria Leon Guerrero, which were so stupid, so noobish and just plain silly that I had to wonder if they were even real. Usually when rhetoric touches what you feel is it's ur-form or its most rudimentary state, like the talking point beyond talking points, it's not someone who is actually it, but someone attempting perform some authenticity. This is similar to the way in which Malafunkshun and the chad culture which it was built upon would appear to be more Chamorro than "Chamorro" things, or as I often point out on this blog, how speaking English with a thick accent comes to "sound" more Chamorro than speaking in Chamorro. Another way of conceiving this is stereotypes, in that they are not real, not really authentic but sometimes feel more authentic than the real thing.

This person who commented on my Youtube channel seemed to almost be a caricature. His (or her) name is Kadukuboi1990, which means "Crazy Boy 1990." He signed all his comments with the phrase "Chamoru Nationalist." I found this interesting because over the years so many random anger people who don't want to identify themselves come up with weird names like that to use with me. Four years ago I got some angry comments from someone who called himself a "Real Filipino-American Guamanian." Six years ago I got angry emails from a young Chamorro from Washington who called himself a "True Chamoru Renaissance Artist." For years I communicated with some crazy Chamorro kid who called himself a "True Native Taotaomo'na Islander" referring to the fact that someone people refer to the Marianas Islands as the "Taotaomo'na Islands." These labels, meant to convey depth and finehman almost always inadvertently reveal an almost raging shallowness and lack of knowledge. They are a way of asserting their identity in such an overly aggressive way in hopes of people not asking them what they even mean by that? Or what does that mean? For the person who called himself a "Filipino-American Guamanian" all you would have to do is tell him to add four more ethnic and regional identifications (put hemplo: Asia, Pacific Islander, First World, Micronesian) and he might simply cease to exist. He might just vanish and go to the purgatory where all weird and impossible amalgamations of wishful ethnic identities go.

I'm pasting his comments below so you can read them and let me know what you think. Kao magahet este na taotao? Pat chatmagahet gui'? When you read through these comments it almost seems like there was a list of attack points he had to go through, and so it took him three whole comments in order to get them all checked off.

But if he is a real person, then he has some real problems in his thinking. His points are contradictory in so many ways it's almost sad. He speaks with such certainty on things he clearly has no understanding of, reading through these comments is like watching some movie villain laugh maniacally about the savoring of his victory as he is mauled to pieces by a pack of bears and has clearly not won anything. That is what is so bewildering and laughable about ideology, is that it is a magical potion which allows you to live in a fantasy but feel with almost absolute certainty that the hallucinations of your intellectually starved mind are not just your truth, but everyone's truth and is something which the waves of all humanity must crash upon and be judged by. That's what is so surreal about ideology, is that, despite the lack of any real evidence to support your claim (even in the taranas of your mind), you still believe that your ideas are and should be the center of the universe.

Here's the comments. I thought about responding to them and I may do so later this weekend.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sumahi Tumblr

I've been wanting for several years to create a blog for my artwork. I've produced hundreds of pieces over the years the majority of which I don't have any photographic record of, but were sold off at fairs, exhibits or just to people interested in my artwork. Although my work is pretty worthless and will most likely remain worthless even if were to die young from some stereotypical drug overdose or suicide, I still feel proud that my pieces are traveled over the world. People from places such as The Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, the US, France, Russia, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Germany and India have bought my work over the years. For the first year I was an artist I attempted to keep the contact information of people who had purchased my paintings so I could notify them about shows and other events in my "rise" as an artist, but the rise never really happened. It's hard to make money on Guam as an artist, and as I got more involved in academics and activism I still painted and created but could never put the focus I needed into developing myself into a full-time artist.

Nowadays I don't usually write down the names or the info of the people who buy my work, but I do like to snap a quick picture of them. I do this not so much to remember who the people are who purchased my work, but more so to have a record of the paintings I've sold; and to try to keep track of particular forms they take. The way colors worked in this one instance or the way I hit the form I wanted to in that image. Over the years I find myself painting the same images over and over trying to capture something, whether it be the distorted image of a taotaomo'na, the regal profile of a stone megalith from Easter Island, or something as simple as a sunset. I like to have pictures to remember those moments or fragments to try and reproduce them later.

Although I don't have any record of the majority of my pieces I've made, I do still have some photos (and plenty of artwork that I haven't sold yet (since I don't sell very much). And because of this I have always wanted to create some sort of website where I can collect and display them. For 10 years I had a website which was created to commemorate my first art show and my first year as an artist. Unfortunately the website no longer exists because it was hosted by Geocities, which no longer exists.

I have been held back in creating this website because of the fact that I already have too many websites and blogs, most of which I don't maintain very much. Furthermore, most of my blogs are built through the Blogger system and so they aren't usually as interesting or sleek as blogs started in later and more open formats. So creating something new which would look nice seemed like so much of a hassle.

A few weeks ago I found, for some reason, several of my students asking me if I had a Tumblr. I responded that I knew what a Tumblr was, but that I didn't have one. When pressed as to why I didn't have one, I responded sarcastically in one of the two ways: First, that I'm not a 13 year old girl with too much time on their hands, and Second, I am someone who likes to create original content and it seems that Tumblr is the cool way for people who are too lazy or too busy to post original things to create an internet space. I've often heard Tumblr referred to by people as a scrap book or a shoebox. A small place where you collect things which interest you or catch your eye. It's not meant to be labor intensive or take up too much of your time, and in fact with aggressive reblogging, you can have a cool looking Tumblr in just a couple of hours.

Although I looked down on Tumblr blogs for a while because of the way they seemed to create a way for people to reblog their way to content depth, without any such depth, I was still often jealous of how simple and elegant Tumblr blogs looked in comparison to the ugly lumbering overweight and syphilitic Brachiasaurus that is this blog. Don't get me wrong, I love my blog, gof ya-hu este na blog-hu, but I know it doesn't look that great.

Eventually I decided that getting a Tumblr would be the perfect way of finally creating that painting website that I've wanted for so long. Two weeks ago I started one, and every day or so I post a new painting of mine.

I decided to call my Tumblr I Pilan Yanggen Sumahi...  since my daughter's name is Sumahi, it's one of the coolest Chamorro words out there, and my daughter is the coolest kids out there. I try to mix up the paintings that I use, and I literally have 12 years of work to choose from. With each image of a painting, I also type it's name, the year it was painted and what its media is (monotype, watercolor, acrylic and on what surface was it painted). Here's a couple that I've posted over the past few days.

By the way I don't have a lot of followers yet and so if you're looking for a moderately interesting blog (with no reblogging) to follow, head over to my Sumahi Tumblr.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Peasants Need Pitchforks

From Bruce Gagnon's Organizing Notes:

The Peasants Need Pitchforks

By Robert Scheer
A “working class hero,” John Lennon told us in his song of that title, “is something to be/ Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV/ And you think you’re so clever and classless and free/ But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see.”

The delusion of a classless America in which opportunity is equally distributed is the most effective deception perpetrated by the moneyed elite that controls all the key levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is a myth blown away by Nobel Prize winner Joseph E. Stiglitz in the current issue of Vanity Fair. In an article titled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” Stiglitz states that the top thin layer of the superwealthy controls 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: “Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.”

That is the harsh reality obscured by the media’s focus on celebrity gossip, sports rivalries and lotteries, situations in which the average person can pretend that he or she is plugged into the winning side. The illusion of personal power substitutes consumer sovereignty—which smartphone to purchase—for real power over the decisions that affect our lives. Even though most Americans accept that the political game is rigged, we have long assumed that the choices we make in the economic sphere as to career and home are matters that respond to our wisdom and will. But the banking tsunami that wiped out so many jobs and so much homeownership has demonstrated that most Americans have no real control over any of that, and while they suffer, the corporate rich reward themselves in direct proportion to the amount of suffering they have caused.

Instead of taxing the superrich on the bonuses dispensed by top corporations such as Exxon, Bank of America, General Electric, Chevron and Boeing, all of which managed to avoid paying any federal corporate taxes last year, the politicians of both parties in Congress are about to accede to the Republican demand that programs that help ordinary folks be cut to pay for the programs that bailed out the banks.

It is a reality further obscured by the academic elite, led by economists who receive enormous payoffs from Wall Street in speaking and consulting fees, and their less privileged university colleagues who are so often dependent upon wealthy sponsors for their research funding. Then there are the media, which are indistinguishable parts of the corporate-owned culture and which with rare exception pretend that we are all in the same lifeboat while they fawn in their coverage of those who bilk us and also dispense fat fees to top pundits. Complementing all that is the dark distraction of the faux populists, led by tea party demagogues, who blame unions and immigrants for the crimes of Wall Street hustlers.

My book on the banking meltdown, “The Great American Stickup,” begins with the following words. “They did it. Yes, there is a ‘they’: the captains of finance, their lobbyists, and allies among leading politicians of both parties, who together destroyed an American regulatory system that had been functioning splendidly. …” They got to rewrite the laws to enable their massive greed over everything from the tax codes to the sale of toxic derivatives over the past quarter century, smashing the American middle class and with it the nation’s experiment in democracy.

The lobbyists are deliberately bipartisan in their bribery, and the authors of our demise are equally marked as Democrats and Republicans. Ronald Reagan first effectively sang the siren song of ending government’s role in corporate crime prevention, but it was Democrat Bill Clinton who accomplished much of that goal. It is the enduring conceit of the top Democratic leaders that they are valiantly holding back the forces of evil when they actually have continuously been complicit.

The veterans of the Clinton years, so prominent in the Obama administration, still deny their role in the disaster of the last 25 years. Yet the sad tale of income inequality that Stiglitz laments is as much a result of their policies as those of their Republican rivals. In one of the best studies of this growing gap in income, economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty found that during Clinton’s tenure in the White House the income of the top 1 percent increased by 10.1 percent per year, while that of the other 99 percent of Americans increased by only 2.4 percent a year. Thanks to President Clinton’s deregulation and the save-the-rich policies of George W. Bush, the situation deteriorated further from 2002 to 2006, a period in which the top 1 percent increased its income 11 percent annually while the rest of Americans had a truly paltry gain of 1 percent per year.

And that was before the meltdown that wiped out the jobs and home values of so many tens of millions of American families. “The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles,” Stiglitz concludes, “but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.”

- Robert Scheer, editor in chief of Truthdig, has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. His columns appear in newspapers across the country. Between 1964 and 1969 he was Vietnam correspondent, managing editor and editor in chief of Ramparts magazine. From 1976 to 1993 he served as a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This Statement is Not Meant to Be Factual

The budget showdown which was "averted" yesterday led to one the most intriguing statements I've ever heard. One of the central fronts in this budget war has been the fate of Planned Parenthood. For those who haven't been paying attention to the current slate of petty politics in Washington D.C. the dynamic is new for those with short memories, but old if you remember the last time the Federal Government was shut down, 16 years ago; A resurgent crop of Republicans flood into Congress with plenty of radical rhetoric about taking the country back and playing chicken with a Democratic president over the budget, spending, taxes and so on.

Planned Parenthood is an organization which provides a great number of health care services for low-income women, but in the minds of Republicans and in particular it's most extreme kaduku wing, it is synonymous with abortions. Planned Parenthood is an anathema to their facile defense of "life," a place which they characterize as being a factory for women to go and casually slaughter their not yet born life. Recently, we've heard from at least one Republic candidate for President in 2012, that the abortion issue goes beyond simple choice and life, but actually damages our economy. According to former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in recent trip to New Hampshire, the new danger that abortion is causing the country is because it is helping indirectly destroy social security:
“A third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion. We are depopulating this country, and we’re seeing the birth rate is below replacement rate for the first time in history.”
In this context, it seems almost heroic to destroy something so evil as Planned Parenthood which is enabling a massive genocide that is wrecking the US economy. The Republicans in Congress are fighting to save the unborn of America, its morality, its soul, its economy and everything and so Planned Parenthood is something which must be gotten rid of. One of the final points of the contention in the Federal budget was this issue of Republicans trying to get rid of Planned Parenthood, by claiming that it uses Federal money to fund abortions, which is against the law.

Part of the problem here is first, that this is not true. Planned Parenthood does not use any federal funds that it receives as part of abortions. Second, providing abortion services is a minute part of what Planned Parenthood does. The Republicans have attempted to transform the image of Planned Parenthood into some shady, evil organization which is spiriting away the babies and the health of the nation. In fact, Planned Parenthood provides important and necessary services to the women of the United States. Here some facts and info about them from their website:

Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. Planned Parenthood also works with partner organizations worldwide to improve the sexual health and well-being of individuals and families everywhere.

Planned Parenthood has 84 independent local affiliates that operate more than 800 health centers throughout the United States, providing high-quality services to women, men, and teens.

Planned Parenthood often is the only source of family planning for a large proportion of the women we serve.

Our Clients

Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health care, education, and information to more than five million women, men, and adolescents worldwide each year.

Three million women and men in the United States annually visit Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers for trusted health care services and information.

Seventy-nine percent of Planned Parenthood health care clients in the U.S. are age 20 and older.

One in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.

Our Work

Planned Parenthood health centers focus on prevention: 83 percent of our clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood services help prevent more than 612,000 unintended pregnancies each year.

Planned Parenthood provides nearly one million Pap tests and more than 830,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer.

Planned Parenthood provides nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.

Planned Parenthood affiliates provide educational programs to nearly 1.2 million young people and adults each year.

Planned Parenthood has more than four million activists, supporters, and donors working for women's health and safety and our fundamental reproductive rights.

According to the Washington Post, only 3 % of the 11 million services which Planned Parenthood provides women each year are abortions. The vast majority of what they provide is for contraception and the testing and treatment of STDs. This accounts for approximately 70% of what they do, and along with testing for Breast cancer, that adds up to 86% of their evil nefarious agenda.

One of the talking points that swirls around the Republican echo chamber lately is the idea that "90% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion related." It is something which Tea Partier, Birthers, anti-choice activists and plenty of Republicans accept as part of their Wikiality. It is something which you could easily prove as false or grossly and sexistly distorted, but wouldn't be accepted because of a glorious constellation of conservative points of ignorant light that will dismiss said truth or create a more convoluted and conspiratorial way of rejecting it. Longtime liberals will recognize phrases such as "Well that's not what Rush says" or more recently "why doesn't Obama just show us his birth certificate" as key discursive supports in this universe.

This notion about Planned Parenthood being overwhelmingly about aborting fetuses even made its way to floor of the Senate recently and end up making an already pretty silly looking Senator, Jon Kyl from Arizona, almost totally vapid. It was not so much what he said, but how he attempted to cover his daggan after he said something extremely inaccurate. In a speech on the Senate floor he invoked the "claim" that Planned Parenthood is 90% about abortions:

"Everybody goes to clinics, to doctors, to hospitals, so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don’t have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."

As I've already stated this was completely off the mark. 87% off the mark. You can either consider it to be a straight lie or just the product of an office stupid enough to think that some random made up statistic from the World of Rush wouldn't be questioned in the rest of the universe. So when he was naturally blasted for using a statistic which was so brazenly counter to the truth, its use couldn't even be considered to be a stretching of the truth, he "walked back his claim." Rather than retract, rather than explain the mistake or what had happened, Kyl took the novel approach of saying that the accuracy of his statement was irrelevant since "his remark was not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, a organization that receives millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, does subsidize abortions."

It's almost too awesome, how insane that is. Politics is all about truth and lies in usually the sense of masking lies as truth, but for someone to just come out and claim that he wasn't even intended to be truthful but simply speaking in order to connect things. It's almost like Senator Kyl has mapped the human genome for us, he has finally solved the mysteries of the universe. It's like we have seen the face of God and he stuck his tongue out at us.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Fukushima Meltdown

As I wrote about last week in my post Mount Fuji in Red, it is important to remember admist all the outpouring of support and compassion for the people of Japan, that the nuclear danger there cannot be solved or helped by fundraisers. It is something which has largely been forgotten as the usual humanitarian tendencies take over the way you understand or don't understand something. It is serious issue not just in terms of the potential hazard that other places face, as in whether or not the radiation will reach Guam, but it is important because of the question of whether or not nuclear energy is safe.

Below is a petition from some progressive groups about the Fukushima meltdown and beneath that is a statement on the tragedy and meltdown from the organization The Global Network.


Fukushima Update

This petition is from concerned Japanese citizens, who would appreciate an international show of support.
Radiological Impact of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

On March 11th, Japan was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunamis. A nuclear disaster followed.
Please support this petition by Japanese citizens. It was submitted to the Japanese government on March 28th at a meeting backed by 168 citizen organizations. It addresses the radiological impact of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster and the need to extend the exclusion zone around the plant.
Your voices will be delivered to the Japanese government.
What the petition says:
1.Immediately issue a directive to evacuate and enlarge the evacuation zone.

2.Calculate and publicize regularly the total cumulative radiation dose local residents receive collectively.

3.Repeal the upward revision of the maximum permissible radiation dose (250 milliSieverts) for emergency-response workers at the Fukushima plant.

4.Expand the scope of radiation monitoring and publicize the results.

5.Undertake immediately a comprehensive survey of the radiation exposure and current state of health of local residents and provide for their long-term health care.

6.Do not relax the provisional standards governing the maximum permissible levels of radionuclides in food.

7.Provide compensation for damages to farm and dairy producers and to people who are forced to relocate.

8.Generally, take all measures necessary to ensure that members of the public do not receive radiation doses greater than 1 milliSievert per annum.


The Global Network mourns for the people of Japan following the recent disastrous chain of events that began with the earthquake, tsunami and then the nuclear power plant. Sadly Japan is now the victim of three gargantuan nuclear disasters: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan tragically demonstrates, again, the dangers of nuclear power, an energy source that must be abandoned--as a clear and present threat to life. Instead there must be full implementation of safe, clean energy technologies --- which are here today.

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space has long challenged the use of atomic energy in space. The network has emphasized that there are safe alternatives to energize space devices. In recent times, NASA, at long last, has begun substituting solar energy for nuclear power in space. Indeed, in coming months NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft will be launched on a five-year mission to Jupiter. It was not long ago that NASA emphatically insisted that solar power could not substitute for nuclear beyond the orbit of Mars. Suddenly, it now can be done.
Likewise, as numerous studies have documented, safe, clean, renewable energy technologies now here can provide all the power we need on earth. Nuclear power and its deadly dangers are unnecessary. As the conservative scientific magazine, Scientific American, in its October 26, 2009 cover story, "A Plan for A Sustainable Future," declared, "Wind, water, solar technologies, [and conservation] can provide 100 percent of the world's energy needs."

The issue of switching to safe, clean energy is not technological -- it's political.

The problem involves vested interests: the government agencies which push nuclear power, notably in the United States the national nuclear laboratories and the entity that owns them, the Department of Energy (headed currently by a former national nuclear laboratory director), and the nuclear industry as it seeks to profit from selling nuclear technology despite the cost in people's lives.

These same entities are pushing nuclear power world-wide as evidenced by GE’s involvement in the construction of Japanese reactors and the recent U.S.-India Nuclear deal. China and other emerging nations are also expanding plans for nuclear power despite the horrific memories of Chernobyl and now Fukushima.

A disgrace in demanding nuclear power on earth and space has been President Barack Obama. As president, he has reversed the critical position he espoused as a candidate and now, even in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, is seeking to "revive" the nuclear industry with the building of new nuclear plants using billions of taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, his administration has been pushing to also "revive" the use of nuclear power in space by restarting U.S. production of Plutonium-238 for use on space devices.

The Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space calls for:

* The end of nuclear power on earth. Although the nuclear establishment claims this is impractical, it is not. In the U.S. where nuclear power provides 20% of the electricity, there's a 20% reserve capacity in the electrical system. All 104 U.S. nuclear plants could -- and must -- be immediately shut down. The reserve capacity can deal with their absence.

And, meanwhile, a concentrated effort could -- and must -- be made to swiftly bring the safe, clean energy technologies on line. Instead of promoting nuclear power expansion globally the nuclear power industry should be dismantled or converted to a green technology industry.
* The end of nuclear power in space. Accidents such as the 1964 SNAP-9A disaster in which a plutonium-powered satellite fell from orbit, disintegrating and spreading the plutonium widely -- a plutonium release long seen as causing an increase in lung cancer on earth -- have demonstrated the folly of using nuclear power overhead.

* The closure of all national nuclear laboratories. They have been breeding grounds for developing lethal atomic energy -- on earth and in space. There's an effort now underway in Washington to cut back on the federal government spending. Here is a federal government activity that must be cut back -- a string of national nuclear laboratories, including Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Livermore, Idaho, Sandia, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Argonne, spending billions upon billions in taxpayer money annually while developing deadly nuclear technology.
Unless the nuclear juggernaut is stopped, we all live in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima.
Global Network Board of Directors & Advisors:

Bob Anderson (Stop the War Machine, New Mexico)
Dr. Helen Caldicott (Pediatrician/Anti-nuclear activist, Australia)
Sung-Hee Choi (Artist/teacher/activist, South Korea)
MacGregor Eddy (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, California)
Stacey Fritz (No Nukes North, Alaska)
Atsushi Fujioka (Professor of Economics Ritsumeikan University, Japan)
Bruce Gagnon (Global Network Coordinator, Maine)
Holly Gwinn Graham (Singer/songwriter/activist, Washington)
Karl Grossman (Professor of Journalism SUNY/College of Old Westbury, New York)
Regina Hagen (Darmstadter Friedensform, Germany)
Matthew Hoey (Military Space Transparency Project, Massachusetts)
Filip Ilkowski (Lecturer Political Science/History Warsaw University, Poland)
Helen John (Peace activist, England)
Dr. Michio Kaku (Professor Theoretical Physics CUNY, New York)
Tamara Lorincz (Halifax Peace Coalition, Canada)
Dr. Hannah Middleton (Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition, Australia)
Agneta Norberg (Swedish Peace Council, Sweden)
Lindis Percy (Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, England)
J. Sri Raman (Movement Against Nuclear Weapons, India)
J. Narayana Rao (All India Peace & Solidarity Organization, India)
Tim Rinne (Nebraskans for Peace, Nebraska)
Makiko Sato (Anti-nuclear activist, Japan)
Wolfgang Schlupp-Hauck (Friedenswerkstatt Mutlangen, Germany)
Alice Slater (Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, New York)
Koji Sugihara (No to Nukes & Missile Defense Campaign, Japan)
Bill Sulzman (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado)
Jan Tamas (Humanist Party, Czech Republic)
Dr. Dave Webb (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, United Kingdom)
Carol Urner (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Oregon)
Loring Wirbel (Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado)
Lynda Williams (Physics teacher/activist, California)
Wooksik Cheong (Peace Network, South Korea)
Hibiki Yamaguchi (People’s Plan Study Group, Japan)

Thursday, April 07, 2011


Have I told you lately that i hagga-hu Sumahi is the coolest?

If not, consider yourself told.

Achokka' este na patgon-hu i mas "su'ana" na palao'an, ti este kumekeilek-na na karinosa gui'. Sen bunita, lao esta kalang pussion Supermodel gui', gi i trahi-na, ya buente gi i binanidosa-na lokkue'.

Here is a picture of her from my sister Alina.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Can We Yes We Can Again?

Barack Obama's re-election campaign has officially begun, with the release of a video through his website.

Here is the video below, which features people from around the United States getting geared up to help re-elect the President.

Ti siguru yu' hafa siniente-ku put este. Ya-hu Si Barack Obama. Ya-hu gui' desde i fine'nina na humuyong gui' gi i 2004 na DNC giya Boston. Ga'o-ku gui' kinu Si Bush yan kinu todu i otro ni' sina manmalalagu para i ofisina gi 2012. Hunggan desganao yu' na ti gof "liberal" gui'. Ya ha na'desganao yu' meggai gi i ma'pos na dos na sakkan annai ti ha tachuyi hit kontra i manriku yan i Manrepublicans. Gof lalalu yu' na ti ha huchom GTMO. Ayu i mas fa'set na prublema. Huchom ha'. Sotta todu i mampinengle guihi. Manmapopongle todu kontra i lai internationale. Pues sotta ha' todu. Hunggan, sina na gigon manmasotta siha, ma hatme i US, lao maolekna ennao kinu i gagaige ha' i "stain" GTMO gi i anten i US.

Ei adai, hekkua' este.

Put este na rason na fihu ilek-hu na i mas ya-hu na Barack Obama ayu ni' sumasaga' gi halom i guinife-hu siha. Taya' nai ha na'desganao yu'. Lao na'ma'ase na i magahet na Barack Obama ti parehu-na. Lao ai lokkue' este na Obama giya Guahu, sen anggokuyon yan tininas gui'. Maolekna na Guiya chumalalani i US.

Lao su'anu sinembatgo si Barack Obama. Ya achokka' meggai i rason na ti ya-hu gui', meggaina i rason na ya-hu, pues bai hu sapotte gui' giya 2012.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

What Do the Mango Trees Know?

In my Guam History classes this last month we read the poem below written by my pare' Julian Aguon, titled "The Mango Trees Already Know." The poem is written in the shadow of the impending military buildup to Guam, and is about how the warning signs, the possible dangers to our island and to the Chamorro people are all around us, but we seem to be incapable of doing anything to protect ourselves. Julian even discusses the death of his father to cancer, and forces an important connection between how Guam has become modernized and militarized since World War II and the alarming rates of cancer and disease.

I asked my students this past week "What is it that the mango trees know, that we don't?" or "What is it that they know, that we refuse to recognize?"

For me, in answering that questions, my mind quickly turns to the film The Happening, by M. Night Shamalayan. For those unfamiliar with the movie, people in the East Coast of the United States suddenly and without reason began to kill themselves. Without any warning, they become catatonic, like zombies and then find someway of killing themselves. By the end of the movie, after this has spread across several states, a theory is proposed that plants released a nuerotoxin into the air to kill humans, as a defense mechanism. The earth is responding to all of the damage that humans have done to it, and nature sees it has a significant threat and so it evolves in a new way to try and rid itself of it. At the film's end, people are dismissing this theory since the outbreak only happened in a certain area and not all across the world, but the final scene is in France where, with wind blowing through the trees, a crowded park goes quiet, with everyone becoming motionless and zombie-like, obviously affected by the same nuerotoxin.

Julian's poem has a local meaning, or a way of interpreting it which is specifically local, about the buildup and about how we on Guam have let so much die and seem willingly to kill off so much more, let it slip through our fingers, because someone promises us American dreams. His line about the breaking of our grandmother's mirrors leading us to not being able to recognize ourselves and the world around us is particularly haunting. It speaks to how easily one can lose something so strong and beautiful, and how if you allow too much to be lost, you can literally never realize how much you have given up. You become too detached from something that you can't even understand what was lost along the way, you can only capture it in some generic nostalgia which makes you pine for something, but keeps you from understand what has happened. In this metaphor, if your grandmother's mirror remains intact, it allows you to see yourself through her life, through her legacy, and how she might judge you and what you have done or let your life, or the world become. You see yourself as always haunted by her, by her choices, and how you may have chosen differently, tried to make better choices or perhaps made the same mistakes. With the mirror broken, you imagine yourself in the shattered glass, and you will always fill it, like some mystical Harry Potter artifact, with what you want to see. You will never let yourself see something which you do not want, and something which might judge you, might make you feel like your grandmother, or your ancestors are disappointed in you.

Knowing and acting are of course different things. Knowing the dangers, knowing that something potentially dangerous looms on the horizon is actually an easy thing to do, it requires almost no energy or effort. We all live with those things, in fact we can actually harvest quite a bit of identity from them. They are the grandiose gof dongaklo na things which we can use to prove that we are serious about things even if we aren't. We can use them to talk in a way which is larger than we usually think. They can be religious, they can be conspiracy theories, they can be philosophical frameworks, they can be scientific alarms, they can be kumekematai na kutturan natibu, but they give us a sense of meaning simply by believing them and not really acting on them. Overcoming that barrier, that difference is what divides most people from a few people. By those who watch as the world crumbles, enjoying the fact that they can talk about it as it does, and those who seek to someone stop it or change it's direction. Those "few" people go by a number of names one of the most commonly used on Guam being "activists."

But the closing lines of the poem end up changing the tone from something which is lamenting the changes which have and soon to take place, what will be lost in the process, to the lament of the activist, the discourse of those who try to push the masses and more times than not, fail to move them. His line about how we have fallen asleep in a prison-like bed of comfort and that we cannot, not even for the sake of the things we value most can wake ourselves up speaks to that.

But while every activist laments this, Julian takes it even further and moves into the angry frustration that activists sometimes feel about the world. He screams that it might actually be better for the world to go to hell. In terms of Guam, while Julian may be against the buildup because of the long and short-term damage that he feels Guam will have to endure because of it, the lack of action pushes his frustration over the top. It takes him to the point where it seems like nothing is real anymore, but that the world is simply dangerous illusions. People are so lost in these that they cannot even imagine how lost they are. Julian then argues, partly in seriousness, partly out of rage at the island's apathy, that it might be better to just hit reset. It might be better to just let the damage happen, let everything be burnt to ash, because at least the ash will be truth, at least what is left after the destruction will mean something. It may not be the pretty lies we want to believe, the fantasies and fictions that comfort us, but at least we can see what is before our eyes for once.

Such is the horrid trap of all activists. Is that disaster, tragedy, collective trauma are precisely the things you hope to avoid, yet they are often the only things which make your task possible.


The Mango Trees Already Know
by Julian Aguon

Last night I dreamt of tangerines and
my father, smiling.
Jumping, full of life, out of our
pick-up truck
on a drive to the
family ranch
to pick tangerines
from that tree
still green
still thick
in my mind.
My dad, before cancer, was
like those fruit:
bright and

The smell of his skin
left me years ago
though it stayed
for years
with my sister.

But those afternoons feel
so far away,
as if part of
another life. In Guam
so much feels so far,
so strange.
Violent distress grips
the ancients,
and the rocks themselves
They know that the
outsiders are coming to shatter
what’s left
of our
grandmothers’ mirrors
so that, when it is
we will not recognize
ourselves or
the ocean
or the rhythm of

How I fear for the kids
now growing up
that they will not know
how it feels to wake up to
roosters and laze long
away in
outside kitchens
with coffee and biscocho,
or love the sun
at the ranch, smelling of
fresh-cut grass and hard
work, letting
J.D. Crutch and the rain
falling on wood and tin
break their heart.

How badly I wish
we could
still be saved
by afternoons.

But the mango trees
already know
and all this pretending
is putting us in graves
before our time.

The truth is
we have fallen asleep
in a prison of soft bed
and can’t, not even for our children, roll over,
can’t even reach
to shake our lovers
and tell them:
“I smell smoke.”

I say
let the fire take it all.
the ash after
will smell better
than all this balm.

I pray hard these days
for a typhoon, for
something to blow down
these straw houses
of our illusion.

The truth is
those proud
of elation,
look languished
in the

Friday, April 01, 2011

Clash of the Cricket Titans

Gi painge manegga' yu' huegon cricket gi entre India yan Pakistan.

Gi i halacha na estoria, fihu umakontra este na dos nasion yan sesso lokkue' manakontra i taotaogues este na dos. Guaha na biahi na manggera este na dos. Ya este na klasin gera ti gaige ha' gi i fanhuegoyan ha'. Guaha nai manggera sih yan bomba yan paki. Gaige gi entre este na dos na nasion, un gos na'piniti na estoria.

Estaba kada na umafana' este na dos, bula piligro. Sina guaha hinatme pat biolensia. Ya mientras manmumu i taotao gi i fanhuegoyan komo huego, sina manmumu i mane'egga' komo magahet na mimu.

Mas ki un biyon na taotao giya Asia ma nanagga para i umafana' esta na dos. Gi todu i mundo, i inacha'igin este na dos i mas malago, i mas ma egga'. Put ayu na gi este na World Cup pa'go, annai umasodda' este na dos gi i Semi-Finals, sina ma alok na este na huego sina ha na'ketu un "continent."

Gof maolek i huego gi painge. Ma sangan na i "batting" India i mas kapas yan i mas sugat gi hilo' tano' pa'go. Lao ma sangan lokkue' na i "bowling" Pakistan i mas bubulao gi hilo' tano'. Ayu muna'mas "incredible" i huego. India bumat fine'nina, ya achokka' manmama'tinas siha maolek na fundasion, mano'lleng siha yan mamoddong para 260 ha'. Annai mambat Pakistan, maolek lokkue' i fundasion-niha, lao man'olleng siha lokkue' gi i tinalo' na innings siha. Mamoddong siha para 231 yan mamnapedde'.

Mangganna' India ya Guiya para u ha fana' Sri Lank gi i "finals" agupa'.

Este na tinige' ginnen i website Cricinfo, put taimanu na sen impottante yan dongkalo este na huego giya India.


An encounter to stop a subcontinent
Peter Roebuck
March 30, 2011

A cricket match can hold only so much weight. In that regard the forthcoming semi-final, a local derby as well, and a tussle between sometimes agitated old rivals, is bursting at the seams. In Chandigarh on the eve of the match, I came across someone offering US$1500 for a ticket, whilst a favoured tuk-tuk driver was urgently but forlornly seeking four for his family. Reporters have been instructed to arrive four hours before the first ball - happily it is not a morning start - and the local airport has been forced to find room for 50 private planes.

Interest is at fever pitch across the region. India's parliament is shutting up shop at 2.30 pm. A large screen has been erected in the halls of debate. Mumbai's taxi drivers are taking the day off. Companies are asking their employers to arrive at 7am, promising to stop work in time for the first ball. They, too, have put up screens in offices and on factory floors. Otherwise no one would turn up for work. The Melbourne Cup might stop a nation. India versus Pakistan in the World Cup stops a subcontinent.
It is a truth often repeated that locals follow not cricket but cricketers. At times that can seem to be the case, but on other occasions it seems unjust, even a little patronising. After all tens of thousands of supporters attended matches played between other nations, and along the way showed every sign of appreciating good cricket. And the same applies in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Keeping ticket prices low gave the common man and humble cricket lover an opportunity to watch the game. And he took it.
Now people are paying small fortunes to watch this clash of the neighbours, also described as a confrontation of the titans. Doubtless they are going to watch Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh, the reviving local champion. Doubtless they are keen to view the showdown. Is it possible, though, that the supporters might also be capable of appreciating the game itself?
As this World Cup has reminded all and sundry once again, cricket can count itself fortunate that it took hold in this region. Certainly trouble comes along with the location, but it is well worth the bother. Vast populations whose interest in the game shows no sign of waning, a rapidly rising middle class, and immense ability have been on display in this tournament. Three of the semi-finalists are from the area and they include the powerful, the impassioned and the original.
As far as the semi-final is concerned it has been cast as a battle between India's batting and Pakistan's bowling, and played before a baying crowd, the match ought to be memorable. Having outstared doom against Australia, the Indians may conclude their time has come. Advised by a government minister to avoid match-fixing, the Pakistanis may feel at once affronted and motivated. They, too, have come a long way, further than expected. In that regard they have nothing to lose, or nothing except a nation's foolishly attached pride.
India's strength lies in the depth and vigour of their batting. Sachin Tendulkar remains the master of all he surveys, but though the spotlight is still on him the pressure has been spread wider. Virender Sehwag is properly fit again, Virat Kohli looks at home, Suresh Raina will take confidence from his vital innings against Australia, and Mahendra Dhoni knows his mustard.

Nevertheless Yuvraj Singh is regarded as the most dangerous batsman. Already he has taken three Man-of-the-Match awards in this World Cup. Previously dismissed as a swiper with an inflated reputation, Yuvraj has emerged as a powerful and destructive batsman with a sturdy temperament. Nowadays he keeps the ball on the floor and looks fitter. His bowling has helped because it means he can be certain of his place and knows that whatever happens with the bat, he will contribute to the cause. Allrounders have a lot on their plate but less on their mind.
Like all the teams, India has batted without contrivance. Besides showing that 50-over cricket is alive and well, this tournament has also confirmed that cricket does not change all that much, remains a game between bat and ball, and that the laws of physics ought to be respected. The main asset needed by batsmen is the ability to flick the ball pitching on middle and heading towards leg away to the boundary with a neat roll of the wrists. Dilscoops, reverse sweeps, open-chested straight hits and the other innovations have been notable by their absence. They are too unreliable. The basics are back in business.
India's weakness is their bowling. One wag on ESPNcricinfo has suggested that India has been devastated by the news that Ashish Nehra and Munaf Patel are fit. A year or two ago India seemed to have a cupboard full of promising pacemen. Now the shelves seem almost empty. It is hard to avoid thinking that premature exposure to the good life takes a toll. Fast bowling demands high levels of focus and fitness.
Nehra and Patel have been ineffective, a headache for a team that recognises the importance of the No. 7 position - which has been one of the main developments in the game these last few years - and so opts to field a five-pronged attack, and that's including Yuvraj. However, Zaheer Khan has been superb, especially with the old ball, and Harbhajan is steady and combative. Even so, the Pakistanis will feel they can dominate.
Pakistan's main asset is their bowling. Shahid Afridi is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament and Umar Gul has been the best speedster. Afridi career has taken more twists and turns than an Agatha Christie story, but in these twilight years he has found his true calling as a leader, purveyor of tight, flat legbreaks, and lower-order smiter - in which regard his head remains a little hot.
Gul has improved enormously in a short period. His work depends on rhythm. His stride is long and unless precise can leave him off balance at delivery. Armed with the new ball, he nowadays approaches the crease purposefully, uses his height, musters a fine pace and swings the ball away from the bat. Later he retains his accuracy but adds a concealed slower ball. In short, he is a handful. If he can take a couple of early wickets the balance of power might shift.

Pakistan's batting has been steadied by the recall of the two elders, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq. Not so long ago both were considered surplus to requirements - one of these quirks that seems to crop up more often in Pakistani cricket than in other dispensations. Now they walk out with the air of genial veterans tolerant of the wayward ways of youth and used to sorting out the messes they leave behind.

Pakistan's progress will also depend on the form shown by the mercurial Akmal brothers, Umar and Kamran. Both have cheerful round faces, lots of ability and the fearless outlook that makes the entire team dangerous. Afridi, too, can give the ball a wallop and will want to make up for his reckless dismissal in a previous match. Yet Asad Shafiq might hold the key because he brings skill and fortitude to his position at first wicket down. Some colleagues rely on mood and instinct but he sets a higher store by method and a technique tightened in the tape-ball contests in his childhood.

Both teams are capably coached and both are captained by characters expressing their contrasting traditions: Dhoni the cool, slightly detached and committed Indian and Afridi his impassioned, volatile and dangerous counterpart. Pakistan has every reason to be proud of its progress, whilst India can likewise be pleased that the pressures of favouritism and hosting the event have not so far told on them.

If Pakistan can get going it ought to be a cracker. But the main thing is that it is only a cricket match, a sporting encounter, an exhibition of nerve and skill, a contest at the mercy of the whims. The players will strive with every fibre in their bodies to rise to the occasion. The crowd faces the same challenge. Despite the foreboding, past performance indicates that all parties will bend over backwards to make sure that the meeting is as happy as is possible in a semi-final, an essentially mournful occasion, when much can be lost and nothing won.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It


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