Showing posts from August, 2011

The Decade's Biggest Scam

Monday, Aug 29, 2011 10:30 ET
The decade's biggest scam By Glenn
The Los Angeles Timesexamines the staggering sums of money expended on patently absurd domestic "homeland security" projects: $75 billion per year for things such as a Zodiac boat with side-scan sonar to respond to a potential attack on a lake in tiny Keith County, Nebraska, and hundreds of "9-ton BearCat armored vehicles, complete with turret" to guard against things like an attack on DreamWorks in Los Angeles.  All of that -- which is independent of the exponentially greater sums spent on foreign wars, occupations, bombings, and the vast array of weaponry and private contractors to support it all -- is in response to this mammoth, existential, the-single-greatest-challenge-of-our-generation threat:

"The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It's basically the same …

Hafa na Liberasion #20?: Self-Determination is Liberation

I’ve been following closely since the start of the year Governor Calvo’s use of colonialism and self-determination when talking about different, sometimes seemingly unrelated issues. As someone who takes seriously the role of contemporary and historical colonialism in shaping Guam, I’ve been impressed with his rhetoric, but also wary as to how much of it is real and how much of it might be simple posturing.

Every Governor of Guam has the same choices in terms of their approach to navigating the sometimes stormy, sometimes placid seas of Federal-Territorial relations. You can pretend you are just like a state and accept the Hansel and Gretel like breadcrumbs of tokenism that make you feel like you are moving forward when you are really not. Or you can play the colonial card and try to define yourself from your actual position, which is much more difficult in the short term, but does have the aura of possible helping to lead Guam in the next step of its political evolution.

Although t…


This month or next I'll be finishing off an art project I've been working on for more than a year with my brother Jack and i nananfamagu'on-hu Jessica Chan. To be truthful, while I have been working on it for more than a year, the hardwork is actually being done by these artists, I'm doing more of the conceptualizing of it.

The project is titled The Untold Story of the Chamurai: How Chamorro and Samurai Warriors Fought off the Spanish in Guam in 1616. I will provide the description below for you to read to get a better idea of what I'm intending, and you should be interested after reading such a weird title. I received a Guam CAHA grant for this project and so the excerpt below is from my grant proposal.

The artwork will be displayed in an exhibit sometime this fall. I'm not sure where. I might have a small exhibit in a few months of the just the artwork, perhaps at I.P. Coffee or a similar place. Then later around December I might have a more serious show of…

5 Arrested in Gangjeong as Police Escalate Violence

Recently my friend Sung Hee Choi was released from being imprisoned for holding a banner in front of a construction site for a Naval facility in Gangjeong that she was protesting. The banner stated "Touch not one stone. Not one flower." She was imprisoned for 3 months.

I have written several posts about the struggle of the people of Gangjeong against the construction of a base in their small town in Southern Jeju which would destroy much of their beautiful ecosystem. If you'd like to learn more Save Jeju is a great website to start looking at.

Earlier today the police entered the village and arrested 5 people including Mayor Kang as construction began of the facility there. The Navy base there is being built by the South Korean Government but will also be used by US forces and the ships that dock there will be purchased from the United States (Aegis Destroyers). When I spoke to Mayor Kang last year when I visited Jeju he had much to say about how he did not approve with …

The Not So Secret Guam Wikileaks

“The Not-So-Secret Guam Wikileaks”
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
August 17, 2011
The Marianas Variety

Former Congressman Robert Underwood used to call Guam “The Rodney Dangerfield of the Pacific” because it never seems to get much respect from the Federal Government or from the United States in general. So when I first heard that there were Guam mentions in the much discussed and maligned Wikileaks archive of US State Department communiqués, I was certain that most of them wouldn’t be of any substance, but rather reflect the way Guam is often mentioned in American popular culture; as the butt of jokes. Eventually we learned that the details were very important and shed much light on how the Guam military buildup was or wasn’t really planned. They were salacious enough, although not in the silly way I had initially wished for. For your reading pleasure here are some of the not-so-secret Wikileaks Guam mentions that I imagined finding.

I was certain that several of them would simply be convers…

I Galaiden Mata'pang

Yanggen guaha lugat-mu agupa' gi pupuenge...

University of Michigan Associate Professor Vicente Diaz will present, "In the Wake of Matapang's Canoe: Alternative Histories of Chamorro Catholicism and its Opposition" on Tuesday, August 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the University of Guam CLASS Lecture Hall as the featured speaker in Robert Underwood’s Presidential Lecture Series.
Vicente M. Diaz, PhD, is Associate Professor of Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies at the University of Michigan.
Born and raised on Guam, Diaz taught Pacific History and Micronesian Studies at the University of Guam from 1992 to 2001 until he relocated to his present post at the University of Michigan.

Diaz is a co-founder of the Guam Traditional Seafarers, which helped revived traditional canoe building and navigation in Guam, served as the historian for Hale'ta series of Guam history and civics books produced by the Guam Political Status Educational Coordinating Commission in the 1990s.

August 5, 1981

30 Years Ago Today: The Middle Class Died
Saturday 6 August 2011
by: Michael Moore

From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, "When did this all begin, America's downward slide?" They say they've heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent's income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer.

That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house.

And this meant that no matter how "lowly" your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.

Young people have heard of this mythical time -- but it was no myth, it was real. A…

The Translator's Vice

Every once in a while I seem to disappear from the face of the island.

People call my phone and I don't answer. Emails pile up and I don't respond to them. People don't see me in my usual places. My course work for classes is more abbreviated and rushed than usual.

If you ever notice this happen to me then rest assured I am not addicted to any drugs, nor have I taken up some new misanthropic new hobby. What has probably happened is that I've taken on a new translation project (from English to Chamorro), and I'm probably bunkered up in my office at home or at UOG, typing in frustrated bursts into my computer, and occasionally coming up for air by digging for some archaic word in my Chamorro-English dictionary. I sometimes take on projects like this in order to make some extra money, and just because I also find it to be an interesting experience.

So if it seems like I've been gone for a few days, I'm lost in translation yet again. I got a particularly lar…

Republican Truths, Stranger than Fiction

"Republicans: The Truth is Stranger than Dystopian Science Fiction" By John Amato August 17, 2011 06:00 AM' Crooks and
If you witnessed the last GOP Presidential debate on Fox News, you witnessed a Republican field of candidates that have become a cross between the John Birch Society, the Moral Majority and Americans For Tax Reform. When Jack Abramoff, Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed burst onto the scene via the College Republicans, they were considered the tea party of their day by both parties. Complete radicals who had insane ideas and weren't to be taken seriously. I mean, they really loved South Africa under Apartheid.
Fast forward 30 years and their ideas have become embedded into the heart of the GOP. Thomas Frank predicts much of what happened to Obama in interview with Amy Goodman back in August of 2008 because he understood their bag of tricks as well as anyone ever has, especially on deficit spending:
But the most insidious one, the most insi…

The Normal Becomes the Fearful

My summer ends tomorrow. It wasn't much of a summer because I had to teach the entire time and took on several other projects in order to get by, but it was nice not teaching 5 or 6 classes a week for two months.

I want to celebrate the end of the summer by watching some senseless movie tonight. I was thinking of Final Destination 5 . I've always been a fan of horror and suspense movies. When I say fan I don't mean that I particularly enjoy watching them, since a lot of the time I'm watching with my glasses off or watching events out of the corner of my eye. But I am always a fan of the simple plots and narratives that horror movies employ. Like any genre there are conventions and there are attempts to break those conventions. There are ways of citing older films, attempting to break into new territories. Alot of times horror and suspense films are simply taking an experience everyone is already used to and moving it into a new location where you can do the same things…

Public Service Post #20: Guiya na Palao'an

Hu sen guaiya dandan Chamoru.

Whenever I'm asked what kind of music I enjoy, I can't really name many artists or styles that I really actually like that much, with the exception of Chamorro music. It doesn't really matter what kind of Chamorro music, so long as it uses the Chamorro language I always give it a chance. For instance I tend not to like country music, but I really enjoy Chamorro country music.

One of the saddest things about the direction of the Chamorro  language is that since it is declining in use and basically ceasing to be a living language, that means that its chances at adapting and taking of new life are limited. For example, there are Chamorro musicians out there making every type of possible music. But as they branch out and expand their interests and abilities, chances are very slim that they know the language and even slimmer that they have any interest in using the Chamorro language in the new styles that they are playing or composing in.

The star…

Manainaitai Yu'

I haven't posted anything in a couple days.

It's not because I haven't been writing anything lately, I've actually been writing plenty. Both for this blog, but also for other projects. I just haven't had time or energy to post anything. I've still kept up with  my Tumblr "I Pilan Yanggen Sumahi..." and I still tweet on Twitter. I've also been swamped with preparing a grant proposal for next month and the fact that school starts next week at UOG.

One thing which is also taking my time away from this blog is the fact that I've been trying to catch up on my summer reading this past week, even though the summer is almost over. I had a pile of books that I wanted to read but didn't get to most of them because I was too busy teaching, writing, taking care of my kids and starting a new relationship. But this past week I decided to set aside a good chunk of time to just relax myself and read for a while.

One of the first books I picked up was The…

Because Their Fathers Lied

They Died in Vain; Deal With It
Published on Monday, August 8, 2011

by Ray McGovern

Many of those preaching at American church services Sunday extolled as “heroes” the 30 American and 8 Afghan troops killed Saturday west of Kabul, when a helicopter on a night mission crashed, apparently after taking fire from Taliban forces. This week, the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) can be expected to beat a steady drumbeat of “they shall not have died in vain.”

But they did. I know it is a hard truth, but they did die in vain.

As in the past, churches across the country will keep praising the fallen troops for protecting “our way of life,” and few can demur, given the tragic circumstances.

But, sadly, such accolades are, at best, misguided — at worst, dishonest. Most preachers do not have a clue as to what U.S. forces are doing in Afghanistan and why. Many prefer not to think about it. There are some who do know better, but virtually all in that category eventually opt to pu…