Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rolling Stone on the Oregon Militia

Rolling Stone has done a couple of stories on the white militia occupation in Oregon. Here are two of them.


WTF Just Happened to the Oregon Militia, Explained
by Tim Dickinson
Rolling Stone

The FBI has cut off the head of the snake of the militia occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outside Burns, Oregon.

The FBI announced Tuesday night that it had arrested eight militia members and that the leader of the standoff, Ammon Bundy, is in custody. One militant is dead, another wounded. Here's what you need to know.

Did federal officials finally raid the wildlife refuge?

No. The militants got cocky and went on a road trip. The FBI intercepted a group of six occupiers traveling on the state highway to John Day, an east Oregon city 70 miles north of Burns, where militants had been scheduled to appear at an anti-government rally Tuesday evening.

Who did the FBI capture?

The FBI arrested Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan; the Bundy brothers' bodyguard, Brian "Booda" Cavalier; the occupation's security chief Ryan Payne; and Shawna Cox, a south Utah woman who had occasionally served as a spokesperson.

Did the militants put up a fight?

The FBI only reports that "shots were fired" and that one militant died. The FBI did not identify the deceased. However, The Oregonian confirms that LaVoy Finicum — the Arizona rancher better known to cable TV viewers as "Tarp Man" — was the one killed. Finicum had previously touted his willingness to die for this cause, insisting he would not be going to prison: "I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box."

How have anti-government groups reacted to Finicum's death?

On the Bundy Ranch Facebook page, Finicum is already being held up as a martyr: "LaVoy has been murdered by goverment [sic] officials.... One of liberty's finest patriots is fallen. He will not go silent into eternity. Our appeal is to heaven."

Was anyone else hurt in the shootout?

Another militant sustained what the FBI called non-life-threatening injuries. Ryan Bundy reportedly received a superficial gunshot wound and was taken to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. Audio posted on the Bundy Ranch Facebook page says, "Ryan has been shot in the arm."

Were there other arrests Tuesday night?

Near Burns, Peter Santilli, a patriot talk radio host from Ohio who had joined the occupiers, was arrested by the FBI. A militant named Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy was arrested by Oregon state police.

In Arizona, where he had traveled home to visit his family, the anti-Muslim militant Jon Ritzheimer also surrendered to the FBI. On Facebook hours earlier, Ritzheimer wrote, "the Feds know I am here and are asking me to turn myself in." Ritzheimer posted a video in which he can be seen hugging his daughters, saying, "Daddy's gotta go — he's gotta go away for a little while."

What were the militants charged with?

According to the FBI, surviving militants are being charged with "a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats."

What's the status of the remaining occupiers?

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the occupation was ongoing. But a showdown there may be imminent.
How the Oregon Militants' plans went sidewats
by Tim Dickinson
Rolling Stone
The armed standoff in remote southeast Oregon, where white militants led by the Bundy clan have taken over federal buildings at a wildlife refuge, isn't going according to plan. 
The would-be insurrectionists are undermanned, undersupplied and exhausted. They've been unable to provoke the confrontation with federal agents that they chest-thumpingly declared themselves willing to die in. And they've found themselves roundly mocked on social media as "Yee-hawdists" in the service of "Y'all Qaeda," "Yokel Haram" or "Vanilla ISIS."

Taking up arms against the federal government is no laughing matter, of course. And if the militants were black, brown or Muslim, they'd likely be dead by now. But for a group of heavily armed Christian white dudes play-acting at revolution, things could hardly be going worse.

On Monday night, in fact, one Bundy brother told Oregon Public Broadcasting the militiamen might be willing to move along now — if the community requests it: "This is their county – we can't be here and force this on them," Ryan Bundy said. "If they don't want to retrieve their rights, and if the county people tell us to leave, we'll leave."

How did the Bundy plan for revolution go sideways? The troubled evolution of the plot can be traced via Ammon Bundy's social media presence.

December 29

The grand scheme to take a "hard stand" against federal "tyranny" took shape in the days after Christmas. In a video posted December 29, Ammon Bundy, son of the infamous deadbeat rancher Cliven, decried the "tremendous abuses" faced by a pair of Oregon cattlemen convicted of arson by the federal government. "We have to say that either we're OK with these gross, blatant violations of the constitution… or we make a stand," Bundy declared.

That's when Bundy, fighting tears, issued a call to action to his family's militant, anti-government supporters: "I'm asking you — and you know who you are: You that came, and you that felt to come, to the Bundy Ranch — I'm asking you to come to Burns [Oregon] on January 2, to make a stand."

December 31

Almost from the beginning, there were warning signs that this plot wasn't gelling, because of internal strife in the "patriot" community. In his next video, posted on New Year's Eve, a nervous looking Ammon Bundy calls out to militia members across the country. He pleads with them to flout the orders of militia leaders who, he reveals, had been calling for a "stand down" — instead of a standoff — in Oregon.

Looking into the camera lens, Bundy says: "I am wanting to talk to the individual, to the patriot. This is not the time to stand down," he says, "It's time to stand up. And come to Harney County. We need your help. And we're asking for it. No matter what your leader says… you need to get to Burns on the 2nd."

January 2

Bundy did find followers, including men like John Ritzheimer, the Arizona man who organized the gun-toting protest of the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix last October. Ritzheimer ventured to Oregon and declared himself, in a goodbye video to his family, "100 percent willing to lay my life down to fight against tyranny in this country."

Seizing an unoccupied federal complex wasn't the tricky part. Following a demonstration on the streets of Burns on Saturday, January 2, the Bundy militiamen drove 30 miles south to execute their takeover of the compound at the federal Malheur National Wildlife Refuge — which was closed for the weekend, and to which somehow they had obtained a full set of keys.

The Malheur complex has more than half a dozen buildings, and one, major strategic asset for men with guns: a massive fire-watch tower, easily converted for use by snipers.

In the immediate aftermath of the Saturday takeover, Bundy talked a big game: "We're planning on staying here for years, absolutely," he said. "This is not a decision we've made at the last minute."

The militants also told reporters that their numbers were legion — as many as 150. Oddly, however, Bundy also issued a call for backup: "Those who... feel the need to stand, we're asking them to come. We have a facility that we can house them in. We need you to come and be unified with us so we can be protected," he said.

January 3

By light of day it becomes clear the militants' manpower was greatly exaggerated: Credible estimates from visitors to the complex put their number at fewer than two dozen, and perhaps as low as 15 men. And this skeleton crew is clearly struggling to secure the sprawling complex in the bitter cold of the Oregon high desert, where temperatures drop into the single digits at night.

By Sunday night a visibly exhausted Ammon Bundy made a new call for reinforcement, invoking his divine inspiration: "I know that what we did is right. I know the Lord is involved, and I know that we're going to see great things come from this," Bundy said. "But we need you. We need you," he pleaded. "We have a group of wonderful people here that are strong. We've got good numbers. But there is a lot to do, and we will eventually get tired if we do not have help. We also need more of a defense. Need to make sure that there is enough people here that nobody comes down upon us — and that is a very real reality right now. So we need you to come and we need you be part of this."

January 4

The militant's preparedness for an as-long-as-it-takes standoff was similarly laughable. By Monday, it was clear the militants were under-resourced, and hungry. Supporters put out a call online to send "supplies and snacks."

Another self-described "patriot," Maureen Peltier, took to Facebook with a laundry list of desired supplies, including foil, hygiene needs and locks, and provided an address where supporters can send them.

Ironically, the same folks who are seeking a local overthrow of the federal government still seem to have confidence the government will deliver their mail.

As the standoff has dragged on, the federal government seems content to let the militants freeze in isolation — and tire of their make-believe revolution.

Even once-reliably anti-government Republicans are turning their backs: Ted Cruz, who once sympathized with Cliven Bundy's stand against the Obama administration's "jackboot authoritarianism," has called on Bundy's sons to "stand down."

The Harney County Sheriff released a statement saying flatly: "It's time for you to leave our community."

Even the wife of one of the two local ranchers — for whose honor and justice the militants claim to be ready to lay down their lives — has been throwing shade: "I don't really know the purpose of the guys who are out there," she told Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Where We Are Now

Instead of building the fearsome anti-government insurgency of their fever dreams, the hungry, dirty, exhausted Bundy militants are looking more and more like the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. Here's hoping they have the sense to lay down their weapons before their true marksmanship is tested.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Why She Supports Bernie Sanders

 Democracy for America, who was disseminating it on behalf of the Bernice Sanders campaign. I'm posting it here because I feel like I've been neglecting the Presidential campaign in the US lately because of research commitments, writing commitments, activist commitments and then my loves and my family. To be very honest, I've only been following the campaign(s) to the extent to which Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah or Seth Meyers are covering it. This makes it easier not to be horrified at the deadly organism that is the Republican campaign and Republican candidates, as it is presented to me as ridiculous, as just the fluff perfect for jokes, even if they are tragic ones. As a result, even if they are foretelling doom and destruction for America if someone like Donald Trump or Ben Carson is elected President, the humor is a cushion, making it easier to deal with, since while it may not provide much pleasure for the intellectual portions of my mind, it sure as hell feeds the parts of my mind that want to laugh and giggle uncontrollably.
Received this today from

I still get plenty of emails, from both Democratic campaigns and Republican ones. This email struck me in a certain way, hence I am sharing it here:


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lucy Flores
Subject: Why I Support Bernie Sanders
I was a junior in college when the reality of today's economic and social injustice hit me squarely in the gut with soul crushing force. After managing through my own set of difficult circumstances -- escaping the cycle of poverty and dysfunction that included abandonment by my mother, gang-involvement, a stint on juvenile parole, a teenage abortion and becoming a high school drop-out -- I was working several jobs to get myself through school at the University of Southern California.

One of those jobs was assessing kids involved in a long-term study on the impact of early learning on brain development. As a research assistant I would go to the kids' homes and periodically assess their progress. Many of our participants lived in neighboring South Central Los Angeles where poverty, violence and drugs were rampant, but given my own experience growing up in similar conditions, that type of environment didn't shock my senses very much.

I arrived at my assigned child's house one day and began my normal routine of introducing myself to the parent and figuring out where in the home was best to do the assessment. I was used to working just about anywhere given that most homes I went to were tiny and cramped and generally didn't have a lot of room to work with, but on this occasion I noticed right off the bat that this was going to be different.

As soon as I walked into the tiny one-bedroom, single-story apartment, I looked around and saw things everywhere -- dirty clothes, dishes, shoes, plastic and paper bags, and what seemed like countless other things -- on just about every surface imaginable. There literally was not a single space to clear off or rearrange and the house smelled like it hadn't been exposed to fresh air in weeks, so I decided to work with the child on the apartment stoop.

The child was about 5 years old -- a young black boy who even despite his living conditions had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. I made my way through my standard questions -- "How often do you read?" "Sometimes, when I'm in school." "How often does your mom read with you?" "Never." "Do you enjoy reading?" "Yes." "How much? On a scale of sad face to happy face, point to the face that shows how much you enjoy reading." He pointed to happy face. So on and so forth. When we got to the end, I told him he did great and began to put away my things.

As I was packing, he abruptly pointed to something and said, "Can I have that?" I didn't have anything special so I looked at him confused and asked, "Have what?" "That." He said, still pointing. I looked down again and saw that my happy face assessment sheet was at the top of my stack of papers. I immediately realized he wanted to keep my sheet - my black and white, photo-copied a thousand times over, sheet that had sad to happy faces on it. Then I realized how anxious he seemed that I might say no, so I asked, "Do you have any books at all in there?" "No." "Do you have anything to read at all? A magazine or something?" "No." "Do you have toys? Or anything to play with?" "No." "Do you have anything at all? Like crayons or pens or something?" "No."

And then it struck me: this bright kid, this happy, starry-eyed kid, this kid with all the potential in the world, had nothing. He had a filthy, dirty apartment with no active parenting, no role models around, and I was about to make his week just by giving him my happy face sheet. So I said, "Well of course you can have my sheet!" Then I started to furiously dig around my bag to see what else I could find. I found some neon highlighters he could color with, a few extra happy face sheets, and some red and blue pens.

I gave it all to him. Then I said, "Ok, I have to go now. Have fun coloring your sheets. And remember to read at school every chance you get!" He happily nodded as he walked back into his filthy apartment. I walked to the sidewalk, sat on the curb, and sobbed uncontrollably. I sobbed with despair I hadn't felt, well, ever. I knew as soon as I walked away what was likely in store for that kid -- I knew the odds were against him, just like they were against me. I knew that statistically-speaking, he was likelier to end up in prison or dead than end up attending college. I knew that I had just witnessed the human tragedy that is wasted potential.

And I knew I was powerless to do anything about it. Until I realized that I wasn't.

Until I realized that change is achieved one person at a time, one day at a time, and one vote at a time.

I think about this boy all the time. I wonder if he beat the odds. I wonder where he is. I wonder if he's still alive. He still makes my heart hurt. I thought about him when I first heard Bernie Sanders speak.

Choosing which candidate to support for president was one of the most difficult tasks I have done in the recent past. I've always been strong in my resolve, firmly planted in my roots and guided by my sense of justice. I have never made a political decision based on what was the "smart" or "safe" thing to do (just ask any of my often times dismayed political advisors) and I have always done what I believed aligned with my values and my ideals. But this decision was difficult because both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both accomplished and worthy candidates, and both are light years ahead of any of the Republican choices. And as the first Latina elected to the Nevada legislature in the history of the state, and as a young woman who has struggled mightily in this male-dominated world of politics, Hillary inspires a lot of pride.

But only one of these candidates makes me think of that young boy in South Central Los Angeles -- and that's Bernie Sanders. We used to live in a country where the "American Dream" was attainable for most. We used to live in a country where you could make it if you tried, where upward mobility was a tangible thing, and where education was the key to success.

But that's not the America we live in anymore. Fewer and fewer Americans are able to break the cycle of poverty, wages are stagnant or declining for most except for the top 1%, and our political system is dominated by millionaires and billionaires. Secure retirements and pensions are becoming a thing of the past, and that key to success via education is instead becoming a weight of massive debt hanging around the necks of young people everywhere, myself included. How did we end up in a country where you can break the cycle of poverty only to end up in a cycle of debt?

I believe that Bernie Sanders wakes up every day with these things on his mind. That the unfairness of it all weighs on his heart, just like it does mine, and that when he is elected, he will do whatever it takes to make America the land of opportunity again. I believe that Bernie Sanders will lead the charge, with many millions of Americans behind him, against the unfettered Wall Street greed that has threatened the very existence of the middle class and shackled so many more to permanent poverty. I believe that now, more than ever, America needs a political revolution.

I hope you will join me.

Lucy Flores
Democratic candidate for Nevada's 4th Congressional District

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Ti siguru yu' hafa maolek na pinila' gi Fino' Chamoru para i palabara "avalanche." Sina un deskribi gui' gi Fino' Chamoru komo un nåpu pat un pakyo'. Sina un usa palabra siha ni' para u ma deskribi i kinalamten-ña pat i fuetså-ña, pat i piligro kada mana'fanhuyong. Ti siguru yu' hafa i mas propiu na pinila'. Manhahasso yu' put este sa' unu na kanta ni' gof ya-hu (ya hu e'ekungok gui' pa'go ha' na momento) i na'an-ña "Avalancha" ginen un inetnon danderu ginen España "Heroes del Silencio." Anai i fine'nina hu hungok i palabra, ti hu komprende hafa ilelek-ña i taotao, lao gof ya-hu i bos-na yan i tunada. Ya kada mafåtto i koru ya ma essalao "Avalancha!" malago' yu' tumachu yan umessalao lokkue'. Kada hu hungok ya na påtte, hu imahihina na ma'u'u'dai yu' un kabayu gi hilo' un nåpu niebes ni' pumopoddong ginen un takhilo' na okso.

Meggai na che'cho'-hu pa'go na puenge ya gof maolek na hu sodda' este na kanta ta'lo, sa' siña ha nå'i yu' animu para bei na'funhyana todu antes di bei maigo'.

Guini papa' hu popost i palabras para i kanta. Gaige lahihot i palabras siha gi Fino' Espanot. Gaige lapapa' i pinila' gi Fino' Ingles.

Gof malago' yu' na bei pula' este gi Fino' Chamoru, lao ayu para un otro na puenge!


Heroes del Silencio

La locura nunca tuvo maestro
Para los que vamos a bogar sin
Rumbo perpetuo
En cualquier otra direccion con

Tal de no domar los caballos de la exaltacion
La rutina hace sombra a las
Pupilas, que se cierran a los
Disfrutes que nos quedan


Necesitamos el valioso tiempo
Que abandonas sin saber que
Cojones hacer con el
Nosotros somos la comida y

Alguien esta efectivamente hambriento
No hay retorno a la conciencia
Tras el desvario del amor


Aun nos quedan cosas por hacer
Si no das un paso te estancas
Aun nos quedan cosas por decir
Y no hablas

La locura nunca tuvo maestro
Para los que vamos a bogar sin
Rumbo perpetuo
La muerte sera un adorno que

Pondr al regalo de mi vida
La luna ejerce extraos influjos
Que se contradicen y no hay
Quien descifre


 Pinila' ginen as:
Lyrics Translate

Madness never had a teacher
For those that we are aimlessly rowing for ever.
In any other direction
In order not to tame the horses of exaltation.
The routine obscures the pupils,
That close themselves to the pleasures that remain.


We need the valuable time that you abandon
Without knowing what the hell to do with it.
We are the food
And someone is really hungry
There is no return to consciousness
After the madness of stormy love.


We still have things to do,
If you don't step, you become stagnant.
We still have things to say
And you do not talk.

Madness never had a teacher
For those that we are aimlessly rowing for ever.
Death will be an ornament
That I will place as the gift of my life.
The moon exercises strange influences
That contradict themselves and no one can decipher.


Sexual Harassment at UOG

Articles on the current clash between UOG and Adelup, Calvo and Underwood.


Calvo, Underwood clash over UOG case
by John O'Connor
Guam Daily Post

In light of Gov. Eddie Calvo’s claims that University of Guam leadership stood up for indicted professor Michael Ehlert, UOG President Robert Underwood held a press conference yesterday describing these statements as “incomplete and misinformed.”

In the press conference, Underwood addressed several concerns outlined in a statement released by the governor. Namely, that two women involved in a case against Ehlert were mistreated and that the university acted in his favor.

“In the news and in email I’ve seen, UOG leadership has stood up for the alleged predator … and hasn’t said a thing about the victims,” Calvo said. “Silence is wrong. Institutionalized silence should be criminal.”

Underwood said actions against Ehlert were made based on information available at the time. In November 2014, a sexual harassment complaint was made against Ehlert at UOG and he was placed on administrative leave shortly after. An internal investigation was launched and Ehlert was suspended without pay for three months in March.

Underwood said he contacted the chief of police in December 2015 to inquire if an active investigation was moving forward against Ehlert. When this was confirmed, Ehlert was again put on administrative leave. He was indicted on Jan. 11.

Underwood said the indictment revealed information not revealed during UOG’s internal investigation. He said Ehlert has not been in the classroom since being placed on leave. 


Underwood added that Ehlert’s future at the university hinged on the results of his court case. But if the case dragged on UOG would have to come up with a decision “based on the information that is in the indictment.”

He said there was no institutionalized silence at UOG as the governor stated. In the upcoming semester, UOG plans to conduct a sexual harassment climate survey to gauge perceptions around the issue.

“We intend to complete the revision of the sexual harassment/consensual sex policy and conduct more professionally based training. In addition, we will be re-organizing our (equal employment opportunity) office to include an additional staffer to deal with EEO issues specifically with students and Title IX.”

The governor also criticized actions allegedly taken against UOG associate professor Ron McNinch. He said McNinch was being “persecuted” for standing up for the women involved in Ehlert’s case. McNinch had spoken extensively about student safety and has made calls for stricter rules regarding teacher and student fraternization since the incident with Ehlert was first made public in August 2015.

McNinch has now filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that the university was retaliating by launching an investigation against him.

Underwood rejected the idea that there was any “persecution” against McNinch. Underwood said the professor was under investigation for statements he made in August 2015, when he claimed to have been reporting criminal behavior at UOG for the past 18 years.

“I have begun an investigation into the veracity of the commentary that he made as a violation of UOG policy,” Underwood said.


UOG President: Governor Calvo's statements "misinformed"
Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno,  
The Pacific Daily News
10:36 a.m. ChST January 23, 2016

Gov. Eddie Calvo’s characterization of how University of Guam leadership handled sexual misconduct allegations against an associate professor is misinformed, UOG President Robert Underwood said Friday.

Underwood called a press conference Friday within a few hours of the governor releasing an address discussing the case involving Michael B. Ehlert, an associate professor of psychology that a Superior Court grand jury recently indicted on criminal sexual misconduct and official misconduct charges.
Ehlert is accused of using his authority as a teacher to force sexual acts on two female students, who were 19 and 23 at the time of the alleged October 2014 incident, according to court documents.
He is scheduled to appear at a Jan. 27 court hearing for an arraignment, which gives him a chance to enter a plea.

In his address, the governor said, in part: “UOG leadership has stood up for the alleged predator … and hasn’t said a thing about the victims.”

Underwood, at the press conference, responded to the governor’s words.

“Gov. Calvo’s statement making a judgment about the case involving Dr. Ehlert and his characterization of the university’s treatment of the two women involved are incomplete and misinformed,” Underwood said.

“It is not often that the standing of the university and its leadership becomes a direct concern to the governor,” he added.

A sexual harassment complaint against Ehlert was filed at UOG on Nov. 3, 2014, and the associate professor was removed from the classroom and placed on administrative leave a week later, according to a time line Underwood released.

On Nov. 7, 2014, UOG launched its investigation, and during this time, the victims were contacted multiple times to ensure they had access to adequate resources, according to Underwood.
In his address, Calvo said sexual predators have gotten away with molesting women and children because no one would say anything.

He added: “Unfortunately, that still happens in some cases. But, we’ve gotten better over the past few years. We’ve helped each other to understand that we have a moral and a legal duty to speak up for people being abused. Silence is wrong. Institutionalized silence should be criminal.”

The Guam Attorney General’s Office recently released information on how any additional victim or witness can contact the AG’s office, which has an ongoing investigation into the Ehlert case.

“If there are any more victims and witnesses — whether student or faculty — I urge you to come forward,” the governor said in a prepared statement. “Report this to the police or the prosecutors. Call Chief Prosecutor Phil Tydingco at 475-3406, at extension 2410.”

“The law is on your side,” the governor stated, addressing the two alleged victims. “It is just too bad how the executives of the school you pay for a higher education treated you this way.”

UOG confirmed to the Pacific Daily News in August last year that Ehlert was suspended in connection with “unwanted sexual advances” on two of his students, at an off-campus activity for one of his psychology classes.

In a memo to the UOG community on Jan. 13 this year, Underwood stated: “The indictment makes allegations and outlines behavior which are far more egregious and even more serious than any revealed in our internal, administrative investigation.”

Ehlert had been scheduled to return to UOG for the 2016 spring semester classes until Underwood decided in late December — before the indictment — to place Ehlert on administrative leave and barred the associate professor of psychology from contact with students on campus.

The governor also said the professor “who tried to stand up for the young ladies was persecuted, with a formal complaint against him for speaking up.”

A UOG associate professor, Ron McNinch, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Education, stating he’s being retaliated against after having publicly voiced concerns about the Ehlert case.

McNinch wrote, in a Jan. 19 email to EEOC and U.S. DOE, that the university faculty union's president, Donald Platt, has sought disciplinary action against McNinch.

Platt has denied having sought disciplinary action against McNinch, but McNinch said Platt has written to the UOG president about a work-related allegation that is a cause for disciplinary and adverse action.

Platt wrote, in part, in emails to faculty and Underwood, that McNinch “concocted a fake sexual harassment crisis at UOG — fake because the facts don’t back up his claim — that he lied about filing reports on male faculty members to the criminal justice system at various times over the past 18 years, and that he exploited the Ehlert case as the ostensible reason for going public at the start of this semester.”

Underwood has said the allegations Platt has raised against McNinch has nothing to do with the whistle-blowing.

“I understand the whistleblower law and I respect it,” Underwood said. “I understand everyone should … if they see a crime, or they suspect a crime, then they are free to go to the authorities and report those, but of course we expect as well that they report it to the university as well.”

Underwood said McNinch isn’t being persecuted, as the governor has alleged.

“Truth is a requirement in order for balance to occur,” Underwood said. “In the statement of Gov. Calvo, I fear that the absence of much of the information that I have presented has created an imbalance in his public statement."


Governor critical of leadership at UOG
by Isa Baza

Governor Eddie Calvo is calling out the leadership at the University of Guam for how it handled a complaint against a professor that has now been indicted by a superior court grand jury for criminal sexual conduct.

The island's chief executive doesn't believe leadership at UOG properly handled a well-publicized sexual assault case involving indicted psychology professor Dr. Michael Ehlert and two female victims. Concerns over the way the issue was handled prompted harsh words from Governor Calvo, who said in an address, "I cannot believe how the University leadership has treated the case of two young ladies, ages 20 and 23, who courageously came forward to report a sexual assault by one of their professors."

The two students reported the incident in to UOG in 2014, and adverse action was handed down. Yet it wasn't until this past January 11 that Professor Elhert was indicted. Although Ehlert was scheduled to teach this spring, news of his indictment led UOG president Dr. Robert Underwood to put Ehlert on administrative leave indefinitely until the case unfolds.

However, these actions did not stave off Governor Calvo's concerns. He called it deplorable that the one professor who tried to stand up for the victims was allegedly persecuted, and now has a formal investigation against him. That professor, Ron McNinch said, "I complained to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after I felt I was being harassed for things I had said about sexual harassment and student safety here, among other things."

Late Friday Dr. Underwood held a press conference to address the governor's concerns. During the evnt he affirmed the university's commitment to student safety, saying, "Governor Calvo's statement making a judgment about the case involving Dr. Ehlert and his characterization of the university's treatment of the two women involved are incomplete and misinformed."  Underwood also said UOG follows policies that are based on local and federal law, and are commonly accepted in universities throughout the nation.

He said university leadership followed protocol, offered counseling to the victims, and is working to strengthen sexual harassment policies.

As for the retaliation charges by Dr. McNinch, Dr. Underwood claimed UOG denied retaliation had occurred in its response to the EEOC.

In the meantime, Adelup urges anyone who may be victims of sexual assault to report it police or the Attorney General's Office at 475-3406.

As for Dr. Ehlhert, he is scheduled to answer to the charges against him  on Wednesday, January 27.


 Gov. Calvo questions UOG leadership, Underwood responds
Timothy Mchenry
Pacific News Center

In response, the president of UOG Dr. Robert Underwood held a press conference to respond to the Gov.’s statement. 
Guam - Governor Calvo is now speaking out against UOG leadership by saying that UOG leadership stood up for alleged sexual predator Prof. Michael Elhert. In response, the president of UOG Dr. Robert Underwood held a press conference to respond to the Gov.’s statement.

Gov. Calvo's statement comes a couple of days after UOG Prof. Dr. Ron Mcninch revealed that he had filed a complaint against the university for what he says is retaliation against him for speaking out against crimes at UOG. Additionally Calvo's statement calls on victims, student or faculty, to come forward and call cheif prosecutor Phillip Tydincgo at the AG's office to report. Calvo is referring to the university's handling of the case of prof. Michael Elhert who was indicted last week on charges of criminal sexual conduct. Court documents state that Ehlert digitally penetrated two of his students at an off campus Halloween party in 2014. For his part, Underwood said in a press conference that Calvo's statements about UOG's handling of the Ehlert case are "incomplete and misinformed." Additionally, Underwood takes full responsibility for UOG's handling of the Ehlert case. In Mcninch's case, Underwood says there is an investigation looking into the claims made by Mcninch that the public administration Prof. has reported 'criminal behavior' to the university over the course of 18 years. Underwood says the investigation is looking into whether or not Mcninch actually reported these alleged crimes. On Mcninch, Underwood said, "the matter concerning Dr. Mcninch is of interest only because he has made it so, but it is not an integral part of our activities.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Fina'kuentos Chamorro #5: An Meggai Sinangan-mu...

Last year I gave a presentation to a high school class here on Guam about the way we can understand Guam history, its trends, its tendencies, its cycles through various Chamorro sayings. For some reason, today I have that presentation on my mind.

I undertake a similar activity in my World History and Guam History courses. In order to understand what history as a concept is, I don't give students definitions per se, instead I give them 28 - 30 quotes that people have said about history and its characteristics, its importance or its irrelevance. No single quote is meant to encapsulate everything or explain and cover everything, but rather they each provide some texture to aspects, some structural understanding or descriptions to tendencies. History in the mind of one scholar is an essential part of human activity, for another it is an illusion, a means of trying to imagine control over things you have no control over. I find the complicated mess that the quotes create an important philosophical metaphor for students, especially those who are looking for a single sentence to write down in their notes, so they don't have to think about anything beyond that.

For that presentation, I tried to do something similar about Guam/Chamorro history, but using quotes in the Chamorro language. Not quotes from famous people per se, but rather axioms, proverbs, small fragments of wisdom, from a variety of epistemological sources. I wanted to show something similar in terms of the complexity of Guam's history and also infuse a Chamorro flavor to it, to try to not interpret it from some impossible universal position, but rather to give it the metaphor, the cultural weight, the epistemological relevance to Chamorro pasts. When I presented this to a high school class however my intent was lost of my students, who didn't appear to get what I was trying to do. Even the teacher who had invited me, found a polite way of expressing that she wished I had presented something a little bit more straight-forward, like maybe just giving basic facts and information about historical events or figures. Not something so complicated, like thinking of history as a complex thing.

Esta payon yu' nu este na klasen kuentos. I'm already used to this gap between what I intend to communicate to people in things I write or present and what is received. Sometimes people tell me they really liked my column in the Guam Daily Post. When I talk more with them about what they liked, it is revealed that they liked one sentence or even just the title. The overall argument was lost, but that one aspect, they ended up hanging on to. Sometimes it is fun, bei admite, because people end up attributing to me arguments I was nowhere near in what I wrote or presented, but it reveals much about the imagined castle they formed in their mind, building off of a single word or sentence that they processed. For example, I once gave a presentation in which I argued that the danger that the military buildup represented to Guam in cultural terms, was primarily about "Americanization" and how it can represent another way that we degrade ourselves locally and imagine the US, our master and savior to be liberating us from always evolving problems. The danger is not so much from the direct ways culture might change, like there will be less weavers or blacksmiths or cultural dancers. It doesn't even directly affect the speaking of the Chamorro language. What it does affect though is the culture of the island in terms of its sense of self and community. Hafa na klasen taotao hit? It affects culture in terms of how you see the choices of the world and the natural relationships, the tendencies for resources, for power, for possibility. The buildup as proposed, as discussed and as lauded as holding messianic properties, affecting the culture of the island negatively because it reinforced so many colonial ideas that are still vibrant and alive, even if no one is forcing them down anyone's throats directly anymore.

After my presentation, a few people approached me to talk about what I had said. The person who ended up speaking with me for more than 10 minutes, had understood almost nothing of what I had said, but repeatedly thanked me for how much clearer things seemed for him. He boiled my talk down to "culture is what we make of it and if it is lost, it is because we lost it." On one level, he was right. There was an element of truth to his interpretation, but it focused on  single thing I had said, and ignored everything else. I tried to talk to him about it being more than that, but wasn't successful. He was looking for a way to ignore something he was concerned about with regards to the buildup (namely cultural harm) and what I had said could be fashioned into his missing ideological piece.

After I gave my presentation to that high school class, I had hoped that at least one of the students, hopefully had misinterpreted me in the way that man had years before. At least some misinterpretation like that would mean, something had passed through and it was processed, even if in a gof ma'i'ot na fashion. As I packed up my laptop and papers, one student did linger and followed me out asking me some hesitant questions as I went. She was surprised to see someone as young as me (ai na minaolak na patgon) speaking Chamorro and talking about Chamorro things. She shared some ideas with me for history projects she wanted to work on. She also said something to me, that made me feel like someone had appreciated my intent.

In my presentation I had shared a number of Chamorro sayings, all are in the Chamorro language, and while most are known to i manamko', they are not widely used or known to younger generations. They expressed the ways in which someone who grew up closer to the land, living in a tightly regulated Catholic existence, with an incredible native heritage that still persisted and insisted its presence in some ways, might see the world. It is a worldview that most would say is complicated, because the social and cultural contradictions for colonized people or native peoples seem more obvious that for others. Some like to say hybrid, and sometimes I might even approach such characterization, if only to save time in writing or explaining. But all communities bear similar forms of contradictions, there is just particularities to some based on their histories and a variety of other forces. In my presentation I tried to imagine what my grandparents or my great-grandparents, or even my great-great-grandparents might say if asked to analyze or discuss the vagaries of Chamorro history. They couldn't see everything or know everything, but they would speak from their positionality nonetheless. I tried my best with the proverbs to catch those certain possible Chamorro judgements or explanations of history. 

This student appreciated my effort, and in a way connected to my intent. She was far younger than me, but had her own elder experiences. She said, that although she hadn't heard most of the Chamorro sayings I presented, they reminded her of her great-grandmother, and the way she would talk about politics or history.

The saying that I used with the image of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump says "an meggai sinangan-mu, meggai dinagi-mu lokkue'" or "if you have lots to say, you have lots of lies as well." This reflects one view of Chamorro leadership or virtue. Those who speak alot, lie more, justify, excuse and distract more. Those who speak less, may be more virtuous, they have less to hide and can therefore be trusted more.

Over the years I've collected more than 400 Chamorro sayings. Here, below is a short list of some of the more common ones, some of which I used in that presentation.


Yanggen guaha minalago’, guaha siempre nina’siña

Tangga yan båchet i saina

Todu un dåggao mo’na, siempre un sodda’

Puti ñålang, lao putiña mahålang

Fa’cho’cho’ ya un chocho

I linachi-mu siha mås hao muna’kåpas

Ekungok i sinangan manåmko’, sa’ siha mas tumungo’

I salappe’ un sosodda’ un yuyute’, lao unu ha’ nanå-mu

Saosao nå’ya i matå-mu antes di un sångan i aplacha’ i otro

Un nota na tentasion, nahong na rason

Nina’i hao gi as Yu’os i chetnot-mu para un espiha i amot-mu

Tåya’ pinekkat sin fegi

Tåya’ aksion sin råson

An meggai sinangån-mu meggai dinagi-mu

Mungga manasse’ anggen ti ya-mu makasse’

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ayu na Lahi

Para si Isa

Despensa yu’ Guaiyayon na Nanå-hu
Ti hu na’funhåyan i che’cho’-hu gi gima’
Siña un sukne Si Yu’us
Kabåles Gui’ hunggan
Lao kana’ ha puno’ yu’ ni’ guinaiya
Anai ha få’tinas ayu na låhi

I Sengsong Malesso'

Estague un dikike’ na tinige’-hu put i sengsong Malesso’ giya Guahan. Hu tuigiyi i prayek I Ma’adahen i Fino’ Chamorro gi Koleho nu este. Dipotsi para u mausa gi un leksion put i sengsong gi sanhaya’ na songsong siha giya Guahan. Hu mentiona gi tinige’-hu unu na gof impottante lao esso malefa na sinisedi gi sengsong gi duranten i Tiempon Chapones, annai mangkahulo’ i Chamorro gi sengsong ya ma dulalak i sindalun Chapones, ya ma gogguen maisa siha.

Estague i tinige’-hu:
Gefpaʹgo Malessoʹ na songsong. Guaha pantalan ni siña maʹudai hao batko para un bisita Dånoʹ (Cocos Island). Esta hassan koʹkoʹ giya Guahan, lao siña mannoddaʹ hao koʹkoʹ giya Dånoʹ. Meggai na estoria put este na songsong lokkueʹ. Gi i Tiempon Chapones manmapunoʹ meggai na Chamorro ni i Chapones giya Tinta yan Fåha na lugat. Lao i Chamorro manachu ya ma kontra i Chapones ya manmadulalak huyong giya Atate. Este na aksion munaʹ fan såfu i Chamorro giya Guahan guihi na tiempon gera.

Gefpåʹgo na songsong iya Malesso lokkueʹ. Guaha kampanåyon giya Malessoʹ gi otro båndan chålan Kombenton Påle’. Si Påleʹ Cristobal de Cabals kumåhat i kampanayon gi mit nuebe sintos dies (1910). Este siha na klasen gumaʹ man mafanåʹan “mamposteria.”

Friday, January 15, 2016

Puntan Patgon

Ti Guahu tumuge' este na estoria, lao fihu hu sangan este na estoria gi klas-hu siha yan gi me'nan i famagu'on-hu. Estoria na estoria ni' mafa'na'an "Puntan Patgon." Este na estoria put i fihu na prublema siha gi familian Chamorro (yan gi todu i familian taotao). Achokka' mamparerentes, guaha nai ti maniniha put chinatkomprende. I Puntan Patgon na estoria uma'aya yan i estorian "Sirena" sa' i dos put i prublema anai ti manafa'maomaolek i manaina yan i famagu'on, sa' binibu pat hinesguan umentalo'. Hu hahasso este na dos na estoria todu tiempo, ya i mensahi gumigiha mo'na komo tata.


        Åntetes na tiempo gi tiempon i man mofo’na na taotao eståba un taotao i na’ån-ña si Masåla. I gima’-ña gaige gi inai giya Tålagi Si Masåla gof banidosu sa’ pudi sumen dangkolo yan sumen metgot gue'. Mansen ma'åñao i Chamorron Guahan.  Tåya' gi isla siña umigi si Masåla.

        Guaha lahi-ña si Masåla.Guiya para u sen dangkolo yan sen metgot lokkue'.Banidosu gi tutuhon si Masåla sa’ dangkolo, metgot yan tomtom i lahi-ña.

         Maloffan i tiempo ya matulaika sinente-ña si Masåla. Imbidiosu nu i lahi-ña sa’ i dinangkoloña yan i minetgot-ña.Ha emmok i lahi-ña. Tres åños ha’ i patgon  idat-ña annai lini’e’ as tatå-ña gi inai na humugågando. Gi un kånnai ha gogo’te i hachon, i otro kånnai gaige gi hålom i ngilo’ gi pappa’ trongkon niyok.

        Finaisen as tatå-ña i patgon. “ håfa bidada-mu guennao?” “ para bai hu fangonne’ pånglao lao ayugue ayuyu , bai hu konne’ i ayuyu, malago’ hao un li’e’?” Ilek-ña i patgon. Ha bokbok i patgon i trongkon niyok. Sin håfa na minappot, ina’atan ha’ as Masåla. Sumen lalålo’ si Masala. Embidiosu mampos si Masåla nu i lahi-ña.

        I patgon ha atan ya ha ripåra na sumen lalalo’ si tatå-ña. Ha yute i hachon, ma’åñao i patgon gi as tatå-ña, malågu para i halom tåno'. Tinattiyi as Masåla asta ki måtto giya Hinapsan, i linihan-ña i patgon tuma’yok gi kantet. Sumen dangkolo i tina’yok-ña ya sumen chågo i linagua’-ña måtto ha’ Luta.

        Meggai taotao sumåsangan na siña un li’e’ i fegge’i akague na patås-ña i patgon giya Hinapsan gi kantet ya fegge’ i agapa’ na patås-ña siña lokkue’ ma li’e’ giya Luta.

I Love the Maddow Blog

On days when I am so busy I barely have time to think or learn anything, I appreciate Rachel Maddow and the Maddow Blog on the MSNBC website. Some wonderful person, posts each of their articles to Facebook, and so at moments when I am breezing through peoples' pages, liking random things, I click on the Maddow Blog posts and it updates me on various things involving Democratic/Liberal/Progressive topics in the United States.

Ti hu tungo' hayi si Steven Benen, lao milagro gui gi lina'la'-hu. Kada diha mamange' gui' put kosas pulitikat gi sanlagu ginen i inatan Inakague pat Progressive. Fihu an guaha finaisen-hu put este na gayu pat ayu na gayu, umannok chaddek unu na tinige'-na gi i Maddow Blog, kalang esta ha tungo' hafa malago'-hu. 


Christie: Americans have a president ‘who we don’t know’

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) delivered a widely noticed speech in September 2011, condemning President Obama in a fairly specific way. “We continue to wait and hope that our president will finally stop being a bystander in the Oval Office,” the governor said. “We hope that he will shake off the paralysis that has made it impossible for him to take on the really big things.”
Even at the time, the rhetoric was bizarre, since Obama has spent his entire presidency taking on “really big things,” and more often than not, succeeding. But this week, Christie revised his entire perspective on the president, complaining Obama acts “as if he is a king, as if he is a dictator.”
I’ve long been amazed at the degree to which conservatives have contradictory complaints about the president, and this is emblematic of the pattern. Obama can be a hapless bystander, doing too little, or he can be a tyrannical dictator, doing too much, but he can’t be both.
On Monday, Christie went a little further. The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe noted this gem from the scandal-plagued governor:
“We have a guy in the Oval Office who we don’t know. He’s been serving us for seven years and we don’t know him.”
I suppose the obvious question for Christie is, “What do you mean ‘we’?” After all of these years, some of us have gotten to know and understand this president quite well. After a two-year national campaign in 2007 and 2008, an autobiography, and seven years of intense scrutiny in the White House in which his every move was analyzed from every direction, it’s hard to imagine the public knowing a stranger better than we know Barack Obama. There is no mystery about this “guy” is.
But that’s probably not where the governor is going with this.
The New Republic’s Jeet Heer noted the other day that Christie isn’t being literal, so much as he’s “pandering to GOP mythology.”
[Christie’s comments] partially echo long-held Republican complaints that Obama hasn’t been properly vetted. But they also play into the large set of tropes about Obama being alien, mysterious, un-American. As is his wont, Donald Trump proclaimed these themes more loudly when he suggested that Obama might have an ulterior motive (cough, cough, secret Muslim) for the deal he negotiated with Iran. “It’s almost like there has to be something else going on,” Trump said in a speech on Saturday night.
Like many of the other Republican candidates, Christie is trying to play the role of the thinking man’s Trump, and making a fool of himself in the process.
Agreed. When Christie tells Republican audience Americans don’t “know” the president, he’s dipping his toes into ugly waters. The governor must know better, and it’s a shame he appears to see this as necessary for his presidential ambitions.
Poll: US mainstream sides with Obama on guns
President Obama made clear last weekend that he was getting ready to announce some new reforms to gun policy, setting the stage for the latest round of a heated debate. On cue, Republicans screamed bloody murder, not only after learning of the White House plan, but also before they knew any details.
Call it an “anticipatory tantrum” – GOP politicians knew they were outraged, even before they knew why.
But if their goal was to persuade the public, the party failed miserably. Last night, CNN released the results of a new national poll.
The American public is broadly supportive of the executive actions issued by President Barack Obama this week aimed at increasing the reach of federal background checks for gun purchases and improving enforcement of existing laws. […]
A new CNN/ORC poll finds 67% say they favor the changes Obama announced, and 32% oppose them.
To be sure, there’s widespread skepticism that the administration’s policy will make a significant difference, but the public is nevertheless supportive of the effort itself. In fact, one of the key takeaways from this survey is how broad the backing is: most Democrats (85%), independents (65%), and Republicans (51%) favor Obama’s initiative. Most gun owners (57%) and rural residents (56%) are on board, too.
This doesn’t come as too big of a surprise, especially given polling from recent years showing roughly 90% of the public endorsing background checks on gun buyers.
In a polarized era in which partisans seem to agree on practically nothing, a rough, mainstream consensus has taken shape around this issue. The question is why this doesn’t create the conditions necessary for change.
As we discussed several months ago, the disconnect seems hard to reconcile at first blush. Politicians want to get re-elected, which generally means taking steps voters like, and yet Republicans are convinced that they’ll pay no price whatsoever for ignoring public will on curtailing gun violence – and if recent history is any guide, they’re probably correct.
The most straightforward explanation is that while so many polls are one-sided, what they don’t show is depth of commitment – voters like the idea of new safeguards in the abstract, but come Election Day, they have a series of priorities, and issues like background checks fade into the background. Democrats have persuaded the American mainstream on the merit of their ideas, but the second half of the battle is more complicated: making the transition from passive agreement to genuine passion for constructive change.
For his part, President Obama recently began pushing the idea of single-issue voting:
“[W]e’ve got to change the politics of this. And that requires people to feel – not just feel deeply – because I get a lot of letters after this happens. ‘Do something!’ Well, okay, here’s what you need to do.
“You have to make sure that anybody who you are voting for is on the right side of this issue. And if they’re not, even if they’re great on other stuff, for a couple of election cycles you’ve got to vote against them, and let them know precisely why you’re voting against them. And you just have to, for a while, be a single-issue voter because that’s what is happening on the other side.
“And that’s going to take some time. I mean, the NRA has had a good start. They’ve been at this a long time, they’ve perfected what they do. You’ve got to give them credit – they’re very effective, because they don’t represent the majority of the American people but they know how to stir up fear; they know how to stir up their base; they know how to raise money; they know how to scare politicians; they know how to organize campaigns. And the American people are going to have to match them in their sense of urgency if we’re actually going to stop this.”
To that end, the president wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, published today, in which he makes a notable vow about changing the politics: “Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen. I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform. And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common-sense gun reforms join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve.”

GOP governor under fire following racially charged comments

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), already facing possible impeachment in an abuse-of-power scandal, is no stranger to controversies involving race. Early on in his term, for example, the Republican governor got in a dispute with the Maine NAACP over his decision to skip events honoring Martin Luther King. In reference to the civil-rights group, LePage said, “Tell them to kiss my butt.”
Two years later, according to Republican attendees to a LePage gathering, the far-right governor complained that President Obama doesn’t emphasize his biracial heritage because the president “hates white people.” He later denied having made the comments.
This week, however, LePage went just a little further still. The Portland Press Herald reported on comments the governor made at a town-hall meeting on Wednesday night.
About 30 minutes into the meeting, which was rebroadcast Thursday night, LePage responded to a question about how he was tackling substance abuse in Maine. He began talking about how much of the heroin is coming into Maine from out-of-state drug dealers.
“These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty … these types of guys … they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home,” LePage told a large crowd. “Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”
By way of a defense, as Rachel noted on the show last night, the governor’s spokesperson said in a statement to reporters, “The governor is not making comments about race. Race is irrelevant.”
Look, I feel bad for anyone who has to defend Paul LePage’s rhetoric; it must be an unpleasant and incredibly difficult job.
But if the governor’s office expects to be taken seriously, pretending LePage wasn’t making comments about race only makes matters worse.
On camera, and in front of a large group of people, the governor said “D-Money” is coming into his state from elsewhere – Maine’s population is over 95% white – selling heroin, and impregnating “young, white” girls.
Are we really supposed to believe LePage’s unscripted comments had nothing to do with race?
The governor’s rhetoric, not surprisingly, generated national attention quite quickly, and last night, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign issued a statement condemning the remarks.
“Governor LePage’s comments tonight are not only offensive and hurtful but they try to cover up the very real epidemic of drug abuse facing people in his state and across the country,” Hillary for America’s Marlon Marshall said. “LePage’s racist rants sadly distract from efforts to address one of our nation’s most pressing problems…. Sadly, Governor LePage’s comments aren’t too dissimilar from the divisive, misleading and hateful rhetoric we’re seeing from Republicans across the country these days.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Unu na parehu na sinisedi para hami yan i nobia-hu Isa, na dumangkolo ham gi kumunidat ni' gof gaihinengge yan umeskuela ham gi eskuela ni para i manggaihinengge lokkue'. Para guiya, Lutheran gui'. Para Guahu SDA. Lao gi i kareran-mami gi lina'la', in dingu ayu na lina'la. Hunggan manhohongge yu' gi aniti, yi'us yan todu ayu siha, lao ti parehu yan antes. Gi inestudia-hu gi koleho yan i intaitai-hu/inaligao-hu komo academic, pa'go na meggai mas meggai na tiningo'-hu put i diferentes na hinenggen taotao, lao ti sina dumichosu yu' nu unu na hinengge pat guma'yu'us. Gi i klas-hu put Estorian Mundo, sesso hu kefa'nu'i i estudiante-ku siha put na ti kabales todu i sisteman hinengge gi hilo' tano'. Achokka' un sen hongge na i gima'yu'us Katoliko i mas kabales na rilihon, gi i inestudian estoria, sina ta li'e' na ti uniku ayu na rihilon. Ha a'ayao meggai gi estoria-na yan i kustumbre-na ginen otro mas amko' na rilihon, ko'lo'lo'na Judaish yan Zoroastrianism.

Para Isa, kumeleho gui' giya Illinois gi un koleho para i manggaihinengge. Ayu na koleho "Wheaton" un simbolo para meggai na manggaige gi Inapaga' na bandan pulitikat pat "convservatives" put hafa dipotsi "gof maolek" hun na edukasion. Hinasson-niha ayu, sa' gi Wheaton ma disidide i areklamento para i mamprofesot yan manestudiante, sigun i hinenggen Kilisyanu, ti put i direchon i taotao sigun lai gobetnamento pat "secular."


Wheaton's controversy over Muslims and Christians ignores the school's own history
by Aaron Griffith
Washington Post

The latest news regarding the recent wrangling at Wheaton College, where tenured professor Larycia Hawkins was placed on leave for claiming that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, is that the college is moving to fire Hawkins. This follows from the college’s position that Hawkins’s statement was not in line with evangelical teaching.

Some have put the controversy in even starker terms, tracking with Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler’s claim that “the cost of getting this question wrong is the loss of the Gospel.” At the core of the issue is whether her statement undercuts a theology that Christians worship a Trinitarian God, one where God is also Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Theological responses backing Hawkins (or at least defending her as within the bounds of orthodoxy) have come from Catholics, mainline Protestants and from other evangelicals, bolstering petitions and a #reinstateDocHawk Twitter campaign.

But Wheaton’s move to terminate Hawkins is most problematic because it ignores the truly evangelical character of Hawkins’s actions.

Many now see Wheaton as part of the “neo-evangelical” stream, a nod to the theologically nuanced and culturally savvy approach of figures like Billy Graham who emerged in the 1950s. The rhetoric from evangelicals criticizing Hawkins, placing her outside of evangelicalism or even the Christian faith itself, hearkens back to the theological hair-splitting and boundary policing of early American fundamentalism.

Even if one can find theological imprecision in some of Hawkins’s comments (though this is disputed, even on Wheaton’s home turf), to make this a debate about fine points of doctrine that puts Hawkins outside the evangelical fold is to miss how varied the emphases of that very fold have been throughout America’s and Wheaton’s history.

Policing evangelical boundaries is hard, because there is no single, monolithic evangelicalism. There is no evangelical pope, or formalized confession of beliefs. David Bebbington’s famed description of evangelical identity as a unique combination of biblicism, conversionism, activism and crucentrism is frustratingly, if purposely, vague.

Wheaton represents a diversity of theological perspectives on issues as varied as gender roles, charismatic spiritual gifts, war and peace, sexuality and belief about the end times. Nearly all of these people consider themselves, and their positions, to be evangelical.

To solve a larger definitional problem, some scholars have turned to historical landmarks to refine what they mean by “evangelical.” Douglas Sweeney, for example, has defined evangelicalism as “orthodox Protestantism with an 18th century twist,” an allusion to the transatlantic revivals that crystallized the affective “heart religion” of colonial Christianity. Evangelicals themselves have made a similar move, staking their claim on various folksy, historically-derived squares of the evangelical “patchwork quilt.”

Reformed evangelicals such as John Piper claim the legacy of John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards while charismatics look to the spiritual awakenings at Azusa Street.

Wheaton’s brand of evangelicalism cannot be understood without considering its history. Wheaton was founded in 1860 by its first president, Jonathan Blanchard who was active in causes like abolition of slavery and the defense of Indian rights. Blanchard stressed the Christian call to social justice, the need to bring the blessings of the kingdom of God to earth.

The college framed itself along these lines as well. As historian Donald Dayton has shown, Wheaton’s motto, “For Christ and His Kingdom,” is best understood as a social statement flowing out of this evangelical reform impulse: “what ‘John the Baptist and the Savior meant when they preached the ‘kingdom of God’ was ‘a perfect state of society.’ ” Though Blanchard said we should never shut out “the influences and motives of eternity,” he meant to cultivate God’s kingdom here and now.
Wheaton moved in a different direction in the early 20th century. The school tracked with the broader fundamentalist movement that emerged at this time as a reaction to various modernist threats, like liberal theology.

President Charles Blanchard (Jonathan’s son) was instrumental in engineering this shift. Charles was very active in fundamentalist consolidation efforts, even drafting the doctrinal statement of the 1919 World’s Christian Fundamentals Association. He also helped bring a new ethical ethos to Wheaton, stressing individual purity instead of social justice.

In the early 20th century, dancing, card playing, and theater attendance replaced slavery and mistreatment of Indians as Wheaton’s moral bugaboos. Focus on the fundamentals unfortunately meant that social concerns were often swept aside, and, as religion scholar John Schmalzbauer has shown, fundamentalists tied to Wheaton propounded their own brands of Christian bigotry (in this case anti-Semitism).

With this history in mind, Hawkins’s activism on behalf of Muslims begins to look a lot less like an aberration and more in keeping with the original vision of the college. The antebellum evangelical tradition Hawkins drew upon was one primarily concerned with upholding human dignity and advocating for those on the margins. Muslims facing discrimination and threats of violence in present-day American life surely fit that description.

In 1842, Jonathan Blanchard preached a sermon on slavery before a church synod in Cincinnati. Over eight pages, he presented forceful arguments against slaveholding Christians, pointing out flaws in their Biblical exegesis and showing how “the property-holding of men is the worst conceivable form, and the last possible degree of oppression.”

During his sermon, Blanchard spent two short paragraphs in the sermon talking about the doctrine of God, where he argued that “Whatever leads men to regard Jehovah as something different from what he is, prevents their acting towards him as they ought.” It was clear from these few lines that Blanchard saw theological precision as an important good.

But Blanchard was not especially worried about muddled theology in and of itself. Instead he argued that slavery corrupted “true religion.” Failure to love one’s neighbor or denounce oppression was the real theological problem.

Hawkins, with her stress on “embodied solidarity” with her Muslim neighbors, would have found herself in good company in 1842. She drew not on liberal theology, secularized notions of human rights or shared American identity, but on a robust evangelical tradition of the biblical call to advocate on behalf of people made in the image of God.

The debate then is not so much about the boundaries of orthodoxy, or even evangelicalism. Instead it is primarily a debate about history, and the parts of Wheaton’s past the school has chosen to carry into the future.

Aaron Griffith is a doctoral student in American Christianity at Duke Divinity School and a graduate of Wheaton College. Reach him on Twitter @AaronLGriffith.


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