Showing posts from February, 2017

The Ban

Whether you call it the Muslim Ban or the Travel Ban, I cannot help but think of Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer whenever the issue of Trump's poorly conceived executive order blocking immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations. It is intriguing the way that Trump's candidacy and now his presidency has ended up revealing so much of the guts of the political game in the United States, that it threatens to rend the whole thing asunder. What I mean by this is that politics is a game that is designed to keep anyone from fundamentally changing or challenging anything. A narrow range of ideological options are offered, neither of which would change much about the structure of society or the distribution of power. As long as everyone plays their roles, you could argue that revolution in both positive or negative sense is avoided. But Trump's refusal to be a typical politician or leader or even just a serious, mature person is leading to a crisis where the guts, the bones, t…

Setbisio Para i Publiko #34: Mannginge'

It's almost Mes Chamoru once again!

For my free weekly Chamorro classes today I brought a record player and a wide range of Chamorro LPs from my collection. We listened to a few songs, discussing the lyrics. One of the requests from the students was this song below "Mannginge'" from Jesse Bais. It is one commonly heard at parties, in stores, and also used by teachers for performances with their Chamorro classes.

The practice of mannginge', or the sniffing and sometimes kissing of the hand of an elder is the subject of different community debates. First there are the debates over whether or not it is dying or still persists. Although it may not be something practiced in all Chamorro families today, it is definitely not dead, and if anything I find more and more families practicing it because of the belief that it is dead. Second there are the debates over who you should or should notpay respect to in this way. This is something that I struggle with as well. Should…

Broken Promises to the Territories

It is intriguing how quickly things that were once seized upon as exciting and drenched in exciting new possibilities can be forgotten or disavowed. Part of the way this happens in terms of Guam is tied to our colonial position and how we interpret minute gestures that might be faint to others, as being clear indications of our colonizer caring about us and wanting to finally recognize us and take care of us. A perfect example of this came last year when Donald Trump was running for President of the United States. His campaign was barely coherent and very narrowly focused, and the territories of the US, with the exception of Puerto Rico barely factored into his rhetoric. At the time of the Republican primary Trump sent a letter to the people of Guam which wouldn't even count as pandering, since it was so lazily written it could have been sent to any number on constituencies. Hillary Clinton's pandering letter by comparison during the Democratic primary showed a least a modicu…

Hayi si Michael Flynn?

For those of you in Guam who might not know much of former General Michael Flynn, who recently resigned at National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, here are some article to get you up to speed.


Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence
by Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo
New York Times
February 14, 2017

WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence age…