Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lawmakers blast Senate for war claims removal

by Sabrina Salas Matanane from

Guam - Here at home the actions of the United States Senate led to an emotional final session of the 30th Guam Legislature, as lawmakers in their final remarks expressed their dissatisfaction with what happened an ocean away.

The final session of the 30th Guam Legislature was filled with frustration - one by one lawmakers in their final remarks blasting what happened in the nation's capitol. Committee chair on the Guam Military Buildup Senator Judi Guthertz said, "We need a unified position on this and a statement of frankly dissatisfaction with the members of the Senate that allowed this to happen and I would also like to get an explanation from our congresswoman to share with us and tell us what happened."

Another shot, albeit a compromise version for war reparations, failed again in Congress. Senator Ben Pangelinan said the Senate's action in removing the war reparations provision from the National Defense Bill is typical of the relationship Guam has with the United States.

"When it's something they need from us, then we are part of the family, but when it comes time to make your child support payment in this case, they don't want to give us a blank check, they don't want to give us a check," he said.

Senator Pangelinan says the Senate's action has emboldened him to renew the fight for self-determination. Sentiments echoed in his final comments as a senator, Governor-elect Eddie Calvo saying we have no full representation, that we are a colony and that Guam always seems to be in the short end.

Calvo added, "It is my commitment as governor that I will push for the Commission on Decolonization. I will work with my colleagues in the Guam First Commission and we will work collaboratively to getting ultimate political self-determination for our people and we will use these very dynamic times and we will leverage the importance of the united states has in regards to this island to the best benefits of our people."

Senators in the meantime during their final session passed 21 bills last night.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Okinawa wants all 12K Marines out


A VISITING delegation from the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly says their government wants all of the 12,000 U.S. Marines out

File Photo

of the Japanese island, not just the estimated 8,600, who are scheduled to be moved to Guam starting 2012.

The delegation, led by Tetsuji Shinagaki of the Liberal Democratic Party, also told incumbent Speaker Judi Won Pat and other Guam lawmakers, Okinawa wants the Futenma Air Base removed from their island as opposed to relocating it to Camp Nago.

They also clarified that there is no truth to the story that came out in a Saipan newspaper that Okinawa would pay the U.S. to relocate some 4,000 more U.S. Marines to Tinian.

The delegation said that kind of decision is between the U.S. and Japanese governments and they are not aware of any decision being made, but Saipan leaders brought up the discussion.

The delegation said the Okinawa assembly passed a resolution urging Japan and the United States to modify their realignment of forces agreement so that the other Marines would also be relocated to Guam.

The delegation, which is scheduled to leave today, said newly-elected Okinawa Gov. Hirozaku Nakaima, stands and agrees on the same issues as the assembly.

The delegation reiterated that Okinawa makes up 0.6% of Japan’s territory but hosts 75 percent of U.S. military bases.

Okinawans have complained for decades about the unfair and unequal footprint left by the U.S.

The US military forces control 40 percent of Okinawan airspace and 29 ports.

The Okinawan delegation, all members of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, include the following: Tetsuji Shinagaki (Liberal Democratic Party); Kosuke Gushi (LDP); Masatoshi Onaga (LDP); Isho Urasaki (LDP); Hikaru Minei (LDP); Hiroko Tsujino (LDP); Zakimi Kazuyuki (LDP); Yoshihiko Yoshimoto (LDP); Sachio Kuwae (LDP); Kyoki Nakagawa (LDP); Dai Shimabukuro (LDP); Tomonori Itosu (New Komeito).

Nader: I am Looking for Someone to Challenge Obama in 2012

By Elise Viebeck from Commondreams. org

Perennial third-party candidate Ralph Nader predicted on Wednesday that President Obama's tax deal with Republicans will earn him a primary challenge in 2012.

[Consumer advocate, author, and Presidential candidate Ralph Nader in this file photo. Nader had harsh words for the president's approach to politics: "He has no fixed principles. He's opportunistic — he goes for expedience, like Clinton." (NBC News)]Consumer advocate, author, and Presidential candidate Ralph Nader in this file photo. Nader had harsh words for the president's approach to politics: "He has no fixed principles. He's opportunistic — he goes for expedience, like Clinton." (NBC News)
Though he wouldn't rule out another presidential campaign himself, Nader, 76, said he hoped a new face would take up the progressive cause.

"I'm not foreclosing the possibility ... There are just other things to do," he said in an interview. "And it's time for someone else to continue. I've done it so many times. When I go around the country, I'm telling people they need to find somebody."

Nader, a consumer advocate, described the immense procedural difficulty - the "obstructions and litigations" - of appearing on the ballot in every state as a third-party candidate. He ran under the Green Party banner in 1996 and 2000 and as an independent in 2004 and 2008, and earned less than 3 percent of the overall vote each time.

He said Obama's decision to allow tax-cut extensions for the wealthy in the lame-duck deal betrays the progressives who supported his campaign in 2008 and called the president a "con man."

"There will be a primary," Nader said. "Just a question of how prominent a person [will run against Obama]. This deal is the last straw."

"Obama's position has been that the liberal, progressive wing has nowhere to go, therefore they can't turn their back on the administration. But a challenge will hold his feet to the fire and signal that we do have somewhere to go."

The tax deal, a blow to progressives, has prompted media speculation about such a challenge, although no names have been aired. Outgoing Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), one of the chamber's most reliably liberal voices, has said he's not interested.

"He [Obama] keeps one step away from the liberal progressive grasp," Nader said, describing the mood among on the left. "He's always just one step ahead from them grabbing his neck."

Nader had harsh words for the president's approach to politics: "He has no fixed principles. He's opportunistic - he goes for expedience, like Clinton. Some call him temperamentally conflict-averse. If you want to be harsher, you say he has no prlnciples and he's opportunistic."

"He's a con man. I have no use for him," Nader said.

In the 2000 election, Nader was criticized for contributing to Al Gore's defeat by taking votes from the left. He said then and again on Wednesday that the progressive agenda must be on the national ballot every four years.

"These are majoritarian positions. The polling shows that. Living wage, single payer, cracking down on corporate crime. ... It's time for someone to continue this."

Phillips intervenes in ancestral lands lawsuit

by Lannie Walker from

Guam - A hearing on a lawsuit brought against the Ancestral Lands Commission was postponed today in Superior Court. Attorney Curtis Van De Veld filed a class action lawsuit in July, claiming a public law that allows the transfer of ancestral properties at the former Federal Aviation Administration site and Marbo land to Tiyan landowners is inorganic.

Van De Veld was able to get a retraining order enforced against the ALC prohibiting it from issuing deeds to the land. Just this week Attorney Mike Phillips filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the Tiyan , including Benny Crawford, who said, "If you read his filing the law is legal there is nothing unconstitutional on it what was done is fair."

Van De Veld say he does not believe Phillips has an interest in the case as Assistant Attorney General William Bishcoff already represents the Ancestral Lands Commission. The status conference before Judge Arthur Barcinas to determine a schedule for the case was moved to January 7 of next year.

Monday, December 06, 2010

WWII survivors share stories at Dec. 8 Mass


On the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Guam during World War II, four local war survivors will speak during a storytelling session at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica Museum in Hagåtña.

The session will begin Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. after Mass at the Cathedral-Basilica. Three of the four survivors spoke with the Pacific Daily News yesterday about their own unique experiences of life before, during and after the Japanese occupations.

Seventy-four-year-old Rita Cruz was five years old and in church when she first heard the bombings from Japanese naval ships off the coast of Guam on Dec. 8, 1941. At first, she thought it was thunder, but it wasn't until she was hit by a rock launched from a nearby blast that she knew it wasn't. As blasts shook the ground around her, Cruz's mother covered her and her sister closely, and told them to hang in there and keep very still.

Cruz recounts when she heard about the Japanese forces landing in Talofofo Bay and seeing the ships floating in the distance.

"My mother packed whatever stuff we had, first of all the food, and then we went into hiding," she said.

The family met up with several other families and lived by a river deep in the southern jungle, away from the Japanese forces who were settling in near the coast. Inevitably, they were found and made to work in the fields to support the Japanese military.

Once the Japanese forces were settled on the island Cruz began attending school taught by Saipanese teachers, who, at the time, were Japanese citizens. She recalls a time when she and classmates were forced outside to watch her mother be beaten by Saipanese men for refusing to bow her head to Japanese soldiers.

At five years old, Gloria Nelson, now 75, lived next to the Cathedral-Basilica and remembers the first notion of the war as the Cathedral bells warned of a impending attack.

"As a five-year-old, how much can you comprehend really?" she asked. "Other than what came from the elders."

As the bombings began in the southern part of the island, Nelson's family and many others gathered their belongings and trekked to Mongmong.

It was a different experience for Nelson who had ample time to evacuate into the jungle with what they could carry. But, soon enough, the food began to dwindle and she began to hear of the tribulations of war.

"When I started feeling something was wrong, as a young girl, was when a message came to us that my uncle was sent to prison in Japan," she said.

For Joaquin Flores Lujan, now 90, there wasn't much talk about the possibility of war, instead just warnings to stay alert. Lujan, 21 years old at the time, was a blacksmith who worked as a welder in a Navy machine shop. He remembers the first time he heard the Japanese airplanes soaring over the island and news of the bombings in the south.

During the Japanese occupation, Lujan's family befriended a Japanese general. The general often came to visit the family. Throughout the war, Lujan's family was allowed to continue working in their trade.

As the American forces made their attempts to retake the island, the Japanese general was killed and the protection ceased.

"I remember I was arrested by a Saipan man," he said. "I was brought out to a house where my uncle lived and they started to beat me with a baseball bat and used bamboo on my legs. Of course, back then, I was a young man and strong, so at that time, I carried the burden."