Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Heads and Tails I'm a Winner, MV 6

Maybe the people leading the fight against federalization should have a meeting to discuss what fear tactic works best, the one that says the immigrant workers will leave the islands and deprive businesses of their God given right to cheap labor, or the one that says they will be staying, bringing their relatives and overwhelming our islands' infrastructure. Right now, the federalization opponents are choosing both heads and tails of this coin and it's absurd. I hardly know what to be afraid of, and it's confusing.

Senate President Joseph Mendiola is the latest on the federalization case -- a case that makes no sense whatsoever. He is urging the Bush administration to persuade the U.S. Congress to amend the federalization bill’s non-immigrant status provision for long-term guest workers, saying it will “drain” the CNMI of its workforce. The idea that he thinks the CNMI is entitled to alien labor is bad enough, but now he proceeds with having it both ways when he estimates that 15,000 migrants may benefit from the proposed non-immigrant status program and may bring their relatives to the islands. "The CNMI would almost immediately see an increase in population of 45,000 additional aliens," Mendiola said.

First it's going to drain our workforce, but at the same time it's going to overwhelm our infrastructure with a population explosion. Which one is it? They're all going to leave, or they're all going to stay and bring their desperately needed labor. I really don't know what I should be trembling about.

Saipan Chamber of Commerce President Juan T. Guerrero made the same ridiculous argument in late July. "These lawful nonimmigrants and their families would prove an immense burden on the local infrastructure in a way, and to a degree, that was never contemplated by-nor allowed-under the Commonwealth's existing guest worker program."

He also offered the possibility that, "They could simply move to the continental United States in search of higher-paying job opportunities, thereby depriving the vast majority of CNMI employers of the qualified and experienced labor pool that they have, for years, paid and treated fairly in accordance with CNMI law under the provisions of the Covenant."

For my part, I will make a prediction bolder than “definitely rain or shine tomorrow.” My best guess is that $3.55 per hour, overcrowded schools for their kids, and a power plant on Saipan that doesn't allow two people to make toast simultaneously won't draw the now liberated masses away from Guam or the mainland. I see and hear of people leaving in droves. I know people who have been looking for most any job for months in this dead economy. I imagine people who now have a choice will leave for greener pastures. The decrease in labor supply will bring salaries above the minimum wage for once, and the countless underemployed or unemployed resident workers will have job offers in the – gasp – private sector. The population reduction should assist the islands’ taxed infrastructure as well.

And on the subject of asinine arguments by political figures, I'd be remiss not to point out what the most divisive candidate in this election, Danny Aquino, had to say in insult to U.S. soldiers hailing from the CNMI. "I would like to request our Washington Representative to demand that our local boys pull out of this conflict because it's not our war and to have them placed in the United States under a support unit or border control for their illegal immigration problem."

Does the CNMI now have an army, or does the U.S. military have a branch for "local boys?" If North Korea were to invade the CNMI, would the U.S. military defend these islands or just the non-existent CNMI military or the equally non-existent local boys wing of the U.S. military? Locals are U.S. citizens, the U.S. is their country and “them” is “us.” They are not lesser citizens or different soldiers. Incidentally, people from Washington D.C. don't have a voting delegate in Congress, either. People who don't want to be U.S. citizens can renounce their citizenship, which is an option Aquino might want to consider.


glend558 said...

Good article, Jeff, Well done!

Galvin Deleon Guerrero said...

It saddens me that we (by "we" I mean us "locals") bash on the very people who have built our economy over the years. While I do think that we went overboard by bringing in an immigrant population that exceeded the capacity of our infrastructure, we cannot ignore or dismiss the positive contributions that immigrants have made to our community. Their contributions should make them as much a part of this community as any local.

lil_hammerhead said...

Not that I am any big Danny Aquino fan at all.. I think his point about the local residents in the Army was to highlight the United State's own immigration problem on the mainland.. hence his plan - take local troops out of Iraq and put them on the mainland border to help stop illegal immigration. The point being.. the US is really not concerned about the "illegal immigration" problem here.

I'd also beg to differ on being so positive that the US would "defend" the CNMI should an "invasion" occur. The US didn't defend Guam when the Japanese took over. They would defend Guam now because of their substantial military presence there. I doubt if China invaded the CNMI that there would be any real military action taken.

I do agree with you though that the folks against federalization need to sit down and come up with one sound argument.

bradinthesand said...

"The US didn't defend Guam when the Japanese took over."

Kind of harsh when you take everything into account. The USA was outnumbered some 5,000 to less than 400--not all of whom were soldiers or even armed.

Read Below (sorry for the length):
At 0100 on 10 Dec 1941, McMillin deployed his defense against the impending Japanese invasion. The American force at Guam was small: 274 sailors and 153 Marines supported by about 80 Insular Force Guard Chamorro militiamen. Most of them were deployed to Orote as the 153rd Marine Contingent, while a handful remained at Agaña. Not all defenders were armed, and only about 12 automatic weapons were available. At 0400, Rear Admiral Aritomo Goto landed the invaders at Apurguan in the Agaña Bay, consisted of 5,000 men of Major General Tomitara Hori's South Seas Detachment and 400 men from the Special Naval Landing Force of the 5th Defense Force from Saipan. On the way to Agaña, the invasion force encountered no resistance during landing. The first shot were exchanged at about 0445 in the San Antonio district of Agaña. The few civilians encountered by the Japanese were killed. At 0545, after the Japanese sounded the horn of an automobile three times amidst fighting at the Plaza de España, firing stopped as men on both sides curiously tried to figure out the meaning of them. A Japanese officer shouted "send over your captain", asking McMillin to surrender. The negotiation party consisted of Chief Boatswain's Mate Robert Bruce Lane and Commander Donald T. Giles marched through the San Antonio district to make contact with the Japanese. Half hour later, they returned to Plaza de España with the Japanese commander, Commander Hayashi. At about 0550, McMillin was detained by the Japanese. Shortly after, the commanding officers on either side met at the Government House. Because none of the Japanese poke English, jailed Japanese civilian named Shinahara was freed to act as the interpreter. The instrument of surrender was signed at about 0600. The text of the surrender document is as follows:
Government House, Guam
10 December 1941
From: Governor of Guam
To: Senior Officer Present, Commanding Imperial Japanese Forces in Guam

Subject: Surrender.

1. I, Captain George J. McMillin, United States Navy, Governor of Guam and Commandant, United States Naval Station, Guam, by authority of my commission from the President of the United States, do, as a result of superior military forces landed in Guam this date, as an act of war, surrender this post to you as the representative of the Imperial Japanese Government.

2. The responsibility of the civil government of Guam becomes yours as of the time of signing this document.

3. I have been assured by you that the civil rights of the population of Guam will be respected and that the military forces surrendered to you will be accorded all the rights stipulated by International Law and the laws of humanity.

(Signed) G. J. McMillin

Some historians later noted that the initial resistance by McMillin was hopeless, but was conducted for a short time before surrendering so that it could not be said that his men did not attempt to hold their ground. As Guam fell, it became the first American possession to be occupied by the Japanese during the Pacific War.

Some of the prisoners captured by the Japanese were sent to Kobe, Japan, while others, including McMillin, were imprisoned in Manchuria, China. After the war, in the report McMillin submitted to the Secretary of the United States Navy on 11 Sep 1945, he noted that the native militia bravely "stood their ground in their short action in the Plaza, until they were called back. I consider that these fine natives are entitled to recognition for the showing they made on this occasion."

I found that at:

The USA didn't have much of a Pacific Fleet to fight back with either as the Japanese bombed the hell out of it a few days earlier in Pearl Harbor.

The USA did liberate Guam from the Japanese, but it took a while to get there. Keep in mind, the entire world was at war back then.

If the CNMI were to fall under attack, the USA would be the one defending us.

Jeff said...

The U.S. mainland isn't analagous to the CNMI. How many sneak into Hawaii would be a better comparison.

Danny doesn't view himself as an American, this place as America. He's one of those people who just want the money with none of the responsibility. He is openly racist against white people and Filipinos as well, and treats his Filipino employees in his day care center like garbage.

All of the states are subservient to the federal government. What makes this place any better or different? That's a long ago settled question.

lil_hammerhead said...

Alright Brad... "defend" was the wrong word. If it weren't for Pearl Harbor and the US entry into the War... Guam would have been left alone.

lil_hammerhead said...

With regard to "what makes this place an better or different (than a state)".. This isn't a state. It does have a unique relationship with the federal government.

bradinthesand said...

I love ya, Lil. But to say that the US entered the war would only be complete if you add "after the Japanese invited them to the party."

The USA was largely...

Okay, I don't need to get into all of this today. Too much to do. Besides, I'll probably just rail off a snoozer anyway.

Have a great day!

lil_hammerhead said...

Of course Brad, I agree. However, if the Japanese only took Guam and did not proceed to Pearl, the US, who at the time were doing all they could to stay out of the war, would not have entered it over Guam. Guam would have been left to the wind. The US did not have all that much interest in Guam at that point. The US had significant interest in Europe and still didn't enter the war until Germany was at England's doorsteps. To think that the US would go to war over the loss of Saipan to a power like China is wishful thinking. They might try to negotiate, they might throw a couple of sanctions China's way, but not much else will be happening.

Pilgrim said...

Hey Lil'.. I have to disagree. The USA did not have the strength or forces in place to defend Guam. But once we were armed and begain the march North after defending Australia in the battle of the coral sea, Guam was not bypassed on the way to Japan, nor was the Philippines. Keep in mind that there was a war in Europe and we were supplying England to the extent that we could prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Little did the Japanese know at the time that they could have taken Hawaii, Wake, Midway and Alaska with virtually no resistance from the USA. It was only by using clever tactics that they were fooled into not attacking and they headed south for Australia instead.

If we can to to Korea and fight for the South. And Vietnam, also to fight for the South... you bet your sweet bippy (Rowen and Martin laugh-in humor)that they will defend Saipan. If we can defend Taiwan from the Chinese by patrolling the straits of Taiwan in the 50's (remember Quemoy and Matsu Islands?) and give the Dalai Lama a medal in the face of the Chinese, I believe that Saipan would be defended to the end. I believe this, because even in spite of some stumbling and bumbling along the way, America is still the greatest nation on earth and generally attempts to do the right thing. And memo to the libs out there... we are not in Iraq for any freakin' oil. No matter if we are there because of one of those stumbles and bumbles.... we don't aspire to grab their oil.

lil_hammerhead said...

Your right on the stumbles and bumbles.. I refer to them as "conservatives".

You to "Pilgrim" miss the whole point about Guam. If the Japanese did not attack Pearl.. the US of A would have never taken back Guam. Never. The one huge strategic mistake the Japanese made was bombing Pearl. They could have taken Guam, the PI and had there way with Asia and the US wouldn't have entered into a war with them.

Pilgrim said...

I'd like to know on what you base your information related to what the USA would or would not have done had we not been attacked at Pearl Harbor. Diplomatic solutions were on-going. Japan's alliance with the Nazi's would have meant war with the USA once we entered the European war against the Axis.

And your characterization of the "stumbles and bumbles" along the 200+ year path of America's great history as being the domain of "conservatives", deserves no comment.