Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Guam's support of a Nobel Peace Prize for Trump isn’t about Trump

A Nobel Peace Prize for President Donald Trump? I can honestly see Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo making a tactical decision to sign a letter – along with six other Republican governors – to support a Nobel Prize for Trump for his efforts on North Korea.

For sure, Trump and the South Korean leadership has made progress. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, seems interested in achieving something. But achieving what? There is a lot of uncertainty ahead.

When Guam was under missile threat from North Korea, Calvo took the opportunity to tell people about Guam. That was to Guam's plus. A lot of people have no real understanding about Guam and its relationship to the U.S. Calvo made effective use of the national stage.

But signing this letter seems to carry the rah-rah Trump campaign a little too far. Maybe signing the letter was calculated.

Guam is highly dependent on the federal government and you don't want to get on Trump's bad side, especially if you have zero political clout in Washington.

But backing Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize? Maybe Calvo genuinely believes Trump deserves it. But based on what, exactly? All we have is a tentative meeting ahead and a reduction in tensions that can easily dial up.

The real reason I suspect Calvo signed that letter is because the federal government has enormous control on Guam and the region.

Will Trump proceed with plans to turn beautiful Pagan Island into a military bombing range?

Will Trump bring the military build-up to Tinian?

Will Trump escalate Guam's military buildup and bring environmental ruin?

Does Trump even care about Guam? I suspect this is what worries Calvo.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Guam, ban the plastic bags!

Washington DC imposed a 5 cent fee on plastic bags in 2010. A few years later, a survey was taken to assess the impact. Source: District Dept. of the Environment

Guam should be credited for considering a ban on plastic bags. It doesn't need the blight.

In Washington DC they took a middle-of-the-road approach and imposed a 5 cent fee on the bags. The idea was to discourage their use. It seems to be working.

A lot of people can afford the 5 cent fee, but the fee was also coupled with awareness about the impact of the bags on the environment. It took effect in 2010, and since then surveys find that 80% of DC residents are using fewer bags. Environmentalists have reported a positive impact on the local rivers.

A ban is more extreme, but in Guam's case it's the best course. This is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it's going to be stressed more than ever in the years ahead.

The military build-up will stress on all aspects of the island's environment. Banning the plastic bag is a way of fighting back and taking control. Hopefully the military exchanges will act in a similar manner, if they aren't doing so already.

People will complain, for sure, but they will adapt.

The Change.org petition makes a compelling case for action.