Monday, December 07, 2009

Heads are Rolling

Sam McPhetres got canned over the weekend. It makes no sense to me why the local college's most well known and popular professor who teaches a class that is a requirement for graduation (!) would be so unceremoniously let go. From the Marianas Variety:
"a few weeks before he received his notice of non-renewal, and shortly after the Variety published the results of Jay Solly’s election poll, McPhetres was “interrogated” by college administration officials regarding surveys and polls that were being conducted by his students regarding the November elections."
Well, I guess it makes sense. If the Covenant Party would go after the girlfriend of a guy that published a poll they didn't like, why not go after that pesky teacher who forces the students to ask all those awkward questions?

Makes you wonder if Joe Taijeron really resigned or was he let go for supporting Heinz?  So who's next? And when will the next head roll? Today?

I was also disturbed by Boni Sagana's letter in defense of Deanne Siemer. The letter is a response to a letter to the editor written by Wendy Doramal, in which she accuses Deanne of trying to cut a deal with local contract workers to keep them "quiet." Boni writes:
It is absolutely untrue that workers were told to be “quiet.” Ms. Siemer stated her views on what works and what does not-as she always does in many consultations she has had with us. It is entirely up to us what we do. Ms. Siemer believes that attacking the governor or holding big demonstrations creates a political backlash that can result in the governor actively opposing worker goals.
I can see now that she wasn't asking them to be quiet. She was actually threatening them! In other words, "Shut up or else..."

Disagreeing with your governor is not "attacking" him. Practicing the right to petition your government is a fundamental American value, a freedom protected in the First Amendment. Exercising those freedoms is not "attacking" the governor.

"Attacking" the governor looks more like what Dengre writes on his blog:
Benigno R. (Ben) Fitial is a Pirate. He is an old-school thieving, lying bastard. He is an architect of the system of human trafficking and abuse that has flourished on the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) for over 25 years. The sweatshops, forced prostitution, money laundering, gambling, graft, corruption and incompetence that have become synonymous with the rogue US Territory in the Western Pacific are all by-products of his criminal career.
That is what an attack looks like. Pointing to the governor's record and quoting the governor's own words is not an "attack," it is simply pointing to the governor's record and quoting the governor's own words. Holding a peaceful rally asking your government to let people who have been here for 20 years stay is not an "attack." Signing a petition so that your children can have a better life is not an "attack," either.

Telling a group of people to keep quiet because it might hurt the governor's feelings is ridiculous, shameful, and un-American. And this is probably only the beginning.

Looks like I was dead on when I called shenanigans on Siemer. Malou Berueco, who was at the meeting of contract workers and Siemer, had this to say in today's (December, 9,2009) Saipan Tribune:
To make things clear, at the meeting, no agreement was done with Deanne Siemer. Yes, we were not told to be quiet but were told to refrain from doing such acts. What is the difference?
It wasn't very difficult to read between the lines of Boni Sagana's letter. Free Speech doesn't just apply to speech.