1/9/18

Does Trump Read My Blog? ..lol!

 😂😂😂
A few months ago I wrote a post “If I Were President ... Trump” (9/14/17) in which I sided with the children of immigrants (Dreamers) and advocating a path for citizenship for them.  In the post I wrote a brief mock speech that I hoped Trump would give when disclosing his decision, daring as it may likely be.  This is part of that post:
This is a sample of the speech I feel and hope that Trump will and should give with regards to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) issue in the next day or two.
"My fellow Americas, many are anxious to know how I would rule on DACA which has been a tough one for me. Tough one.   Believe me.  As I have said before, I have children of my own and I can understand the situation for close to a million children who will be affected.  Now I know that in all likelihood, I will be seeking re-election in four years and my chances of being re-elected may depend on how I rule on this particular issue.  But you know what? Let me tell you:  To hell with the 2020 election! To hell with partisan politics!  To hell with my so-called base!  I am going with my HEART on this one.  These children are human beings and they have known only one country in all of their lives, and that country is America. We can change the laws of the land but we cannot change the laws of God which are governed by love and compassion.
Speaking of changing the law, I will sign an executive order to not only keep DACA, but also give these children a path to citizenship. And if my presidency will end up being defined solely by this issue and how I've decided against one of my campaign promises, then so be it!  I am reminded of the words of one foreigner who said that when America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!   America will always be great as long as we're  on the side of goodness, kindness and compassion which are some of America's traditional and core values.  Once again, DACA will not be reversed or rescinded.  Thank you, and God bless America!" 

Now, today (Jan 09, 2018), came the latest update on the DACA issue and illegal immigrants in general from the New York Times. Check the comparisons between parts of the mock speech and contents of the article (color coded).

Trump Appears to Endorse Path to Citizenship for Millions of Immigrants
By THE NEW YORK TIMES on Publish Date January 9, 2018.
WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday appeared to endorse a sweeping immigration deal that would eventually grant millions of undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, saying he would be willing to “take the heat” politically for an approach that many of his hard-line supporters have long viewed as unacceptable.
Such action has the potential to alienate the hard-line immigration activists who powered his political rise and helped him win the presidency, many of whom have described it as amnesty for lawbreakers.
“If you want to take it that further step, I’ll take the heat,” Mr. Trump told Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who floated the idea during the meeting in the White House Cabinet Room on Tuesday. “You are not that far away from comprehensive immigration reform.”
President Trump said legislation around an immigration overhaul should come from love, while also pushing for stronger security measures.
 So I think Trump has read my post and he reads my blog also, besides golfing and watching TV.😂😂 And as a result, it seems that he has finally changed (ahem!)  ...Hahahaaaaa.  Ia va'ai uma oukou ga e leai gi pepa gofo mau, akogu o le a laki kakou i le amnesty a Trump.  And don't forget to thank me for it. Se Isoke! 😆😊👌👌👍 On a second thought, don't get your hopes up Trump is a very fickle guy. lol

1/8/18

Legalize Marijuana in Samoa?

In other words, basically, “E Sa (banned), or ‘Samore’ (some more)?” ...  LOL!!

This is one of the hot debate topics currently in Samoa.  Like most debate issues, some people are for it and others are against it. But the Prime Minister has made his voice known in this article, basically equating and associating marijuana use, sale and legalization to "murder".  A couple of respondents have posted their comments in Samoa Planet along with my two comments below.

LV Letalu January 5, 2018 at 8:30 AM

Interesting and even ironic what the PM is saying associating legalized marijuana with murder or death. The Samoan translation for “marijuana” is “maliuaga” in the vernacular (k/g pronunciation). And in Samoan, “maliu” is “death” or “murder” and “aga” is “habit” or “behavior”. So, literally, “maliuaga” is “death habit”.


LV Letalu January 6, 2018 at 6:39 AM

I think this is an issue that’s not cut and dried yet. The jury is still out and therefore an absolute consensus on the legalization verdict is still moot. With every seemingly logical and definitive argument for legalization, there’s also an equally valid and/or effective counter argument. So I say that we not rush into it.

I’m sure there is a lot of useful and relevant information (scientific and otherwise) to consider before a better, informed and educated approach is taken. There also needs to be some education on the part of potential users, law enforcement personnel, government and health officials and members of society on the whole subject. In fact some of the states and places that have legalized marijuana are finding out some unsuspected issues and results. Colorado for example, which legalized marijuana two years ago, claimed to have made good money from it, however, that money goes right back to paying for the rising costs of resulting problems (ER visits, health issues, drugged driving, addiction, etc.). It’s a vicious cycle. Marijuana has been proven to have negative and harmful effects on the brain and other organs. And as for law enforcement benefits as claimed, here’s a citation (no pun intended) from a report on the Colorado law:
“Jackson, former president of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, and other police officials said legalization simply moved much faster than law enforcement officers’ ability to keep up with it. Jackson, who sounded beleaguered in an interview, said a fallacy of legalization is that it would give law enforcement time back to focus on more serious, complicated criminal issues and bigger drug problems. Two years and two months into full legalization, he said, ‘we’re not seeing that.’”
According to the report, one of the biggest problems with legalized marijuana – and difference from alcohol – is in the infused edibles such as candy bars and other products especially with the dangers they have on children. The normalization aspect of marijuana use on children is one of my own biggest concerns.

So, at the very least, I’d say that Samoa is not ready yet – socially, medically, technologically, legally, financially, etc. – for legalized marijuana, especially recreational marijuana. It surely is going to be a heavily regulated business when implemented.

One thing I hate to see is when our people start using more land, time and energy cultivating cannabis ae le faia ma’umaga ma isi fa’ako’aga. Ia sa’o ai loa le kala a Pekelo, “…makuā oki a le mea a kakou.” Pun intended (re: maliu-aga). lol!

12/29/17

Christmas 2017 Pics

Family Traditions

A few days before Christmas: Put up decorations and Christmas trees






Christmas Eve: Enjoyed food/snacks, played games like Family Feud (home version), did Karaoke, and had lotsa fun!












Christmas Day To'ana'i (Brunch): This year we decided on a seafood menu











grandma and granddaughters 


Our Christmas highlight: youngest grandson skyping with missionary grandson on iPhone ... lol!!

12/18/17

My TAKEAWAYS from the Alabama Senate Election - Moore vs. Jones

Roy Moore vs. Doug Jones.

If you’re outside the US of A, then the story may have eluded you - unless of course you’re one of those US political afficionados.  But if you’re in the US, then this story is - using Trump’s repetitive and limited lexicon - bigly, massive, historic, epic, mighty, tremendous, great and “the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

IRONICALLY, all these Trumpian superlatives are even MORE apt and precise in describing the shocking outcome of this special election last Tuesday.  It was Epic! Mighty! Historic! Massive! Bigly!...etc. etc.

Background:
Jeff Sessions (Republican), the chipmunky-voice and “smlying”-faced senator from Alabama was picked by Trump to be US Attorney General, leaving his seat vacant in the Senate. Long story short, the two candidates who ended up vying for the seat were Doug Jones, a Democrat, and Roy Moore, a Republican.

Alabama played a crucial role in the history of  the civil rights movement in America. Historic figures like George Wallace, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King are associated with Alabama. Today, Alabama is known as one of the reddest of red states. In US political lingo, it’s a state that is predominantly Republican. During the last two decades, Alabama has voted Republican in Congress and in state offices. Consider also that Sessions ran unopposed as a senator in 2014 and won 97% of the votes. Republican votes. The Democrats were not able to field a candidate and the only opposition that Sessions faced were write-ins.  In other words, therefore, Jones (Democrat) had zero chances of winning. He was practically an under-underdog.

But allegations and  accusations surfaced of Moore molesting and harassing women (ring a bell?), including teenage girls. Several women came forward with their stories which Moore would deny, of course. To add salt to the wound, some of Moore’s social, religious and political views were flagrantly prejudiced, extreme, bigoted and racist (ring a bell?), that even some leaders in the Republican Party started to disavow him and called him to quit the race. Trump, on the other hand, considering his own problems with sexual misconduct and harassment, meanwhile, was silent about Moore - even on Twitter.  A few days before the election, however, Trump fully and without reservation, endorsed Moore.

The race dominated the news as polls showed a real tight one. The court of public opinion still gave Moore a big advantage, everything considered, especially Alabama’s political leanings.  It was Moore’s guaranteed win according to most pundits. In the end Jones beat the favored Moore by a 1.5% margin.  And so Moore “fell from his high horse” (I’ll elaborate on this later.)

With the current political maelstrom and pandemonium in the US, stemming from a controversial and flawed presidency, and recent resignations in Congress due to sexual misconduct of some of its members, this Alabama election became a miniature of the bigger national, cultural and socio-political scene and trend.

So here are some of my takeaways from the Alabama Election.
  • America starts to feel the buyer’s remorse, aka voter’s remorse. Trump won big in Alabama over Clinton, and he endorsed Moore - but Moore lost.  Go figure!
  • America still retains some of its decency - and moral compass.  Because of Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct, people started to wonder how can someone vote for such a person, especially the polls with him consistently ahead of Jones. That also caused some many true fellow Americans to wonder if this is the direction that America is heading with its elected officials - spearheaded by Trump himself and his own sexual misconduct. Well it was not meant to be this time. Decency won! And the election seems a glimmer of hope for Americans as still being decent and moral people.  Thank God for goodness!
  • Family Feud brewing, and therefore Trump may disavow his good friend Steve Harvey also. Again just fews day before the election, Trump backed Moore while her daughter Ivanka - an “advisor to the president” (ahem!) - denounced and criticized Moore for his sexual misconduct.  In the end, Ivanka won and Trump lost.  Will Trump fire Ivanka?  If he does, then Jared (Ivanka’s husband) may reveal all the family secrets and Trump’s dealings with Russia.  Is there also a Haman’s tree in the making? 
  • A war with North Korea is now becoming more likely.  How and why?  Well Trump has, generally, been a loser and failure during his first year in office.  There’s a political strategy that when a president/leader faces so many failures and low approval ratings at home (domestic), then he/she would seek to create a conflict abroad in order to unite his/her country.  The leader needs to be careful in trusting such a strategy, because it doesn’t always work in his favor.  For an American president, Vietnam and Iraq (to an extent) are good lessons.  Trump, being a foolhardy president that he is, may just count on a war with North Korea to unite the country, reverse his woes, misfortunes and unfavorable ratings at home. 
  • Irony is still alive, and well!  Moore did not drive or walk to cast his vote on election day. Instead he rode a horse.  The horse’s name is Sassy! Ain’t that ironic?  “Sassy” has a young girl and female connotation and is a word that reminds everyone of Moore’s past misconduct with young girls.  And so Moore lost the election, or shall we say that he “fell from his high horse” Veeerry saaasssy indeed!
  • Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord ...[will enter the Senate].” Moore has been known as a religious guy, in fact so overly religious that he was called a religious bigot by many of the so-called “value voters”.  Moore also openly dislikes Muslims and is a zealot for his Christian faith.  He even refuses to concede the election to Jones because he says that God has not spoken to him yet....hahaaaa...You see?  Come to think of it, the Lord may have already spoken to him through Sassy (the horse), like the story of Balaam and his ass (donkey) in the Bible.  And, like Balaam, Moore is the kind of person who would not listen to anyone who speaks the truth (remind you of someone?) let alone to an animal. Hahaaa.
  • The Alabama Election result is a classic example of poetic justice.
  • Trump is not out of the sexual harassment woods yet.  Some members of Congress are now calling for his resignation from the many sexual harassment claims against him.
  • Obama trumps Trump. Obama since leaving office has stayed quiet and mostly behind the scenes watching as Trump seeks to demolish and destroy his (Obama’s) legacy by reversing and  overturning many of his programs and acts. And so days leading up to the election when Trump came out and endorsed Moore, Obama for the first time came out publicly and encouraged people to get out and vote for Jones.  And Obama won. He beat Trump. 
  • And so Trump must be tired of winning losing.  (Re: Trump’s “tired of winning” campaign rhetoric.)
  • Bannon is still banned.  Steve Bannon, Trump’s reeeaaallly close friend, also stumped miiiightily for Moore.  In fact Steve, during one of his stump speeches for Moore, said that there is a “special place in hell for those Republicans who don’t support Roy Moore....”  Hell, no!...
  • Racial tensions (black vs. white) may be on the upsurge again.  Moore was backed by mostly white voters but Jones received 95% of the black vote which put him over the top. In fact Jones’s win has been attributed mainly to the black voters. Conversely, Moore, Bannon and Trump are all considered masked advocates - if not dear friends and champions - of white supremacy! 

12/6/17

Gone "Gatsby"

This past weekend we attended a birthday celebration (80th) for one of Dearie's cousins.  Guests were asked to dress Gatsby style of the Roarin' Twenties.  It was a beautiful and fun-filled party.  It brought back some memories of my university days studying F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" - a classic in American Literature.

Some of the guests came from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.  Marina Davis was one of them who wowed the guests with her vocal performances.

Some pictures from the party.



...us
...with daughter


daughter with cousin

dearie with cousins










dearie with niece and sister (front) with "Jade"


12/4/17

Samoa Observer Comments

I recently commented in the Samoa Observer on an editorial about the Prime Minister titled:
“Of course he’s not a ‘dictator,’ he is only the leader of a ‘one-party state’”

Dear Editor,

I think we should give this period of the H.R.P.P. and Tuila’epa rule the name: “Tui Myth” in the mold of the “Tudor Myth” of England of the 15th/16th centuries. There are some significant similarities.

One of these is the belief that the government/king is divinely sanctioned.

That means God watches over and governs the country through the leader/king. That has always been Tuila’epa’s shibboleth, which, unfortunately, may not and/or cannot be repudiated and refuted considering Samoa’s national motto of having been “founded on God”.

The recent constitutional change making Samoa a Christian state adds to that whole belief and psyche. But as I said in one of my recent letters:
 “The Samoa Christian churches, understandably, welcome and embrace the [change], but again there’s hidden venom underneath it. The government can actually become the proverbial camel that will slowly but surely encroach and eventually take control of the tent (or Church). If the government can pass a law to nationalize a particular religion, what stops it from regulating that religion?
The demarcation between church and state has become more indistinct and obscure as a result.
The irony is that churches now think that they are rightfully and deservedly sanctioned and are given a mandate by the government and yet, at the same time, they are unknowingly ceding to the government some of their autonomy and supposed authority and independence.
Therefore, churches/denominations better be ready and not be surprised when - not if - their ecclesiastical appointments, policies and practices will be infringed upon, if not dictated, by the government down the road. The government now has a vested interest in its religion nemesis. The camel is in.” 

Yes, the “animal” (donkey or elephant in the US political context) certainly is in the tent already. And the “divine right” claim, ironically, is now being used against the clergy and the Church in Samoa requiring their ministers to pay taxes, for example.

This sounds like something right out of an edict of a Tudor king. Practically, again, the church is now controlled by the government.

Another similarity between the present government and the Tudor dynasty is found in how the people continue to view the P.M. and H.R.P.P. as being authoritarian.

The government, however, can actually respond and - using one of the Tudor Myth’s claims and justifications for an evil king/ruler - say that it has been divinely called, too, to change and correct the people’s wicked and evil ways, if not become a scourge to them.  In other words, an evil people deserves an evil ruler. And this kinda goes along with the democratic notion of people deserving their leaders because they elect them (albeit indirectly in Samoa) to begin with.

Moreover, the P.M’s audacious and dictatorial tendencies may also be given validation and consolation by a popular notion articulated by a French political philosopher, Jean Bodin, who said, contextually, that the “... [Prime Minister], in whom the [power] resteth, is to give account unto none, but to the immortal God alone.”

This was said in defense of the monarchical style of government of Bodin’s time like the Tudor dynasty. Notwithstanding, the Bible has its own position in which the buck stops with the leaders: “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”~ Proverbs 29:2 (KJV)

So either way, I guess, in a sense, it goes back to the people - if they’re mourning or rejoicing (or in emoji lingo, LOL!) - [notably] if they’re evil or good.

Samoa e, ala mai ia!

LV Letalu

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I also posted a comment on this article about the death of an LDS Church missionary.

In my Church, it’s always sad and tragic when a missionary passes away while in the mission field, especially as a result of a tragic accident.  Recently a missionary (elder), from Australia but of Samoan parentage, was killed in Samoa after being hit by a drunk driver. One of the related articles titled “Body of dead missionary to be taken home,” has this particular line in it:

“More than $9,000 was raised through a fundraiser to help take Patiole’s body back to [Australia] his homeland.”

The statement may be true with regards to the amount raised, however, the "purpose" part does distort and misrepresent the role and part of the LDS Church in such tragic cases, especially in helping the missionary’s family ease the pain through shouldering some related expenses; hence my comment (below) posted at the end of the article in the Samoa Observer.

My Comment:

Condolences to the family of the dear missionary. RIL!

Just a little clarification in case non-members (and some LDS Church members as well) misconstrue some parts of the article with regards to the core expenses. The following quote therefore may shed some light on the issue, and I'm certain the information is still valid and current, even though it was given two years ago at another missionary funeral where the same expense issues were raised.
"The death of a young missionary is a tragic time for the family and for all those who love them, and the Church seeks to ensure that there are no financial concerns that make the mourning process more difficult,” said Eric Hawkins, church spokesman. “When a missionary is injured or becomes ill and then passes away, the Church covers the costs of medical treatment and transportation, return of the deceased to their home and funeral expenses. Families may choose to supplement what the Church provides to personalize the funeral at their own discretion.”  - Daily Herald