The people of Palau, Marshall Islands and Micronesia, through the Compact of Free Association, are able to travel freely between their island nations and the USA, are able to work and eligible to receive the same services and benefits as US citizens. In exchange, the US military has access to land and maintain a military presence in that part of the Pacific. What is not being said is that it is also a form of compensation for poisoning their islands when our government conducted 67 nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958, which resulted in a rise of birth abnormalities and various forms of cancer.
Because Congress has not funded COFA, the financial burden falls upon the state of Hawaii where over 10,000 Micronesians live, and the Circuit Court has just ruled that Hawaii is not obligated for the cost of COFA, leaving many of those people in peril.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the earth, our federal government is wasting BILLIONS of our tax payer dollars in Afghanistan, expenses our Congress justify in a heartbeat, because you know - terrorism. But when it comes to accountability, our government’s fingers point to corrupt leaders or a corrupt culture because it’s convenient - when they should really point their fingers at themselves!
And in Hawaii, the false promises of COFA has created tension and resentment between the people of Hawaii and Micronesians, our Moana siblings, a tension that is so ugly and not PONO, and we’ve taken our eyes off the true culprit, the source of the problem: American imperialism, which uproots, divides, discards and ultimately destroys people.
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HONOLULU— The Couchmen Drum & Bugle Corps used to be the laziest corps in the country. So lazy, they werenât even a real corps. That all changed on Tuesday. Starting in the summer of 2014, the Couchmen will become official. The corps plans to perform in the Drum Corps International (DCI) competitive circuit within the Open Class division.âEver since I started the Couchmen as a fun joke back in late 2012, the fan base really took off. In just the first year alone, our fan page gained over 4,000 followers,â says Couchmen founder and director, Zach Ashcraft. âI was surprised with the overwhelming interest and support, so much so that I realized there was a great potential to make this a real and successful group.â As for location, the Couchmen will be headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, the same city where the corps will hold itâs monthly training camps. âThe marching arts scene in Hawaii is small right now but rapidly growing, so I definitely see the want and need for a competitive drum corps in the state. Plus, I believe the exotic location will be a huge bonus for attracting out of state members,â says Ashcraft. New members will certainly love Hawaiiâs typical beautiful weather, but can count on spending most of their time indoors, per Couchmen standards.Ashcraft himself is no stranger to the drum corps activity. After being a member of the trumpet section in the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps from 2007 to 2009, he served as the corpsâ drum major in 2010. He has also served as an experienced member of the administrative and media team at the Crossmen Drum & Bugle Corps.One large challenge for the Couchmen and Ashcraft still remains however, and that is finding a way to be competitive in DCI while keeping with the corpsâ founding mission statement: âto provide the easiest drum corps experience imaginable.â âThe running joke is that the Couchmen are the couch potatoes of the drum corps activity. While we will try our best to compete with the physical demands other corps are achieving, we also hope to provide a simpler experience for our members. Just getting this group to play quarter notes while marching a set at 8-to-5 will be an accomplishmentâ adds Ashcraft. âBut at the end of the day, our main goal is to entertain the fans and create a stress-free environment for our members.âThe reaction to Couchmenâs decision to field a corps has been nothing but positive, even from Dan Acheson, DCIâs Executive Director and CEO. Says Acheson, âThe entire DCI staff is extremely excited to hear of Couchmenâs intent to field a corps this summer and bring the activity to the state of Hawaii. It will be interesting to see how their mission statement fits in with the typical values taught at other corps, but we know they will make it work.âFor now, planning is underway to get the corps on the field as soon as possible. Those interested in becoming potential members can look to the corpsâ website for more information at www.couchmendrumcorps.org
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