Colby Students Demand to be Heard

Yesterday, February 27, 2013, I was invited to attend the screening of a powerful and daring documentary created by a group of young students and future filmmakers at Colby College.

The title, Bicentennial: A Documentary was seen by over 100 students and faculty in the Lovejoy Building. In the past week, it premiered to a audience of more than 300 students and faculty. The creators of the film are from Africa, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the U.S. and represent the diversity that is Colby, but in their eyes, not yet!

Challenging Colby’s president, administration, and faculty, these brave and courageous students raised such issues as racism, sexual violence on campus, the lack of help for students with different learning styles, the fact that janitors and cafeteria workers (SODEXCO is a private company hired to run the cafeteria) are not paid a living wage and lack benefits.

Just last night after Colby’s president delivered an address to students and faculty, the students attempted to read prepared remarks and were not permitted to do so. After one student was allowed to speak, the president and faculty then walked out on the students, in what I describe as a shameful, hypocritical, and disrespectful.

Here is an excerpt from a written response of the president of Colby.
“The great excitement of the day also brought with it a challenging moment during the convocation, when several students interrupted the program by coming onto the platform to read prepared statements. I agree that the issues they raised are of concern to us – indeed, I had highlighted most of them in the Bicentennial Address that ended moments before the students took their action – and I think it’s important to note that we have been doing this work and will continue this work in many venues and with many constituencies.”

Here it is for you to decide.

The students have promised me a copy of the feature documentary and when it arrives I will share it.

Largest Climate Rally in U.S. History

Capital Mall MonumentBill McKibbin, founder of, organized a rally in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, February 17, 2013 to pressure President Obama into not approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. Upwards of 40,000 people attended from all over the country and Canada.

The participants braved temperatures in the 20’s with a wind chill of zero or below and stood for hours listening to speakers, chanting, and marching from the Washington Monument to the White House. They started gathering around 9 am with the last ones leaving some time after 4 pm.

There were people of all ages and nationalities from neighboring states and from faraway. Many traveled overnight in buses and returned home as soon as the rally ended. I attended with my son Tanner. We combined the rally and a trip to the National Archives in College Park, MD to research material for my film.

I had a little fun with the video below, wanting to capture the flavor and spirit of the day. Enjoy and please share.

Bruce Cumings on “Operational Control” of the South Korean Military

Bruce pictureMost Americans are unaware of the role the U.S. Military has played in Korea since World War II. But, ever since then, the U.S. Military has had “operational control” of the Korean army that continues to this day.

Bruce Cumings, a historian and leading expert on Korea and East Asian American relations explains how and why the U.S. controls a standing army of 650,000. He will also explain why the recent change in U.S. policy of allowing S. Korea to extend the range of its ballistic missiles to reach all of N. Korea, and the sale of drones to S. Korea is causing a rise in tensions between the two Koreas.

At a time when N. Korea is defying the international community and the U.S. for launching rockets and detonating a third nuclear test, the danger of the U.S. being dragged into another conflict with the North because of “operational control” has increased exponentially.

One interesting insight that Bruce offered was that Obama’s “pivot to Asia” isn’t really a pivot to Asia, as it is a pivot out of Afghanistan and the Middle East because the U.S. presence in the Pacific has not changed since the end of WWII. He says, all Obama has done is “”shift”” more resources to places in the South Pacific and East Asia.

Enjoy this informative 10 minute excerpt from the two hour interview with Bruce Cumings.

Jeju Protester Given 18 Month Jail Sentence

002 Prof. YangProf. Yang Yoon-Mo was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for protesting against the construction of the naval base in Gangjeong Village! The crime?  Obstruction of business and jeopardizing the construction of the so called ‘joint civilian-military use base’!

Not only do the ROK government and the ROK Navy continue the lies and deception, but the courts do their part to beat back those who protest the military expansion of the U.S. in Asia and the Pacific.

Professor Yang has risked everything to stop the construction. This is Prof. Yang’s fourth prison sentence. He previously went on a hunger strike for 70 days. Professor Yang left a 30 year career as a prominent South Korean film critic to protest against the base on a full-time basis. During my stay, I had the privilege of meeting him and filming his daily protests at the gates. Professor Yang will be given a prominent role in my documentary.

The video clip of Prof. Yang resisting the police is by Korean filmmaker Cho, Sung-bong.

Here’s a brief video of Professor Yang.