Friday, April 10, 2009

Taipei Times Takes Another Whack at Eni

Remember what we said about Mark Twain’s famous quote about never picking a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel? Well, the Taipei Times has signaled it is not yet quite through with Mr. Faleomavaega, the Samoan non-voting delegate to who found out the Taiwan lobby is a lot more influential with his House colleagues than
he is.

This time it is the turn of Johnny Neihu, the popular Times columnist. A couple of factual inaccuracies do not detract from his analysis of Eni’s fumbled attempt to water down the House Resolution designed to reaffirm U.S. support for and commitment to Taiwan.

“Countless polls have shown that only a small percentage of crazies want either unification or independence right here, right now," wrote Neihu in the April 11 edition of the Times. “Most Taiwanese want things to stay as they are for the time being. This is what they voted for. They did not vote for backroom deals between KMT hacks and the Chinese Communist Party. This is why we have Suspicious Minds. We don’t want to live under another murderous regime. Been there, done that. Why don’t people like Mr. F[aleomavaega] get this?”

Perhaps Eni would better comprehend what Johnny is saying if he would just remember that virtually no one in this territory either wants to disturb the status quo. People who want to merge with Samoa or become independent separately are scarce to find.

“Maybe deep down the congressman would be nicer to us if he read up on some Asian history,” wrote Neihu in his widely read “News Watch" column. “I am assuming this based on comments he made during a visit to Vietnam in 2007,” he wrote, noting that Eni is a Vietnam War veteran.

Neihu advises his readers that Eni “called Ho Chi Minh a ‘great leader’ in a controversial 2007 visit to Vietnam and quotes Eni as saying Ho ‘only wanted to get rid of 100 years of French colonialism and establish a better life for his own people.’ Well,” concludes Neihu, “we here in Taiwan haven’t quite healed our colonial injuries, but we have fought for and achieved a better life; freedom of speech and of the press; a good standard of living; and the right to kick out a sh*tty government. We would like to keep it that way. But becoming a special autonomous zone of China won’t guarantee these things, as the Hong Kong experiment has demonstrated. This is why we value the TRA and its advocacy of a resolution acceptable to us, and this is why we don’t appreciate fair weather friends meddling with it.”

Neihu made a couple of inconsequential factual errors, such as noting that Eni was chosen for a part as an extra in an Elvis Presley movie because of his body length tattoo. The Hawaii-raised politician only got that tattoo later in life as he was gearing up to win votes in American Samoa elections later in his career, which is why he did notmincur the wrath of school administrators.

Moreover, while Neihu is puzzled why Eni would try to sabotage U.S.-Taiwan relations at the same time he is trying to promote the Taiwan ship building industry by making it easier for Taiwan-built boats to fish in U.S. and South Pacific EEZs, it is not because the bill he is supporting in Congress would aid American Samoa’s canneries. If anything, that bill, if enacted, may hasten the canneries’ departure. This deal is purely financial, with Eni getting heavy campaign contributions from special interests backing his bill. Some have suggested that if he were to leave Congress, he also might wind up as a well-paid adviser to those interests as well-—-if the bill were to go through.

So, at least based on this little secret amendment Eni tried to pass last year, Mr. Neihu makes a faulty assessment that “like any good congressman, Mr. F spends his time trying to ensure his constituents have jobs.” As readers of this blog know all too well, Eni spends most of his time traveling and very little time on ensuring his constituents have jobs. Had he been at his duty station when the critical minimum wage policy decision was been made, American Samoa might have continued to receive the exemption that is crucial to keeping the canneries in place.

Our speculation: Expect Eni to come charging back to “correct the record” on his tattoo and his fishing fleet bill further to divert attention from his humiliating defeat on the TRA resolution.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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