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Archive for November, 2017

The Navajo Code Talkers are heroes sine qua non. Without them, the War in the Pacific might have been lost. Probably would have been. But these very young guys, teenagers many of them, stepped up when we were at war and gave everything they had.

Everyone knows what Donald Trump did at a ceremony meant to honor them this week. It was – I will use Hillary Clinton’s term – deplorable.

Here is a story about them and not about the occupant of the Oval Office.

The incredible story of the Navajo Code Talkers that got lost in all the politics

Who were the Navajo code talkers?

Story highlights

  • The Navajo Code Talkers used their native language to invent a secret military code
  • The code was vital to the US victory in the Pacific in World War II

(CNN)When Peter McDonald, Fleming Begaye and Thomas Begay joined the elite fraternity of Navajo Code Talkers during World War II, they had no idea what they were getting into.

That was by design. The top-secret program they joined wouldn’t even be declassified until more than two decades later — long after the secret Navajo code language had played a vital role in the American war effort.
All they knew at the time was that the Marines were recruiting and needed help from the Navajo people. “So we all volunteered. That’s how he went in, that’s how he went in, that’s how I went in,” said McDonald, now 90, of his two comrades. McDonald, Begaye and Begay were at the White House on Monday to receive praise for their service.
The three were among the Navajo troops who learned a secret, unbreakable code language that was used to send information on tactics, troop movements and orders over the radio and telephone.
The code was indecipherable to the enemy and a key factor in the American military victories at Iwo Jima, Saipan, and several other major battles in the Pacific theater.

When I was in Haiti, I was privileged to meet two young Navajo sent by the Phelps-Stokes Foundation. In turn, my thesis advisor, Dr. Jeanne Philippe, was sent to visit the Navajo at Window Rock.

Very little is done for the native tribes in this country. Much is asked, and they always have come through. Nobody is more American. Nobody!

The individual occupying the Oval Office chose to use the venerable venue and the honorees of the day for a sleazy political comment. Hillary Clinton’s baskets aside, was she so wrong about the deplorable part?

The Navajo Nation responded.


trump_navajo

Trump addresses Navajo veterans in front of portrait of Andrew Jackson, a US president nicknamed “Indian killer.”

By S Nicholson, Revere Press, November 28, 2017

A number of Native American activists and leaders condemned President Donald Trump’s racist comment during a ceremony honoring Navajo veterans of World War II on Monday.

Trump had, without saying her name, referred to Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” using the name as an insult in response to Warren’s claims of Native American heritage. Why he felt this was necessary to say while honoring Navajo “code talkers” who served in the Marine Corps and are now in their 90s is anyone’s guess.

That he did so in front of a portrait of President Andrew Jackson — who was nicknamed “Indian Killer” and signed a law to forcibly relocate tens of thousands of indigenous people from their homes — only added insult to injury.

“We have a representative in Congress who has been here for a long time … longer than you. They call her Pocahontas!” Trump said to the veterans.

The Navajo Nation issued a statement in response to the incident, which strongly condemned Trump’s comments.

Read the statement >>>>

Every time we think Donald Trump cannot drag the Presidency lower, we find the floor is lava. Here is a reaction from a tribal union.

Pocahontas and the President

posted Nov 27, 2017, 1:41 PM by John Norwood   [ updated Nov 27, 2017, 1:43 PM ]

submitted by Dr. J.R. Norwood, ACET General Secretary

In a ceremony at the White House honoring Native Code talkers, who are known to have been vital to the success and victory in World War II (and a lesser known fact is that code talkers even were used to aid the victory in World War I), President Trump decided to deviate from the focus on their valiant service to take a swipe at a political opponent, once again making a reference to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” (see link below).  After his initial use of this reference during his campaign, numerous American Indian organizations denounced the manner in which the name was used. There are some who ignored the response from Indian Country and defended Mr. Trump, both then and now, with the excuse that the name “Pocahontas” is not a racial slur. When honorably referencing the actual historic figure, this indeed is true. However, the name becomes a derogatory racial reference when used as an insult. American Indian names, whether they be historic or contemporary, are not meant to be used as insults.  To do so is to reduce them to racial slurs. There are many in Indian Country who have given various perspectives on Senator Warren’s claim of an American Indian ancestor. There are many non-tribal Americans who make similar claims of indigenous ancestry. Sometimes it is a matter of documented genealogical fact and sometimes it’s merely a matter of family lore. Such private claims, when not used to claim the legal protections or benefits of the citizens of American Indian Nations, cause little or no harm to tribal people. However, degrading an American Indian name or historic tribal reference by using it as an insult is making a racial slur, whether knowingly or unknowingly. The right to determine if it is a slur belongs to those who have been insulted, not the one who made the insult.  The appropriate and mature response when one is made aware of such an insult to an entire race of people is to apologize and to not do it again. An even better response after the apology is to try to understand and learn more of the proud heritage of the people that were insulted and why the manner in which you used the reference may be viewed as an insult.  Such a response would unite instead of divide.  It would heal instead of hurt.  This is a “teachable moment” that could be transformed into something positive, if America and its president are willing to learn.  We can only hope.


– Trump calls Warren ‘Pocahontas’ at event honoring Native Americans http://nbcnews.to/2zJNqjn
– World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) tweeted at 2:52 PM on Mon, Nov 27, 2017: MOMENTS AGO: Pres. Trump at White House event honoring Navajo code talkers, makes joke about “Pocahontas” Sen. Elizabeth Warren. https://t.co/PgdhbxBrfT
(https://twitter.com/ABCWorldNews/status/935234798045446144?s=09)

I should not have to be defending American heroes against the POTUS. I should not have to be defending them from us, the invaders – my 11 times great grandfather did that long before Independence. He knew the wisdom of elders. Of the Sachem.

The day was meant to thank and honor those who stepped up and served. They are among the last of their amazing generation.

We should always look to our elders. They remained composed, wise, and tolerant of puppies nipping at their heels.

This is a great country – not in the least because of our native forefathers. They have exemplified grace and industry in the face of danger.

We honor you, our Native Fathers, for your courage, wisdom, and forbearance. We apologize for Donald Trump’s clumsy handling of your special day.

Please know that we love and cherish you as National Treasures!

 

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It feels like the #MeToo grenades are exploding left and right. Yesterday was especially active. Additional Roy Moore accusers stepped forward, and then came an accusation – with some photographic evidence – against Senator Al Franken who is trending on Twitter as I type.

The incident occurred in 2006 before he was a senator. He issued two apologies yesterday and said that he would cooperate with an ethics committee investigation. Nevertheless, there is a hue and cry for him to resign. It must be noted that many of the #FrankenShouldGo tweets are saying that if Franken should go Trump also should go.

With sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse, and assault being the hot topic everywhere this week, women in government have stepped forward. Jackie Speier is especially active on this front having shared her own story of an assault when she was a congressional aide.


WASHINGTON — Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said she knows of two current members of Congress who “have engaged in sexual harassment,” while another congresswoman, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) recounted a member who exposed himself to a female staffer.The members were not named.The lawmakers spoke at a House Administration Committee hearing on sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, and about pending legislation to require training for all members and their staffs, and whether further actions are necessary to establish uniform policies.Read more >>>>


Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., is hoping the increased national attention on sexual harassment and assault in the workplace will help her push through legislation to strengthen the rules in Congress by the end of 2017.Speier’s spokesperson said that she and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., are recruiting cosponsors for the Member and Employee Training and Oversight on Congress Act, or the Me Too Congress Act. They’re signing up lawmakers in pairs, adding one Republican and one Democrat at a time.Read more >>>>

But this is a minefield and not easily negotiated as Kirsten Gillibrand discovered yesterday. She should have been prepared for this.


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Nov. 15 said “there is a serious sexual harassment problem in Congress.” Gillibrand is among several lawmakers introducing a bill to revise procedures for reporting harassment in Congress. (Reuters)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that Bill Clinton should have resigned the presidency after having a relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, the most prominent liberal to weigh in as the issue has moved from conservative media to a wider chorus of voices in recent days.

Gillibrand said she thought it would have been “the appropriate response,” when asked if Clinton should have stepped down by a reporter. The comments were published Thursday by the New York Times.

Read more and see video >>>>

I don’t know about you, but I found her response confusing, incoherent. I really don’t know what she was trying to say and cannot make sense of her statement.

Franken’s accuser, Leeann Tweeden said she could not have made her story public 11 years ago. We are in a different time. She noted that Jackie Speier telling her own story is what gave her the courage to speak up.

Gillibrand also alluded to times being different. But what is she saying?

Bill Clinton, we should remember, was impeached but not convicted. He went through a process. Now she (and others) are saying he should have resigned?

I always find these attacks on WJC obliquely aimed at Hillary. That’s just me. The Clintons are out of politics now. They really cannot be hurt. But Gillibrand has been seen as a rising star. With this response she disappointed me and probably shot herself in the foot. Or maybe in both feet.

Here is what Philippe Reines had to say.

Philippe is not known for holding back. He makes an interesting point.

Yesterday Gillibrand said she will give the money Franken contributed to her to charity. Hmmmm… what will she do with the money the Clintons contributed over those 20 years?

(Cross-posted at Still4Hill)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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