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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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… another rotation of moms and dads arrived at work to discover that they should have blocked POTUS on their tween sons’ Twitter accounts. What an example for boys the age of his own son!

 

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Those watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu cannot be faulted for thinking they might be living a cyncial version of the old 1940s “Road” pictures with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. (Who gave her that name?!) A movie called “The Road to Gilead.” Emily Peck has other ideas, but there are portents that cannot be denied.

Women In The U.S. Don’t Live In A Dystopian Hellscape. Yet.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” resonates, but there’s reason for hope.

Peck is pretty optimistic positing that the road to Gilead is fraught with lots of potholes and obstructions, but we do well not to focus too narrowly on the falling rock on one side of the highway thereby missing the sheer cliff on the other side.

I am not watching “The Handmaid’s Tale,” much as I would like to. I simply refuse to pay another dollar beyond my already expensive FiOS service, so Hulu and Netflix are out for me.  I have, however, read the book. The coincidence of the airing of the mini-series with the Democratic “Unity Tour” should set off some bells and whistles.

This is the axiom Peck offers that Bernie supporters continue to reject.

“Progress does not happen in a straight line. Setbacks are inevitable. What’s critical is what comes next.”

They rejected it during the 2016 primaries renouncing any and all incremental policies proposed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and stubbornly continued their opposition during the general election.  They persist in their unwillingness to allow the Democratic Party to evolve naturally and have set out to take it over and overturn the common sense principles that have been its warp and woof since the groundbreaking days of FDR.  Rather than empowering women, the party is rolling back its liberating positions on women under the influence of a man who refuses to join the party.  No, this is not a relitigation or extension of the 2016 primaries.  It is a fight for the future.

The parallels between the dystopia Atwood projected and perceived potential effects of the new administration are not limited to Trump’s positions and those of his cronies. The BernieBros continue to have a hand in suppressing female issues, concerns, and voices within the only party likely to continue to highlight them.

Women have a stake in resisting efforts on either side to curtail our rights and freedoms. Resisters must do it for ourselves.  But we must be careful not to lose the party.  That is where the strength is.  The reason the BernieBots are fighting to usurp that power is because they know that a third party will have no muscle except to do what they have done in 2000 and 2016 – split the progressive vote.

We must remember that there was a reason why, at the end of her senior thesis, Hillary Clinton spurned Saul Alinsky’s methods (i.e. change from without the system rather than within) as well as the job he offered her and opted for the discipline of law school instead.  We have to be in it to win it.

Leaving the party  is no solution.  Think hard before you do that because it is not only the Trump crowd that would happily see us in shades of red, blue, green, and stripes according to their designations of how we serve.  We cannot determine our fate from the outside.  The Bernie crowd knows this, and that is why they fight to take over the party.  Let’s not just abandon it to them.

Crossposted at Still4Hill.

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We are bloody but unbowed. Yesterday, after massive efforts of letter writing, phone calling, emailing, and petition signing, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education by an historic tie-breaking vote by VP and Senate President Mike Pence.

Not long afterward, the effort to confirm Jeff Sessions, noted bigot, as Attorney General ran into an effort by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to read a letter penned in 1986 by Coretta Scott King in opposition to Sessions being appointed a federal district judge in Alabama.

We see how this is going.

Here are the Twitter hashtags.

“Silencing Elizabeth Warren”

#LetLizSpeak

#ShePersists

#ShePersisted

Here is the exchange on the Senate floor.

The swamp gases in DC are toxic.

Stay battle-ready. This is just the beginning.

Thank you, Liz!

Here is the letter.

My Senator, Cory Booker.

From Hillary Clinton:

Happy Black History Month!

Cross-posted at Still4Hill.

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Unlike Trump, Nixon actually won the popular vote, but the clumsy CREEP-sponsored break-in at the DNC HQ in the Watergate complex eventually caught up with him.

In case you missed it by dint of being born too late or if you memory is dusty, this Washington Post article gives a pretty thorough account of Nixon’s Saturday Might Massacre as compared to Trump’s legacy tribute last night now dubbed the Monday Night Massacre.

January 31

Revisiting the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’

In the dark days of the Watergate scandal, former president Richard Nixon pushed out two attorney generals and the special prosecutor of the Watergate investigation in what became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

On the night of Oct. 20, 1973, the United States was gripped by a constitutional crisis unlike any in its history.

President Richard Nixon, under investigation for his role in the Watergate scandal, ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor handling the case, rather than cooperate with him. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned in protest, after refusing to carry out the president’s orders. Nixon went on to abolish the special prosecutor’s office entirely.

The events became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” It marked one of the most sordid moments in White House history, with the president using his political power to thwart an investigation and retaliate against his opponents in government.

“Saturday Night Massacre” re-emerged in the popular lexicon again on Monday, when President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for instructing Justice Department lawyers not to defend his order shutting U.S. borders to refugees worldwide and travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries.

Read more >>>>

Trump Fires Acting AG Who Defied Ban

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Just hours after Acting Attorney General Sally Yates ordered the Department of Justice not to defend President Donald Trump’s refugee ban, the Trump administration ousted her from office. Yates, an Obama appointee, was tasked with serving as attorney general from Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration until his own AG nominee was approved. On Monday evening, Yates announced that the DOJ would not defend Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries while she was in office. Hours later, the Trump administration issued a statement calling Yates “weak” and announcing Dana Boente as her replacement.

Read more >>>>

Here is Sally Yates, American hero.

The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not named in the article, is Daniel Ragsdale. He remains at ICE as a deputy director, but the one-two punch stirred echoes of Nixon’s October 1973 purge.

Speaking of purges, what’s up at the State Department? There were these from last week.

Exodus Feared at State Department as Top Officials Resign

An entire senior-management team is leaving Foggy Bottom in the wake of Trump’s presidency.
Trump fires top State Department officials

Story highlights

  • The White House usually asks career officials in such positions to stay on for some time
  • The firings leave a huge management hole at the State Department

Washington (CNN)Two senior administration officials said Thursday that the Trump administration told four top State Department management officials that their services were no longer needed as part of an effort to “clean house” at Foggy Bottom.

Patrick Kennedy, who served for nine years as the undersecretary for management, Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Consular Affairs Joyce Anne Barr and Michele Bond, and Ambassador Gentry Smith, director of the Office for Foreign Missions, were sent letters by the White House that their service was no longer required, the sources told CNN.

There is this from today’s New York Times.

I know oust and purge are words we do not normally associate with our peaceful, bloodless transitions of power in this country, but it is probably unnecessary to remind you that nothing is normal – especially our new special relationship with Russia.

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What do we mean when we use the word “protection?” A simple Google search yields this.

pro·tec·tion

[prəˈtekSH(ə)n]

NOUN

  1. the action of protecting someone or something, or the state of being protected:

    “the B vitamins give protection against infection” ·

    [more]

    synonyms: defense · security · shielding · preservation ·

    [more]
    • a person or thing that prevents someone or something from suffering harm or injury:

      “the castle was built as protection against the Saxons” ·

      [more]

      synonyms: barrier · buffer · shield · screen · hedge · cushion ·

      [more]
    • (protections)
      a legal or other formal measure intended to preserve civil liberties and rights.
    • a document guaranteeing immunity from harm to the person specified in it.
    • the practice of paying money to criminals so as to prevent them from attacking oneself or one’s property:

      “a protection racket” ·

      [more]
    • money paid to criminals to prevent them from attacking, especially on a regular basis.
    • archaic
      used euphemistically to refer to the keeping of a mistress by her lover in a separate establishment:
      “she was living under his lordship’s protection at Gloucester Gate”
pro·tect

[prəˈtekt]

VERB

  1. keep safe from harm or injury:

    “he tried to protect Kelly from the attack” ·

    [more]

    synonyms: keep safe · keep from harm · save · safeguard · preserve ·

    [more]
    • (protected)
      aim to preserve (a threatened plant or animal species) by legislating against collecting or hunting.
    • (protected)
      restrict by law access to or development of (land) so as to preserve its natural state:
      “logging is continuing in protected areas in violation of an international agreement”

      synonyms: secured · sheltered · in safe hands · safe ·

      [more]
    • (of an insurance policy) promise to pay (someone) an agreed amount in the event of loss, injury, fire, theft, or other misfortune:
      “in the event of your death, your family will be protected against any financial problems that may arise”
    • economics
      shield (a domestic industry) from competition by imposing import duties on foreign goods.
    • computing
      restrict access to or use of (data or a memory location):
      “security products are designed to protect information from unauthorized access”

Origin and Etymology of protect

Middle English, from Latin protectus, past participle of protegere, from pro- in front + tegere to cover — more at pro-, thatch
First Known Use: 15th century

It is Donald Trump’s flavor of the week.

Trump releases statement on immigration

Amid protests nationwide over President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order, the president did not back away from his plan, saying his “first priority will always be to protect and serve our country.”

Trump released the statement Sunday afternoon, two days after he signed an executive order that halts the Syrian refugee program and temporarily suspends immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border,” Trump said.

Read the full story here.
Read Trump’s full statement here.

After the stroke of Trump’s pen, a dramatic 34 hours

President Donald Trump paused as he removed the cap from his pen, an executive order severely limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations waiting on the desk before him.

“That’s big stuff,” the president said, and scrawled his jagged signature.

In the 34 hours that followed, lawyers would mount a frantic effort to overturn the order; politicians and protesters would descend on Logan International Airport as detainees waited behind closed doors; and somehow, at a federal court hearing in the middle of the night, they would win.

Read the full special report.
34 hours of confusion: An interactive timeline.

George Lakoff, our canary in the language mine, has something to say about protection.

The Public’s Viewpoint: Regulations are Protections

 

The American Majority got 2.8 million more votes in the 2016 election than the Loser President. That puts the majority in a position to change American political discourse and how Americans understand and think about politics. As a start, what is needed is a change of viewpoint.

Here is a typical example. Minority President Trump has said that he intends to get rid of 75% of government regulations. What is a “regulation”?

The term “regulation” is framed from the viewpoint of corporations and other businesses. From their viewpoint, “regulations” are limitations on their freedom to do whatever they want no matter who it harms. But from the public’s viewpoint, a regulation is a protection against harm done by unscrupulous corporations seeking to maximize profit at the cost of harm to the public.

Imagine our minority President saying out loud that he intends to get rid of 75% of public protections. Imagine the press reporting that. Imagine the NY Times, or even the USA Today headline: Trump to Eliminate 75% of Public Protections. Imagine the media listing, day after day, the protections to be eliminated and the harms to be faced by the public.

Read more >>>>

Parents and grandparents of teens hope that when romance prevails they are using “protection.”  Given this administration’s and the GOP’s plans for Planned Parenthood, that kind of protection is not among their priorities.

Trump’s use of this word is a protection in itself, covering ulterior motives. Words have meanings and Lakoff has been telling us for decades the the Republicans are very adept at co-opting words for their own purposes. He has long advised Democrats to own the framing.

Regulation is a form of protection. Immigration bans targeting specific populations are not protection. They are a form of discrimination for the purpose of abridging the rights of some.

Vigilance requires that we pay attention to words as well as actions. This new government will not protect us. We need to take our protection into our own hands.

cropped-dehos-11-2016signed3.jpg

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