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“Lying About Native Americans”: ‘Pocahontas’ Isn’t The Only Native American Trump Has Offended

Donald Trump’s rumored meeting with members of the Navajo Nation during his swing through Arizona will not occur, a staffer for the nation said Friday.

And that may be just as well, given Trump’s history of disturbing and offensive statements about Native Americans.

The Associated Press previously reported that the Trump campaign had reached out to the nation for a potential meeting Saturday.

It was not meant to be.

“There was never a commitment to visit… it’s not happening,” the staffer, who asked not to be identified, told The Daily Beast.

Like on many other matters, Trump has a long track record of distasteful statements and gestures towards Native Americans. It’s another signal of why Republicans who hope he will change are likely to be left wanting. Trump’s campaign did not respond to request for comment.

Trump has raised eyebrows recently with his derisive references to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” which many Native Americans find abhorrent. When she ran for office, Warren was criticized for identifying as a minority during her academic career, citing Native American heritage. Warren, an outspoken critic of Trump, has been unable to provide evidence of her purported Cherokee ancestry, nor could genealogists.

Trump’s hostile relationship with Native Americans appears to have begun with his involvement in the casino industry, when his gaming businesses competed with tribe-owned casinos in the 1990s and 2000s.

His competitors, unlike him, operated tax free—something he objected to strenuously.

“I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations,” Trump said in June 1993, on shock jock Don Imus’s radio show.

He later questioned whether some of the people who had opened casinos which competed with his were actually of Native American heritage: “I think if you’ve ever been up there, you would truly say that these are not Indians.”

“Organized crime is rampant on Indian reservations,” Trump bellowed during testimony before Congress a few months later, according to a contemporaneous report. “It’s going to blow. It’s just a matter of time.”

In many ways, his rhetoric before that House subcommittee in 1993 mirrors that of his views on Muslims today.

Referring to crime on Native American land, Trump said he refused to be “politically correct” and added, “What is happening on the Indian reservations is known by the Indians to a large extent.

“If you knew some of the characters that you are dealing with, I think they would be afraid to do anything about [organized crime],” Trump added, implying that Native Americans didn’t have the backbone to stand up to criminals.

For good measure, he implored the overflow crowd of onlookers: “Go up to Connecticut,” he said, “and you look” at the Mashantucket Pequots.

“They don’t look like Indians to me,” he remarked, according to the Hartford Courant.

“In my 19 years I have been on this committee, I have never seen such irresponsible remarks,” shot back Rep. George Miller, a Democrat from California. “You have cast on the Indians in this country a blanket indictment that organized crime is rampant. You don’t know this; you suspect this.”

An FBI section chief who appeared at the same hearing said his office found no evidence of criminal activity in Indian gaming. And other federal law enforcement officials said they had found no evidence that organized crime had infiltrated Indian gaming operations.

In 2000 Trump and his aides acknowledged that he had been the financier behind newspaper ads railing against casino gambling in New York, as the state considered a proposed Indian casino. The businessman agreed to pay $250,000 in penalties, and was forced to issue a public apology after failing to disclose to the state lobbying commission that he had financed seven advertisements that appeared under the auspices of the plainly-named Institute for Law and Society.

“Under a dark photograph showing hypodermic needles and drug paraphernalia, the newspaper advertisement warned in dire terms that violent criminals were coming to town,” The New York Times reported.

Trump also railed against the name change to the nation’s tallest mountain: in 2015, President Obama restored the historical name of Denali to the mountain formerly referred to as Mount McKinley. Trump called it a “great insult to Ohio,” since President William McKinley had hailed from that state. Denali had been the name that Alaskan Natives had originally called it.

The Navajo Nation may have initially reasoned that a visit could temper Trump’s worst instincts. But if history is any guide, Trump will be Trump—with all the ugliness that entails.

 

By: Tim Mak, The Daily Beast, June 18, 2016

June 19, 2016 Posted by | Casino Industry, Donald Trump, Mt Denali, Native Americans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Highlighting The GOP’s Worst Qualities”: For Democrats, Raising The Minimum Wage Is Good Policy, Better Politics

As Congress considers raising the minimum wage for the first time since 2009, Democrats have a golden political opportunity to pressure congressional Republicans on an issue that splits the GOP’s base — and highlights the GOP’s worst qualities.

The battle is currently being led by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), who have crafted a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, up from the current level of $7.25. The bill, titled the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, would immediately raise the minimum wage to $8.20 an hour, then to $9.15 an hour after one year, $10.10 an hour after two years, and tie it to the Consumer Price Index thereafter.

There is a litany of evidence backing up the value of such a proposal. The current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has lagged far behind productivity growth over the past decades, and falls short of most living wage standards. A worker employed full-time at the current minimum wage would make $15,080 for a full 52-week year, 19 percent below the poverty line for a family of three. As over 100 economists agreed in a June 2013 letter supporting a $10.50 hourly minimum wage, raising the wage “will be an effective means of improving living standards for low-wage workers and their families and will help stabilize the economy. The costs to other groups in society will be modest and readily absorbed.”

Opponents of raising the minimum wage generally argue that such a policy would hurt job growth. “When you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) declared in response to President Obama’s call to raise the minimum wage at his 2013 State of the Union address. Contrary to the Speaker’s claim, however, there is little to no evidence that modest increases in the minimum wage actually eliminate jobs.

As strong as the economic case for raising the minimum wage is, however, the political case is even more persuasive. The Harkin-Miller bill has almost no chance of becoming law during the 113th Congress; it will almost certainly be blocked in the Senate, and even if Democratic leadership can round up 60 votes, the bill stands no chance in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. But the GOP could pay a steep price for killing the measure.

Americans strongly favor raising the minimum wage. According to a Hart Research Associates poll conducted in July, an overwhelming 80 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $10.10, then adjusting it for the cost of living, as the Harkin-Miller plan proposes. The basic parameters of the bill are supported by 92 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Independents, and even 62 percent of Republicans.

The poll also suggests that the issue could prove critical in the 2014 midterms. The Hart poll found that 74 percent of registered voters believe that raising the minimum wage in the next year should be an important priority for Congress, and 38 believe it is very important — 51 percent of registered voters would be more likely to support a candidate for Congress who favored raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, while just 15 percent said they would be less likely. Furthermore, 37 percent believe that — should Congress fail to raise the minimum wage this year — Republicans would be to blame. Just 15 percent would blame the Democrats.

In the wake of the Republican Party’s disastrous government shutdown strategy, it finds itself in a very precarious political position — especially on the critical question of whether they are actually interested in what’s best for the country. A high-profile act of obstruction to block a minimum-wage hike — a raise that is supported by four-fifths of Americans, and almost two-thirds of Republicans — would surely compound that problem. If Democrats want to paint congressional Republicans as elitists who are out of step with the needs of average Americans, this is how they do it.

On Friday, the Obama administration signaled its support for the Harkin-Miller bill, and it would be wise to be very vocal about that position. If the White House throws its full weight behind congressional Democrats’ efforts, then the minimum wage could form the backbone of an effective economic pitch for the 2014 midterms.

 

By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, November 8, 2013

November 9, 2013 Posted by | Democrats, GOP, Minimum Wage | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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