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UPDATING: Pentagon Policy on Trump Total Ban of All Transgender Service Members: ‘Call the White House’

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‘We Refer All Questions About the President’s Statements to the White House’

Editor’s note: See updates below.

Earlier Wednesday morning President Donald Trump decreed a new policy via Twitter banning all transgender service members, including active duty currently serving soldiers. The Commander-in-Chief claimed his decision was made in “consultation with my Generals and military experts.”

That’s false.

The Pentagon has issued a statement, in response to a flood of inquiries from journalists and the media.

Basically, it says the Department of Defense has no idea what the Commander-in-Chief is talking about, they were not consulted on this new policy and are wholly unprepared to discharge an estimated 10,000 active duty honorably-serving service members, including some serving overseas in combat.

“We refer all questions about the President’s statements to the White House,” a statement from Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Department of Defense spokesman, reads. “We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military. We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future.”

The Pentagon Bureau Chief of the Military Times Tara Copp, tweeted a Pentagon spokesperson’s more succinct remarks:

Currently, the Department of Defense’s policy on transgender individuals serving the military, published on the DoD website, states: “Effective immediately, transgender Service members may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military solely for being transgender individuals.”

The Department of Defense is the largest single employer of transgender individuals in the U.S., according to multiple sources.

Sign the petition: Tell President Trump You Support Our Transgender Service Members and Oppose His New Ban

President Trump, in his multiple-tweet announcement, cited transition-related surgery as “tremendous,” which is false, but a Trump administration official admitted to Axios that the decision to ban all transgender service members is totally political.

UPDATE I: 11:59 AM EDT –
Trump did not even inform the Senate Armed Services Committee, per this ABC News reporter, and others:

UPDATE II: 12:10 PM EDT –
The Wall Street Journal cites a Defense Dept. official familiar with the matter:

“The tweet was the first we heard about it.”

To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.

Image: “The Pentagon” by David B. Gleason is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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'DEEP STATE'

Federal Agencies Tapped Phones of Portland’s Racial Justice Protestors to Prove They’re Terrorists

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Two current officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have confirmed that the DHS and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) teamed up with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) during this summer’s racial justice protests in Portland, Oregon for a covert operation focused on “extracting information from protester’s phones.”

The officials told The Nation that a DHS colleague with expertise in electronic surveillance was sent to Portland as part of “an interagency task force” using a classified cell phone cloning attack to “intercept protesters’ phone communications.”

“Cell phone cloning involves stealing a phone’s unique identifiers and copying them to another device in order to intercept the communications received by the original device,” The Nation explains. It’s a tactic conducted to better understand your target, their network and their planning. The DEA is believed to have had a “special key” to help carry out the surveillance.

While it’s unclear who specifically was targeted by the surveillance, “They were abusing people’s rights,” one official said. The DHS hasn’t responded to congressional calls to explain the program either.

The officials quoted in The Nation’s article say that colleagues from the DHS were asked to “volunteer” to participate in the program, something departments do to conduct operations outside of the department’s official and legal capacity.

The overall goal, the officials state, was to substantiate thin claims by Attorney General William Barr that Antifa (anti-fascist) activists are receiving foreign sponsorship, something that is a necessary criterion to formally designate the group as a terrorist organization, something Trump vowed to do as recently as yesterday.

Considering that the U.S. has a long history of surveilling, harassing and possibly even killing racial justice activists since before the Civil Rights era, this newest program is hardly surprising, albeit still frightening.

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'CAN'T WE END THIS ALREADY?'

“Armed Militias to Intimidate Voters”: Donald Trump Jr.’s New Ad Recruits GOP “Army” to “Secure” Election

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Donald Trump Jr.

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., appears in a social media video ad asking people to join an “army” to stop the “radical left” and their plan to “steal” the election. Nevermind, that Trump Sr. has already refused to ensure a peaceful transfer of power if he loses and has also said he can only lose if the vote is rigged.

Here’s the ad itself:

In the ad, Trump Jr. says:

“The radical left are laying the groundwork to steal this election from my father, President Donald Trump. They are planting stories that President Trump will have a landslide lead on election night but will lose when they finish counting the mail-in ballots. Their plan is to add millions of fraudulent ballots that can cancel your vote and overturn the election. We cannot let that happen.”

“We need every able-bodied man and woman to join Army for Trump’s election security operation at defendyourballot.com. We need you to help us watch them, not just on Election Day but also during early voting and at the counting boards. President Trump is going to win. Don’t let them steal it. Go to defendyourballot.com and enlist today.”

While the actual website DefendYourBallot.com is just a Trump campaign get out the vote effort that doesn’t actually instruct supporters to monitor polling places or post offices, one tech culture website said the “ads incite armed militias to intimidate voters.” Keep in mind, Trump Sr. has already promised to deploy thousands of law enforcement officials to polling places on Election Day, a move that will discourage voting by people with a distrust of police.

Considering the numerous armed protesters at anti-lockdown rallies during the start of the COVID-19 epidemic and Trump Sr.’s repeated lie that Democrats want to abolish the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, it’s easy to see how Donald Jr.’s appeal could inspire right-wing gun nuts to “monitor” polling places and post offices by scaring voters, poll workers, and postal delivery people by challenging anything that looks even remotely suspicious to them.

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'AS AN AMERICAN WHO CARES DEEPLY ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION

“A Direct Attack on Millions of Americans”: Reactions to Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Nomination

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Amy Coney Barrett

Yesterday, The New York Times announced that President Donald Trump has chosen far right-wing religious extremist, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to be his third Supreme Court pick.

Although Trump won’t make his official announcement until 5 p.m. ET today, reactions against Barrett have already started rolling in. Here’s a growing sample voicing concern over her hypocritical and extremist positions:

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