â€˜The Magnitude of Incompetence is Beyond Beliefâ€™
Thereâ€™s been no shortage of controversy surrounding the state of the armed forces since Donald Trump assumed the presidency in January.
On Friday, the Pentagon issued new guidance temporarily allowing the re-enlistment of currently-serving transgender troops, coinciding with reports that the U.S. Army had abruptly canceled the enlistment contracts for hundreds of immigrant recruits.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in the guidance on transgender service members, reportedly said that a high-level panel will determine how to implement Trumpâ€™s transphobic ban. According to the Associated Press:
The Pentagon refused to release the memo, but provided a summary.
According to the Pentagon, Mattis made clear in his memo that the current policies on transgender troops remain in effect. He said transgender individuals can continue to serve in the military and continue to receive any required medical care.
That interim guidance laid out in the memo will stay in effect until Feb. 21, when the Pentagon must complete its final plan on how and when transgender individuals may serve in the military.
And although the Pentagon denied it, the news coincided with the Washington Postâ€™s reporting that recruiters for the U.S. Army had abruptly canceled enlistment contracts for hundreds of immigrant recruits, leading some former prospects to potentially face deportation.
â€œMany of these enlistees waited years to join a troubled recruitment program designed to attract highly skilled immigrants into the service in exchange for fast-track citizenship,â€ the outlet reported late Friday, citing several affected recruits as well as former military officials familiar with the situation.
According to the newspaper, recruits and experts said that recruits are â€œshedding their contracts to free themselves from an onerous enlistment process,â€ including â€œextensive background investigations.â€ The goal, reportedly, is to â€œfocus on individuals who can more quickly enlist and thus satisfy strict recruitment targets.â€
â€œItâ€™s a dumpster fire ruining peopleâ€™s lives,â€ retired Army officer Margaret Stock, who led creation of the immigration recruitment program, told the Washington Post. â€œThe magnitude of incompetence is beyond belief. We have a war going on. We need these people.â€Â
The Post further reported:
On Friday, the Pentagon denied ordering a mass cancellation of immigrant recruit contracts and said there were no incentives to do so. Officials said that recent directives to recruiters were meant to reiterate that immigrant recruits must be separated within two years of enlistment unless they â€œopt inâ€ for an additional year.
But some recruits among half a dozen interviewed for this article said they were not approaching that two-year limit when their contracts were canceled, sowing confusion about the reason they were cut loose. The Pentagon declined to address whether messagesÂ to recruiters containedÂ language that could have been misinterpreted.
They also cited a memo from the Pentagon, which listed 2,400 foreign recruits who had signed contracts but had not yet been naturalized or attended basic training. â€œThe document acknowledges 1,000 of those troops waited so long that they are no longer in legal status and could be exposed to deportation,â€ they reported. â€œThat number probably has climbed since the memo was drafted in May or June.â€
As with the transgender ban, some in Congress are banding together to fight against the measures. Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Richard Durbin have filed a defense authorization bill amendment to allow recruits to stay in the U.S. until their background checks are finished.
Harris took to Twitter to defend the recruits:
These brave men & women enlisted & the Administration turns its back on them. We must pass Sen. Durbin’s & my bill to protect these recruits https://t.co/U2FoyYXGSy
â€” Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 15, 2017
Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke out against the transgender ban on Friday, co-sponsoring legislation which would bar Donald Trump from removing transgender troops. His words could also easily be applied to potential immigrant enlistees:
â€œWhen less than one percent of Americans are volunteering to join the military, we should welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country,â€ McCain said. â€œAny member of the military who meets the medical and readiness standards should be allowed to serveâ€”including those who are transgender.â€
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DOJ Signals It Is Conducting a Criminal Investigation of George Santos
The U.S. Dept. of Justice Friday signaled it is conducting a criminal investigation of U.S. Rep. George Santos‘ campaign finances when it asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to pause its probe into the embattled New York freshman GOP lawmaker.
“The request is the clearest sign to date of an active criminal investigation examining the congressman’s campaign finances,” The Washington Post reports.
But NBC News goes one step further.
“Federal prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation into Rep.-elect George Santos, two law enforcement sources confirmed Thursday,” NBC states. “The probe by federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York is at least the second investigation into Santos.”
“The two sources confirmed that prosecutors are examining Santos’ finances, including potential irregularities involving financial disclosures and loans he made to his campaign as he was running for Congress,” NBC adds.
The Santos campaign this week, according to The Daily Beast, amended FEC filings that originally claimed about $625,000 in “personal” loans from the candidate’s personal funds were actually not from the candidates personal funds. Santos has since refused to state where the money came from.
DOJ also asked the FEC for any “relevant documents” for the Santos’ campaign, The Post noted.
“Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday interviewed two people about Santos’s role in Harbor City Capital, an investment firm that was forced to shut down in 2021 after the SEC accused it of operating a ‘classic Ponzi scheme,'” according to The Post’s reporting.
Watch: Nancy Pelosi Says ‘I Have Absolutely No Intention of Seeing the Deadly Assault on My Husband’s Life’
U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) the former Speaker of the House, told reporters she has no intention of watching just-released video of the almost fatal, brutal attack on her 82-year old husband, allegedly by a hammer-wielding, far-right conspiracy theory promoting extremist.
DePape had “posted antisemitic screeds and entries defending former President Donald Trump and Ye, the rapper formally known as Kayne West who recently made antisemitic comments,” CBS News reported one day after the attack.
Earlier Friday, before the video had been released by a judge’s order, Rep. Pelosi said did not know if she would watch the video.
Later, Friday afternoon, Pelosi said she would not.
“As you know, today there was a release of some information. I have not heard the 911 call. I have not heard the confession. I have not seen the break-in, and I have absolutely no intention of seeing the deadly assault on my husband’s life.”
Prosecutors have described the attack as “near-fatal.”
She also thanked “people for all of their prayers,” and for “asking about the progress my husband is making, and he is making progress, but it will take more time.”
Apparently choking up, she added that she would not be making any more statements about this case as it proceeds, except again to thank people and inform them of Paul’s progress.”
Watch below or at this link.
“I have absolutely no intention of seeing the deadly assault on my husband’s life.”
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to reporters after video was made public showing her husband, Paul Pelosi, fighting with his assailant during a brutal attack last year. pic.twitter.com/CGo0s0Ayho
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 27, 2023
Pelosi Attack Video Release Leads to Criticism of Musk, Right Wingers Who ‘Trafficked in Homophobic Conspiracy Nonsense’
News organizations won the release of police body cam video that shows the horrific moment when an intruder, “without warning or hesitation,” whacked Paul Pelosi, the 82-year old husband of the now-former Speaker of the House, with a hammer, knocking him unconscious and to the ground in a pool of blood, in what prosecutors called a “near-fatal” assault.
The alleged assailant is David DePape, a purveyor of far-right conspiracy theories, including QAnon and Pizzagate, COVID-19 disinformation, along with “Big Lie” videos from My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell. He is facing multiple state and federal charges.
Depape reportedly broke into the Pelosi home, screaming, “where’s Nancy?” which some including The Atlantic’s David A. Graham have noted eerily echoes insurrectionists hunting for Nancy Pelosi on January 6, 2021, screaming, “Nancy! Nancy Pelosi!” “Where you at, Nancy?” “Where’s Nancy?”
From the moment news broke of the October 28, 2022 attack on the husband of the Speaker of the House, who told police he was there to violently attack Nancy Pelosi, those on the right, including Elon Musk, ex-president Donald Trump, and other anti-Pelosi and pro-Trump activists, quickly suggested, implied, or even claimed Depape was Paul Pelosi’s boyfriend, or that it had somehow been an anonymous sexual tryst that went bad – despite no evidence.
In the video, which should be watched only with extreme caution, police can be seen approaching the front door of the Pelosi home, the door opening, DePape holding Paul Pelosi by the wrist with one hand, and a hammer in the other. Within seconds he attacks Pelosi, who falls to the ground. Police take DePape down to the ground, and moaning can be heard, although it’s unclear if it is from Pelosi or his alleged assailant.
DePape told police he wanted to break Nancy Pelosi’s kneecaps and hold her hostage. Since she was across the country in D.C., he ended up fracturing her husband’s skull instead.
Despite the video, the far-right refuses to let go of its false claims about Paul Pelosi, which are hurtful not only to the Pelosi family, but to the LGBTQ community.
Just days after the almost deadly attack Donald Trump falsely claimed, “You know, probably, you and I are better off not talking about it. The glass, it seems, was broken from the inside to the out and, you know, so, it wasn’t a break in, it was a break out.”
Kara Swisher, the well-known tech journalist and opinion writer, blasted those who are ignoring the clear video evidence (not to mention the massive reporting) of the attack.
“All those who trafficked in homophobic conspiracy nonsense about this,” she wrote Friday on Twitter, “such as the owner of this increasingly shitty platform, should be ashamed,” Swisher said, referring to Elon Musk.
“They won’t be, but they are heinous & utterly lost,” she added, linking to a Washington Post article titled, “Judge releases evidence, video footage in attack on Pelosi.”
Indeed, two days after the attack, Elon Musk tweeted then later deleted the claim that “there is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.” The Independent reported Musk, “attached a screenshot of a bogus report accusing Mr Pelosi of getting into a drunken fight with a male prostitute.”
Politico’s Sam Stein also highlighted Musk pushing the apparent falsehood: “The release of the Paul Pelosi video is a useful reminder that the owner of this here platform pushed conspiracy theories around the attack.”
Entrepreneur and programmer William LeGate, who won a Thiel fellowship at the age of 18, on Friday tweeted: “Now that the Paul Pelosi surveillance footage & 911 call have been made public, it’s time homophobic bigots like Elon Musk, Tucker Carlon, & the like to issue a public apology for spreading the ‘lover’s quarrel’ conspiracy theory.”
MSNBC executive producer Kyle Griffin made remarks similar to Swisher’s: “A lot of conservatives spread disgusting, nonsensical conspiracies about the Paul Pelosi attack — including Elon Musk. Some are still spreading them. Those people should be ashamed.”
Republican former U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger, linking to a Politico report on the release of the video, said, “Can we please dig up every persons tweet who made fun of this or cast doubt? This was a sick attack and politicians minimizing it suck.”
Salon’s Amanda Marcotte defended the release of the video with this explanation: “Seeing folks question why it was necessary to release the footage of the attack on Paul Pelosi, which is incredibly violent and disturbing. Well, a big reason is Republicans have treated the attempted murder as a joke.”
She linked to an article she wrote in early November titled, “After the Pelosi attack, Republicans have quit pretending they oppose political violence.”
Journalist and SiriusXM host Michelangelo Signorile also went after Republicans.
“The Paul Pelosi video — and the surveillance video — show the danger and brutality of the attacker,” he tweeted. “Every Republican who mocked this attack is filled with nothing but hate and bile.”
NCRM is embedding the video below, from The Associated Press. We caution watching the brutal video, which is longer than many others and includes the actual attack and the moments after. Again, we urge caution.
Body camera footage shows Paul Pelosi, former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, fighting his assailant during an attack in the couple's San Francisco home last year. pic.twitter.com/yVPnGDJtsC
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 27, 2023
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