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Friday, Sep 25th

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Pentagon used taxpayer money meant for masks and swabs to make jet engine parts and body armor

Pentagon funneled coronavirus funds to armor

A $1 billion fund Congress gave the Pentagon in March to build up the country’s supplies of medical equipment has instead been mostly funneled to defense contractors and used to make things such as jet engine parts, body armor and dress uniforms.

The change illustrates how one taxpayer-backed effort to battle the novel coronavirus, which has killed about 200,000 Americans, was instead diverted toward patching up long-standing perceived gaps in military supplies.

The Cares Act, which Congress passed earlier this year, gave the Pentagon money to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” But a few weeks later, the Defense Department began reshaping how it would award the money in a way that represented a major departure from Congress’s intent.

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Trump's ex-national security adviser H.R. McMaster warns Afghan peace talks will fail, leave US vulnerable

HR McMaster

McMaster served as Trump's second national security adviser, appointed to the job in February 2017 after Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was fired for lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. Flynn had served in the post less than a month, and McMaster said the White House was not the "well-oiled machine" the president claimed when he arrived.

But his book is not a dramatic tell-all documenting his 13 months in the White House. McMaster said he had no desire to write another "palace intrigue" memoir. Instead, he offers a thoughtful critique of U.S. foreign policy and a restrained assessment of Trump’s approach to North Korea, Afghanistan and other global hotspots.

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U.S. troops battling racism report high barrier to justice

US troops battling racism report barriers to justice

In the U.S. military, troops outnumber civilian employees 2 to 1. But civilians file far more discrimination complaints. Service members say there’s a reason: The Equal Opportunity process is fraught with risks for warriors, and it helps mask the full extent of racial discrimination in the armed forces.

By the time he saw a swastika scrawled in the bathroom at Barksdale Air Force base in October 2018, Deven Sherk was already disillusioned with how the Air Force handled racism complaints. The Black airman had filed a complaint alleging discrimination that June when a fellow airman, a white man, hung a noose near him on the base.

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Philippines deports US Marine convicted of killing transgender woman in 2014

Joseph Scott PembertonA U.S. Marine convicted of killing a Filipino transgender woman was deported Sunday after a presidential pardon cut short his detention in a case that renewed outrage over a pact governing American military presence in the Philippines.

Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton said in a farewell message that he was “extremely grateful” to President Rodrigo Duterte for pardoning him and expressed his “most sincere sympathy” to the family of Jennifer Laude, who he was convicted of killing in 2014 in a motel northwest of Manila after finding out that she was transgender.

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Removal of flag honoring veterans from White House sparks anger

POW/MIA flag removed from WHA decision by the Trump administration earlier this year to move the flag honoring missing war veterans from a prominent position atop the White House to a less visible spot on the South Lawn has angered some veterans and lawmakers, who see it as disrespectful and potentially illegal.

The flag is dedicated to prisoners of war and service members who are missing in action. According to a White House video posted in June, it was relocated in a private ceremony with full military honors, months after President Donald Trump signed into law a bill requiring the flag to be flown at certain federal properties including the White House every day.

The revelations come amid growing questions over Trump’s respect for the military, after a report last week by the Atlantic magazine alleging that Trump had called fallen American soldiers “losers” and “suckers” sparked outrage and controversy.

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The Atlantic's Goldberg: Trump's Tweet Is a Threat, More Reporting to Come Out on Trump Disparaging Military

One on one with Jeff Goldberg

U.S. President Donald Trump was on the defensive on Sunday over what critics said was a "pattern" of disrespect towards the U.S. military following media reports that he had disparaged fallen veterans, the fallout from which could harm his campaign for re-election on Nov. 3.

The furor over the Sept. 3 report in The Atlantic could undermine Trump's re-election message that he would maintain "law and order," and that he strongly supports U.S. military personnel and their families - a key Republican constituency, which largely backed Trump in 2016.

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Trump says he's reversing decision to shutter Stars and Stripes newspaper

Stars and StripesPresident Donald Trump on Friday reversed a decision to cut funding to Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that has served American soldiers since the Civil War, in an announcement that came hours after the outlet's demise was revealed.

“The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to @starsandstripes magazine under my watch,” Trump tweeted Friday. “It will continue to be a wonderful source of information to our Great Military!”

In a previously unpublicized memo cited by USA TODAY on Friday, the Pentagon delivered an order to shutter the newspaper and cease publication after Sept. 30.

Press advocates decried the move, arguing it was the latest in a series of decisions by the Trump administration to undermine independent reporting. The initial order followed Trump's appointment of an ally to Steve Bannon, his former top adviser, to head the agency that oversees Voice of America.

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