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Rep. Dan Crenshaw asks soldiers to report ‘wokeness’ in military ranks, is trolled into oblivion

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Continuing the Republican tradition of pretending at maximum manly toughness while thumping through life with shows of oddly weaponized gutlessness, it’s Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Arkansaw’s Sen. Tom Cotton leading a new charge against Rampant Theoretical Wokeness in our nation’s tough manly military. Crenshaw announced it on Twitter with suitable turgidity: “We won’t let our military fall to woke ideology,” he puffed. The Crenshaw-Cotton response is a new “whistleblower webpage” where you can “submit your story” of being, um, exposed to Wokeness. He promises to expose the “spineless military commanders” who have failed to oppose “progressive Pentagon staffers” who “have been calling the shots.”

This feels a tiny bit like Biff and Taller Biff demanding the military oppose civilian control and “call the shots” themselves, but we’re probably imagining that. Both Republicans have shown a truly stellar understanding of our military’s structure and enforced limitations in the past, which is why most of America knows their names despite neither Biff showing much success in any government sphere that does not involve self-promotional shitposting.

Crenshaw and Cotton’s push here is part of a larger Republican attack on the military for perceived anti-conservatism, and immediately follows a Sen. Ted Cruz bit of buffoonery in which he compared the turgid manliness of Russia’s military recruitment posters, under Vlad Putin, to the “woke, emasculated military” of the United States.

It’s an organized Republican campaign to portray the military as “weak” so that conservative-minded changes can be made. Crenshaw and Cotton’s quasi-populist, more-quasi-fascist goal is to ignite partisan battles within the military command itself—the promise to “expose” commanders that do not oppose Crenshaw-identified “woke” policies makes that clear enough—so that the military can be purged of conservatism’s enemies in the same manner that Trump’s allies purged whistleblowers, watchdogs, and perceived critics from civilian government agencies.

With Crenshaw’s crude attempt, however, it was evident what was going to happen next. First, Crenshaw was going to start collecting some painfully butthurt stories from conservative soldiers upset that their new commander is a womanfolk or whatever, and after months of sorting through all the ones too obviously racist or sexist or ridiculous to put his name to will come up with some that Tucker Carlson can print out and roll around in on live television.

Second, it was a certainty that Crenshaw’s little form was going to be absolutely overrun by Americans trolling Crenshaw with frightening incidents of “wokeness” that may or may not have been culled from movies, television shows, or their own imaginations. Americans do not like dullminded fascists pursuing their own pet purges, and giving them an easy public opening to make that point clear will always, always result in what you think it will result in.

The Washington Post has a rundown of just a small bit of the resulting chaos, but a shorter version still would be that everyone can blame lawyer-commenter Ken White, aka @Popehat, for this one. It’s all his fault.

Settle in, we’re gonna be here a while.

Now, this is Rep. Dan Crenshaw we are talking about, and Rep. Dan Crenshaw does not appear to have surrounded himself with Trumpian acolytes any more competent than the ones Trump himself surrounded himself with. There is a chance, and possibly a good chance, that we’re going to see something extremely similar to these complaints show up in the actual whistleblower complaints Crenshaw decides to go public with.

That still doesn’t mean Crenshaw and Cotton can’t do some serious damage in their attempt to incite open partisan warfare in as many military bases as they can muster, but it doesn’t look like the rest of America will be making it easy for them. And good on America for it. Think of it as doing Crenshaw a favor, in fact: The only way to keep a snowflake happy is to dump snow on it, right? Wouldn’t want one of these weirdos to melt away during a Fox News appearance.


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DOJ orders Treasury Department to turn over Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress

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But the new ruling makes it clear that whatever powers of second sight the department claimed in the past, those walked out the door with Barr. Instead, the committee gets to do its job, as the law states.

“We cannot know where receipt of the requested tax information will take the Committee, any more than the Committee itself can predict what it will find or determine. After reviewing and analyzing the information, it will be squarely within the Committee’s responsibility to decide whether or not to include some of that information in a report to the full House that might be available to the public, “

The request from the Ways and Means Committee was originally described as a test of the president audit program. As CNN explained back in 2017, the president always gets audited. So does the vice president. There is a “mandatory examination” of their returns that is supposed to be done quickly with “expeditious handling at all levels to ensure prompt completion of the examinations.” So when Trump kept claiming his returns were under audit, there were two issues. One is that every White House resident has been under audit every year, and that hadn’t stopped the release of every tax form for decades leading up to Trump. The second is that the return is supposed to be done quickly. Trump’s apparently never-ending audits were more than enough reason for Ways and Means chair Richard Neal to check in and see that things are running as they should be.

What the committee will do with Trump’s returns after they’ve taken a look at the auditing process is unclear. As the DOJ stated, some of the information could be in future public reports. Or not.

Back in September of 2020, The New York Times obtained some of Trump’s tax returns and found that they showed “struggling properties,” “vast write-offs,” and “hundreds of millions in debt coming due.” They also revealed that Trump’s total tax bill in 2016 was just $750, and that 10 of the previous 15 years Trump paid no income tax at all. Those returns also showed that Trump was still caught up in an argument with the IRS over a return he had filed a decade earlier. In that return, he had claimed enormous losses and been handed a $72.9 million tax refund. But the IRS was challenging that refund, and the potential existed then—and may still exist now—for Trump to end up owing over $100 million. That long-running battle also seems like a good reason for the House committee to check in on how that audit process is working.

In February 2021, eight years worth of Trump’s tax returns were subpoenaed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Trump appealed, but lost in district court, and Vance ordered Trump’s accountants to hand over the paperwork. Vance originally opened his investigation by looking into payments made by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen to two women Trump wanted to keep quiet during the run-up to the election. It’s not clear how far that investigation extends now.

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‘Beginning of an historic moment’: First group of Afghan allies who aided military arrive in U.S.

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In a statement, President Joe Biden called the first group of allies and families to be evacuated as part of Operation Allies Refuge “an important milestone as we continue to fulfill our promise to the thousands of Afghan nationals who served shoulder-to-shoulder with American troops and diplomats over the last 20 years in Afghanistan.”

“This morning, the first flight of Operation Allies Refuge has arrived in the United States, carrying Afghans who are eligible for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) and their families,” the president said. “These arrivals are just the first of many as we work quickly to relocate SIV-eligible Afghans out of harm’s way—to the United States, to U.S. facilities abroad, or to third countries—so that they can wait in safety while they finish their visa applications.”

”These first Afghans are able to come directly to the United States because they have already completed extensive background checks and security screening by the Intelligence Community and the Departments of State and Homeland Security,” he continued. “They will complete the final steps of their visa applications and required medical checks at Fort Lee, in Virginia, before traveling onward to begin their new lives in the United States.”

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In a second statement, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) President Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, one of the fiercest voices advocating for Afghan allies and their families, called the arrivals “the beginning of an historic moment,” and urged the safe evacuation of all allies and families to either the U.S. or a U.S. territory.

The 2,500 being evacuated to Fort Lee represent just a fraction of the thousands of allies and family members who must be brought to safety after aiding our military, and who have already been in danger even before the scheduled withdrawal of our forces. One interpreter, Ramish, told CNN that when Taliban members were unable to find him, they burned his house down. He’d been in hiding after he’d been told they were searching for him. “If he can’t get out, he said, ‘our future will be dark,’” the report said.

“The administration has set an important precedent in where it has moved these first allies, proving the easiest and safest way to relocate others is by bringing them to U.S. soil,” O’Mara Vignarajah said. “Given the weight of our moral responsibility, we need nothing less than a full-scale evacuation of allies to Guam or elsewhere in the U.S. We cannot in good conscience put them at risk in third countries with unreliable human rights records, or where the Taliban may be able to reach them.”

“This flight, and its passengers being processed in Fort Lee, is precedent to bring all these heroes and their dependents to U.S territory while their visa claims are processed,” said Veterans for American Ideals’ Chris Purdy, another leading advocate. “Eighteen-thousand allies and their families are counting on these promises being kept.”

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The arrivals come one day after the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation increasing special visas by 8,000. “I am incredibly grateful that the supplemental includes the HOPE Act to temporarily waive the medical examination for our Afghan partners and core components of the ALLIES Act to expedite the visa process,” Honoring Our Promises Working Group member and Colorado Rep. Jason Crow said. “As the U.S. withdraws troops from Afghanistan, this legislation will allow us to honor our promises and protect those who served alongside us.” The bill now goes to President Biden for his signature.

“We are relieved that Congress has taken decisive action toward fulfilling the United States’ promise to Afghan allies,” said International Refugee Assistance Project policy director Sunil Varghese. “These additional visas and improvements to SIV procedures will go a long way in preventing further unnecessary loss of life. We are proud of advocating for these changes, and we are especially encouraged to see that the spouses and children of murdered SIV applicants will not be left out in the cold.”


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Thanks to Trump, the GOP’s future doesn’t look very bright to Republican voters

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That 18% sliver of GOP voters who’d like to rid the entire party of Trump has remained notably consistent since the beginning of the year. In February, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found what while 59% of Republicans wanted Trump to play a “major role” in the party, 17% said they “no longer” wanted to him play any role.

Interviews conducted for the AP survey suggest Trump’s divisiveness and baseless election lies could depress GOP voting on both ends of the Trump spectrum—among his most devout followers and never-Trumpers alike.

Nicholas Blethrow, a 28-year old Republican who lives in Orange County, California, called the party “pretty much a disaster” and said its continuing efforts to overturn the 2020 election were “ridiculous.”

“Clearly there’s a lot of people that enjoy him. But I don’t think it’s good,” Blethrow said.

Reedsville, Wisconsin, native Dennis Herzog, 36, identified as a staunch Republican but also said he has found the constant tension between the parties exhausting and is dismayed by “the whole system in general.” 

“It’s nonstop,” Herzog said. “I don’t care who is in office. Just do what’s right for the people and stop picking certain sides.”

The repeated takeaway from polling about Trump is the fact that while he remains a powerful figure in the Republican Party, his dominant presence also poses real challenges for the GOP. While Washington Republicans keep trying to will Trump into talking about the future, his constant harping on the 2020 election continues to sow doubt in the electoral system among his followers. At the same time, some noteworthy sliver of GOP voters wishes he would just dry up and go away, even as their party goes all in on his antics. 

Ideally, at this point, GOP voters would be galvanizing against President Joe Biden, but Trump is still hogging the spotlight—and that could prove detrimental to GOP hopes heading into 2022.


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