What Is Stars and Stripes Newspaper? Trump Administration and Pentagon Order Stars and Stripes Shut Down


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  3 weeks ago  •  37 comments

By:   Charles P. Pierce (Esquire)

What Is Stars and Stripes Newspaper? Trump Administration and Pentagon Order Stars and Stripes Shut Down
The Pentagon has ordered the shuttering of Stars & Stripes for no reason other than "because we can."

Trump orders Stars And Stripes shuttered to stop criticism!

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

The Pentagon has ordered the shuttering of Stars & Stripes for no reason other than "because we can."

By Charles P. Pierce Sep 4, 2020 PhotoQuestGetty Images

I'm not sure what this is all about, but I feel confident that there's something deep and hinky about it. From USA TODAY:

In a heretofore unpublicized recent memo, the Pentagon delivered an order to shutter Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that has been a lifeline and a voice for American troops since the Civil War. The memo orders the publisher of the news organization (which now publishes online as well as in print) to present a plan that "dissolves the Stars and Stripes" by Sept. 15 including "specific timeline for vacating government owned/leased space worldwide." "The last newspaper publication (in all forms) will be September 30, 2020," writes Col. Paul Haverstick Jr., the memo's author.

My guess is that it comes from the same authoritarian impulse that has led Camp Runamuck to attack the independence of the Voice of America, which was handed over to an administration* crony who's already meddling with VOA's political coverage. The president* doesn't approve of an independent private media, so it's logical that he'd move like a bitch on any government media that acts independently. But S&S is an institution dating back to the Civil War.

The first Stars and Stripes rolled off presses Nov. 9, 1861 in Bloomfield, Missouri when forces headed by Ulysses Grant overran the tiny town on the way to Cape Girardeau. [Ed. Note -- hometown of Rush Limbaugh!] A group of Grant's troops who had been pressmen before the war set up shop at a local newspaper office abandoned by its Confederate sympathizer publisher. Since then Stars and Stripes has launched the careers of famous journalists such as cartoonist Bill Mauldin and TV commentator Andy Rooney. And its independence from the Pentagon brass has been guaranteed by such distinguished military leaders at Gens. John G. Pershing, George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower once reprimanded Gen. George Patton for trying to censor Mauldin cartoons he didn't like.

(Let me pause here to say I love the idea of a platoon of pressmen. I know about The Black Hats. Were these guys The Paper Hats?)

Luckily, there might be a constitutional defibrillator available to revive the newspaper.

The memo ordering the publication's dissolution claims the administration has the authority to make this move under the president's fiscal year 2021 defense department budget request. It zeroed out the $15.5 million annual subsidy for Stars and Stripes. But Congress, which under the Constitution has the power to make decisions about how the public's money is spent, has not yet approved the president's request. In fact, the version the House approved earlier this summer explicitly overruled the decision to pull the plug on Stars and Stripes, restoring funding for the paper.

So, like so many things, the survival of S&S rests at the moment with the invertebrate body that is the Republican majority in the Senate. Maybe.

It also seems unusual. Normally, when Congress has failed to approve a budget for an agency at the end of a fiscal year (an all-too-common occurrence), a "continuing resolution," maintains funding at the past year's levels until the lawmakers act. But the Pentagon memo to Stars and Stripes demands a plan for dissolution anyway and says "the last date of the paper will be determined" once the continuing resolution expires. The eagerness to kill Stars and Stripes is hard to fathom. As the senators note in their letter to Esper, the $15.5 million saved by eliminating the newspaper's subsidy would have a "negligible impact" on the Pentagon's $700 billion budget.

Nothing this administration* does is unfathomable. "Because we can" is very easy to fathom.


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1  seeder  JBB    3 weeks ago

At long last Trump and Cronies really are deplorable...

1.1  cjcold  replied to  JBB @1    3 weeks ago

I loved the movie "Dave". Too bad that couldn't happen in real life. Nobody could double Trump.  

2  Kavika     3 weeks ago

WTF, this is beyond belief. A savings of $15.5 million dollars is not the reason this administration is doing this. 

The paper was designed to be free of the upper brass controlling it. General Eisenhower reprimanded Geo. Patton when he tried to intervene over a cartoon that Bill Mauldin posted in the paper. 

2.1  Ender  replied to  Kavika @2    3 weeks ago

Of course not. That 15 mil is a drop in the bucket of their 700 billion.

That the republican senators would allow this to happen shows me they are no better than donald.

2.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Ender @2.1    3 weeks ago

Let's see if any of the brave republican senators have the balls to stop this. 

Vietnam and the Stars and Stripes.


2.1.2  Tacos!  replied to  Kavika @2.1.1    3 weeks ago
Let's see if any of the brave republican senators have the balls to stop this.

Apparently the brave president is stopping it .

2.1.3  seeder  JBB  replied to  Tacos! @2.1.2    3 weeks ago

But, only after a huge outcry did Trump relent.

2.1.4  Tacos!  replied to  JBB @2.1.3    3 weeks ago

So what? That's probably how he heard about it. You really think these line-item budget matters are decisions he made personally? The guy does one little thing you support and you can't even be appreciative of it. That just shows how partisan people are. It's not about the issues. It's about being against a particular person in all things.

Bob Nelson
2.1.5  Bob Nelson  replied to  Tacos! @2.1.4    3 weeks ago

Any semi-sentient being had to know that killing S&S would not go over well. A decision like that would be kicked upstairs... all the way to the President's staff. 

Trump is quick to fire anyone who puts him in a bad light. No one has been fired over this, so we can be sure that the decision was not made by some low-grade middle-manager. 

2.1.6  Tacos!  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.5    3 weeks ago
A decision like that would be kicked upstairs... all the way to the President's staff. 

That’s quite an assumption. Is it based on anything real and specific?

Bob Nelson
2.1.7  Bob Nelson  replied to  Tacos! @2.1.6    3 weeks ago

It's based on logic.

Trump doesn't like to be made ridiculous. This 180° turnaround makes him look ridiculous. Trump should be firing someone. He isn't.

So the decision must have been made at the highest level, where no one is responsible for anything. 

2.1.8  Ender  replied to  Bob Nelson @2.1.7    3 weeks ago

I am thinking he would have let it happen, knowing his disdain for press. Then when there was backlash, he can turn around and pretend he is the hero and saved it.

And the gullible eat it up.

Bob Nelson
2.1.9  Bob Nelson  replied to  Ender @2.1.8    3 weeks ago

Sounds credible. 

2.2  cjcold  replied to  Kavika @2    3 weeks ago

I'm old enough to remember Bill Mauldin and respect him just like all soldiers did.

3  Ender    3 weeks ago


3.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Ender @3    3 weeks ago

Believe It...

Old Hermit
4  Old Hermit    3 weeks ago

Not only is Trump trying to shut down the independent voice of the Stars and Strips newspaper he's also trying to turn the Voice of America into his own "Baghdad Bob" network.

I swear, this President must masturbate to dreams of getting the same control over the news media that a Putin or Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman have.

Voice of America reporters: Trump-backed CEO “is failing” the US

The Trump-aligned head of US broadcasting is facing a revolt from his staff.

By Alex Ward @AlexWardVox alex.ward@vox.com Aug 31, 2020


The tenure of the Steve Bannon ally who President Donald Trump appointed to run the vast global network of news agencies operated by the US government is going about as well you’d expect. That is to say: not well at all, if you ask top reporters at one of the most prestigious outlets he now manages.

On Monday, 14 reporters at Voice of America sent a letter to their acting editor to sharply rebuke Michael Pack , the CEO of the US Agency for Global Media, for his controversial campaign to — as he put it last week — “drain the swamp.”

“We fear that the current USAGM leadership is failing not only the news organizations ... and our audiences, but also our stakeholders, including the American public,” reads the letter , signed by VOA Washington editor Aru Pande, White House bureau chief Steve Herman, Islamabad bureau chief Ayesha Tanzeem, and others. “Michael Pack’s actions risk crippling programs and projects for some countries that are considered national security priorities.”

Pack has made a series of eyebrow-raising moves that have many suspecting he aims to turn the taxpayer-funded USAGM into a pro-Trump shop.

USAGM, which oversees VOA, Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, had its bent before Pack arrived. For instance, those outlets ran many stories that we effectively pro-US propaganda — particularly during World War II and the Cold War — though the news is much more objective now at the whole agency.

But Pack’s moves to reshape the agency have experts — and now his own reporters — worried. Among other things, he replaced the editors of four outlets at the agency within hours of becoming the Senate-confirmed CEO in June and fired senior officials for pointing out possible violations of the “firewall” that protects USAGM reporters from political interference.

4.1  seeder  JBB  replied to  Old Hermit @4    3 weeks ago

All the more reason to make our voices heard Nov 3!

Bob Nelson
4.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  Old Hermit @4    3 weeks ago
I swear, this President...

He is pulling out all the stops, trying to establish a police state before the election. 

4.3  cjcold  replied to  Old Hermit @4    3 weeks ago

November can't come soon enough.

Bob Nelson
5  Bob Nelson    3 weeks ago

The paper was important in my day... but that's a long time ago. 

Does anyone know how it is perceived by today's soldiers? 

5.1  Kavika   replied to  Bob Nelson @5    3 weeks ago

Veterans point to value of Stars and Stripes amid proposal to strip funding from news organization

U.S. Army Sgt. Roger McCall, 153rd Military Police Company, reads an edition of Stars and Stripes while in the Green Zone, Baghdad, Oct. 18, 2007.


By   STEVE BEYNON   | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 14, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE:   The writer served two tours as an Army cavalry scout in Kunar, Paktika and Helmand provinces of Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON — Many veterans are speaking out about the importance of Stars and Stripes as a news source for troops in light of the Pentagon’s decision this week to gut the historic news agency of its annual funding to free up more money for what it considers to be crucial warfighting expenses.

Stars and Stripes began operations in the Civil War and has been a critical, and often the only, means for troops on the front lines to keep up with the news back home. Even with the post-9/11 wars occurring in the internet age, thousands of troops have been fighting in war zones where digital access is either inconvenient or nonexistent.

“We were mostly on a mountain near the Pakistan border during the deployment,” said Michael Gerstmann, who served in the Army as a cavalry scout in Afghanistan in 2009 and left the military as a staff sergeant in 2011. “You know, there’s nothing to do in these [combat outposts]. If you aren’t doing missions or working out, not much is going on. Stripes was a good way to connect to home, even with some of the guys not being big news people, it was still something to do. Anything to take your mind off stuff was always good.”

In Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military set up dozens of combat outposts where small numbers of troops would operate out of in the most remote parts of those countries. In many cases, service members lived in austere conditions sometimes devoid of plumbing and cooked food and had few recreational amenities. In rural Afghanistan, these outposts were sometimes located at the bottom of a valley, conceding the high ground to the Taliban, making them prone to constant attack.

Even in cases where troops served in larger, more established bases with amenities such as coffee shops and fully equipped gyms, the internet could still be a luxury, making it difficult to keep up with current events. In a lot of cases at bases such as Camp Leatherneck and Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, troops would have to go to recreation centers and wait in a line for time-limited internet use on a slow connection. In those cases, service members mostly used the time to communicate with their families.

"I grabbed hard copies of Stars and Stripes outside the [dining facility] on [Combat Outpost] Speicher [in Iraq], and it was a lifeline to what was happening back home. Read it front to back every day I could," said John Ismay, a former Navy lieutenant commander who handled bomb disposals and now is a New York Times reporter. "Having a copy in my hands made me feel connected to all those earlier generations of American service members I’d seen photos of holding their own copies in earlier wars."

The Defense Department has proposed in its $705.4 billion budget for fiscal year 2021 to cut Stars and Stripes of its more than $15 million annual subsidy, which equals about half of the news organization’s annual funds to pay expenses. Stars and Stripes remaining money comes from sales, subscriptions and advertising.

In a May, 1970 photo, soldiers taking part in Operation Fishhook in Cambodia read Stars and Stripes' coverage of the events.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday defended the Pentagon’s decision to strip Stars and Stripes of its federal funding, telling reporters in Europe that the independent news organization is not a priority.

“Their hard work and dedication in reporting on issues that matter the most to the military community continues to be of value,” Esper said. “However, as we look forward to the current budget proposal and beyond, the DOD must prioritize spending to support our warfighters in the most critical areas of need. Therefore, the department has made the difficult decision that, beginning in fiscal year 2021, it will no longer provide appropriated funds to Stars and Stripes.”

The Defense Department still needs to get its proposed budget through Congress. Whether congressional lawmakers will try to preserve Stars and Stripes’ funding is up in the air, though some House members have signaled they will push back against the Pentagon ahead of the new fiscal year, which starts in Oct. 1.

“Stars & Stripes was a link to home when I was in Iraq and Okinawa,” tweeted Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., a Marine veteran. “It’s an A+ indie take on everyday DoD news, f*** ups, and Administration & General Officer BS. No wonder this President [Donald Trump] wants to cut it. He’s got a fight on his hands.”

Kevin Miller, a former Marine Corps infantry sergeant who served in Iraq, called the proposal to cut funding to Stars and Stripes a “travesty.” Miller works for Swords to Plowshares, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides services to veterans facing homelessness and unemployment or struggling with disabilities or substance abuse.

“They do such incredible work covering the DOD and [Department of Veterans Affairs], which are our two largest bureaucracies,” Miller tweeted. “Without their report, many advocates would be left in the dark about what is going on in these two vital government agencies.”

Kristen Rouse, a logistics officer who deployed to Afghanistan in 2006, 2010 and 2012, said Stars and Stripes was a way to connect with home and was one of the only news outlets reporting on stories relevant to troops serving in combat zones.

“Consistently, I found that Stars and Stripes was the only media outlet that described the world I was living [and] operating in,” she said.

Rouse served with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division and later the Vermont National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment, she is also the president of the NYC Veterans Alliance and board member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, both are veterans advocacy groups.

Beyond the contemporary service members of the post-9/11 generation, Stars and Stripes holds historical significance to veterans of past generations.


David Nelson, a former captain in the Marine Corps who served in 1971-1973, has kept decades-old copies of Stars and Stripes. He said the newspaper is “an important part of our military culture — especially for those serving in remote locations overseas.”

“From my year in Okinawa in the early 70’s, I kept a number of my Stars and Stripes newspapers,” Nelson said. “If I had learned of the events and stories portrayed strictly by electronic means, I would not have been able to preserve my recollections of those days.”

And Nelson recounted some of historical front-page headlines from Stars and Stripes.

“Look at the memories stored on one page of the Jan. 24, 1973, Stars and Stripes — the announcements of LBJ’s death, the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, the Paris peace talks preceding the end of the Vietnam War, and George Foreman’s boxing knock-out of Joe Frazier,” Nelson said. “What a treasure and keepsake that issue of Stars and Stripes has been to me for the past 47 years, along with many other issues.”

Twitter:   @StevenBeynon

5.2  cjcold  replied to  Bob Nelson @5    3 weeks ago

Today, Stars and Stripes from the Nam era would incite mass resignations.

Jeremy Retired in NC
5.3  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Bob Nelson @5    3 weeks ago
Does anyone know how it is perceived by today's soldiers?

We used it to line drip pans to keep oil spills low in the motorpool.

Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
6  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    3 weeks ago

My God, someone please tell me this isn't true.  If it is, it's a low blow, even for Trump, Cockwomble in Chief.

7  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago
Politics · Trending
65.4K Tweets
#TraitorTrump is one of the trending hashtags on twitter today.  Couldnt happen to a more deserving guy. 
Bob Nelson
8  Bob Nelson    3 weeks ago

So... Trump crapped on live vets... dead vets... and now on active-duty troops.

And still a thunderous silence from our tough-guy loudmouths. 

9  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago


Bob Nelson
10  Bob Nelson    3 weeks ago

Well... that didn't last very long!

Trump says Stars and Stripes will stay funded, following reports the Pentagon was shutting it down
The reports had added fuel to the controversy over Trump's alleged remarks calling fallen troops "losers."

President Donald Trump committed Friday to preserving funding for Stars and Stripes, the military's independent newspaper, following reports that the administration was moving to dissolve the publication.

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


11  cjcold    3 weeks ago

Pretty sure that everything that comes out of the White House these days is a lie.

Trump just can't help himself. He has been a compulsive liar his whole life.

November 3rd can't come soon enough.

Buzz of the Orient
12  Buzz of the Orient    3 weeks ago

I thought that America was the bastion of free speech, and is critical of countries that are not. I guess I was wrong.

Buzz of the Orient
12.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @12    3 weeks ago

Well, Trump is trying his damndest to curtail free speech when it's critical of him, and the right to vote when it looks like it will be against him - Is he trying to be Xi Jinping? He sure is hypocritical to allow his poodle Pompeo to criticize China. 

13  Ed-NavDoc    3 weeks ago

I read Stars & Stripes from Vietnam to the 1st Gulf War in my 20 year military career and always enjoyed it. It was refreshing to read a publication that was geared solely to the military and largely devoid of the political BS found in so many publications today. It is still pretty much so today. I am glad that President Trump reversed his decision to shut it down as a result of the backlash. I still enjoy Stars & Stripes.

13.1  Kavika   replied to  Ed-NavDoc @13    3 weeks ago

I read my BIL's who live around a mile from us. He served for 24 years, US Army Infantry. 

I read it in Nam in the '60s and after all these years I still enjoy it.

13.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Kavika @13.1    3 weeks ago

I used to subscribe to the print version but have since subscribed to the digital online version as It's cheaper and more convenient to me.

13.1.2  Kavika   replied to  Ed-NavDoc @13.1.1    3 weeks ago

My BIL is an old fashioned guy, like me he loves to have the actual paper in his hand. 

LOL, some habits you simply can't break.

14  Ed-NavDoc    3 weeks ago

I hear you.


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