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More than 1,000 Guard Troops Got the Wrong Pay on Border Mission

A National Guardsman stands guard at a fence that runs along the Rio Grande near the International bridge in Del Rio, Texas, Sept. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

At least 1,376 troops in the Texas National Guard have faced pay issues since September, according to internal documents obtained by 109 issues still remain for the roughly 6,800 Texas troops assigned to the mission.

The troops are part of the nearly year-old state mission ordered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that has seen reports of a wave of suicides and self harm on the mission, alcohol abuse, and troops facing severe financial hardship.

National Guard officials have responded to reporting about pay and discipline issues by describing coverage as being built on “nebulous charges.”

Col. Rita Holton, a Texas Guard spokesperson, told earlier in January that 82 soldiers were facing pay issues, while the document revealing pay issues that was reviewed by was dated Friday. The Texas National Guard did not respond to a request for comment ahead of this story’s publication.

The pay issues range from soldiers being shortchanged, sometimes by thousands of dollars, to minor discrepancies. One Guardsman interviewed by received a $100 paycheck after two weeks of duty, a period when that Guardsman should have received a minimum of around $2,000. Meanwhile, some troops were overpaid, which can have a domino effect where pay is withheld unexpectedly from future checks.

Of the outstanding pay issues, 19 troops were overpaid and 90 are missing checks. It is unclear how far back the outstanding pay issues go. had previously reported that there had been accounts of issues with pay, but the internal National Guard document obtained by the publication is the first to provide specifics on the number of soldiers affected.

While Texas has seemingly made progress on the pay issues, it is unclear why those issues existed to begin with, or why so many soldiers were impacted. Some senior officials interviewed point to troops swiftly being mobilized en masse, sometimes with days’ notice.

For troops to deploy under state orders, they have to fill out entirely new W-4 forms, which makes them state employees. Because of that paperwork, Texas effectively hired a thousands-strong labor force with little notice or logistical support.

“I don’t know what’s going on; our state never had this problem. But imagine this, how in the world did Texas add thousands of employees to the payroll system?” one senior Guard official from another state told on the condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation. “The scale is not surprising, but it’s also heartbreaking.”

A key issue, current Texas Guardsmen who were interviewed by said, was many checks not being itemized. That means that when soldiers are paid it is unclear what days they have been paid for — making it difficult to track whether they’ve received the correct amounts.

Some soldiers have faced financial hardship due to state orders earning them significantly less money than their civilian jobs. State orders also do not come with benefits, which are associated with active duty federal orders and typically pay soldiers less.

On Friday, Holton issued a statement that included criticism of media reports, including some from

“There have been nebulous charges that service members are not being paid. This is inaccurate. While there have been administrative pay challenges, currently every service member assigned to Operation Lone Star is being paid,” Holton said.

Yet, in the same statement, Holton noted that a lot of troops still have unresolved pay issues, many of which have been brewing for months.

“75 percent of pay discrepancies have been resolved, to include, back

pay for those who have been paid inaccurate amounts,” Holton’s statement added.

— Steve Beynon

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Credit card companies will track gun store purchases in California using new merchant code by CANDACE HATHAWAY

Several major credit card companies have decided to move forward with a plan to track purchases made at gun retailers in California, CBS News reported Monday.

American Express, Visa, and Mastercard will implement a new merchant code for firearm and ammunition retailers, allowing banks to track “suspicious” purchases to comply with a new California law. Adopting the code will not provide information about the specific items purchased at the retailer, as credit card companies do not record data at an SKU level.

Retailers are assigned merchant category codes based on the types of items they sell. According to Mastercard’s quick reference booklet, gun stores are currently assigned the “miscellaneous” or “durable goods” merchant category code. Other businesses listed under those codes include gas lighting fixtures, musical instruments, fireworks, fire extinguishers, grave markers, luggage, and wood chips.

In 2022, the International Organization for Standardization approved a unique code for firearm retailers. California then passed a law requiring retailers to adopt the ISO’s new code by May 2025.

The three major credit card companies previously agreed to assign the new code to gun retailers to allow banks to track firearm purchases more easily. In September 2022, 24 Republican state attorneys general wrote a letter to the companies, urging them to reconsider, Blaze News previously reported. According to the AGs, implementing a unique code could violate citizens’ rights.

“Categorizing the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike,” the letter argued.

Supporters of the law believe that the implementation of a unique code could prevent mass shooting incidents. Conservatives argue that the move will infringe on Second Amendment rights and potentially cause banks to flag and report so-called suspicious purchase patterns that target law-abiding Americans.

In March 2023, the companies agreed to halt their plans to implement the new code, citing pressure from Republican politicians, Blaze News previously reported.

On Monday, CBS News stated that American Express, Visa, and Mastercard have since reversed course and once again plan to adopt the new code to comply with California’s law.

The news outlet reported that the credit card companies told congressional Democrats last month that the new code would be available and ready for use in California by May 2025.

Mastercard executive Tucker Foote wrote to lawmakers, “The applicable standalone merchants in California primarily engaged in the sale of firearms will be required to utilize the code.”

Visa senior vice president Robert B. Thomson III’s comments to lawmakers seemed to indicate that the company will continue to pause the adoption of the code at least until California’s new law goes into effect in 2025. CBS News reported that Thomson assured Democrats that Visa would endeavor to comply with the state’s rule.

Thomson wrote, “With respect to the [firearm merchant code], there continues to be a tremendous amount of regulatory and legislative uncertainty.”

“Given the conflicting state laws on this topic and the likelihood that other states will enact legislation to either restrict or mandate the code, our implementation pause remains in effect,” Thomson added.

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Well, that didn’t take long, did it? (6 hours actually)

President Joe Biden has pointed to the recent shooting in Kansas City as supposed proof to lawmakers that they should support his bid to ban assault weapons.

The longwinded statement – issued some six hours after the shootout at the city’s Super Bowl Parade – said the day’s events should ‘shock’ and ‘shame us’ into acting.
He added how the US’s most recent mass shooting ‘cuts deep,’ and used it to urge Americans to ‘make [their] voice heard in Congress.’
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Mexico Says US Army Weapons Being Smuggled Across Border By AFP

Mexico said Monday that US military weapons had been detected entering the Latin American nation, which blames firearms trafficking from its northern neighbor for fueling drug cartel-related violence.

The Mexican defense ministry has alerted Washington about inflows of arms that are supposed to be “for the exclusive use of the US army,” Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said at a news conference.

“It’s very urgent that an investigation be carried out,” she added, without give more details.

The arms smuggling was one of the issues discussed by the two countries in Washington on Friday during a visit by Barcena and other senior Mexican officials, she said.

Mexico has long pointed the finger at the United States and its lax gun laws for the flow of weapons to its cartels, which in turn are often funded by selling drugs to US consumers.

The Mexican government has filed two lawsuits in US courts against the firearms industry.

The US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, told reporters on Monday that reducing weapon flows from the United States to Mexico was a priority for President Joe Biden.

“We know that 70 percent of the weapons that cause violence here in Mexico come from the United States,” he said.

More than half a million weapons are trafficked into Mexico from the United States annually, according to authorities in the Latin American nation.

Mexico tightly controls weapons sales, making them practically impossible to obtain legally, but drug-related violence involving firearms remains widespread.

There have been more than 420,000 murders since 2006 when the Mexican government deployed the military to fight drug trafficking, most of them blamed on criminal gangs.

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And some Folks wonder why I am “paranoid”

Federal investigators asked banks to scour customer transactions for terms like ‘Trump’ or ‘MAGA’ and purchases at stores including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops after the Capitol riot, shocking Republican probe claims

  • Federal officials investigating Jan. 6 asked banks to filter through customer transactions including key terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’
  • The government has been ‘watching’ Americans who frequent Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and other outdoors stores that sell guns
  • The Treasury Department also warned banks of ‘extremism’ indicators like the purchase of a religious text, like a Bible 
  • Top Republican Jim Jordan says the transactions have ‘no apparent criminal nexus’ and is demanding information from Treasury

Federal investigators asked U.S. banks to scour customer transactions for key terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’ to identify ‘extremism’ in the aftermath of January 6, shocking details uncovered by Republicans reveal.

According to bombshell documents obtained by the House’s ‘weaponization’ committee led by Chairman Jim Jordan, the federal government has been ‘watching’ Americans who frequent outdoor stores that sell guns – or who are religious.

Treasury Department officials suggested that banks review transactions at sporting and recreational supplies stores like Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops in order ‘to detect customers whose transactions may reflect ‘potential active shooters.”

Federal investigators suggested that banks use search terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘Trump’ to identify purchased that could be associated with ‘extremism’

Transportation charges for travel to areas with no apparent purpose could be an indicator of ‘extremism,’ according to the letter

Subscriptions to news outlets containing ‘extremist’ views would also be an indicator for financial instructions to look at, according to the material the Treasury provided to banks.

‘Did you shop at Bass Pro Shop yesterday or purchase a Bible? If so, the federal government may be watching you,’ Jordan posted on X.

‘We now know the federal government flagged terms like ‘MAGA’ and ‘TRUMP,’ to financial institutions if Americans completed transactions using those terms,’ he wrote in another post. ‘What was also flagged? If you bought a religious text, like a BIBLE, or shopped at Bass Pro Shop.’

The federal officials may have illegally provided financial institutions with suggested search terms for ‘identifying transactions on behalf of federal law enforcement,’ said Jordan. reached out to the Treasury Department for comment.

Jordan is also demanding information from a Treasury official, Noah Bishoff, after the alarming documents came to light.

‘Despite these transactions having no apparent criminal nexus — and, in fact, relate to Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights — [the Treasury] seems to have adopted a characterization of these Americans as potential threat actors,’ Jordan wrote.

Purchases from Bass Pro Shops could also be an indicator of extremism

The committee also obtained documents indicating officials suggested that banks query purchases with keywords such as ‘Dick’s Sporting Goods’

‘This kind of pervasive financial surveillance, carried out in coordination with and at the request of federal law enforcement, into Americans’ private transactions is alarming and raises serious doubts about [the Treasury’s] respect for fundamental liberties.’

‘In other words, [the Treasury] urged large financial instructions to comb through the private transactions of their customers for suspicious charges on the basis of protected political and religious expression,’ said the committee’s letter to Bishoff.

House Speaker Mike Johnson on Thursday called the revelation ‘yet another glaring example of the weaponized federal government targeting conservatives.’

Republicans are also requesting that Bishoff appear before the committee for a transcribed interview by January 31.

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After 2 Million FOID Card Holders Rebel Against Pritzker, Democrats Target Illinois Gun Owners’ Driver’s Licenses By: Illinois Review

On Wednesday, State Senator Julie Morrison, the Majority Caucus Whip, introduced legislation that could result in Illinois gun owners’ losing their driver’s licenses without due process, less than two weeks after 2 million Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card holders rebelled and chose not to register their firearms in protest of Gov. Pritzker’s assault weapons ban that he signed into law last January.

In a video statement released on Thursday evening, Illinois State Rifle Association president Doug Mayhall said, “Now the anti-gun legislators are coming after your Driver’s License!”

Mayhall went on to explain Senate Bill 2720, which “proposes that when a FOID card is revoked – and the FOID card holder does not comply with Section 9.5 of the FOID Act by surrendering their FOID card to authorities – the gun owner may not be issued a driver’s license; renew a driver’s license; retain a drivers license; or be issued a permit to drive under the Illinois Vehicle Code.”

The legislation also requires the Illinois State Police to notify the Secretary of State’s office and report anyone that fails to comply with Section 9.5.

But the issue is more troublesome than simply having your FOID card revoked according to Mayhall.

“Under the Red Flag Law – there can be an ex parte case filed against you. In other words, someone can say you are a problem and go before a judge without you present. You then can lose your FOID card and not get a hearing for at least two weeks.

So what’s the bottom line here? A person under this bill can be falsely accused and lose their right to drive without a single hearing.”

The loss of a driver’s license can have serious implications, and it has the potential of completely disrupting one’s livelihood – including someone’s ability to get to and from work.

The timing of the legislation to coincide with the January 1st deadline of Illinois’ gun registry and the one year anniversary of the assault weapons ban is not accidental, as Mayhall pointed out.

“After Governor Pritzker was left embarrassed when less than 2 percent of the 2.4 million FOID Card holders registered their firearms by the January 1st deadline, he’s now looking for new ways to target and harass gun owners.”

The legislation is awaiting a committee assignment, and the Democrats maintain a comfortable 40-19 supermajority in the state Senate.