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A Marine review board has recommended the dismissal

A United States Marine may be dismissed from the military for posting negative comments about U.S. President Barack Obama on Facebook.

Gary Stein, 26, a meteorologist at Camp Pendleton, posted on Facebook that he refused to follow orders given by Obama. These comments were posted on a Facebook page called the Armed Forces Tea Party.

This isn't Stein's first bout of trouble in the military. The Marine, who has served almost nine years including a tour of duty in Iraq, also got in trouble for comments that he posted on the Armed Forces Tea Party page back in 2010. At that point, he was simply told to put a disclaimer on the page saying that it was in no way affiliated with the U.S. military.

But this time, the Marines believe Stein has gone too far. After posting that he refused to follow Obama's orders, Stein later removed the comments saying that he meant only unlawful orders.

Now, a Marine Corps review board has ruled that Stein should be dismissed with a less-than-honorable discharge for his Facebook comments. This decision came after a 13-hour hearing and one hour deliberation by the board.

This recommendation will be sent to Brigadier General Daniel Yoo, who is commanding general of the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot. He is then expected to make a decision regarding Stein's fate within 30 days.

The Marines are taking Stein's actions very seriously, considering the fact that Marines take an oath to defend the Constitution and obey the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which means Marines cannot partake in political activities while in uniform.

Stein was due to either re-enlist or end his enlistment at the end of July.

This particular case is just another reminder that social media is being watched very closely by overheads such as employers and schools. For instance, employees and applicants at the Maryland Department of Corrections were forced to hand over their Facebook emails and passwords so that employers could take a look at their employees' private lives. Later, the government simply asked employees to log into their Facebook pages right in front of them. In addition, an Indiana high school student was recently expelled for posting foul language on Twitter, even though he supposedly tweeted it from home.

Source: Reuters

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Should know better
By Beenthere on 4/9/2012 10:04:56 AM , Rating: 5
Anyone in the military should know full well they do not enjoy the same "free speech" while in service for obvious reasons. This guy should have accepted this reality after he was warned several times. Now he'll get booted and lose his rank and benefits. Not a very smart move IMO.

RE: Should know better
By rburnham on 4/9/2012 10:11:54 AM , Rating: 2
It's like any other job. You may not like the boss, but you still have to do your job.

RE: Should know better
By mcnabney on 4/9/2012 12:20:21 PM , Rating: 4

It is NOTHING like any other job. Service men and women knowingly sign away many of their Rights and Liberties while they serve. Your boss can't show up to your house and perform a search (unless we are talking about Apple), but that can and does happen in the military. All communications are assumed to be monitored. Hell, you can't keep your own firearm on base.

RE: Should know better
By Camikazi on 4/9/2012 1:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
Service men and women also work in jobs that are NOTHING like any other job. They need discipline and strict rules and regulations and NEED to obey or they die out in the field. That is rule one in any military, learn to obey and follow all directions if you want to stay alive and this is part of it.

RE: Should know better
By Jaybus on 4/10/2012 12:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
It's more basic than that. If a Microsoft employee refused to do anyhing that the CEO (Steve Ballmer) assigned him, everyone would understand why he was fired. How is this any different? The President is the Commander in Chief, more or less the CEO of the Navy (and therefore the Marines).

It's not a question of freedom. He has the freedom to refuse to do what his boss tells him. Of course, the boss also has the freedom to fire him for it. He's not going to prison. He's being fired for not being a team player and publicly stating as much. Oh well.

RE: Should know better
By lyeoh on 4/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: Should know better
By foolsgambit11 on 4/9/2012 9:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
"It's like any other job" obviously referred only to the one aspect he was discussing - the inability to criticize one's boss.

But, it turns out, he's partially wrong. Officers are prohibited from talking about certain specific government officials, but enlisted service members are not bound in the same way. The Courts have decided that there isn't a pressing need to restrict enlisted political speech, and so they are free under the 1st Amendment, as long as they aren't representing the government when they make their speech.

So in fact, the military is unlike other jobs, in that you DO have free reign to criticize your boss, protected by the Constitution.

The problem here isn't that he was talking about the President (unless he's an officer, but then he would have been in serious trouble earlier, and a caveat that he wasn't speaking "as a Marine" wouldn't have saved him), the problem is that he claimed he wouldn't follow orders.

RE: Should know better
By knutjb on 4/9/2012 10:19:56 AM , Rating: 5
After 20+ years in the military I know everyone is told what inappropriate speech is and any comments on the president is best left to quiet, private comments out of uniform. Yes, there is a difference expressing your views in uniform. He blew it.

It has been a few years since I left the military and I still am very careful how phrase comments in public.

Those in prison have more rights than those in the military.

RE: Should know better
By FITCamaro on 4/9/12, Rating: 0
RE: Should know better
By FITCamaro on 4/9/12, Rating: 0
RE: Should know better
By Spuke on 4/9/2012 3:18:24 PM , Rating: 3
All the down ratings. Not a single defense for the cuts on military health care benefits. Because there is no defense for it.
There's always cuts after wars. Nothing to do with who's in office. We're finishing up a large one so there's going to be large cuts. Sure it sucks but that's the way it is.

RE: Should know better
By foolsgambit11 on 4/9/2012 8:57:25 PM , Rating: 2
Enlisted service members generally have more latitude to speak out against the government, including the POTUS, than they realize - yes, as long as they aren't representing the government at the same time. The issue here is that he wasn't speaking about his superiors, but about his intended actions - although the offense here would seem to fall under the general article, as best I can see.

RE: Should know better
By Ristogod on 4/9/2012 10:31:37 AM , Rating: 2
It's one of the reasons I left the military. You are expected to surrender too many natural rights and freedoms. I felt like I voluntarily entered our prison system when I was there.

The military isn't for everyone. I realized that I could do more for my country outside of the military than within it. Sure when you contribute to your economy and community in a healthy manner, it doesn't get you the blind admiration of the ignorant "Support the Troops" bumper sticker crowd. But I don't know if there's any saving those lazy thought based individuals.

RE: Should know better
By Gondor on 4/9/2012 11:14:00 AM , Rating: 2
Yet this is precisely how military works; everybody is expected to follow orders, not to question them.

Obama is currently commander-in-chief and while this guy may not like him it doesn't somehow make him right to disobey the orders that are not unlawful. If everybody had their way the chain of command would cease to exist and the military as a force would crumble. It's just like many other lines of work ... One can't be a professional basketball player who refuses to run, jump and shoot just because he dislikes his coach either.

RE: Should know better
By ssnova703 on 4/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: Should know better
By mcnabney on 4/9/2012 12:23:25 PM , Rating: 3
Please cite an example of an active duty service member doing that without any response.

RE: Should know better
By Spuke on 4/9/2012 3:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
Please cite an example of an active duty service member doing that without any response.
I was in during Bush, it wasn't tolerated then nor will it ever be (and shouldn't).

RE: Should know better
By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: Should know better
By Spuke on 4/9/2012 3:23:26 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a guy blowing off some steam. And he should have every right to do so. If we ask them to die for our freedoms, they should enjoy those very same ones we do.
NOT ON FACEBOOK!!! We have/had plenty of opportunities for "blowing off steam". I've done my fair share as has any other soldier/sailor. But you do NOT bad mouth your Commander-in-chief in PUBLIC especially during a war. If it was me, he'd be swinging. Sorry.

RE: Should know better
By tng on 4/9/2012 4:32:28 PM , Rating: 2
Agree, how long will it take before people who are on Facebook will come to the realization that things you say there can be used against you?

I really am beginning to think that maybe Facebook is just another stage of Darwin's Law at work. Facebook is weeding out people who don't think before they speak publicly and their standing is therefore diminished and their genes don't move to the next generation.

RE: Should know better
By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: Should know better
By FITCamaro on 4/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: Should know better
By gladiatorua on 4/10/2012 12:13:36 AM , Rating: 2
It's not about freedom of speech. He openly declared that he would not follow President's orders.

RE: Should know better
By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: Should know better
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2012 1:38:18 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with you Reclaimer, unfortunately those are not the rules.

RE: Should know better
By Drizzt321 on 4/9/2012 2:03:17 PM , Rating: 5
You're missing the part of the oath that it says we (I'm a Vet) obey the President:

"...I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

Literally saying he won't follow orders (even just 'some') is prejudicial to good order and discipline, and is a very, very serious offense. If he said "this order I won't obey and don't believe it's lawful", ok, he should go to his commanding officer and get it worked out. Most especially, he should not say things like that in a public forum. We get briefed all the time on things like this, so I have no sympathy with this guy.

RE: Should know better
By Spuke on 4/9/2012 3:25:42 PM , Rating: 3
Literally saying he won't follow orders (even just 'some') is prejudicial to good order and discipline, and is a very, very serious offense.
Ding! Ding! Ding!

RE: Should know better
By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/12, Rating: 0
RE: Should know better
By twhittet on 4/9/2012 7:06:16 PM , Rating: 2
Now you just hold on a minute. You can't turn something someone said on Facebook into a criminal act. So I could make threats to individuals or a group - but as far as I know, it doesn't count because it's just a comment on Facebook!


Saying "it was just a dumb Facebook comment" doesn't excuse the stupidity.

RE: Should know better
By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/2012 8:02:47 PM , Rating: 1
Nice straw man.

RE: Should know better
By ritualm on 4/10/2012 6:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
Yes you can. It's Facebook, not an AOL chatroom. If you want to post your tactless opinions as a service member and not get backhanded, you go anonymous or use an ambiguous handle . He did neither.

He made a comment that he refuses to follow orders - if you are his superior would you want him in your platoon? That alone is serious grounds for dismissal, but he clearly stated he will not follow (President) Obama's orders... when he was clearly sworn into the oath that he will follow the President's orders?

What partisan politics? You're an idiot.

Lesson learned: if you're going to criticize the boss in charge, anon is your friend.

RE: Should know better
By Bostlabs on 4/10/2012 7:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
Facebook is public (at least from what I've read about him posting his statements). He publicly stated that he will not follow the orders of the commander in chief.

He might as well been standing in front of Obama and saying "FU!" (I wouldn't mind doing that sometimes but I'm no longer an active Marine. :) )

That isn't done. And he KNEW it isn't done but did it anyway. I can't tell you how many times it was drilled into our head while I was in the Corps.

He screwed up and now he is no longer a Marine. And rightly so. Now he can speak freely on whatever he wants but now as a civilian.

RE: Should know better
By FaaR on 4/10/2012 10:09:44 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah right, you wouldn't be saying that if the President was a Republican. In fact if that were the case, this guy wouldn't even be getting discharged.

Right, because you have both soothsaying and mindreading mental powers, and therefore know how people will act in an alternative fictional universe. You're so fulla crud you even believe your own offal you're spouting.

This happened many times under Bush I'm sure, I don't recall hearing about people getting discharged over it.

If it happened so many times why don't you mention some of them? Maybe the reason you didn't hear about it is because they DIDN'T HAPPEN? But no, I'm sure you never even considered that. In your mind, it's all evil Barack Osama Bin Laden's fault. You loonie.

The people that live and die so our free speech is protected shouldn't have less freedom of speech than we do. That's absurd.

To use your own method of rethoric, I might counter that with you wouldn't be saying that if it was a Republican in the White House; then you'd condemn this sort of behavior like Rush Limbaugh attacking a birth control pill-popping college student... Everybody knows this is true. Lol!

It's easily argued that claiming in public you won't be following your commander-in-chief's orders is detrimental to general troop morale, if not borderline treasonous. You don't join up to the military if you're not willing to take the consequences of that action.

Military servicemen take an oath to the Constitution and the country, NOT the President.

Well, they do in fact swear an oath to the president, so not sure exactly what you're on about, other than your general spiel of "Obama is evil, nobody should have to follow him" and so on that you're usually on about.

RE: Should know better
By Starcub on 4/9/2012 12:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds to me like he did the right thing and got rewarded for it.

RE: Should know better
By Salisme on 4/9/2012 12:45:53 PM , Rating: 1
He is not going to lose any benefits. In six months his less than honorable discharge will be automatically upgraded to honorable and he will get a new DD214. He will then be able to receive full benefits.

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