Posted on Nov 23, 2014
MAJ FAO - Europe
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Think the content of online posts is harmless?

Is the Marine Corps right to discharge this Marine for his anti-Obama Facebook posts?

http://abcnews.go.com/US/marine-sgt-gary-stein-honorable-discharge-anti-obama/story?id=16216279
Posted in these groups: Freedom of speech logo Freedom of Speech
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CPT All Source Intelligence
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Let's be clear. First, this is an old story. Second, this is NOT a matter of curtailed free speech. I read some of the crap he posted when it happened. He said that he would never follow any of the President's orders, "none!" He referred to him as "Jackass-in-Chief." Could he post these same remarks about his company commander or platoon sergeant without repercussions? No. Could a civilian get away with making such posts about the president of their company without being disciplined and fired? Not a chance.

People need to figure out the difference between:
1) A reasoned, researched argument/point/opinion that will elevate the discourse, make people think, and move toward solutions - regardless of political slant
2) Straw-man dichotomies, name-calling, grandstanding, and party-line parroted talking points from your favorite political blow-hole that only serve to anger, insult, and divide.

This guy was 100% the second. His freedom of speech was not impacted. He can continue to make these remarks all day...but never again as a Marine. I fully support the OTH discharge because his actions were specifically a violation of his oath and intended to incite a lack of order and discipline.
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SSG Chief Fire Control Sergeant
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To second what CPT Wolfer said above. Prior to enlisting, I've witnessed multiple occasions of people getting fired for bad-mouthing coworkers or supervisors in corporate environments. Each time someone was fired for this, it was completely legal and in no way violated anyone's First Amendment rights. They were perfectly free to go exercise their rights elsewhere. No one wants a toxic or hostile work environment. I even made a fool out of myself once and was fired for insubordination. I was 21 and working at Compaq/HP when I got into an argument about procedure with my supervisor. Like an idiot I went and said something about that individual to a coworker and it got back to the department head. The next day I was looking for new employment. I learned my lesson. I seriously doubt it but hopefully that former Marine learned his.
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SSG Chief Fire Control Sergeant
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In 1974 the U.S. Supreme Court wrote, “While the members of the military are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections. The fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it” Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 758 (1974).
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SSG Chief Fire Control Sergeant
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Taken from http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org: "First Amendment principles do not always apply to public employees in the workplace. For instance, a public employee could be fired for saying, “My superior or co-worker is unqualified and corrupt.” Even though that employee would clearly be expressing a particular viewpoint, the Supreme Court has recognized that “many of the most fundamental maxims of our First Amendment jurisprudence cannot reasonably be applied to speech by government employees.”
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SMSgt Dr. G. A. Thomas
SMSgt Dr. G. A. Thomas
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1LT (P) Steve Philpot,

I don't see the value of pulling rank either however; social media is being monitored by military leaders, commanders, first sergeants, senior enlisted advisors, etc... therefore, when we step out of line we are corrected before serious damage is done.

Pulling rank is not necessary in my opinion, however; we are all people and need to respect one another to facilitate good, reasonable discussions. Because of so many active duty are on this site, it's always a good way to show that we can discuss issues without browbeating one another. It's healthy to be able to voice your opinions no matter how far-fetched that may appear to others.
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PO1 Disaster Survivor Assistance Specialist
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I'm certain his COC, at multiple levels, provided him with guidance on what needed to happen and he failed to comply. The OTH normally is a result of multiple failures to comply, so I don't think it's a stretch for the Marine Corps to do this at all.
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MAJ FAO - Europe
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Clearly with anything we see in the news, we don't know the whole story--and I'd agree with your assessment that the OTH probably was not the first reaction to such posts.
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MAJ Deputy Director, Combat Casualty Care Research Program
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Correct me if I'm wrong, because I could be thinking about a different event - but wasn't this guy told by his command to stop posting this type of stuff and he refused? I thought that that is what escalated it, not the comments themselves.
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MAJ FAO - Europe
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I thought the same; couldn't find much else, though.
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