Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tea Party Marine Discharged From Corps For Facebook Posts Critical of President Obama

The United States Marine Corps has announced the discharge of a Marine sargeant who posted several messages on his Facebook account critical of President Obama. The discharge also carries with it an automatic demotion to lance corporal- or the E-3 paygrade.
Sgt Gary Stein, 26, a Temecula resident, ran afoul of Marine Corps and Pentagon regulations restricting troop political activity by calling for Obama's ouster and making statements that the president was the "enemy" and that he would not follow his orders unless he considered them lawful.

Stein, who could not be reached for immediate comment, was informed of the decision Wednesday morning, according to one of his attorneys, Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.

"He is very disappointed," Kreep said. "His grandmother died last night and then this hit him."

Stein will now fight for reinstatement through Marine Corps legal channels and continue pressing a court case, Kreep said. Earlier this month, he unsuccessfully sought to persuade a federal court to issue a restraining order or preliminary injunction to stop the separation.

In a statement issued late Wednesday morning, the Marine Corps said Yoo had reviewed the findings of a separation board that unanimously recommended earlier this month that Stein be kicked out after nine years of service.

"The Commanding General found that the board was conducted in accordance with law and regulation, that the findings of misconduct were supported by the evidence of record, and thus has approved the board's recommendation that Sgt Stein be separated from the Marine Corps with an "other than honorable" discharge," the Marine Corps statement said.

A Marine separated as a result of adverse conduct can receive an other than honorable characterization of discharge if the basis for separation is the commission of a serious offense which is a "significant departure from the conduct expected of a Marine."
Stein was also a member of the Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots- the offending commentary was reportedly left on the groups Facebook page.

According to court documents, Stein posted "'Obama is the economic enemy ... He is the religious enemy ... he is the 'Fundamentally change' America enemy ... he IS the Domestic Enemy" in one Facebook update. Stein's critcisms of President Obama would be perfectly legal under the First Amendment in the civilian world, his statements wouldn't neccesarily enjoy the same protections under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Although I think that Stein's comments should call for some sort of disciplinary action [short of discharge- NANESB!], one has to wonder why the Pentagon wasn't keeping as close an eye on the Facebook page of- oh, I dunno...let's say Bradley Manning as the were Sgt. Gary Stein.

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