Thursday, January 10, 2008

Think of the repercussions As Pakistan explodes Bush commits 3,000 more marines, what happened to Iraq is our commitment Afghanistan is NATO's?

I remember a while back when there was a call for more troops to be added to Afghanistan and NATO was slated to add them as Bush was insistent on the troop surge in Iraq. Bush said Iraq was our primary responsibility and Afghanistan was NATO's. As we watch Afghanistan worsening because Bush diverted from Afghanistan to attack Iraq so he could find the excuse to attack Iran NATO to no surprise of mine is not coming through.

As Pakistan is exploding as a result of Bhutto's assassination and an increase of Al Qaeda activity determined to resupply Afghanistan with insurgents and to overthrow Musharraf's Government and get their hands on Pakistan's weapons we are getting deeper and deeper instead of ramping down and like it or not this is just beginning!

On Thursday, a suicide bomber killed at least 23 people and injured more than 58 others outside a court in Lahore, police said. The attack brought to 20 the number of suicide attacks in Pakistan in the last three months, including a failed attack on Bhutto's life in October. The bombings have killed close to 400 people and wounded nearly 1,000 others in the last three months, according to government officials. Pro-Taliban militants with ties to al Qaeda are carrying out the attacks, according to analysts and government officials. CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen says the number of suicide bombings in Pakistan has "reached unprecedented levels in the past year." Previously, Bergen says, such attacks were rare.

"The reason for this rise is because al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban have morphed together ideologically and tactically, and both see themselves at war with the Pakistani state," Bergen says. "Many of the suicide attacks have been aimed at Pakistani politicians, officials and soldiers." Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has vowed to fight militancy and religious extremism, going after Taliban and al Qaeda within the country. Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Mahmud Ali Durrani, recently told CNN that the Pakistani military is "totally focused on destroying al Qaeda and the Taliban network and not just one person."

Still, the suicide bombers are succeeding, targeting political parties, rallies, military installations and anyone seen as a threat. Meanwhile, civilians are caught in the crossfire. "They would like to destabilize our country," Azhar Hamdani, who survived a July attack, says of suicide bombers. Pakistan Bombings reach unprecedented level

Pakistan will explode and will provide Bush with the excuse of going into Pakistan too one way or the other and this breakdown to his created world war will really get under way. we have had renewed military ties between India and Russia as well as pledges of help if they need it. You have to believe that was in response to talk of American involvement in Pakistan. Also we just heard today that a year after Bush's so called successful surge we just finished dropping the largest bombing on a suberb of Baghdad to stifle an increase in Al Qaeda and Bush is telling the word there will be peace between Palestine and Israel before he is out of office.

** I am telling you this guy is brain dead! Amidst all this Bush is now taking NATO's responsibility over in Afghanistan. Where the hell are the troops going to come from? The Pentagon may send 3,000 Marines to Afghanistan in the coming weeks to reinforce the country's British-led sector ahead of an expected spring offensive by the Taliban and al Qaeda. U.S. Army Gen. Dan McNeill -- the top NATO commander in Afghanistan -- made the request. As of Wednesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was "giving it a hard look," according to Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell. Central Command and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have already approved the request. Gates could follow suit very quickly after finishing discussions with his commanders, Pentagon officials said.

** "The request is based upon an anticipated spring offensive by the Taliban. They failed last time, and they will fail again this time, but commanders are seeking additional forces to ensure that," Morrell told CNN, signaling that the request is expected to be approved. The Marines would be sent on a seven-month tour. It's considered a "major commitment" of forces, according to a Pentagon official. There are about 26,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the 3,000 additional forces would boost U.S. troop levels there to their highest point since the 2001 invasion. It's not known yet where the Marines will come from.

Under the proposal, the bulk of the Marines would go to southern Afghanistan, where British and Canadian forces have been in heavy combat for months. Others may be assigned to training Afghan forces. NATO has been looking for a commitment of 7,000 additional forces for both combat and training missions. But member countries of the alliance have failed to meet that goal, and it had been expected for the last several weeks that McNeill would be forced to turn to the Pentagon for more forces. We are getting deeper in Afghanistan at a bad time

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on Thursday asked for patience from the international community on Afghanistan, arguing that instant success is not possible. "Patience, with a capital P, is the word we need," he told reporters at a New Year reception at the NATO headquarters. "The problem is that we, the international community, have no patience. We do not realize sufficiently that when you want to assist and bring this country on a process of development and reconstruction, it takes time," said de Hoop Scheffer. Assisting Afghanistan is a long-term commitment, not necessarily militarily, he said. "The answer to Afghanistan is not military, but is civilian ... Reconstruction and development is something for the long haul." The NATO chief said he was delighted that the Pentagon is considering sending 3,000 U.S. Marines to Afghanistan. NATO chief delighted we're taking their responsibility too
No kidding NATO is happy! Just where are these troops going to come from? We are already overextended. The military is breaking. Pakistan will blow. Meanwhile we are adding more troops and air support in the area. What a coincidence! This Bush created mess is still just beginning and is getting ready to blow. Knowing Bush's time is running out this is all coming to a head a too convenient a time for him to cancel elections, declare martial order, and stay at the helm of the new order Forever wars he has created.

James Joiner
Gardner Ma


Larry said...

Words of the past Jim:

Why Socialism?

By Albert Einstein

This essay was originally published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949).

Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.

Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist. The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has—as is well known—been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic in nature. For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.

But historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called "the predatory phase" of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future.

Second, socialism is directed towards a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals and—if these ends are not stillborn, but vital and vigorous—are adopted and carried forward by those many human beings who, half unconsciously, determine the slow evolution of society.

For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.

Innumerable voices have been asserting for some time now that human society is passing through a crisis, that its stability has been gravely shattered. It is characteristic of such a situation that individuals feel indifferent or even hostile toward the group, small or large, to which they belong. In order to illustrate my meaning, let me record here a personal experience. I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supra-national organization would offer protection from that danger. Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: "Why are you so deeply opposed to the disappearance of the human race?"

I am sure that as little as a century ago no one would have so lightly made a statement of this kind. It is the statement of a man who has striven in vain to attain an equilibrium within himself and has more or less lost hope of succeeding. It is the expression of a painful solitude and isolation from which so many people are suffering in these days. What is the cause? Is there a way out?

It is easy to raise such questions, but difficult to answer them with any degree of assurance. I must try, however, as best I can, although I am very conscious of the fact that our feelings and strivings are often contradictory and obscure and that they cannot be expressed in easy and simple formulas.

Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting, strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society. It is quite possible that the relative strength of these two drives is, in the main, fixed by inheritance. But the personality that finally emerges is largely formed by the environment in which a man happens to find himself during his development, by the structure of the society in which he grows up, by the tradition of that society, and by its appraisal of particular types of behavior. The abstract concept "society" means to the individual human being the sum total of his direct and indirect relations to his contemporaries and to all the people of earlier generations. The individual is able to think, feel, strive, and work by himself; but he depends so much upon society—in his physical, intellectual, and emotional existence—that it is impossible to think of him, or to understand him, outside the framework of society. It is "society" which provides man with food, clothing, a home, the tools of work, language, the forms of thought, and most of the content of thought; his life is made possible through the labor and the accomplishments of the many millions past and present who are all hidden behind the small word “society.”

It is evident, therefore, that the dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished—just as in the case of ants and bees. However, while the whole life process of ants and bees is fixed down to the smallest detail by rigid, hereditary instincts, the social pattern and interrelationships of human beings are very variable and susceptible to change. Memory, the capacity to make new combinations, the gift of oral communication have made possible developments among human being which are not dictated by biological necessities. Such developments manifest themselves in traditions, institutions, and organizations; in literature; in scientific and engineering accomplishments; in works of art. This explains how it happens that, in a certain sense, man can influence his life through his own conduct, and that in this process conscious thinking and wanting can play a part.

Man acquires at birth, through heredity, a biological constitution which we must consider fixed and unalterable, including the natural urges which are characteristic of the human species. In addition, during his lifetime, he acquires a cultural constitution which he adopts from society through communication and through many other types of influences. It is this cultural constitution which, with the passage of time, is subject to change and which determines to a very large extent the relationship between the individual and society. Modern anthropology has taught us, through comparative investigation of so-called primitive cultures, that the social behavior of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organization which predominate in society. It is on this that those who are striving to improve the lot of man may ground their hopes: human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate.

If we ask ourselves how the structure of society and the cultural attitude of man should be changed in order to make human life as satisfying as possible, we should constantly be conscious of the fact that there are certain conditions which we are unable to modify. As mentioned before, the biological nature of man is, for all practical purposes, not subject to change. Furthermore, technological and demographic developments of the last few centuries have created conditions which are here to stay. In relatively densely settled populations with the goods which are indispensable to their continued existence, an extreme division of labor and a highly-centralized productive apparatus are absolutely necessary. The time—which, looking back, seems so idyllic—is gone forever when individuals or relatively small groups could be completely self-sufficient. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that mankind constitutes even now a planetary community of production and consumption.

I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.

For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production—although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. Insofar as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists' requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

The situation prevailing in an economy based on the private ownership of capital is thus characterized by two main principles: first, means of production (capital) are privately owned and the owners dispose of them as they see fit; second, the labor contract is free. Of course, there is no such thing as a pure capitalist society in this sense. In particular, it should be noted that the workers, through long and bitter political struggles, have succeeded in securing a somewhat improved form of the “free labor contract” for certain categories of workers. But taken as a whole, the present day economy does not differ much from “pure” capitalism.

Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an “army of unemployed” almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers' goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?

Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition. Since, under present circumstances, free and unhindered discussion of these problems has come under a powerful taboo, I consider the foundation of this magazine to be an important public service.

Larry said...

We're beginning the Bush Depression Jim:

Many people are finally saying the R word: Recession. The fundamentals don't look good. The externals are even scarier: dollar and stocks skidding, gold and other prices (particularly producer prices) rising. But what has tipped the psychological scales is the statistic no one has cared much about in many years: unemployment.

The actual rate is very low by any historical standard: 5%. What matters here is the direction of change. It jumped from 4.7%. In the old days, unemployment rates of 5% and 6% were considered "full employment" in the Keynesian models. If government attempted to push employment below that level (and it is absurd to think that anyone in Washington can control the economy in that way), it would risk setting off inflation, or so it was believed.

If the actual unemployment rate is low, why this wave of pessimism? All data in the postwar period of American economic history consistently show that an increase in the rate has coincided with the onset of recession. The parallel between the two is the most consistent feature of the business cycle. See the NBER list: 2001, 1990–91, 1981–82, 1980, 1973–75, 1970, 1960–61, 1957–58, 1953–54, and so on. In each case, unemployment begins to rise at the onset.

Now, keep in mind that the link between rising unemployment and recession is largely true by definition only. In other words, those charged with defining what is and what isn't a recession put a huge weight on rising unemployment. So of course it appears that weak labor markets are what push an economy into recession.

This is sheer fallacy, and a particularly dangerous one. Rising unemployment is a symptom of a recession, not its cause. If the critical problem of recession is unemployment, policy makers are tempted to address this one area to the exclusion of everything else.

Already, Bush administration spokesmen are talking about a "fiscal stimulus" to counter this trend. But why isn't this laughable on its face? Perhaps if Bush had been a famed penny pincher, you could see how a stimulus would make some sense on the surface. But it is hard to imagine a more fiscally profligate regime than the Bush administration. We can confidently say that more spending is not the answer.

The view that unemployment causes recession was one of the great errors of the New Deal and the Great Depression. The government looted the private sector and transferred it to visible jobs programs. It forced business to maintain high wages precisely when the market was attempting to equilibrate them downward. It increased the costs of hiring just when the costs needed to be lower.

None of it did any good; in fact, it delayed recovery for many years. Lionel Robbins, in his classic book The Great Depression, wrote this in 1934: "If it had not been for the prevalence of the view that wage rates must at all costs be maintained in order to maintain the purchasing power of the consumer, the violence of the present depression and the magnitude of the unemployment which has accompanied it would have been considerably less…. A policy which holds wage rates rigid when the equilibrium rate has altered, is a policy which creates unemployment."

Writing in 1931, in his book Causes of the Economic Crisis, Ludwig von Mises explained that there would be no involuntary unemployment in a free market. There will always be some unemployment in a market in the same way that there are houses that are empty and not selling and resources that are not being used for production. This isn't due to market failure but to individuals who have the freedom to lower their asking price, provided they are permitted by policy to do so and businesses are free to negotiate wages freely.

What, then, is the solution to unemployment? "The determination of wage rates must become free once again. The formation of wage rates should be hampered neither by the clubs of striking pickets nor by government’s apparatus of force. Only if the determination of wage rates is free, will they be able to fulfill their function of bringing demand and supply into balance on the labor market."

There is an error even more fundamental than seeking an interventionist solution to the problem of unemployment. It is the attempt to seek a solution to the recession itself, as if it were the critical problem. Writing all throughout the 1930s, both Mises and F.A. Hayek tried to explain that the recession itself served a market purpose, in the same way a correction to an inflated stock market serves a purpose. It re-coordinates economic structures that have grown seriously out of balance.

In other words, they urged that we look back before the recession, to the good old days of economic boom, and realize the prosperity of the past was a partial illusion. The recession is the way that the economy tells the truth about the fundamentals. The illusion itself is caused by errors in monetary policy. Interest rates are driven down by the Fed, and this causes widespread errors in the investment sector. These investments are unsustainable over the long term. The recession is the time of cleansing out errors and reestablishing economic soundness.

The housing boom and bust is only a symptom of a wider problem. If the economy has indeed fallen into recession, we can know with certainty that recession is precisely what the economy needs the most. It is the equivalent of the drunk who needs time on the wagon.

The rap on the Austrian School of the 1930s is that they counseled a do-nothing policy on the depression. That is not true. There are many things that government can do but they all amount to doing less, which is a positive action of sorts. It must not attempt to prop up and raise wages. It must stop taxing business so heavily and raising the costs of investment. It must cut regulations that are hampering recovery. It can cut spending dramatically as a way of returning resources to the private sector where they can do some good.

What government cannot do without causing even more problems is take positive action against symptoms, such as falling stocks or housing prices, rising unemployment, business failures, and falling incomes. This is precisely what caused the Great Depression to get its name instead of being called what it might have been called: the recession of 1929–1931.

Larry said...

Hey Jim I hope your encounter this week was all you hoped it would be.

Larry said...

Here is how Bush is getting recruits Jim:

Marine ex-recruiters say higher-ups share blame

5 men say use of stand-ins to take tests was an established tactic

By Dane Schiller / Houston Chronicle

Five former Marine recruiters punished for fraudulently enlisting recruits from the Houston area said they were part of a web operating with tacit approval of some superiors.

The men confirmed they helped would-be recruits sneak past an exhaustive test by using a tactic established before they'd joined the Corps, served in Iraq or hit the streets as recruiters.

"I love the Marine Corps; I don't want to be spitting on the Marine Corps," said a former sergeant, who said he left the service after seven years to avoid facing military justice and the possibility of a bad-conduct discharge.

Eight others were removed from recruiting duty, according to Marine Corps officials, and were handed punishments including fines.

"The people in charge of me while on recruiting duty didn't stand up for me," he continued.

The scandal comes as the Marine Corps and other military services are under increasing pressure to find recruits as wars continue in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Marines are aiming to bulk up from about 184,000 troops to 202,000 by September.

The former sergeant acknowledged his own actions were improper but insisted higher-ranking Marines share the blame.

The Marine Corps said late Tuesday that a Marine with supervisory responsibilities over some of the disciplined recruiters was recently removed from recruiting duties, but it remains to be seen whether he will face any charges.

A staff sergeant "has been relieved of his recruiting duties and has been assigned administrative duties," said Capt. Beatriz Yarrish, a spokeswoman for the 8th Marines Corps District, which is based in Fort Worth and includes all of Texas and other areas.

"The investigation with regard to (the sergeant) has been completed, and the commanding officer is currently deciding what course of action he will pursue."

Yarrish wouldn't share details of the case.

Not implicated at first

All were apparently snared in an investigation that began in the spring and was made public in November after the Houston Chronicle learned nine Marine recruiters were snared for using stand-in substitutes to take a military entrance exam for potential recruits who might not otherwise qualify for service.

During the initial inquiry none of the nine disciplined recruiters implicated their superiors in the scam, said Capt. Carlos Sotomayor, who investigated the recruiters last April through June.

Any violation of the rules was unacceptable, Sotomayor said, and the recruiters had the chance to tell what they knew.

"We teach them the right way," he said. "If they choose to do it the wrong way, the Marine Corps will hold them accountable."

The Marine Corps punished four recruiters nationwide in 2006 for testing irregularities, said Maj. Wesley Hayes of the Marine Corps Recruiting Command in Virginia.

"It is extremely rare that these incidents happen," said Hayes.

The Marines are not alone in such problems.

In an entrance-exam scandal involving the Army National Guard in Arizona, test examiner Christine Thomas was sentenced to probation in July 2007 for a scam in which she conspired with recruiters to falsify results for about 70 applicants, according to court documents.

The Department of Defense is developing a system relying on electronic fingerprint readers as part of an effort to prevent potential recruits from using test takers to stand in for them.

The original investigation that snared the nine Houston-area recruiters was launched when someone noticed a signature on a test form didn't match with a signature on other recruiting documents, Sotomayor said.

Marine officials would not disclose the time period during which the stand-in test takers were used.

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, known as the ASVAB, is a lengthy test used to place recruits in military jobs to which they are best suited.

Results could determine whether a person meets a minimum threshold to enter the service, as well as whether that person marches and fires a weapon, sits at a desk or takes up other duties.

Unsure how widespread

The Marine Corps declined to release the names of the recruiters or discuss specific details of the scheme, which resulted in eight recruiters being disciplined, a ninth leaving the service, and an unclear number of people entering the military based on test scores that weren't their own.

Although officials said they are unsure how widespread the practice was or where the recruiters learned of the technique, the fraud was traced to at least 15 incidents that went through the Military Entrance Processing Station in downtown Houston.

Of the nine recruiters, four worked at the Memorial City substation; two in Baybrook; two in Houston; and one in Lake Jackson, according to the Marines.

"We have pursued all individuals involved in the incident," said Sgt. Robert Jones, a public affairs spokesman for the Marine Corps Recruiting Station headquarters in Houston, which includes the men's superiors.

Yarrish said Marines who served as enlisted supervisors at the recruiting substations and their supervisory office when stand-in test takers were used have been advised not to talk to the news media at this time. A Chronicle request to interview them was denied.

'Wink, wink, nod, nod'

Five former recruiters contacted by the Chronicle confirmed stand-in test takers were used with the approval of higher-ups. Two who spoke at length asked their names not be published to avoid possible retribution.

Interviewed separately, they said they wanted to make it clear they didn't act alone or without approval.

The man who left the Marine Corps said he was a recruiter for more than two years and put about 65 people in the service but used test takers six times.

"It was one of those, 'wink, wink, nod, nod' — they knew," he said. "It was not an isolated thing — it is something that was going on for years and they all knew about it."

He said loyalty stopped him from reporting other Marines. The Marine Corps has declined to release any portion of its investigative report.

The other person who spoke with the Chronicle at length said he was fined and removed from recruiting duties but stayed in the service.

He recalled an incident in which a higher-ranking enlisted Marine said a "tester" was needed to get a recruit into the Corps.

When looking for a tester, sometimes they would find someone who had already been recruited and previously passed the test, or a friend or family member of a potential recruit, he said.

"I wouldn't say it was ordered, but it was like, 'Hey, this is the way things are done,'" the former recruiter said.

"If you are out there recruiting a lot, you are going to come across kids that this is the only push they need, and it is easy to do something," said the Marine, noting that anyone who enters the Corps still has to complete boot camp and an advanced training school.

Now we know how Bush's military has been getting recruits.

an average patriot said...

Far be it for me to straighten out Einstein but i absolutely can. Everything he said is true but not for everyone and by no means today. He was speaking from his experiences of man and society. As you know man and society would not be recognized by a person of his time if he were to come back today. His entire thought process would change because he was a thinking man. Most today are not capable of a cognitive thought process or of thinking past their own desires and needs.
He evoked so many different concepts in that short essay that it cannot be adequately covered except in a rather lengthy pamphlet. He was right here: Man acquires at birth, through heredity, a biological constitution which we must consider fixed and unalterable, including the natural urges which are characteristic of the human species. In addition, during his lifetime, he acquires a cultural constitution which he adopts from society through communication and through many other types of influences. It is this cultural constitution which, with the passage of time, is subject to change and which determines to a very large extent the relationship between the individual and society.
Problem is there are those of us who are still this way but our society and the world have evolved to the point where this is no longer true and we are an abarition. I am going to save this now before I lose it and then continue!

an average patriot said...

Okay, you are shaped somewhat by society but only to the degree which you are incapable of your own thought process. Thinking and having to search for and learn the truth is why I am different and why many of us do not like the way the world is moving and we want to change it.
That essay makes me think of so much. He talked of science and Religion and how everything cannot be explained by science but can be explained with Religion. I agree and the inability to realize they are both part of the whole and meld them together is part of the problem today. They are both part of the whole we call life. I do not understand the argument between evolution and intelligent design, they are both part of the whole of man. Okay another save!

an average patriot said...

Lastly on that, Einstein: I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?

Clarity about the aims and problems of socialism is of greatest significance in our age of transition. Since, under present circumstances, free and unhindered discussion of these problems has come under a powerful taboo, I consider the foundation of this magazine to be an important public service.
There is no way to eliminate these evils today as we have become a world society like it or not with conflicting values and morals no one wants to compromize to become a sussessful entity to move into the future.
The problem as we have discussed inumerable times is that man and the planet are in a stage in our life cycle in which we are attempting to go against and nature only moves in one direction forward. You have read my Life cycles on my main page and a couple of my updates. We are in the mature stage of our life cycle, the nurturing stage and man is failing to do that. We have got to meld all the lessoosn learned through the centuries from every society and man in general is not capable of doing that so...

an average patriot said...

Bushco will do all they can to put off the reality of the 2nd greatest Depression he caused until he gets out of office again as we have discussed numerous times and then he will blame it on others. I have written a few stories on it but if you haven't google Mike Whitney, The second great depression. Bernanke just announced he will do whatever it takes to stave it off but it is ineviteable like all the rest of the future societal and world degradation Bush has set in motion or sped up from its natural cycle.

an average patriot said...

Our meeting went very well! Jerome is most impressive and I have no doubt he and his followers will be fighting for us. I have taken it as my goal to help him realize what is really happening today and why. As I told him, this is not the Political world of yesterday. He asked me how long I have been in Politics? This is not Politics for me it is life and like Rove the idiot I was born for this role and will never change. Anyway as I told him, Lying has become the truth. Folliowing a hidden agenda is the only goal. His son Danny wrote me that night to let me know we hit it off! I now have hope and we stay in touch anyway! His story on the NH primary was really comical!

an average patriot said...

There too the truth will never be learned. We were all lied to. It is the norm. They will say or do what they have to, to fill their quotas.
An Air Force recruiter got me 4F out of the marines so I could go in the Air Force. I then went in the Army reseves while going to College. I still have that selective service 4F card. It has to be worse today and I am sure it is. Like everything else it will get a lot worse as tyime and these wars go on and grow.

Dave Dubya said...

A government of the people by the people and for the people must utilize elements of socialism. Socialism is not communisn. Socialism is taxpayer supported schools, police and fire department. It's about the common welfare. The founders knew this.

There is no reason capitalism can't thrive in such a system. In fact, it has. Capitalism is such a powerful force it must be regulated to prevent the natural abuses of imbalanced wealth distribution. This is where OUR government fails us. It has sold itself to become THEIR government.

an average patriot said...

Again I agree with you. By definition a Government of the people for the people by the people is socialism and it should meld well with Capitalism. The problem is no one wants to accomodate make room for the other and get along. Capitalist and everyone else today want it 100% their way or not at all. That is the problem today!

landsker said...

Is this perhaps a little part of the sociological discussion known as "Nature or Nurture", which evolves into "Nature plus Nurture."
We who live in "Socialist" Europe", have, amongst other things, state managed health care, reciprocating and unrestricted access to education and work with automatic residency rights in over 20 countries. Sounds fantastic, almost utopian isn`t it?

The key word is reciprocating, and maybe the reason we got so friendly and socialistically civilised is because for thousands of years we fought and killed each other.
Our finest hour of madness was perhaps the 20th century, when we grossly murdered millions of our own kind, developing and inventing every form of barbarious contraption, including the bombardment of civilians, forced enlistment, concentration camps, and so on, .. ad nauseum.
Almost every major city in Europe lay in smouldering ruin, cripples and refugess wandered the streets, crime and poverty were rife.
Even today, many old buildings still carry bullet and shell marks...
We had killed millions of our neighbours, wounded and orphaned our children, and utterly wrecked our towns and cities.
Nearly all families were in mourning, and penniless.
Excepting those who had profited from the manufacture of weapons and wartime always, during wars, the rich got even richer.

Socialism has many facets, it can compliment capitalism, and indeed, it can imptove it.
When workers are contented, well educated and in good health, we work well.
Who knows, maybe the U.S. will join with Cuba, with free health care for all, but it may take some time.

an average patriot said...

I have to link to you today so I can keep abreast of your discussions. You bring an enlightened point of view to this close minded America of today.
You are right, there should be a meld of Capitalism and Socialism but those who rule here consider Scialism suicidal to America when quite the reverse is true! I don't believe they will ever get it here or care because those that really rule, the monied, do not care about the avere person let alone American
I think you will like my friends point of view and you will be quite taken aback I'm sure. He is 90 now, does the lecture circuit, and is more relentless today tham ever. He is awesome! He is known as the relentles liberal, Jerome Grossman. read about him Google him! His site is the relentless liberal
I think you will agree with him! He wrote this about a week ago on Federally funded Healthcare and the benefits to Business.

Business Benefits from National Health Insurance
By Jerome Grossman

Alone among the nations of the world, the U. S. has relied upon private health insurance to cover the majority of its population, but far from all - 47 million are left out. This system is inefficient: it costs too much and the business community overpays. The private insurance industry spends about 20% of its revenue on administration, marketing, and profits. Further, the industry imposes on physicians, hospitals and businesses an administrative burden in billing and insurance related functions that consume another 12% of insurance premiums. Thus, fully one third of insurance premiums could be drastically reduced if we were to finance health care through expansion of government – run Medicare to every U.S. citizen. Medicare overhead is estimated to be about three percent.

Most of these unnecessary costs are borne by U.S. business, now held captive by the Washington lobbying of the private insurance industry. It is time for the advocates of a single-payer, (the US government) to make common cause with business interests to modernize the health system in the interest of delivering a better health product, eliminating unnecessary costs, and making U.S. business more competitive around the world. The Committee for Economic Development, a high powered business group, says, “The competitiveness of American firms is threatened by the cost of health insurance.” U.S. business has no obligation to insurance companies. It should pass the cost of insurance to the government just as it does when it lays off thousands of unneeded workers.

The recent agreement between General Motors and the United Auto Workers featured an important change in the health-care obligations of GM. No longer will they be in the health-care field, but will devote all their energies to their own products. Their competitive position will be improved as they are freed from the ever-growing costs of health care.

Some business executives believe that this model should be applied to all companies so that the responsibility for the health-care of the nation would be assumed by the Federal Government, paid for by general tax revenues. The objectives would be to lower the cost of health care, to include all Americans and to help business become more competitive by eliminating a major expense.

Here are ten reasons why business should support national health insurance as developed by Physicians for a National Health Program

10. National Health Insurance will reduce liability insurance and workers compensation costs.

9. National Health Insurance will eliminate the constant headaches of running a health benefits bureaucracy, annual negotiations with insurance companies, etc.

8. National Health Insurance will limit complaints by employers over rising premiums and co-pays and conflicts with labor unions over benefit cuts, givebacks, etc..

7. National Health Insurance will reduce the incentive to hire part-time workers and enable them to attract better employees.

6. National Health Insurance will curb health-related bankruptcies, reduce health spending by low income workers, and free up money for consumer spending.

5. National Health Insurance will reduce the cost of providing health benefits

4. National Health Insurance will eliminate retiree benefit costs for those with obligations to provide coverage.

3. National Health Insurance will eliminate unfair competition from employers who don't provide insurance.

2. National Health Insurance will reduce absenteeism and produce a healthy and more productive work force.

And the number one reason for National Health Insurance from a business perspective is….
1. National Health Insurance will allow health-care costs to be controlled and predictable, eliminating it major source of business uncertainty and a barrier to planning.

And, oh yes, it's the right and moral thing to do.