Wednesday, 30 May 2012

US Military - Does it attract the wrong sort of people?

Read the above article and then read what follows.

American troops tend to come in to the American army from an educated background as they put it in simple terms. A report showed that 90% of people had a high school diploma (I take this to be a leaving cert) and were well educated with a lot of them coming out with degrees . This in itself is I imagine pretty much a standard in a lot of military careers out there, they get degrees and as a result get good jobs and off they go. Im not disputing that. What I am disputing though is the type of intelligence that they are seeking. All entrants must undergo AFQT (

More evidence of the quality of America's enlisted forces comes from the standardized Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) that the military administers to all recruits. Over two-thirds of enlisted recruits scored above the 50th percentile on the AFQT. The military tightly restricts how many recruits it accepts with scores below the 30th percentile, and only 2.3 percent of recruits in 2007 scored between the 21st and 30th percentiles (Category IVA; see Chart 3). The military does not accept any recruits in the bottom 20 percent.

This is the standard test which allows American troops to see if they are capable or not of serving in the American military.According to , American military entrants are tested on four areas

Only four areas of the ASVAB test are used to compute the overall ASVAB score, also known as the AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score.

The four areas of the ASVAB used to compute the AFQT score are: Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmatic Reasoning (AR), and Mathmatics Knowledge (MK).

The only pre checks done in terms of psychological evaluation from what I can see after that is the following . According to a recent study "an educational achievement, cognitive testing, and a cursory psychiatric evaluation". Cursory according to a dictionary definition on google means that this is hasty . The source for this is : .

Considering that cognitive testing is limited in its scope ( and that education and a "cursory psychiatric evaluation" are taken into account, do they not screen new cadets for emotional intelligence? Do they not measure them for such things like empathy, anger etc?

It would be in my opinion that such a process perhaps needs to be looked at if we have the situation that arose above such as the killing of a 15 year old boy and other such scandals such as Abu Gharib and the defiling of the bodies of victims in Afghanisatan. From the article in Rolling Stone magazine, it was a common practice to go out and want to shoot people (at random). Some of the charges are for the pre mediated murder of people , these people thought about killing others and to make matters worse tried to cover up evidence. Eg. The fifteen year old boy who was blown up by a grenade was said to have used a grenade? WTF? They threw it?

, Minnestoa Public Radio had an article recently which stated

Senior leaders have warned for several years about a deterioration of discipline that may have contributed to increased substance abuse, suicides, domestic abuse and other problems.

Why were a lot of these not nipped in the bud first hand and the cadets refused entry to the military?

Is man a slave to instinct?

In the wake of the rising tide of anti immigration and racism that seems to be appearing lately a discussion came up with a friend of mine. When times are lean such as they are now and there is a competition for resources, people seem to revert to an animal like state and seem to become tribal, a bit like a lion defending their territory. They see other humans, especially those of a different culture and of a different skin colour as being rivals for resources (jobs, access to housing in modern terms). Is this reverting back to animal instincts? Can man not rise above this and instead of being a slave to instinct seek to rise above this and work with other humans to build a better society as socialism advocates.

A study a couple of years back showed that people whom are altrustic tend to have more success than those whom are selfish ( so invariably is it fair to say that racists and their ilk tend to be less than successful in life?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Rise of the Far Right in Europe - Wolves in Sheeps Clothing?

With the recent surge seen in the far right in Europe, are they promising people something they can deliver on or are they going to fall flat? In the recent French elections, Marie Le Pen promised to look at the rights of workers and played the left wing card hoping to appeal to those whom might have otherwise voted for the left. Golden Dawn came to power in Greece with the promise to deal with the immigration issues that they have made out to be a bigger deal than it is . Golden Dawn saw their figures jump from .29% support to 6.7% or thereabouts on the back of playing the anti immigration card, they vowed to rid "Athens of the stench" of what is immigrants. In Finland the True Finns are surfing in on a tide of anti European sentiment and anti immgration policies. Couple all of this with well known antics of such parties in Ireland and the BNP in the UK and other far right parties in Europe and we may be setting ourselves up for a dangerous rift in society. Already some of these parties are well known to have violent links and links to neo nazism. Are we allowing these wolves to continually dress in sheeps clothing?


Gay Marriage

A lot of talk recently on gay marriage after North Carolina in the US rejected it out right opting to define marriage as being between a man and a woman . This move in itself is an affront to the dignity of the LGBT community in North Caroline but got me thinking about gay marriage in a general context and especially here in Ireland. Ireland has as you know , civil partnership which confers most entitlements to a smae sex partner but stops short at adoption and there is an issue around inheritance. To this end I propose the government introduce gay marriage or indeed something akin to gay marriage as marriage to me has religious connotations. There is support here in Ireland from all corners of society for such a move and such a move should be granted no questions asked. As I pointed out on another thread, some rights are non negotiable and are not subjective as society sees it that way. Why should others dictate to me how I live my private life? From most quarters the religious institutions in Ireland and the right in Ireland have consistently undermined or made efforts to bring anything in by stifling it.