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Bring me your poor and join the Army!

When will governments learn that their citizens are not human fodder?     Yet another scandal befalls the US military.

"The latest scandal to hit the U.S. military - following hard on the sex, drugs, drinking and cheating ones - has implicated up to 1,200 Army recruiters, including about 200 officers, for pocketing up to $100 million in bogus bonuses for signing up young, broke, ill-informed and other unfortunate innocents to go fight their dirty wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under the now-discontinued program, which was begun in the National Guard and expanded to the Army and Army Reserve, soldiers got cash payments of up to $7,500 - which once upon a time would have been called a bounty - for each new warm body recruited into the increasingly thinning, bloodied ranks, especially at the height of the Iraq War. At Senate hearings this week, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, called the years-long abuses "discouraging and depressing," even as she and many others said the system pretty much invited fraud and kickbacks. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is likewise "deeply troubled." The newest scandal, his spokesman said, raises the possibility the military has a “systemic” ethics crisis. You think?

 "He is generally concerned that there could be, at least at some level, a breakdown in ethical behavior and in the demonstration of moral courage.” - Hagel spokesman."


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It's probably taken by most that all the countries in Europe are equally democratic. Not so, concludes a survey. Some are more democratic than others.

"Denmark's democracy is in rude health while the political systems of Britain and France have some major shortcomings, according to a new Swiss-German study ranking the quality of democracy in 30 nations. Germany achieves a respectable score but falls short of a top 10 slot.

Germany is more democratic than France, Britain and even Switzerland, according to a study released last week by the University of Zurich and the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), a research institute funded by the German government.

The 'democracy barometer' measures how well 30 established democracies implement the principles of freedom and equality. Denmark gets top marks, while Britain and France are found wanting, ranking 26th and 27th respectively. Costa Rica came last, just behind South Africa and Poland.

The study spans the …