Article Archives by Subject:  Collectivism

05-09-2013
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Loyalty Day
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Subject: Loyalty Day

According to Wikipedia, Loyalty Day was first observed on May 1st, 1921, as a counter to the growing influences of communism and anarchism on the American labor movement. In 1958 during the second Red Scare, Congress passed Public Law 85-529 declaring this to be a legal holiday — although one which is rarely observed. Wikipedia states:

With the exception of Eisenhower in 1959 and 1960, Loyalty Day has been recognized with an official proclamation every year by every president since its inception as a legal holiday in 1958.

In keeping with that tradition, on April 30, 2013, President Obama issued his own proclamation, once again declaring May 1st to be "Loyalty Day." Here is what he had to say:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In the centuries since America broke from an empire and claimed independence, our people have come together again and again to meet the challenges of a changing world. We have reinvented our cities with advances in science and reformed our markets with new understanding of the forces that guide them. We have fought for freedom in the theater of war and expanded its reach during times of peace. We have revamped and recovered and remade ourselves anew, mindful that when times change, so must we. But with every step forward, we have reaffirmed our faith in the ideals that inspired our founding. We have held fast to the principles at our country's core: service and citizenship; courage and the common good; liberty, equality, and justice for all.

This is our Nation's heritage, and it is what we remember on Loyalty Day. It is an occasion that asks something of us as a people: to rediscover those ageless truths our Founders held to be self-evident, and to renew them in our own time. We look back to Americans who did the same, from generation to generation — citizens who strengthened our democracy, organizers who made it broader, service members who gave everything to protect it. These patriots and pioneers remind us that while our path to a more perfect Union is unending, with hope and hard work, we can move forward together.

Today, we rededicate ourselves to that enduring task. We do so knowing our journey is not complete until the promises of our founding documents are made real for every American, regardless of their station in life or the circumstances of their birth. Progress may come slow; the road may be long. But as loyal citizens of these United States, we have the power to set our country's course. Let us mark this day by pressing on in the march toward lasting freedom and true equality, grateful for the precious rights and responsibilities entrusted to each of us by our forebears.

In order to recognize the American spirit of loyalty and the sacrifices that so many have made for our Nation, the Congress, by Public Law 85-529 as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as "Loyalty Day." On this day, let us reaffirm our allegiance to the United States of America, our Constitution, and our founding values.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2013, as Loyalty Day. This Loyalty Day, I call upon all the people of the United States to join in support of this national observance, whether by displaying the flag of the United States or pledging allegiance to the Republic for which it stands.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

But of course, as with all things Obama, there are interesting passages contained here that, in the name of this country's founding principles, turn those very principles upon their head. For example, Obama states:

But with every step forward, we have reaffirmed our faith in the ideals that inspired our founding. We have held fast to the principles at our country's core: service and citizenship; courage and the common good; liberty, equality, and justice for all.

Ignoring for the moment his appeal to faith rather than a conscious understanding and explicit agreement with our founding principles, what are some of those core ideas that he identifies?

"liberty, equality, and justice for all."

Contrast this with the Pledge of Allegiance which speaks of "liberty and justice for all. Where did "equality" come from and what does Obama mean by that?

When the founding fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them ... that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."   [Emphasis Added]

it is perfectly clear that they are speaking of individuals who are separate from one another, but all of whom possess equal rights as an inherent aspect of their human nature—rights pertaining to their freedom and independence; rights which grant them the power to direct and control the course of their own lives.

But this is not at all what Barack ("I do think at a certain point you've made enough money.") Obama means by equality. He is not promoting equality of opportunity to pursue one's desires in the manner of one's choosing. No, he is speaking of egalitarianism — of guaranteeing equality of outcomes. It is his intention to "level the playing field" by chopping off the legs of those that rise too high and using those severed limbs as a platform upon which others will be allowed to stand. And it the government, with him at the helm, that will be doing the chopping and deciding just how much to amputate.

As is the case with all smart totalitarians throughout history, he doesn't plan to go to war with the population in order to extract his pound of flesh. Instead, he navigates the much easier course of simply issuing a call to sacrifice oneself on the altar of altruism, and then stands back as a majority of the sheep lead themselves to slaughter. When Obama speaks here of "our country's core: service and citizenship," or declares that Loyalty Day is "an occasion that asks something of us as a people," he is laying the groundwork to help confuse the latent positive feelings that people retain for the greatness of what remains of this country, and getting them to transpose those feelings towards the act of serving the needs of others at their own expense.

And this is not some one-time occurrence, but a concerted effort and core goal of Obama's administration. Already he has declared both 9/11 and Martin Luther King Day to be National Days of Service. His never-ending call to serve can be found buried within most of his speeches, while more and more children of all ages are being forced to perform mandatory community service in our government-run schools as part of the federal Service-Learning initiative. And as I pointed out in my original article on National Service, the annual spending on the Corporation for National and Community Service has been drastically increased during The past five years, with an underlying goal of ultimately making National Service become a mandatory requirement imposed upon all citizens.

When Obama declares:

It is an occasion that asks something of us as a people: to rediscover those ageless truths our Founders held to be self-evident, and to renew them in our own time.

he is counting on most people not being aware of the fundamental Enlightenment principles of individualism upon which our American history rests, and an uncritical acceptance of his replacement of our rights to autonomy and self-directedness with his collectivist notion of egalitarianism. Unfortunately, after many generations of a populace indoctrinated in government schools, he can now apparently get his wish.

04-18-2013
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Melissa Harris-Perry
Melissa Harris-Perry
Subject: Whose Life Is It Anyway?

The provocative movie, Whose Life I It Anyway?, was released in 1981. It stars Richard Dreyfuss as Ken Harrison, a sculptor who is paralyzed from the neck down after a horrible automobile accident. When it becomes clear that he will never recover any additional use of his body and that his life is reduced to nothing more than the care that is offered by others, Harrison decides to end his life. However his wishes are blocked by those opposed to euthanasia and suicide. The story depicts the struggle between two views of life and confronts the question of whether Harrison—or any of us—are truly the ultimate masters of our fate, holding an absolute right to direct and dispose of our own life as we see fit?

Many other films such as The Truman Show, The Matrix or Dead Poets Society explore the question of the level of control that we actually exercise over our own lives, but none is so explicit as Whose Life Is It Anyway? In each of these stories, the underlying conflict is that of individualism versus collectivism: Do we, as individuals, possess the exclusive sovereign right to determine the course of our life, or are we in some way subservient to a collective group which holds sway over us and may dictate requirements and actions that must be obeyed, even if they violate our desires and will? To state the issue plainly, the simple question is, "are we free or are we slaves?"

This country was founded on the enlightenment principle of individualism. The Declaration of Independence states in no uncertain terms that each person possesses rights, and that "among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." And not only do we possess these (and other) rights, but they are "unalienable", meaning that they are an inherent, absolute and unassailable part of our nature as individual human beings. Nothing could be made clearer, and yet, as time has passed, fewer and fewer people in this country understand and adhere to these fundamental truths. Bit by bit, the age old principles of collectivism have reasserted themselves and are now poised to destroy the essence of what has made America unique in the history of the world.

It was not so long ago that statists had to make an effort to disguise their underlying principles and endevour to sneak them in beneath the conscious awareness of a public that still retained an American sense of life — by which I mean a respect for the virtues of self-motivation and self-responsibility, a belief that hard work was the source of reward and advancement, and an expectation that everyone was entitled to keep and dispose of that which they earned. However, six terms of Clinton, Bush and Obama, coupled with another two generations having been indoctrinated in government schools, has transformed the values of our society such that the cockroaches may now skitter about in the bright daylight without fear, openly spouting their collectivist goals. For example, here is Melissa Harris-Perry in a promotional spot for MSNBC, waxing on about a few collectivist notions which are to her, apparently, self-evident.

Well, like all progressive leftists, she stands on the shoulders of FDR and his Second Bill of Rights, proudly declaring that everyone has a "right to healthcare, and to education, and to decent housing, and to quality food, at all time [sic]," while neither bothering to ask who is responsible for providing and paying for these goods and services (the answer is "the collective"), nor considering what the implementation of these so called "rights" do in undermining the original inherent rights possessed by all individuals. Oh well, no time for that as you "Lean Forward!"

The other standout line was:

"People who work hard and sacrifice and save their money and make major contributions—
we think that they should earn a little more
"

Be self-sufficient, be responsible, make a major contribution, and the unspecified collective "we" just might decided that it's OK for you to earn a little more. Just how much? "We" will get back to you, but you can certainly forget about that 1% nonsense!

These sorts of views have become pro forma in the Obama age, but a new spot that recently aired, stretches into new collectivist (at least for the U.S.) territory.

Wait! What was that? Could you please run that by me again.....

We have never invested as much in public education as we should have, because we've always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven't had a very collective notion of these as our children. So, part of it is that we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it's everybody's responsibility and not just the household's, then we start making better investments.

Melissa Harris-Perry
[Emphasis added]

Ten years ago, would anyone on a major network have dared speak these words and then expected to retain their job? What a difference a decade makes. When conservatives argue that the institution of family is under attack, you have to look no further than Melissa Harris-Perry to see that it's true. And there's no longer any need for subterfuge. It's collectivism brothers and sisters, and we're proud of it! The state reigns supreme and individuals—whether adult or child—belong to us, to do with as we please.

Well, there was justifiable blowback from all quarters once word concerning this piece made the rounds, and Harris-Perry was forced to respond.

While there were a few patently disingenuous attempts to misrepresent some of the source of outrage being directed at her video, on balance I thought that Harris-Perry did a pretty reasonable job of identifying the actual core issue in this debate, while laying out her personal world view. Here is an excerpt:

Unless it is the core philosophical issue of our entire history: the balance between individual rights and collective responsibilities. ...
This is about whether we as a society, expressing our collective will through our public institutions, including our government, have a right to impinge upon individual freedoms in order to advance the common good. And that is exactly the fight we have been having for a couple of hundred years.
Are we a loosely affiliated group of bootstrapped individuals, or are we a people tied to one another through collective responsibility, to care for our young, our elderly, our poor, even our infrastructure.


Melissa Harris-Perry
[Emphasis added]

Well, it is good to see someone on the left at least identify and acknowledge the existence of the individualist viewpoint, even while going on to dismiss it without presenting any substantive arguments, just as she offers no reasons in favor of the "collective responsibilities" position, apparently expecting us to simply observe that it is self-evidently correct. This is a window into the state of today's culture—where viewers of programs such as this wait to be instructed in how and what to think, without the need to burden themselves with facts, rational analysis or the mental integration of thought into fundamental principles. Such a process would demand answers to a variety of questions, starting with:

  • What precisely is a "right" and how does it adhere to an individual?
  • What is the difference between a "negative right" such as the the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and a "positive right" such as the right to health care, housing or food?
  • What is a "collective responsibility" and how does it adhere to an individual?
  • Who decides what collective obligations must be met, by whom, and how is this to be enforced?
  • What justifies the imposition of a collective obligation on an individual who does not accept the premise of that obligation?
  • If goods and services are a "right", who pays for or provides them?  Why?
  • What standard is to be used to weight the "common good" against the "impingement of individual freedoms"?
  • Is the initiation of force an acceptable means for men to deal with one another under any circumstance?  Why?

The previous vidio clip is an abbreviated version of a longer segment that can be viewed here. Starting at the seven minute mark there is a panel discussion which includes Matt Welch, the Editor in Chief of the libertarian Reason Magazine. Now, of course, Welch has been selected to present the "opposition" point of view, for exactly the same reason that NPR relies upon David Brooks to represent the "conservative" viewpoint—because both can be counted on to concede the progressive premise on most issues. Nevertheless, it is instructive to watch the first few minutes of this discussion in order to see precisely how not to defend liberty. Here is an excerpt of Welch's comments:

The premise of [your statement] was wrong. We don't lack for spending on public education in this country. ...
We already have a social contract where we have said everywhere that every kid has a right to public education. That exists, and yet public education is not performing. So that is what we need, I think, to confront, not some notion that it is our overly private sense of our children that we somehow have to break through. No, we've broken through that actually, and what we haven't done is translate that into better education.


Matt Welch
[Emphasis added]

While Harris-Perry has just laid out the philosophical question of individualism versus collectivism and continues to try and steer the conversation back towards this topic, Welch falls over himself conceding the existence of a "social contract" that binds us all to one another with a communal duty, while granting that the state breached the sanctity of the family unit long ago and there is nothing left to discuss on that subject. Welch is not interested in defending the individual rights of the child against compulsory indoctrination, or the individual rights of the parent to determine the best course for their child's development, or the individual rights of the taxpaying adult that is forced to fund the education of other people's children. Instead, his concern lies with more pragmatic matters: the economic efficacy of education spending. In the cause of freedom versus slavery, Welch effectively argues for the latter and Harris-Perry wins, by default, in a TKO.

So we return to the original question: Whose life is it anyway? If you're waiting for someone like Matt Welch to defend your right to exist on your own terms, then I'm afraid you have already lost the battle. It's up to you to get vocal in identifying and demanding your rights. Speak up at every available opportunity. Do not allow the collectivists like Melissa Harris-Perry to go unchallenged.

Whose life is it?  "It's MY life. Keep you mitts to yourself and get out of my way!"

02-12-2012

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National Service
Subject: In Orwell's Newspeak: "Isolation" Means Mandatory Military Service For All

The drumbeat to enslave us never let's up. A few years ago, in my essay, "National Service: A Vicious Concept — And Its Antidote," I wrote about the Obama administration's drive to impose mandatory national service on all Americans. One of the few good thing that you can say about the economic crisis is that it created so many new problems during the past four years that attention was temporarily diverted from this proposal — although it is alive and continues to grow in our government-run educational system.

However, the ideological cancer that it is, the call for service is never completely eradicated, and this meme continues to course through our culture, springing to the surface at unpredictable times as a malignant social tumor. In a recent article by New Republic writer Russ Hoyle entitled, "Crisis Ahead for the Volunteer Military", he adds his voice to the call, proposing conscription as the medicine to cure what ails us.
    As U.S. forces come home from Iraq after nine years at war, the nation is facing professional troops sufficiently bruised and isolated from American society that some defense experts whisper we may need major changes in military education and even a conscription-based national youth service program to reboot our fighting forces.

Who are these "defense experts" who remain unnamed and are too afraid to make their worries publically known, only wispering their concerns to true patriots like Hoyle in private? I guess we'll just have to take Hoyle's word for it that they exist and would certainly be worth quoting if they ever chose to come forward.

What is the problem needing to be addressed? Troop "bruises" and "isolation". Well, that's certainly clear. And the obvious solution to that "isolation" is the abandonment of a volunteer armed services and its replacement with enslavement of all, for surely there must be companionship, camaraderie and understanding that is fostered by one's shared experience of forced labor.
    The wartime shortcomings of the all-volunteer military are a legacy, in part, of the draft's end 40 years ago. There's been a growing disconnect between the American public and the U.S. armed forces.

    Outgoing joint chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen declared last year that "America no longer knows its military, and the U.S. military no longer knows America."

    Waning public interest has allowed the military to operate in a kind of self-imposed moral isolation that has weakened the U.S. officer corps, the backbone of the volunteer force.

The volunteer military is a job that some people choose, just as others might decide to be a librarian, an inventor, a lawyer, or work in a factory. What exactly is it that is so special about military service that it results in some unprecedented inability for it to be fathomed? Yes, soldiers face issues that most of us do not fully comprehend, but then again, most people really don't understand the true complexity of an automotive assembly line, nor do they have much idea as to what an architect does in the course of designing a building. So what? That's the nature of a society base upon a division of labor. With so many options available, we end up focusing on certain areas relevant to our own lives at the expense of a deeper understanding of others. This is just a necessary consequence of living in a wonderfully expansive 21st century civilization.

If the military faces some sort of unspecified "moral crisis" (whatever that means?) with it's officers, how does this translate to a civilian problem? Instead, it more obviously indicates a defect within the chain of command leading back to the commander-in-chief, and that is where the difficulty must be identified and a solution found. But it turns out that that's not really the "problem" that Hoyle is concerned about.
    [Milton] Friedman's economic theory ended the unpopular draft. Forty years later, the American people's instinctive interest in their troops' welfare has inevitably atrophied.

Hmmm. Did you know that your concern about this county's war efforts and the welfare of our troops was "instinctive"? And were you aware that because you no longer face the draft you have become distracted from your duty to care, and have allowed those "instincts" to atrophy? How could you?! Well, if you are not going to take appropriate responsibility for yourself, there are always others ready and willing to step in.
    To reduce the military's isolation from civilian life, the Pentagon should begin by deeply cutting manpower and supporting renewed conscription in the form of a three-year mandatory national service program (including civilian energy, education, infrastructure, environmental and urban service options) for all Americans between 18 and 25, with special benefits for military service.

    A well-designed national service program is not a comprehensive prescription for what ails the U.S. military. It is not a return to the draft. But it would restore a needed sense of civic responsibility among young Americans. It would supply manpower demands during wartime and replace most private contractors with responsible enlisted troops."

Whoa Doggy! Did you see the magic happen? Well look again!

Hoyle opens his act by waving around "military isolation" in one hand. Then, like any good magician he engages in a lot of misdirection during the middle of the performance. Finally, with a daring feat of prestidigitation, the other hand pulls a "sense of civic responsibility" from out of nowhere for his magnificent conclusion. Bravo!

I wonder just how many in the audience noticed the old switcheroo? Hoyle is so sure that his magic is effective that he's even willing to state that a "national service program is not a comprehensive prescription for what ails the U.S. military" and not worry that his readers will catch on. He's already hooked them by their guilt, and all that's left is to reel them in and set them to work at the direction of their government masters.

It wasn't that long ago when Rahm Emanuel was saying:
    Everybody—somewhere between the ages 18 and 25—will serve three months of basic training and understanding in a kind of civil defense.

Now, here we are, a few short years later, calling for a "three-year mandatory national service program". Isn't it adorable how soon those little memes grow up! Also, don't miss the call to couple the forced military service with another new "special benefits" entitlement program that further ensures that a larger segment of the populace is even more dependent upon the federal government for their lives — thereby making them much more compliant in following government dictates once released from their slave labor.

The progressive's collectivistic mind-set is fully wedded to the total elimination of individualism from the culture. So long as they wield power they will never cease their attack on independence and self-responsibility. As Orwell, Huxley, Levin, Rand and other authors have prophesied, the goal is nothing less than totalitarian control over the thoughts and the actions of every human being. These people are our mortal enemies and it is important that we fight back now, or else we will suffer the disastrous consequences in the very near future!

11-21-2010

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Michael Wolfensohn
Subject: We've Got a Social Disease


"Civilization is the process of setting man free from men." — Ayn Rand


We hear the message from every quarter:   "Help thy neighbor",   "You are your brother's keeper",   "It takes a village". These are all expressions of the philosophy of altruism, which prohibits a self-interested and therefore a self-responsible concern for one's own wellbeing, substituting in its place an external focus on the welfare of others.

In the personal arena, a constant exposure to this message results in a society where people are trained to pay very close attention to the actions of their friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers. Since they have been instructed to be responsible for the safety and wellbeing of others, it often becomes necessary to intervene in their lives in order to advise against mistakes or actions that are judged to be foolhardy or dangerous. And this leads to the establishment of the busybody as an accepted social norm. Do you choose not to wear a bike helmet, or recycle, or shop at the local organic grocery store? The busybody has no hesitation in informing you of your error — and feeling great about it — regardless of whether or not you desire and have invited their input. After all, it's only for your own good, and they have been told that this "selfless" intrusion into your life is the essence of the morally good.

However, there can be a problem. Sometimes the other person — the object of these good intentions — simply will not listen to and adopt the recommendations that are being offered, so generously, in their own best interest. It can be frustrating when someone else doesn't see, understand and accept what is so clearly the proper way to think and act. Maybe their problem stems from a poor upbringing and exposure to the wrong influences. Or possibly they are distracted by other concerns, leaving them with a dangerous blind spot. Or, as is often judged to be the case, they may simply not be smart enough to work out out the optimal course of action on their own. Whatever the reason, the busybody, looking for other ways to help, turns to government — the repository of force — in order to make sure that these misguided people are made to do the right thing. Here are a couple of examples:

    Well neighbor, you didn't listen to me when I warned you about the importance of wearing you seatbelt during that trip to the corner grocery, so I decided to help you anyway by voting for a legislature willing to enact a mandatory seatbelt law. Maybe that $200 fine will get your attention and help you to start thinking straight. Oh, and you're welcome!

    Hello there my Samoan brother. Can't you see that you are being exploited by the capitalist oppressors runing the tuna industry? They offer you jobs in their canning factories at wages that I would not allow them to pay to my dog! Why do you not rise up and demand to be treated fairly? Well, if you will not stand up for yourself, being the busybody and savior that I am, I will do it for you by making sure that the U.S. Congress raises the minimum wage to acceptable levels. What? Starkist and Chicken of the Sea just moved their operations to other countries and now you are unemployed with no other jobs available? Well, at least you should be happy that you are no longer being oppressed! And have no fear my friend, for my love and concern for you is boundless and I will not let you starve. Please accept this can of dog food, complements of the compassionate American welfare system. My mission here is accomplished. Onward and upwards.

Busybodies in private life are annoying, but when these same people move into government where they can impose their views upon others, not through persuasion, but by force, they then become a very real danger. This country was founded on Enlightenment principles which held the sovereign individual, in possession of inherent rights, as the fundamental unit from which more complex social organizations were then formed through mutual voluntary association. However, the influence of altruism has slowly transformed our culture towards a collectivist view, where many people now see "society" as the preeminent social unit, with the individual citizens as subservient components, each owing a moral duty to the group. And where political leaders were once seen as representatives, entrusted with the task of protecting the rights of all citizens so that they might determine their own course through life in pursuit of their own definition of happiness, the collective shift has created fertile political ground, allowing the busybodies to acquire positions of power, transforming them into totalitarian masters intent upon ruling over the lives of their subjects.

Over the years, like a Chinese water torture, the transformation from freedom to oppression has occurred slowly, drip by drip, so that each incremental change was never large enough to cause the American people to rise up in rebellion. Starting out with a limited mandate to manage the post office and post roads, governments, without any express constitutional authority, simply started to assume control over all manner of transportation from cabs to buses, to trains to subways and air travel. Aviation and shipping ports, along with most utilities and communication mediums were nationalized. Total control over the money supply was achieved through the creation of a fiat currency coupled with regulation of the banking system, after which they began branching out to regulate industry after industry, until they had accumulated the power to effectively intercede across the entire economy.

Not satisfied with that, the autocrats also wished to control even the most minute details of our personal lives. Under the guise of "public safety", they began to regulate and license one occupation after another. Starting with medicine, profession after profession fell under government control, granting to these political rulers the power to decide if, and under what conditions, we would be allowed to practice our trade. And once the licensing system was firmly established, the fiction of public safety was dropped, and controls on up to 500 occupations including manicurists, flower arrangers and fortune tellers were implemented. And while they were cementing their ability to dictate our means of earning a living, these politicians also created legislation giving them the power to manage our education, retirement and medical care while redistributing wealth to control the housing and feeding of some, at the expense of others.

Today, they instruct us on how we may transport our children. They tell us what we can eat, drink and smoke. They determine how and what we may build on our property, and require us to seek supervised permission should we wish to remodel a bathroom. We must submit to being groped at an airport, and our computer can be confiscated and searched at will without a warrant. School children are forced to perform mandatory community service, and two years of mandatory national service is currently being proposed for all adults. And on and on it goes. Every step in this abusive accumulation of power and exercise of control, has resulted in the loss of each citizen's individual rights, while always being justified by the altruistic claim that it is done with only the best interest of others as the goal. Could that be so? Even if we disagree with the results, are the politicians truly well-meaning in their intentions, having only our best interest at heart?

Every once in a while an opportunity presents itself to strips away the facade, allowing us to see the true nature of those politicians who claim to be our benefactors. Such an event recently took place in New Castle, NY, as reported here and here.

Four thirteen year old boys had a dream of becoming entrepreneurs by buying a hot dog cart and starting a small business venture. In order to purchase the cart, they would need to save a fair amount of money, and so, with their parent's approval, they decided to spend their weekends making cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods and selling them at a nearby park. During their first outing, the boys had great success, earning $120 in sales. On the following Sunday, two of the boys returned to the park and set up their table. A man with his wife and two children was passing by. He stopped to ask the boys what they were doing, and they eagerly explained. He then walked away to make a telephone call. The boys assumed that he was calling his friends to come down and support their cause, but instead he had phoned the police who arrived a short time later and told the boys that they were breaking the law and must stop. It turns out that in order to sell cupcakes, they would have to obtain a two-hour vendors permit from the city at a cost of $175, as well as provide a certificate of insurance for $1 million. So much for the entrepreneurial plans of four enterprising youth. And who was the individual who ratted them out? None other than New Castle Councilman Michael Wolfensohn.

Did Mr. Wolfensohn care enough about the boy's dreams and the lessons they would learn from their hard work to simply let the matter slide and instead help them by purchasing a few of their goods? NO. Did Mr. Wolfensohn make an effort to explain the need to obtain a permit and then help the boys navigate the bureaucratic system and find a way to continue without breaking the law? NO. Did Mr. Wolfensohn have the simple decency to talk directly with the boys, explain his concerns, and ask them to please halt their sales activity? NO. With all of these possibilities available to him, what Mr. Wolfensohn did was treat these innocent children like common criminals and, like a snitch, turn them in to the cops. And now, Mr. Wolfensohn is puzzled, because, of course, he only did it for the public good!

Wolfensohn is your typical busybody, who, by being elected to even the modest post of town councilman, has been transformed into a petty tyrant, able to inflict great harm within his domain. He see it as his mission to monitor the actions of those around him and make sure that they never step outside of the straitjacket of rules and regulation he so cherishes. Only a person who thrives on power and control over others could act as Wolfensohn did in this circumstance. But the important lesson here is to recognize that Wolfensohn is merely showing us the honest soul of a great many politicians, including that of our current President. Remember this the next time you hear some politician tell you that the seatbelt law or the health care legislation is something that they support because it is in your best interests. The truth is that while they speak, they are actually dropping the noose around your neck and in a moment or two, they will be yanking on the other end of the cord.

Yes, we have a serious social disease, and if we do not inoculate against it very soon, it is going to kill us.

Here is a copy of the letter I sent to Mr. Wolfensohn and published on various public sites.

    Of Cupcakes and Kings

    An Open Letter to Michael Wolfensohn of the Town of New Castle, NY

    Dear Mr. Wolfensohn:

    I side with many other people in finding the actions you have taken against Andrew DeMarchis and Kevin Graff, halting their sale of homemade cupcakes and treats, to be an arrogant and reprehensible abuse of power. Like a great many other politicians from the township level on up to our President, each of you see yourselves as superior to your fellow men and women and wish to rule over us, restricting our free choice to act independently in the pursuit and realizations of our individual dreams. You believe that your position grants you the ability to regulate every aspect of our existence, while reducing the rest of us to the role of beggars who must come, hat in hand, asking you to grant us your beatific permission, whether it is to practice our chosen profession or to sell a measly cupcake — always of course, accompanied by the necessary bribe, oops, I mean requisite administrative or licensing fee.

    Often, people are confused by the actions of politicians when they shroud their oppressive and unconstitutional acts in misdirecting altruistic rhetoric such as the "public good" or the "general welfare". But here we have a situation where the naked truth is exposed for anyone to see. So Mr. Wolfensohn, thank you for stepping out from behind the curtain and allowing the average citizen to observe the exact nature of your intentions. You have sent a clear message to two thirteen year old boys, wiping away any naive innocence they may have held, and replacing it with a clear understanding of the exact nature of the oppressive society in which they live. It is a lesson I am sure they will never forget -- nor will I. The truth is that through your actions, you have made me ashamed to be both an adult and an American.

    And to everyone else, whether you are a cab driver, hairdresser, automotive mechanic, realtor, veterinarian, accountant, lawyer, teacher, nurse, dentist, doctor, architect, engineer, therapist, florist, librarian, beekeeper, fortune teller, or any of the hundreds of other licensed and regulated professions, please remember that you are receiving exactly the same treatment as Andrew DeMarchis and Kevin Graff. And where a child should properly be confused and upset at their first exposure to this sort of treatment, we adults know better and should be outraged by it! It is time to put a stop to this abuse. We elected Mr. Wolfensohn, and all of the other politicians, in order to protect our individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — not for them to become our masters, granted the power to direct and control our lives. Let each of them know that you are a competent adult, capable of managing your own affairs and making your own decisions, and in the name of freedom, you are reasserting your independence and autonomy and will no longer allow them to tell you what you may and may not do with your life.

    Regards,

    C. Jeffery Small

You can share your own thoughts with Mr. Wolfensohn by sending him an email message at: mbwolf@town.new-castle.ny.us

And if you have a comment for one of your Senators or Representatives, you can find their contact information at: Congress Merge


External links to reprints of this article:
09-13-2010

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Pruitt-Igoe
Subject: Your Property and Property Rights Are Being Dynamited!

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." — George Santayana

Urban Planning

    From Wikipedia:

    In 1947, Saint Louis planners proposed replacement of DeSoto-Carr, a run-down black neighborhood, with new two- and three-story residential blocks and a public park. The plan did not materialize; instead, Democratic mayor Joseph Darst, elected in 1949, and Republican state leaders favored total clearing of the slums and replacing them with high-rise, high-density public housing. They reasoned that the new projects would create a net positive result to the city through increased revenues, new parks, playgrounds and shopping space.

    In 1948 voters rejected the proposal for a municipal loan to finance the change, but soon the situation was changed with the Housing Act of 1949 and Missouri state laws that provided co-financing of public housing projects. The approach taken by Darst, urban renewal, was shared by Harry S. Truman administration [sic] and fellow mayors of other cities overwhelmed by industrial workers recruited during the war. Specifically, Saint Louis Land Clearance and Redevelopment Authority was authorized to acquire and demolish the slums of the inner ring and then sell the land at reduced prices to private developers, fostering middle-class return and business growth. Another agency, Saint Louis Housing Authority, had to clear land to construct public housing for the former slum dwellers.

    Pruitt-Igoe was a large urban housing project first occupied in 1954 and completed in 1955 in the U.S. city of St. Louis, Missouri. Shortly after its completion, living conditions in Pruitt-Igoe began to decay; by the late 1960s, the extreme poverty, crime, and segregation brought the complex a great deal of infamy as it was covered extensively by the international press. The complex was designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the World Trade Center towers.

    At 3 PM on March 16, 1972 — 16 years after construction was finished — the first of the complex's 33 buildings was demolished by the federal government. The other 32 buildings were destroyed over the next four years. The high-profile failure of Pruitt-Igoe has become an emblematic icon often evoked by all sides in public housing policy debate.

    Does anything above sound familiar? Government urban planners, with big ideas and only the best interests of the "general public" at heart, use the power of the state to seize huge tracts of private land, raze everything in sight, hand over that land to private developers, and proceed to create a new social and economic Shangri-La. Except things, for some unexpected reason, don't really turn out as anticipated! Oh well, don't worry. We'll get it right next time.

    From Wikipedia:

    During the 1950s and 60s, New Haven [Connecticut] received more urban renewal funding per capita than any city in the United States. New Haven became the de facto showcase of the new modern redeveloped city and plans for its downtown development were chronicled in publications like Time and Harper's magazines throughout the 1950s and 60s. Robert C. Weaver, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Lyndon Johnson Administration, once said that New Haven during this time was the closest America has ever been to having a "slumless" city.

    Since 2000, downtown has seen an increasing concentration of new restaurants, nightlife, and small retail stores. The area has experienced an influx of hundreds of new and renovated apartment and condominium units, and a significant number of up-scale restaurants and nightclubs have opened.

    Well, that certainly sounds more promising! However, as an architect and a resident of New Haven from 1978-1988, I recall a slightly different picture. Through the 60s, 70s and early 80s, despite being the home to Yale University, New Haven was an economically depressed area. All of that urban renewal money had been spent purchasing low-rent buildings within the downtown core, knocking them down, and creating temporarily gravel parking lots while wondrous new structures were planned. However, by the early 1980s, after 25 years of "planning", most of these areas remained open gravel lots, giving much of the city the appearance of a bombed war zone rather than a thriving community.

    But what about the claims of being a "slumless" city? Well, that might well be true. Every building within New Haven that offered inexpensive storefront rents and provided affordable housing on the upper floors were demolished. All of these self-sufficient business owners were displaced, as were their clientele, the low-income tenants who had previously occupied these buildings. With no place left to live or work, these people moved on to other cities or became new clients of the state-run subsidized housing developments springing up everywhere.

    While private development was being encouraged in the mid-to-late 80s when I left the state, I think the article's reference to economic expansion beginning to take real hold after 2000 — a 45-50 year period of economic stagnation — is the ultimate indictment against urban renewal. Strike two.

    From Wikipedia:

    Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development. The case arose from the condemnation by New London, Connecticut, of privately owned real property so that it could be used as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan which promised 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues. The Court held in a 5-4 decision that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

    Following the decision, many of the plaintiffs expressed an intent to find other means by which they could continue contesting the seizure of their homes. Soon after the decision, city officials announced plans to charge the residents of the homes for back rent for the five years since condemnation procedures began. The city contended that the residents have been on city property for those five years and owe tens of thousands of dollars of rent. The case was finally resolved when the City agreed to move Kelo's house to a new location. The controversy was eventually settled when the city paid substantial additional compensation to the homeowners.

    In spite of repeated efforts, the redeveloper (who stood to get a 91-acre waterfront tract of land for $1 per year) was unable to obtain financing, and the redevelopment project was abandoned. As of the beginning of 2010, the original Kelo property was a vacant lot, generating no tax revenue for the city.

    In addition, in September 2009, Pfizer, whose upscale employees were supposed to be the clientele of the Fort Trumbull redevelopment project, completed its merger with Wyeth, resulting in a consolidation of research facilities of the two companies. Shortly after the merger closed, Pfizer decided to close its New London facility in favor of one across the Thames River in nearby Groton by 2011; this move coincides with the expiration of tax breaks on the New London campus that also expire by 2011, when Pfizer's tax bill on the property would have increased almost fivefold. [As reported in the papers] "Pfizer Inc. announced that it is closing the $350 million research center in New London that was the anchor for the New London redevelopment plan, and will be relocating some 1,500 jobs."

    Remember, these are the people who believe that they can run automobile plants, manage the entire US economy, and will soon be in charge of your life-and-death health care decisions.

    In each of the three cases cited above, who knows just how many houses, businesses, and millions of tax dollars were taken from productive people who would have furthered their lives and made sensible investments with their money, only to instead have it squandered by these bureaucrats? Then, realize that it is not three, but hundreds of similarly failed experiments taking place across the country each year, and the mind boggles at the lost wealth, in the billions and trillions, that has been pumped into these rat holes of disastrous attempts at social engineering by the central planners. They failed in the 1950s, and again and again in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, right up through the destruction of the town of New London, CT in 2009, and still no lesson has been learned — other than we can have our property confiscated from us at any time, so long as the magical incantation "for the public good" is first proclaimed.

Zoning

    But until they come along and take your property for some urban planning scheme, it's yours to do with as you see fit, right? Not a chance. So called Euclidean Zoning laws, instituted in the early part of the 20th century have long placed a complex set of restrictions on what any individual could do with their land and buildings. These regulations specify what types of uses are allowed (residential, commercial, religious, etc.), the location where any structure may be placed on the lot, overall land coverage, total usable building area, height, allowable exterior pavement, types of landscaping required, restrictions on signage, lighting, grading, drainage, and on and on.

    After more than one hundred years of imposing these guidelines and restrictions all across the country, we must, by now, certainly be living in a designer's paradise. Well, according to a July 8th article in Architect magazine titled Brave New Codes, the result has been as follows:

    The separation of uses written into Euclidean zoning codes made sense to the lawyers who wrote them, but they have the effect of creating bland and inefficient places, Plater-Zyberk says.

    Great places weren't being produced under Euclidean zoning, according to Plater-Zyberk. "It became evident that this regulatory framework was really what was driving suburbia, sprawl, and the things that were being criticized as being inefficient and unsustainable," Plater-Zyberk says. "It wasn't that people wanted it to be that way—the codes were just written that way."

    So, the ill effects were not produced because "people wanted it to be that way", they were forced upon us all because "the codes were just written that way". Then the solution is obvious! Remove the zoning codes and let people achieve those better results that they desire. But no, freedom and choice is never a solution that crosses the mind of the totalitarian planner. Just as we saw in the case of urban planning, the zoning advocates believe that they now have all the answers and can create nirvana with a different set of regulations. So coming soon to a city near you is Form-based Zoning, the cure for what ails you.

    From Wikipedia:

    Form-based zoning relies on rules applied to development sites according to both prescriptive and potentially discretionary criteria.

    Design-based codes offer considerably more flexibility in building uses than do Euclidean codes, but, as they are comparatively new, may be more challenging to create. [...] When form-based codes do not contain appropriate illustrations and diagrams, they have been criticized as being difficult to interpret.

    One example of a recently adopted code with design-based features [...] creates "form districts"

    One version of form-based or "form integrated" zoning utilizes [...] three district components - a use component, a site component and an architectural component. The use component is similar in nature to the use districts of euclidian zoning. However, with an emphasis on form standards, use components are typically more inclusive and broader in scope. The site components define a variety of site conditions from low intensity to high intensity such as size and scale of buildings and parking, accessory structures, drive-through commercial lanes, landscaping, outdoor storage and display, vehicle fueling and washing, overhead commercial service doors, etc. The architectural components address architectural elements and materials.

    As a home or business owner, you have really got to love that "potentially discretionary criteria". It can really add some excitement to your life! And as an architect, it has got to be a relief that the form, elements and material design choices will now be made for you by a government agency rather than being a decision formulated between you and your client — much as medical decisions under nationalized health care will now be dictated by a bureaucrat rather than resulting from a consultation between patient and doctor.

    Here are some additional comments from the Brave New Codes article:

    "A lot of times, [the zoning codes are] just telling you what you can't do." [Peter] Park says Denver's form-based code tries harder to guide developers and designers toward what they can do, mainly by being a very visual document.    [Emphasis added]

    So instead of being left free to do anything other than what is specifically restricted, the new codes turn western culture upon its head by actively prohibiting everything except that which is explicitly allowed. Your right to use your property is now being placed in a straitjacket where a few subjective, discretionary strings are then loosened to allow you some very restricted range of motion, based not upon what you desire, but upon what others deem is best.

    "If the architects could understand that they're part of a larger effort of placemaking, and it's not just a restriction like any old code, I think that they would have a good time working with form-based codes."

    "Often 'design freedom' becomes another term for 'anything goes' solutions that contribute little, if any, to the collective enterprise," Jiménez adds. "Limits are not the curtailing of freedom, but rather opportunities to transcend them."

    Translated, this means that, as an architect, I will learn to enjoy my new role as an implementor of their rules, as soon as I come to accept my proper place as a comrade in the collective enterprise of state-mandated placemaking. These people have covered all the bases and their actions would bring a smile to Ellsworth Toohey's face.

    This collective premise is so pervasive in our society that many people are not even aware of the extent of its effect upon them. For example, in another article in Architect magazine titled If a Tree Falls, the author, Lance Hosey, discussing the ecological benefits to using regional construction materials, makes the following offhand statement:

    How would the construction industry change if builders were limited to what's in their own backyards?

    Notice that he didn't say "if builder's limited themselves", but "if builders were limited", ignoring the possibility of using persuasion and immediately assuming that external force should be applied against all builders in order to achieve his desired results — a result which apparently is to be taken as self-evidently correct and proper. For the collectivist, individual choice and personal freedom are nonexistent concepts, and all that matters here is an economic calculation concerning the use of raw materials. Trees and water are precious. Humans are beneath consideration.

National Social Engineering

    Which brings us to the real purpose of this piece. From an article written by Bob Livingston, it came to my attention that back on August 6, 2009, Christopher Dodd submitted to the Senate S.1619, a bill titled the Livable Communities Act of 2009, which was followed on February 25, 2010 by the companion House resolution H.R.4690, the Livable Communities Act of 2010. On August 3rd, 2010, S.1619 was released from committee and sent to the Senate and is currently awaiting a vote. Let's examine the major provisions of this legislation.

    • Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities
      This establishes another huge federal bureaucracy with broad powers applied at the state, regional and local levels, to promote planning and construction meeting federal guidelines for sustainability, energy conservation, affordability, and mass-transportation.

    • Implementation of Grant Programs
      This sets up a huge sub-bureaucracy for various grant programs used for the distribution of federal tax dollars to state, regional and local governmental organizations, as well as to private consultancy groups. This is the carrot used to induce participation and the hammer which elicits cooperation, and ultimately submission, to federal authority.

    • Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities
      This establishes an executive-branch council that coordinates and oversees the operations of the entire program. Of course, there would be one or more new czars installed to oversee the overseerers.

    • Funding
      The initial appropriation through 2013 is in excess of $3.7 billion.

    As has been the case with all recent congressional legislation, the bill deals with the establishment of a large and complex bureaucratic framework intended to implement goals which are merely hinted at within the text. At this point there is no direct way to gage the intentions of, or the specific actions that might be taken, by those ultimately chosen to staff this operation. In this way these bills can be made to appear as all things to all people, while being immune to meaningful criticism. Nevertheless, I think we can draw a few broad generalities based upon the goals of those sponsoring this initiative.

    • The creation of a federal planning and development agency would be a new and significantly greater infringement upon the remaining property rights of individuals and businesses.

    • The additional bureaucracy and costs imposed by this bill would create a substantial new impediment to economic recovery and future economic growth.

    • A large segment of the grant funding can be predicted to go to eco-groups who will be eager to finally be able to impose their "green" policies upon everyone else.

    • The sustainability and energy conservation goals of this legislation would significantly increase the cost of construction and energy in an effort to drive development in a different direction.

    • The mass-transportation goals of the bill would result in strictly controlled development corridors of high-density housing, serviced by rail. Gasoline prices would be forced significantly higher to discourage the freedom of automobile usage.

    • The affordability goals of the bill would be used as another tool for the redistribution of wealth in the country.

    • A long term goal might be the elimination of all suburban or rural homes, with these citizens being forced into cities. This could easily be accomplished by a congressional act condemning these properties and then razing the structures, just as we have seen demonstrated repeatedly by urban planners of the past.

    If central planners of the past were able to create such devastation in the wake of their grand schemes, imagine the magnitude of harm that could be unleashed by placing this much power in federal hands.

Global Social Engineering

    Dodd's bill is the first significant piece of legislation introduced in the United States which attempts to implement the goals of Agenda 21, described by the UN's Division for Sustainable Development (A division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) as follows:

    Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.

    Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.

    During that conference, Agenda 21 was signed by President George H.W. Bush.

    A review of this document reveals the following goals:

    • Unite all nations in a common effort for sustainable development, with the UN ultimately acting as a super-government having authority over the remainder of the world's national governments.

    • National governments are required to "strengthen institutional structures to allow the full integration of environmental and developmental issues, at all levels of decision-making".

    • A massive redistribution of wealth from the rich (developed) countries to the poor (undeveloped) ones under the guise of creating "a more efficient and equitable world economy". In other words, eliminate world poverty in the name of promoting sustainable livelihoods and reduce the standard of living in developed countries as a necessity for reducing environmental stress.

    • Developed countries are to provide health care for undeveloped countries.

    • Global financial institutions are to be funded by rich countries in order to implement the environmental policies dictated by the UN.

    • By recognizing the "increasing interdependence of the community of nations", and working to "overcome confrontation", "foster a climate of genuine cooperation and solidarity", "strengthen national and international policies", and by adapting "to the new realities", strong countries are to be subjugated to the weak.

    • Use the UN's now discredited IPCC report as justification for throttling the economies of developed countries.

    • Adjust all land-use and resource policies to mitigate changes to the atmosphere, promote bio-diversity, conserve resources, minimize pollution, promote sustainability, provide shelter for all, promote sustainable construction, energy distribution, and transportation.

    • "Transfer" environmentally sound technology from the developers to those with a need. (Steal it.)

    • Promote education, public awareness and training. In other words, an active propaganda campaign.

    Agenda 21 is nothing more than a capitulation of the good to the bad, the rich to the poor, the strong to the weak, the productive to the unproductive, the creative to the uncreative, and the free to the unfree, all under the pretense of a global warming disaster which has been thoroughly debunked as one of the worlds biggest lies.

Conclusion

    As was the case with Health Care, the Disclose Act and Finance Reform, the Livable Communities Act is likely to be another piece of legislation that will be attempted to be pushed through the Democratic Congress with little regard for the impact upon the constitutional rights of the citizens of this country, or upon the fragile state of our economy. This is an administration focused upon one goal only — that being the consolidation of power — and this bill would expand federal power into devastating new areas. I encourage everyone to spread the word about this bill, and to contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them to vote NO when this Act comes up for consideration.
07-21-2010

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Charles Rangel
Subject: Slavery — It's Back In Fashion!    What Are You Prepared To Do About It?

With the intent of giving this site a major redesign, I have been neglecting it for the past few months in favor of other activities. However, my lack of attention hasn't slowed down our masters in Washington D.C., who continue their relentless march to exert control over every area of our lives.

The John Galt Pledge website was originally created in response to Obama's campaign promise, and the administration's subsequent calls, for the imposition of a mandatory national service requirement upon every citizen of the United States, in fulfillment of an obligation that it is claimed we owed to our country as a condition of our simple existence. Over the past year, this blog has chronicled the steady increase in funding of agencies tasked with placing the livelyhood of an ever increasing percentage of the population under direct federal control, as well as the underground movement to impose mandatory "community service" work upon students as a requirement for their obtaining an education.

As I predicted, once these politicians were no longer fully preoccupied with the tasks of nationalizing entire industries, ramming socialized health care down our throats, and increasing their regulatory control over all aspects of our personal and business finances, they would soon get back to the fundamental task of fully enslaving us. Well, that day has come. On July 15, 2010, Charles Rangel introduced H.R.5741, the preamble of which reads:
    To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.

No longer suffering any of the ambiguity that was contained in the language of the previous H.R.1444, this bill spells out all of the details. How long will your period of servitude to the state last? According to section 104:
    (a) General Rule- Except as otherwise provided in this section, the period of national service performed by a person under this title shall be two years.

And what will you be required to do? Well the preamble indicates military service or homeland security work is a possibility, but then there is that always present, all purpose phrase, "and for other purposes". Section 103 states:
    (b) Forms of National Service- The national service obligation under this title shall be performed either—

      (1) as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services; or

      (2) in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and service related to homeland security.

So, "community service" "as determined by the President", leaves open the possibility that for two years of your life, you may find yourself directed to read to the elderly, weed gardens, work on some sort of WPA task, or any other function that the president declares is a boon to "the community".

How will the legislation be administered? Excerpts from section 105:
    (a) In General- The President shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out this title.

    (b) Matter To Be Covered by Regulations- Such regulations shall include specification of the following:

      (1) The types of civilian service that may be performed in order for a person to satisfy the person's national service obligation under this title.

      (2) Standards for satisfactory performance of civilian service and of penalties for failure to perform civilian service satisfactorily.

      [...]

      (7) Such other matters as the President determines necessary to carry out this title.

    (c) Use of Prior Act- To the extent determined appropriate by the President, the President may use for purposes of this title the procedures provided in the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.), including procedures for registration, selection, and induction.

The government will decide not only exactly what tasks you will be assigned to execute, but will also determine what level of performance is expected of you. Failure to live up to their standards will subject you to unspecified "penalties".

The government will now be assessing the physical and mental fitness of every citizen, as per section 106:
    (a) Examination- Every person subject to induction under this title shall, before induction, be physically and mentally examined and shall be classified as to fitness to perform national service.

Of course, this should be much easier with the government controlling all medical care in the country and maintaining centralized health records on each of us, thanks to the recent health care legislation.

And ladies, just to make sure that there is no gender discrimination, section 201 mandates that the Selective Service Act be amended to fully apply to all females:
    (a) Registration Required- Section 3(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 453(a)) is amended—

      (1) by striking 'male' both places it appears;

      (2) by inserting 'or herself' after 'himself';

      (3) by striking 'he' and inserting 'the person'.

    (b) Conforming Amendment- Section 16(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 466(a)) is amended by striking 'men' and inserting 'persons'.

Consider the following:

  • When the first modern Income Tax was levyed in the U.S. in 1913, the top rate was 7% on income over $500,000 (equal to $10 million 2007 dollars), but rose to 79% by 1936, and 94% by 1944.

  • When Social Security was enacted in 1935, the payroll tax rate was 2% up to a maximum income of $3,000, and has since grown to a total payroll tax (Social Security and Medicare) of 15.3% assessed on up to $106,800 of income.

  • Privacy concerns over the issuing of Social Security numbers in 1935 resulted in a promise by the federal government that they would not be used for identification, and the original cards included the long gone statement, "NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION". Subsequent legislation has eroded these supposed guarantees, now making the Social Security number a de facto national identification number for all citizens.

It wasn't long ago that Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel stated
    "Everybody—somewhere between the ages 18 and 25—will serve three months of basic training and understanding in a kind of civil defense."

And now, just a short time later, we are contemplating a two-year period of each person's life being totally owned by the federal government and controlled by the whims of the president. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:
    "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

If H.R.5741 is not a clear cut form of involuntary servitude, enslaving every citizen to the state, then the concept of constitutionally-protected individual rights is completely meaningless.

Rights are absolute moral principles; they do not exist along some sort of sliding or flexible scale of applicability. As can clearly be seen in the examples of Income and Social Security Taxes noted above, once you cede to the government the "right" to take even one cent of your property, then you have totally invalidated the concept of property rights and there is no longer any constraint remaining to halt the taking of 25, 50, 94 or 100 percent of your earnings.

By the same token, if you grant the government the power to dictate just one second of your life, then you have fully abandoned the right to your own life and the liberty to do with it as you see fit. The government will consume first that second – then three months – then two years – and finally, any additional amount beyond that it deems useful for its own purposes. You are then nothing more than a literal slave – a human resource owned by the state, to be utilized by political masters as they best see fit.

Everything the government has been doing over the past one hundred years has been only a precursor to this ultimate goal — the total enslavement and control of the citizenry. Barack Obama is one of the most consistent advocates for the totalitarian subjugation of the populace, but his ability to act rests firmly on the shoulders of a century's worth of politicians who have steadly chipped away at the constitutional edifice of individual rights. We now stand at the tipping point which will determine the future of freedom in America, and what happens rests upon the decision of every citizen. Will there be enough people who recognize the significance of what is happening with the destruction of their rights? And will a sufficient number be willing to act to defend their life, liberty and property, as our forefathers once did? With each day that passes, the options grow fewer.

It's your life.    What are you prepared to do about it?

For more information on the philosophical ramification of this movement towards mandatory national service, refer to the original essay on the John Galt Pledge page.

04-07-2010

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Social Innovation Fund
Subject: Building Obama's Army

Do you know what a "Social Innovation Fund" is? Do you need one? Did you know you were already paying for it with your tax dollars? Apparently, it's  "an entirely new way of doing business."  You don't say! Tell me more.

According to this press release the fund's new director, Paul Carttar:
    has been at the forefront of transforming the nonprofit sector by expanding innovative solutions to address national challenges and helping to set a higher standard of results and impact for the sector.

    The SIF is an innovative initiative that is expected to generate nearly $200 million in public-private funds to support transformative solutions to major social challenges in communities throughout the U.S. The SIF is intended to be a catalyst for collaborative efforts across sectors that will increase the importance of evidence in the funding of nonprofit organizations. Its work will be focused in the areas of economic opportunity, youth development and school support, and healthy futures."

    The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve.

The phrase, "youth development and school support", means forced labor in community service projects for school children through the Service-Learning program funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Who knows what the real implications of "economic opportunity" or "healthy futures" will be.

Currently, there are 15.5 million federal, 18.8 million state, and 49 million local, civilian government employees, and roughly 3 million active and reserve military personnel, which is a total of 86.3 million, or about 28% of the entire U.S. population, including children.

But, according to Barack Obama, this is an insufficient workforce for addressing the problems facing America. So he spends billions of additional dollars which do not exist, to create a private civilian army (civilian national security force) that he called for during his presidential campaign. He budgeted $6 billion on the GIVE Act, which includes the Corporation for National and Community Service which, as stated above, employs over 5 million additional people. The Service-Learning program is forcing an ever increasing percentage of our grade and high-school children into mandatory labor, and the nationalization of the educational loan industry is nothing more than a ploy to allow the government to impose similar requirement upon all college students.

Add to this the 50,000 newly hired census workers, all of the people recently employed by the government using the diverted TARP funds and the 18 billion allocated by the recently signed "jobs" bill. And factor in all of those employed in the financial, banking, automotive, housing, insurance, energy and medical fields who are coming under the direct control of the federal government as these industry segments are nationalized.

And then we get to the recently passed H.R.3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which includes Title V describing the new government health care workforce. This legislation includes provisions for a new National Health Care Workforce Commission (Sec. 5101), Public Health Workforce Recruitment and Retention (Sec. 5204), Allied Health Workforce Recruitment and Retention (Sec. 5205), National Health Service Corps. (Sec 5207), Nurse-Managed Health Clinics, as well as various, grant, loan and training programs, and possibly an additional 16,500 new IRS employees to monitor citizen compliance (Sec. 6101). But the best part of the bill is Sec. 5210, which authorizes over $62 million for the creation of a Ready Reserve Corps, a new civilian military consisting of commissioned officers appointed by the President and subject to the orders of the Surgeon General.

Bit by bit, the administration extends it tentacles over the private sector of the economy and the lives of every citizen, placing more and more aspects of our lives under its direct control. And they still have their sights set on you! Mandatory conscription of every American into similar programs is coming. Work to stop it now, before it is too late!
03-31-2010

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A Republic,
If You Can Keep It
Subject: The American Form of Government

This video discusses the differences between Dictatorship, Oligarchy, Democracy, Republic and Anarchy, making the important point that a Republic is denoted by an adherence to the "Rule of Law", as opposed to a Democracy which is simply the unrestricted "Rule of the Majority". Pass this link along to anyone you think needs a little history lesson.



[Thanks to Joe Zoch for bringing this to my attention.]
03-25-2010

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Comrade Castro
Subject: You Know You're in Good Company When You Get Fidel Castro's Endorsement

Well, I think we can all feel better now knowing that Fidel Castro has given his approval for the passage of ObamaCare. We have certainly moved a big step closer to finally achieving the quality of health care that Cubans receive, and is the envy of the world. To see what your future may hold, take a look at this site or this site. Yes, we really have to thank Michael Moore for his objective reporting, letting us know the truth.

And another measure of just how good the new health care system will be can be seen by the following, as reported in The Wall Street Journal:
    Congressional leaders apparently not only made quid pro quos with congressmen who voted for ObamaCare, but also with congressional staff who crafted the legislation.

    A key loophole is how the bill defines "congressional staff" as "employees employed by the official office of a member of Congress, whether in the district office or in Washington." ...

    But the loophole exempts high-level leadership and committee staffers. For example, staffers who work in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Nevada Senate office would be required to join. Those who work under him as Senate Majority Leader would not. In their own cases at least, key staffers obviously were prepared to make sure President Obama kept his promise that those happy with their current coverage can keep it.

Yes, it's a Brave New World.
03-24-2010

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John Dingell
Subject: What is the Health Care Legislation Really All About?

In a radio interview, discussing the new health care legislation, Michigan Representative John Dingell made the following statement:
"it takes a long time to do the necessary
administrative steps that have to be taken
to put the legislation together

TO CONTROL THE PEOPLE"


And that, Charlie Brown, is what health care legislation is all about.

Of course, if you're keeping track at home, we've known this all along, as we discussed previously here, among many other posts.
03-24-2010

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Investors.com
Subject: 20 Ways ObamaCare Will Take Away Our Freedoms

To get a quick overview of how pervasively the new health care legislation will reach into your pockets and exercise control over your life, read the article, 20 Ways ObamaCare Will Take Away Our Freedoms by David Hogberg.

Then get out your wallets and onto your feet and do what you can to fight back against those, whether in Washington or living next door, who have demonstrated a total lack of respect for your constitutional rights and wish to enslave you in service of their desires. These people are not your friends, and they are only just getting started.
03-23-2010

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Al Sharpton
Subject: Just In Case There Was Still Any Question ...



[Thanks to Cloud Downy for bringing this to my attention.]
03-20-2010

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Democracy Denied
Subject: Barack Obama's Legislative Game Plan

Thanks to the Left Coast Rebel for bringing this chart from Americans for Prosperity, to my attention. 'Nuff said.

03-09-2010

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Gangster
Government
Subject: We Now Have A Total Gangster Government

The real State of the Union. As Michael Barone put it a year ago, we now have a "Gangster Government" operating in place of what should be a free market.

02-14-2010

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Craig Mundie
Subject: Government Takeover of the Internet

On April 1, 2009, Senators John Rockefeller [D-WV] and Olympia Snowe [R-ME] introduced the still pending S.773: Cybersecurity Act of 2009, which empowered the President to shutdown the internet for undefined "critical infrastructure information system or network" in the event of a further undefined "cybersecurity emergency". From the text of the bill:
    The President--(2) may declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network

On December 22, 2009, President Obama appointed former Microsoft security executive and Ebay CIO, Howard Schmidt, as the new "Cyber-Security Czar", with broad responsibilities to "secure government networks and critical U.S. infrastructures."

This followed the March 11, 2009 appointment of Microsoft's chief trustworthy infrastructure strategist, Philip Reitinger, to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he was charged with "protection of the government's computer networks and [to] work with the private sector to help secure critical infrastructures."

Of course, when you think of computer security, Microsoft is the name that first comes to mind! Now, we have Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, Craig Mundie, proposing that access to the web should require government registration — something equivalent to a "driver's license" — that would eliminate anonymity and allow everyone's activity to be tracked by the government. As others have pointed out, this is similar to a scheme recently tried and abandoned by the Chinese government as too repressive. But that hasn't stopped the United Nations from expressing interest is something along these lines as well.

So there you have it. Microsoft, a company which has demonstrated that it is unable to solve the technical problems relating to computer security, is now in charge of our technology infrastructure and proposing that instead, every citizen be registered, regulated and fully monitored as the best solution to achieving security.

The current administration's march towards a totalitarian state continues, one bill, one czar, and one regulation at a time, with their relentless advance for the repeal of individual rights, starting with the right to free speech. And remember Rahm Emanuel's dictum:
    "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."

I believe that J. R. Dieckmann summed it up best when he wrote about Obama's appointment of a cyber-czar:
    Here is the problem that I see with this whole plan. We have seen the tactic used by this administration over and over again: find or create a crisis, then violate the people's liberties to deal with it. We saw it with the banking industry. We saw it with the mortgage industry. We're seeing it with the auto industry and the energy industry, the global warming hoax, and many others. This is a president who wants the federal government to control everything of any significance. Controlling the Internet would be most helpful to him in forcing his Marxist agenda down the throats of the American citizens.
    [...]
    Just like with the banking, energy, and auto industries, once Obama gets his foot inside the door he uses that foot to kick the door wide open and take over the industry. First come the government demands, then the regulations and finally the control. If we allow him to do this with the Internet then we can be assured that our first amendment rights to free speech will be seriously curtailed and the Democrat Socialists will gain a clear advantage in all future elections.

'Nuff said.

01-31-2010

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Atlas Shrugs
Subject: Obama Continues to Organize his Youth Army!


This is important folks, so pay attention!


Pamela Geller is reporting on her website, Atlas Shrugs, that the group, Organizing for America (OFA), which you find at the tellingly named website www.barackobama.com, has been sending out internship application packets, to be distributed to school children across the country, enlisting their support:
    "OFA is launching a national internship program connecting students all over the country with our organization on the ground — working to make the change we fought so hard for in 2008 a reality in 2010 and beyond"

Got that! Obama is using the public school system as a means to recruit an army of youth organizers specifically focused on the upcoming 2010 elections. And he is proposing that the schools extend classroom credit to the students for their participation!

This "internship" is nothing more than a ten-week, socialist, youth army, propaganda, indoctrination program. Let's look at some of the highlights:
    Week 1: Introductory Training
      Training includes: "Mobilizing to Win On the Issues (issue advocacy)", "OFA Health Care Campaign Overview", and "Health Care Service Project"

      Suggested Reading: "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky, and "The New Organizers" by Zack Exley

    Week 2: What is Organizing?: Building Relationships and Organization
      Purpose: "To understand basic voter contact tactics and the importance of confirming calls"

      Suggested Reading: "Dreams of my Father" by Barack Obama

    Week 3: What is Organizing?: The Power of Good Data and Reporting
      Potential Actions: "Use reporting to track follow-up actions around the health care campaign"

    Week 4: Strategizing for Effective Change
      "Intern program concentrates on developing an effective strategy to influence change. Effective community organizing is strategic, and requires a clear analysis of power structures, community assets, and opportunities for influence."

      Suggested Reading: "Stir It UP: Lessons in Community Organizing and Advocacy" by Rinku Sen, and "Politics the Wellstone Way: How to Elect Candidates and Win on the Issues" by Wellstone Action

    Week 5: Developing Leadership
      Potential Action: "Help train new Community Organizers / Neighborhood Team Leaders or Help Identify and Test"

    Week 6: Managing Events
      Discussion: "You just found out that Vice President Biden is coming to your turf in one week to do a healthcare-focused town hall event. What role would the following departments play and what actions would they need to take in order to fulfill their responsibilities, keeping in mind all three components of a successful event (pre, during, and post)"

    Week 7: Building Coalitions
      Purpose: "What coalitions in your community exist that are working for health care, energy and education reform"

      Suggested Reading: "A Strategic Approach to Collective Action: Looking for Agencies in Socialist-Movement Choices" by James M. Jasper

    Week 8: Working with the Media
      "Program will introduce participants to effective strategies in dealing with the media. Sharing OFA's message — both in general and around health care specifically — is key to our success. By sharing our message with the larger community, we can influence public opinion and move legislators in support of our policies."

    Week 9: Utilizing New Media
      Recommended Reading: "Obama Field Organizers Plot a Miracle" by Zack Exley

    Week 10: Celebration, Evaluation & the Long Haul of Change
      Purpose: "Many of these Interns will be considering a future career in organizing and we also want them to leave the program encouraged to continue as organizers."

      Potential Action: "Have Intern agree to participate in a December conference call with OFA headquarters (and ideally a special guest). During the call, we can unveil our larger strategy for student and youth strategy [sic] in the states. After the call, we will follow up with specific contacts for each participant so that they can get immediately get [sic] plugged in to OFA's efforts within their communities."

See Pamela Geller's website for photocopies of the entire document which she obtained from a concerned parent whose son had received it in his government class.

As the agenda outline makes clear, the purpose of this "training" is to create a student army that continues the President's push for passage of his health care, energy and education reform legislation. And if you believe that this would only affect students who have already developed a deep commitment to political activism, then you haven't been paying attention. As I have reported here in depth, through its Service-Learning program, the government is imposing mandatory community service requirements upon students of all ages, making this a necessity for them to graduate each year. Faced with meeting this onerous new obligation, every student must waste their time looking for some form of labor that is acceptable to their school. Then their teachers dangle this "opportunity" in their faces, telling them it will not only fulfill their community service requirement, but will earn them class credit as well. Just another masterful example of the government employing the carrot-and-stick approach in order to force people to do its bidding.

And who pays for all of this? Why you, the taxpayer. As I reported here and here, for their 2010 budget, the Obama administration has handed over $1.149 billion dollars to the Corporation for National & Community Service, which then uses that money in the form of grants, to entice school districts to impose Service-Learning programs upon their students. So, once again, the government is using your own money against you, to undermine your liberty.

Another interesting thing to notice in the OFA Internship document is the proposed reading list, which is nothing less than primer for the progressive left. And notice that, despite a year's worth of serious criticism on this point from many commentators, Obama is still proudly reading from the play book of Saul Alinsky, the radical who wrote, in typical Marxist class-warfare fashion:
    "The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away."

Well, there you have it. For Obama, this is nothing less than an all out war for power and control — not just over your health care, or the economy — but control over your very life. With the push for mandatory national service for all Americans currently winding its way through Congress in the form of H.R. 1444, we are rapidly moving towards the fulfillment of Rahm Emanuel's dream of having the government impose its idea of "basic training and understanding" upon each of us, making sure that we learn the "universal sense of service" that will "give Americans, once again, a sense of what they are to be American". Translated: "If you don't agree with Barack, then your simply not an American ... and we plan to fix that!"

The final thing to be learned from this document is just how organized these "community organizers" actually are. They have developed a well thought out, highly structured program to implement their agenda and they are following through with their plans. And with Obama in the White House, they now have access to considerable funds — your funds — which they can use to achieve significant results. If they are not stopped, in the long run they will certainly achieve their purpose. Therefore, it is imperative that we act in opposition to end this nightmare. We must continue to attack on every new front, chopping off each tentacle until they have no more to extend. And then we will lop off the head and put an end to this nightmare.

The chickens are all coming home to roost. Everyone who cares about the future of this country, whether you have children in school or not, needs to take action agains this abomination. Get in touch with your local schools and find out where they stand on the matter of Service-Learning programs and determine whether they have received these OFA Internship forms, and if so, whether they passing them out to the students. If you are a parent in the PTA, raise these issues with other parents and organize protests over the transformation of our government schools from nominal places of education into socialist indoctrination camps. And everyone should be loudly protesting against Obama's totalitarian tactics of attempting to create a youth brigade to serve his overt political agenda. If this doesn't qualify as clearly illegal activity, and if people don't rise up in a storm of protest, then I truly fear for the future of this country.

[Thanks to Jackie Smith for bringing this article to my attention and to Pamela Geller for breaking the story.]
01-17-2010

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The Christian
Science Monitor
Subject: Too Fat To Fail!

An article by Paul Hsieh in The Christian Science Monitor titled Universal healthcare and the waistline police starts out:
    Imagine a country where the government regularly checks the waistlines of citizens over age 40. Anyone deemed too fat would be required to undergo diet counseling. Those who fail to lose sufficient weight could face further "reeducation" and their communities subject to stiff fines.

    Is this some nightmarish dystopia?

    No, this is contemporary Japan.

    The Japanese government argues that it must regulate citizens' lifestyles because it is paying their health costs.

This is the fate in store for all Americans if we fail to stop the current health care legislation from passing, for if it does, the government will finally have a very powerful tools at its disposal, allowing it to reach into the personal lives of each citizen and control our actions as it sees fit.

Paul concludes:
    Just as universal healthcare will further fuel the nanny state, the nanny state mind-set helps fuel the drive toward universal healthcare. Individuals aren't regarded as competent to decide how to manage their lives and their health. So the government provides "cradle to grave" coverage of their healthcare.

    Nanny state regulations and universal healthcare thus feed a vicious cycle of increasing government control over individuals. Both undermine individual responsibility and habituate citizens to ever-worsening erosions of their individual rights. Both promote dependence on government. Both undermine the virtues of independence and rationality. Both jeopardize the very foundations of a free society.

    The American Founding Fathers who fought and died for our freedoms would be appalled to know their descendants were allowing the government to dictate what they could eat and drink. The Founders correctly understood that the proper role of government is to protect individual rights and otherwise leave men free to live — not tell us how many eggs we should eat.

    If we still value our freedoms, we must reject both the nanny state and universal healthcare. Otherwise, it won't be long before the "Waistline Police" come knocking on our doors.

Read the entire article.

Paul has it exactly right, except that I would challenge him on one important point. By categorizing our government as a "nanny state", he makes the common error of giving the benefit of the doubt to the government by assuming that its motives are all directed in our best interest. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Our president and members of Congress know nothing at all about you and your unique circumstances, and could care less about your personal wellbeing. They have no interest in being you caregiver. That is simply a convenient fiction to conceal their true intent, which is to gain control over your actions and direct your life in service of their agenda. And their agenda is nothing more than raw, naked power. To them, you are merely a natural resource to be mined until your productive vein runs dry. Look at all recent actions taken or proposed by the government and identify the common denominator as it pertains to the American public:
    Warrantless Wiretaps? Control!
    Declaration of Carbon Dioxide as a Pollutant? Control!
    Outlawing Student Loans from Private Institutions? Control!
    TARP Bailouts - with Strings Attached? Control!
    Nationalization of the Housing Loan Industry? Control!
    Nationalization of the Automotive Industry? Control!
    Nationalization of the Financial Industry? Control!
    Nationalization of the Insurance Industry? Control!
    Nationalization of the Medical Industry? Control!
    Nationalization of the Energy Industry? Control!
    Mandatory Community Service for All School Children? Control!
    Proposed Mandatory National Service for All Citizens? Control!

And the list goes on. This is on top of the government having already nationalized the education, utilities and transportation industries, and heavily regulating the agriculture, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors, to name but a few. Where once we were a free people in a free country, able to pursue our lives in whatever manner we chose, so long as we didn't violate the rights of others, today our lives are so managed that it is extremely difficult to find some area where an individual may act without first seeking permission, paying a tax, or worrying that some agency might come behind and judge those actions to have been in violation of one of the unfathomable number of regulations that have been enacted.

Don't oppose health care reform because it is bad medicine. Fight it for all you are worth because it is you personal freedom — and the freedom of all of your family members — that is at stake. And that is something worth fighting for!
Barack Obama Barney Frank Nancy Pelosi Christopher Dodd
Do These People Really Have Your Best Interests at Heart?



[Thanks to Cloud Downy for bringing this article to my attention.]
10-15-2009

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Classroom Brainwashing
Subject: Exposing Obama's Classroom Brainwashers

In a PJTV video titled:

Joe Hicks covers much the same territory that I do on this blog, pointing out that our public schools are becoming more indoctrination centers than houses of learning.

I disagree with Joe on one point. We can stop this if a loud, vocal movement begins to speak out against the concept of state-run education and we work to completely privatize all of our schools. Quoting from the article by law professor Rodney A. Smolla that I reference in my previous blog entry below:
    "Nothing in the U.S. Constitution requires a state or local government to operate public schools. On one level, the existence of free public schools is thus a privilege that the state is presumptively free to extend or not extend to its student-citizens as it pleases."

There is nothing other than inertia stopping the citizens of this country from declaring that there should be a complete and total separation of both education and economics from the state, just as we have proclaimed a bright line separation for religion.

Unfortunately, over the past 60 years, the history of the separation of religion and state has been one of slow erosion. As the introduction of God has been pushed slowly into the secular realm of government, that movement has been responsible for opening the door for these other abuses. I would hope that it should now be clear that in order to prevent a torrent of abuses, government, as a repository of retaliatory force used to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens, must b e precluded from stepping over its rigidly defined constitutional boundaries. And this can only be accomplished when the wall between religion, education and economics remain unbreached.
09-30-2009

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Subject: To All Innocent Fifth Columnists

In 1941, Ayn Rand wrote an open letter to intellectuals, encouraging them to organize in support of individualism as the only means of successfully fighting the collectivist forces of Communism and Nazism. This piece is fully applicable today, identifying the exact nature of our current battle for freedom.

From Wikipedia, a Fifth Column "is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group, such as a nation, from within, to the aid of an external enemy." As Rand makes clear at the beginning of the article, she identified America's Fifth Column as the group of conservatives who failed to think, judge and then act to preserve the rights of the individual and the freedom to which they paid lip service. She was asking the honest among that group to rise to the challenge facing them, openly oppose totalitarianism, and fight for their independence and liberty. From the article:
    "First and above all: what is Totalitarianism? We all hear so much about it, but we don't understand it. What is the most important point, the base, the whole heart of both Communism and Nazism? It is not the "dictatorship of the proletariat," nor the nationalization of private property, nor the supremacy of the "Aryan" race, nor anti-Semitism. These things are secondary symptoms, surface details, the effects and not the cause. What is the primary cause, common to both Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and all other dictators, past, present, and future? One idea — and one only: That the State is superior to the individual. That the Collective holds all rights and the individual has none.

    Stop here. This is the crucial point. What you think of this will determine whether you are a mental Fifth Columnist or not. This is the point which allows no compromise. You must choose one or the other. There is no middle. Either you believe that each individual man has value, dignity and certain inalienable rights which cannot be sacrificed for any cause, for any purpose, for any collective, for any number of other men whatsoever. Or else you believe that a number of men — it doesn't matter what you call it: a collective, a class, a race or a State — holds all rights, and any individual man can be sacrificed if some collective good — it doesn't matter what you call it: better distribution of wealth, racial purity or the Millennium — demands it. Don't fool yourself. Be honest about this. Names don't matter. Only the basic principle matters, and there is no middle choice. Either man has individual, inalienable rights — or he hasn't.

    Your intentions don't count. If you are willing to believe that men should be deprived of all rights for a good cause — you are a Totalitarian. Don't forget, Stalin and Hitler sincerely believe that their causes are good. Stalin thinks that he is helping the downtrodden, and Hitler thinks that he is serving his country as a patriot. They are good causes, both of them, aren't they? Then what creates the horrors of Russia and of Germany? What is destroying all civilization? Just this one idea — that to a good cause everything can be sacrificed; that individual men have no rights which must be respected; that what one person believes to be good can be put over on the others by force.

    And if you — in the privacy of your own mind — believe so strongly in some particular good of yours that you would be willing to deprive men of all rights for the sake of this good, then you are as guilty of all the horrors of today as Hitler and Stalin. These horrors are made possible only by men who have lost all respect for single, individual human beings, who accept the idea that classes, races, and nations matter, but single persons do not, that a majority is sacred, but a minority is dirt, that herds count, but Man is nothing.

    Where do you stand on this? There is no middle ground.

Where do you stand? And what will you do in the face of the same threat facing our country? Do not relegate yourself to the fifth column. Act in whatever capacity you can. Speak out. Write articles. Attend local protests. March on Washington. Donate to campaigns to oust the totalitarians from office. Sign the John Galt Pledge. Quoting again from Rand's article:
    "We do not know how many of us there are left in the world. But we think there are many more than the Totalitarians suspect. We are the majority, but we are scattered, unorganized, silenced and helpless. The Totalitarians are an efficient, organized, and very noisy minority. They have seized key positions in our intellectual life and they make it appear as if they are the voice of America. They can, if left unchecked, highjack America into dictatorship. Are we going to let them get away with it? They are not the voice of America. We are. But let us be heard.

    To be heard, however, we must be organized. This is not a paradox. Individualists have always been reluctant to form any sort of organization. The best, the most independent, the hardest working, the most productive members of society have always lived and worked alone. But the incompetent and the unscrupulous have organized. The world today shows how well they have organized. And so, we shall attempt what has never been attempted before — an organization against organization. That is — an organization to defend us all from the coming compulsory organization which will swallow all of society; an organization to defend our rights, including the right not to belong to any forced organization; an organization, not to impose our ideology upon anyone, but to prevent anyone from imposing his ideology upon us by physical or social violence.

    Are you with us?

    [...]

    The world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for. But not without Freedom.
    "

Marshall your optimism and man the battle stations!


Read the entire article:          To All Innocent Fifth Columnists


[Thanks to Cloud Downy for bringing this article to my attention.]
09-22-2009

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Indoctrination
Subject: It's Never Too Early To Indoctrinate

Today we look at how the idea of national service has infiltrated our schools. Soon it will be impossible to get an education anywhere without being forced to submit to a mandatory service requirement. And since education is also mandatory, the requirement for national service will have been imposed through this back door, instead of by a direct legislative act which would have faced scrutiny and vocal opposition by the public.

Let's start with a look at our friends at ACORN. Were you aware that some of your tax dollars were being given to this organization so that it could, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, create two (and possibly three) high schools with a "community service" orientation?

The first of these is the ACORN Community High School which has the goal of "Developing Tomorrow's Leaders". This is done, in part, with Social Studies programs that "teach them the critical thinking skills necessary to challenge inequity and injustice." Nothing very specific there, but it does get you thinking about just how "inequity and injustice" might be defined by ACORN? While I was unable to locate any detailed descriptions of the various academic courses being offered, there was a very complete overview of the service program and its requirements.
    "Community Service
    'Give Your Best, Be the Best' The ACORN Community Service Program (ACSP) offers ACORN students experiences that cultivate leadership skills while they contribute services to their communities. Through placement in various agencies and service providers, ACSP encourages students to apply what they learned in and out of the classroom to solve real-life problems. In the process students learn efficient work habits, teamwork and self-confidence. They also learn about democracy, budgets and the benefits of active citizenship. Further, students in ACSP acquire technical and communication skills that are essential in critical thinking for designing and implementing solutions that build proud and prosperous communities. Participation in ACSP instills an ethic of lifelong community service where students are inspired to build proud and prosperous communities.
    "

Aah yes, there it is in the last sentence — the real purpose of the program: "instills an ethic of lifelong community service". The community is the social unit of concern, with people as lifelong servants to its needs. And to prepare for this subservient position:
    "Each student must complete 50 ACSP points per year with a total of 200 ACSP points [i.e., 200 hours of service] by the end of the Senior year."

Unfortunately, babysitting will only earn you 0.5 ACSP points per hour. :-(   Probably because it take more work to acquire "communication skills" when talking to babies!

The second ACORN school let's you know where it's heading right in its title: ACORN High School for Social Justice. From their mission statement:
    "The school offers an opportunity for students to engage in a comprehensive academic program and to participate in citywide campaigns dealing with issues of social injustice which affect the Bushwick Community and the larger Brooklyn community. ACORN High School for Social Justice's mixture of academic and community involvement helps the students to become lifelong learners."

And what makes this school special? Selecting a few key bullet points:
  • We also include an additional course in Social Justice [...]

  • International Teachers Programs. We now also have a partnership with Columbia University as a site for Peace Corp Fellows to complete their teaching internships.

  • Implementation of an excellent library program that will bring community members, actors, singers, and leaders into the building to speak with students and to participate in events such as Black History Month, Hispanic History Month, Poetry Month and Women's History Month.

  • A diverse after school program, in collaboration with our Community Based Organization, Acorn, comprised of academics, sports, the arts, and community service experiences for our students.

This mixing of ACORN's political activism with education is appalling, and marks a new level of brazenness in the social indoctrination of children. That the New York City Department of Education engages in and promotes this sort of activity indicates that it is corrupt.

But this movement is not confined to ACORN and New York City. This Falls City Herald News article discusses how the Tiverton, RI high school has imposed a mandatory "Community Service-Learning" graduation requirement upon all of its students.
    "For the past 13 years, Tiverton High School has had a community service requirement for graduation. Students must complete 75 hours prior to the end of their senior year. Since the inception of the program, students have worked on a wide range of activities to complete their volunteer hours, everything from working at an animal shelter to serving as a mentor to an elementary school student." [emphasis added]

You simply have to admire the audacity of people who can use the word "volunteer" in describing an activity that is being forced upon every student. Community service coordinator Rebecca Elwell acknowledges:
    "while some students find their niche very easily, others struggle to find a suitable volunteer opportunity."

Remember, these students are not actually being asked to volunteer. They are not being persuaded to engage in actions of their own choosing, for reasons that they personally judge to be worthwhile. They are being required to perform these services in order to be allowed to progress with their lives. I wonder if it ever crosses the minds of these "educators" that one source of struggle for some of these high school students might be an internal one. Possibly the demand—the act of being forced—to participate in this, or any other type of activity, is the source of their struggle, as they attempt, as most adolescents do, to assert their independence in thought, action and spirit at this critical phase of their development. The potential psychological damage being done to certain types of individuals is enormous.

But is this phenomenon of community service limited to high school students. No! A report, once again from our friends at ACORN, tells us:
    Riverside students learn value of community service

    "Riverside School's third grade class will hold its third annual Community Service Day on Wednesday, Sept. 23. The event, which lasts from 9 to 10:30 a.m., introduces the students to people who help their community and ties in with the class civics unit.
    [...]
    Connected to this event, the students will be doing a community service project to help children at Kids in Crisis.
    "

High school may be too late. By that time, some of these kids may have already developed thoughts of their own that could interfere with our "training", allowing them to rebel against the authority of their masters, The Community or The State. But if we can get them younger, say when they are only eight or nine, then fewer will have a chance to develop that independent, anti-social streak of learning to think for themselves. We must get to them early so that we can insure that they meet the goals that Barack Obama has laid out. They must be made to understand that it is their sacred responsibility to "not let their Country down!"

It's enough to make you sick.
09-18-2009

Permalink
Subject: The Ideas of the Next Generation

In an opinion piece titled "More From Our Citizens...", and published in The Citizen, the student newspaper of the Harvard Kennedy School, Zachary Kushel writes:
    "Today, the burden of American security is borne by too few of our citizens. It is time we required more from young Americans and made mandatory a term of national service upon graduation from high school. Rather than require military service, young Americans should have the option to serve in a capacity that includes infrastructure works programs, civic education, community organizing, and other service capacities."

There's that call for mandatory service (conscription) again, and all in the name of fighting terrorism ... oh excuse me, with this administration we don't use those words any longer ... in the name of American security. And we will provide that beefed up security by spending time on such things as community organizing, no doubt being assigned to the nearest Acorn militia group in your neighborhood.

But after touting the goal of enhancing American security, the author completely ignores security matters and spends the majority of the article on his real purpose:
    "a mandatory term of service is the only way to link all young Americans, to give them a common experience."

So, in the mind of this student, it is an appropriate function of our government to bind us all together by way of a common experience. For what purpose? To "give back" and "be a better nation and a more united people". Exactly why is social unity such a desirable goal? No reason is stated, so apparently it is supposed to be obvious to all of us. And by what authority will this be done? None given and none needed. Again, it is assumed as simply obvious that the government may engage in this activity.

This is the depth of analysis we get from someone receiving a Harvard education. I hope he is getting one of those government scholarship and not paying full price!

Implicit in every call for public service is the collectivist's assumption that the group, whether it be the community, society, or the state, is of greater importance than the individual, and it is the individual's duty to serve. This is the unstated premis that must be challenged. Always attack the issue of national service at it's core, ignoring the sundry details of each proposal as mere distractions.
09-17-2009

Permalink
Subject: Article Recommendation

Here is an article by Don Feder that you might find interesting:

"Obama: Fighting Terrorism With Community Service, Kumbaya And Commie Appointments"