Service Nation asks for your opinion, lets give it to them

Posted on June 29th, 2009 by bile
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From: Alan Khazei <>

Dear bile,

I just returned from this year’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service in San Francisco, an outstanding event where more than 4,000 service leaders gathered to celebrate our achievements and plan the path forward.

This is an extraordinary moment for our movement, with a new law on the books promising unprecedented federal resources for service; people across the country becoming more engaged in their communities than we’ve seen in a long time; and a President and First Lady in the White House who come from the service world, and who want service and civic engagement to become a part of every American’s life.

So many terrific ideas came out of the event, and you’ll be hearing more about them in the weeks and months to come. But before that, we need you to become a part of this discussion.

Our supporters on the ground are the ones who powered us from the beginning.  And today, it’s your input and your ideas that will carry us forward as we plot out the next steps for this organization – and for the service movement as a whole.

Please fill out this short survey – your feedback will help shape the future of ServiceNation:

If you didn’t make it to the Conference, there’s a lot to fill you in on. Here are a few of the highlights from the event:

-    The crowd gave a hero’s welcome to Michelle Obama, the keynote speaker, who talked passionately about the White House’s commitment to service and the need to find innovative ways to expand it.

-    I had the honor of interviewing Maria Shriver, the First Lady of California, about her path-breaking efforts to strengthen service in that state. (More to come about that interview in a follow-up message.)

-   The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) announced a week-long October campaign to promote service on all the major TV networks. This is a big opportunity to get new people involved in service, and it’s something we’ll all be hearing much more about in the months ahead. As part of the announcement, we were treated to a terrific concert from Jon Bon Jovi, a longtime friend of the service community who came to the Conference as a representative of EIF.

-    ServiceNation also was proud to host a luncheon for hundreds of service champions.  Melody Barnes, President Obama’s chief domestic policy advisor, spoke movingly about the future of service in America, and all the attendees participated in a strategy discussion led by Arianna Huffington, EIF’s Lisa Paulsen, and Colin Jones, a current AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the program BUILD in San Francisco.

With so many people across the country spending time this week to talk about what’s next for the service movement, it’s absolutely essential that you get involved in the discussion. We want to know more about you, your impressions of the work we’ve done so far, and your thoughts on where we should go from here.

Please fill out the survey today:

Thanks – we’ll be following up with more takeaways from the Conference soon.


The multiple choice sections are limited but there are opened ended areas to let Alan and friends know that we don’t appreciate the move toward national servitude.

Obama signs Serve America Act into law

Posted on April 21st, 2009 by bile
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Today, President Obama, who inspired us all with his pledge to “make service a cause of my Presidency” will sign the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. This legislation, which Obama boldly called for in his February Address to Congress, is a milestone for the service movement, and the largest expansion of civilian service since the Depression Era Civilian Conservation Corps. In addition to honoring Senator Kennedy for his tremendous leadership in public service, it received strong bipartisan support with the Senate voting in favor 79 to 19 and the House voting 275 to 149.

But the Serve America Act is more than a service milestone. It contains the seeds for developing a new public philosophy for how we attack an array of persistent societal challenges, from the high school dropout crisis, to poverty and homelessness, to climate change.

For the past 75 years, America has been governed by two major public philosophies. First, in response to the depression and then World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) completely transformed the role of the federal government. He established it as the center of energy, new ideas, solutions, delivery mechanisms and regulation with his whole alphabet soup–for every problem start a new federal government agency–approach.

FDR’s governing philosophy lasted until Ronald Reagan, who in his inaugural address, flipped FDR’s philosophy on its head when he said: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Reagan tapped into a feeling that government had grown too bureaucratic and resistant to change. Reagan’s governing philosophy began to run out of gas with the Katrina disaster of 2005 and then ended with the complete melt down of the financial markets last fall. We’ve discovered if we simply view government as the problem, we end up with ineffective government.

Government is ineffective and inefficient by definition. Optimal efficiency is individuals utilizing their property and labor as they see fit. The government exists to take from some individuals and give to others which distorts demand and supply of resources and capital.

What Alan Khazei advocates is fascism. Socialistic forced “service” to a government mixed with corporate interests. Businesses funded by and influenced by the government.  A worshiping of the State as the solution to the societal ills. The new church.

Gordon Brown talks about enslaving young adults

Posted on April 15th, 2009 by bile
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Every teenager will have to do at least 50 hours of community work before the age of 19, Gordon Brown has announced.

The Prime Minister believes youngsters would be less likely to turn to crime if they had a sense of citizenship.

The scheme, a form of ‘national service’ for teenagers, will ensure they spend a minimum of 50 hours working with charities and vulnerable groups such as the elderly or disabled.

Forming part of Labour’s next election manifesto, it will be woven into plans to make everyone stay in education or training until the age of 18 by 2011.

Read More…

Senator DeMint discusses Serve America Act

Posted on March 25th, 2009 by bile
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House of Representatives passes GIVE act

Posted on March 18th, 2009 by bile
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The House of Representatives passed a measure Wednesday that supporters are calling the most sweeping reform of nationally-backed volunteer programs since AmeriCorps. But some opponents are strongly criticizing the legislation, calling it expensive indoctrination and forced advocacy.

The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, known as the GIVE Act — sponsored by Reps. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y, and George Miller, D-Calif. — was approved by a 321-105 vote and now goes to the Senate.

The legislation, slated to cost $6 billion over five years, would create 175,000 “new service opportunities” under AmeriCorps, bringing the number of participants in the national volunteer program to 250,000. It would also create additional “corps” to expand the reach of volunteerism into new sectors, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps and Veterans Service Corps, and it expands the National Civilian Community Corps to focus on additional areas like disaster relief and energy conservation.

It is the first time the AmeriCorps program, which was created by President Clinton in 1993, will be reauthorized, and supporters say it will have additional funding to match the renewed interest in national service since President Obama’s election and the acute need for volunteerism and charity in tough economic times.

“National and community service can help make Americans a part of the solution to get our country through this economic crisis. I hope the House and Senate will join us in moving as quickly as possible to help President Obama sign this critical bill into law,” Miller, chairman of the education committee, said after the bill was passed.

But the bill’s opponents — and there are only a few in Congress — say it could cram ideology down the throats of young “volunteers,” many of whom could be forced into service since the bill creates a “Congressional Commission on Civic Service.”

The bipartisan commission will be tasked with exploring a number of topics, including “whether a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the nation.”

“We contribute our time and money under no government coercion on a scale the rest of the world doesn’t emulate and probably can’t imagine,” said Luke Sheahan, contributing editor for the Family Security Foundation. “The idea that government should order its people to perform acts of charity is contrary to the idea of charity and it removes the responsibility for charity from the people to the government, destroying private initiative.”

House committee staff insist the GIVE Act will not change the voluntary nature of service.

Not change the voluntary nature? Note they ignore where the money comes from. Seems reasonable to me that if they claim ownership of 50% of my labor passively through taxation there is no philosophical jump required to claim 100% of my labor or force me to ‘serve.’

Looks like this is the first real step to national state slavery. They’ve already got plenty of mandatory service plans ready to impliment. This is really little more than a formality.

Member of the CFR advocates mass conscription

Posted on February 10th, 2009 by bile
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In the ongoing struggle between radical Islamism and Western democracy, military intervention by the United States may again be judged necessary as a last resort against particularly dangerous states or organizations. Although presidential candidate Barack Obama made drawing down U.S. forces in Iraq the centerpiece of his national security agenda, so as to focus on the “real fight” in Afghanistan, President Obama will find that even with a complete withdrawal from Iraq, the United States’ current all-volunteer forces will be inadequate for accomplishing its worldwide national security goals. Regarding Afghanistan in particular, even the planned reinforcement of 20,000 to 30,000 troops will not begin to match the 1 to 10 troop-to-population ratio generally acknowledged to be necessary for success in counterinsurgency.

Moreover, as a result of the repetitive stresses of Afghanistan and Iraq, the human-resources quality of the U.S. military appears to be declining: recruitment and retention rates (by pre-Iraq standards) are slipping, forcing the armed services to lower their physical, educational, and psychological standards; to soften the rigors of initial training; and even to expand the moral waivers granted to some volunteers with criminal records. Generous inducements have also been needed to retain junior officers beyond the length-of-service payback requirements of their academy or ROTC educations. The economic downturn might help temporarily, but the problem cannot be resolved by continuing the present system. There will have to be a reinstitution, albeit in a significantly modified version, of universal military service — a “draft.”

Our proposal is to combine a revived military draft with a broader public-service program as already practiced in some European states — a “domestic Peace Corps.” Indeed, a crucial component of our proposal is that draftees be allowed to choose between military and nonmilitary service. A program structured along those lines would simultaneously increase the political appeal of conscription, defuse the opposition of those who disapprove of the use of military force, and serve such valuable national purposes as public health, public works, and the alleviation of shortages of teachers and social workers in disadvantaged regions of the country.

Of course, reinstating the draft will generate opposition from all parts of the political spectrum, on the left by civil libertarians and opponents of any use of force, in the center by classic libertarians and those who would regard conscription as an unfair “tax on youth,” and even by some on the political right, who (as noted earlier) would correctly perceive that the modified draft proposed here would inherently constrain presidential unilateralism. The professional military, traditionally conservative, might initially resist such fundamental change, though we are confident the professional military will come to value its significant advantages.

In the event of new terrorist attacks on U.S. soil on the scale of 9/11, let alone the unimaginable consequences if American cities were struck by nuclear or biological weapons, the arguments against conscription would vanish overnight, and there would be a crash program to build up the armed forces, similar to the aftermath of attack on Pearl Harbor.

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.