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.

Serve America Act / Give Act passes House, heads to Obama

Posted on March 31st, 2009 by bile
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The US House this afternoon gave final congressional approval — and sent to President Obama for his signature — a bill that would dramatically expand public service opportunities.

The legislation is named for Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who cowrote the initial version of it with sometime political ally Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Kennedy returned to Washington last week, in part to vote for the bill, and received a standing ovation from his colleagues at the conclusion of the vote.

“Today’s House vote again demonstrates the high priority Congress gives to encouraging citizens of all ages in all communities across America to participate in public service,” Kennedy said in a statement. “This legislation will enable many more Americans to do something for their country to meet the many challenges facing us. I look forward to the President signing this bill into law so that a welcome new era of national and community service can begin.”

UPDATE: President Obama issued a statement applauding the bill’s passage.

“I congratulate the House on passing the bipartisan Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. This is legislation that will usher in a new era of service in America, and I look forward to signing it into law when I return to Washington.”

“Because of this legislation, millions of Americans at all stages of their lives will have new opportunities to serve their country. From improving service learning in schools to creating an army of 250,000 Corps members a year dedicated to addressing our nation’s toughest problems. From connecting working Americans to a variety of part-time service opportunities to better utilizing the skills and experience of our retirees and baby boomers. This legislation will help tap the genius of our faith based and community organizations, and it will find the most innovative ideas for addressing our common challenges and helping those ideas grow. But while our government can provide every opportunity imaginable for us to serve our communities, now it is up to each of us to seize those opportunities. I call on all Americans to stand up and do what they can to serve their communities, shape our history and enrich both their own lives and the lives of others across this country.”

New opportunities to serve their country? Couldn’t they just walk down the street and pick up trash? Or go to the local soup kitchen? Offer to tutor kids or work for the Red Cross or donate time to the local old folks home?

There is infinate demand for help. The opportunities are literally unlimited. The idea that the government has to create opportunities is out and out bullshit.

‘Defense’ is the largest single government expenditure. Obama and friends want to spend just as much on a ‘civilian army.’ What the Serve America Act / GIVE Act is is in fact the continuing creation of a socio-fascist state. Obama’s idea for a Hitler youth like program plus an increase in government ‘service’ is right out of Hitler’s, Mussolini’s, Stalin’s play book. This is about involuntary servitude and a replacement of family, community and God with the State.

And check out what those who participate CAN’T do while part of the program.

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.

S. 3487 Serve America Act summary

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 by bile
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  • Grants for “Youth Engagement Zones”, “not less than $250k and not more than $1m. Eligible partnerships include: a community-based agency, local educational agency, a State Commission or State education agency, local government agency, office of the chief executive officer of a unit of general local government, institution of higher education. Priority given to “eligible partnerships that serve high percentages or numbers of low-income students.” “including partnerships that serve urban, and partnerships that serve rural, communities.” $20m, $30m, $30m, $40m, $40m appropriated for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 respectively. The funds must be used for: ‘solve specific community challenges’, ‘improve student engagement, including student attendance and student behavior, and student achievement, graduation rates, and college-going rates in secondary schools’, ‘involve an increasing percentage of secondary school students and out-of-school youth in the community in school-based or community-based service-learning activities each year, with the goal of involving all students in secondary schools served by the local education agency and involving an increasing percentage of the out-of-school youth in service-learning activities over the course of 5 years’, ‘encourage participants to continue to engage in service throughout their lives.’
  • Grants for “Campuses of Service”, not more than 30 annually. $10m for each fiscal years 2009 through 2013. For 2 or 4 year, public or private institution of higher education.
  • Service-Learning Impact study. 10 year longitudinal study on the impact of the activities carried out. Examining student academic achievement, student engagement, graduation rates, the degree to which the participants in the activities engaged in subsequent national service, volunteering, or other service activities. Allocation “such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2013.”
  • Sec. 167. Establish the “Commission on Cross-Sector Solutions to America’s Problems.” 21 members. 9 appointed by the President, 3 by Senate majority leader, 3 by Senate minority leader, 3 by Speaker of the House, 3 by the House minority leader. No more than 11 from the same political party. “The Commission shall conduct a thorough study of all matters relating to was in which the Federal Government can work more efficiently and effectively with nonprofit organizations and philanthropic organizations… in achieving better outcomes.” “The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.” Terminates after 6 years
  • Sec. 167A. “Community Solutions Fund grant program.” Make grants for periods of 5 years, and may renew for 5 years. Not less than $1m not more than $10m. For entities focused on improving measurable outcomes relating to: education for economically disadvantaged students in public schools, child and youth development, reductions in poverty or increases in economic opportunity for economically disadvantaged individuals, health including access to health care and education, resource conservation and local environmental quality, individual or community energy efficiency, civic engagement, reductions in crime. Funds must be matched not less than $1 to $1.
  • Sec. 167B. “Innovation Fellowship grants.” “To individuals to pay for the Federal share of carrying out projects in which the individuals establish innovative nonprofit organizations to address national and local challenges.” For periods of 2 years. Not more than $100k. Not more than 25 in a fiscal year.
  • To carry out section 167, such sums as necessary. Section 167A: $50m, $60m, $70m, $80m, $100m for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 respectively. For 167B: $3.5 for 2009, $5m each year after.
  • Read More…

Service Nation Summit Video Summary

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 by bile
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Sept. 11th, 2008:

  • John McCain’s interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
    • Says outright he’s against compulsory service.
    • Advocates growing the military several times.
    • Claims private industry provides services better, wishes to create partnerships with business instead of having the government take on those roles.
    • Points to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security as bipartisan cooperation that is needed to gain trust and support of the public.
    • “It’s not about the individual, it’s about the cause we serve.”
    • “I think the all voluntary force is having difficulty recruiting and retaining because we are too small and we need to expand the size of our military and we need to do it as rapidly as possible. And we got to perhaps offer additional incentives.”
    • Apparently, without knowing what the Serve America Act does, McCain says he would sign the bill as president.
    • Would rather have the private sphere perform the voluntarism and only have the government provide incentives.
  • Barack Obama’s interview: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
    • “Each and everyone of us are going to have, are going to make commitments in terms of improving fuel efficiency in our cars and homes. And the government is going to be in partnership with citizens to make that happen.”
    • “America is the greatest country on earth but it didn’t just happen on its own. It’s not a gift only. Although it is a great blessing we’ve received. It’s a responsibility. And part of what makes America work is the fact that we believe in individual responsibility and self reliance but we also believe in mutual responsibility, in neighborliness, in a sense that we are committed to something larger than ourselves.”
    • Speaks of growing the military. Getting those in urban areas to be equally represented in the military.
    • Wants more people in the military and non-military service regardless of whether there is a war.
  • Interviewed a City Year ‘volunteer’ but my questions and pins on my book bag (“Taxation is theft”, “Ron Paul 2008″) scared them off. The Service Nation handler asked me to turn off the camera, that he didn’t want any problems, that it was a positive event. The City Year ‘volunteer’ said he couldn’t speak on the topic as a representative of City Year.

Sept. 12th, 2008:

  • I spoke with a fellow blogger regarding my reason for being at the summit. She was there on behalf of the Case Foundation which is a Service Nation Coalition member.
  • Richard Stengel, managing editor of TIME, effectively asks “why not have compulsory service?” during presidential forum. The tone of the questions and the fact it’s brought up more than once indicates to me he is in favor of mandatory service. In his own brief speech he talks of the most known part of the Declaration of Independence but casually bypasses arguably the most important line. Focusing on “consent of the governed” instead of “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Implying, IMO, he prefers a positive law democracy vs natural law republics.
  • Jon Bon Jovi speaks on his private charities. Many examples of service and voluntarism given were in fact actual privately performed.
  • Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York tells us [Part 2]: “We’re not here as Democrats or Republicans or as libertarians, socialists, Green party members, or members of other organizations. We are here today first and primarily as Americans.” Claims being a citizen is the highest achievement.
  • Admiral Michael Mullen [Part 2]: “the soldiers in Iraq are protecting our democracy at home. They are there because of what happened on 9/11.” I thought Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. How is it that our invasion of Iraq is protecting us? “There is no greater reward than working for something greater than yourself.” “Keep singing (God Bless America), keep waving (flags), and keep serving!” Yay nationalism/fascism!
  • Michael Bloomberg [Part 2]: “We are the beneficiaries of those who give their lives to defend us.” “Service should be asked of everyone and should be open to everyone. So we are creating new programs.”
  • University president’s [Part 2]: Speak of giving out grants to those who volunteer at school. Making voluntarism mandatory parts of the education process.
  • Alan Khazei: Misuses/misrepresents the Emancipation Proclamation. Need a new role for government. Funding public/private mix of service. “Getting government to do what works.” Speaks of Gandhi, abolitionists, and others. All of who worked against government.
  • George H. W. Bush
  • Bill Clinton
  • Town Hall [Part 2,3,4,5,6]

These are all the videos I’m going to upload… at least for the time being.

Sorry about the last few not having notes. Too lazy to watch them. You can find some notes I took during the event here.