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Don't count out 'mandatory' service yet

Posted By Bob Unruh On 03/26/2009 @ 11:45 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled


A proposal in Congress to study whether “mandatory” service should be required of all young people in the United States has suddenly disappeared from a bill that would reauthorize other national service programs such as AmeriCorps. But the plan has appeared in another bill at just about the same time.

WND reported more than a week ago on a plan in the U.S. House of Representatives to determine whether “a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people” should be developed across the United States. But the language that was included in H.R. 1388 suddenly disappeared.

At about the same time, H.R. 1444 by U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., appeared and was assigned to the House Committee on Labor and Education.

The bill, under Section 4 (b)6, states:

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 and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

The original plan not only reauthorized existing programs but added “new programs and studies” with a forecast funding level of $6 billion over the next five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

It raised immediate concerns that the effort, which is intended to include 250,000 “volunteers,” is the beginning of what President Obama called his “National Civilian Security Force” in a speech last year in which he urged creating an organization as big and well-funded as the U.S. military. He has declined since then to elaborate.

WND reported when a copy of the speech provided online apparently was edited to exclude Obama’s specific references to the new force.

The video of his statements is posted here:

As the presidential campaign advanced last year, another video appeared that for many crystallized their concerns over such a “corps.” It shows a squad of young men marching and shouting praises to Obama. The video is embedded here:

The newest plan says the aim is “to establish the Congressional Commission on Civic Service to study methods of improving and promoting volunteerism and national service, and for other purposes.”

It would be directed to identify how issues that deter volunteerism “and national service” can be overcome, determine what role should government have “in overcoming” those issues, evaluate the “existing databases” for linking “would-be volunteers and service providers,” and referred to the “workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement.”

The proposal also speculates on a “public service academy, a four-year institution that offers a federally funded undergraduate education with a focus on training future public sector leaders.”

Like the provisions in the earlier bill, it also includes children down to primary school, requiring a review of “the means to develop awareness of national service and volunteer opportunities at a young age by creating, expanding and promoting service options for primary and secondary school students and by raising awareness of existing incentives.”

According to a report by Canada Free Press, “‘volunteerism’ that kept America running since the days of its founding” would be “wiped out with the stroke of a pen.”

“It becomes forced labor and like the practice of another era, presses American citizens of all ages and creeds, unknowingly into military service,” the commentary said.

The plan in the earlier bill generated this concern from Resistnet.com: “This is the equivalent of brown shirts.”

A forum participant wondered “what’s going to happen to those who refused to ‘volunteer.’ Maybe they will be put into a different ‘campus.’ I guess we will soon find out.”

On the Albany Insanity blog, this concern was raised: “What gives the government the right to require individuals to give three years service under the guise of ‘volunteer’ service? It is not explicit exactly who is required but I think they get the bill passed and then iron out the details. It talks about uniforms and ‘camps.’ They revise the word ‘camps’ and call it ‘campus.’ There is language about Seniors and Community organizations.”

The blog noted such work forces would be used for “pressing national and local challenges” that apparently could range from weather disasters to economic uncertainty.

WND also reported when the official website for Obama, Change.gov, announced the president would “require” all middle school through college students to participate in community service programs.

However, after a flurry of blogs protested children being drafted into Obama’s proposed youth corps, officials softened the website’s wording.

Originally, under the tab “America Serves,” Change.gov read, “President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in under served schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps.

“Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year,” the site announced.

Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WND, used his daily column first to raise the issue of a “national civilian force” and then to elevate it with a call to all reporters to start asking questions.

“If we’re going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn’t this rather a big deal?” Farah wrote. “I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?

“Is Obama serious about creating some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that? If not, why did he say it? What did he mean?” Farah wrote.

Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel coauthored a 2006 book entitled “The Plan: Big Ideas for America’ that called for three months of compulsory civil service for all Americans aged 18 to 25.

The Obama/Biden campaign website proclaims that “Obama and Biden will expand AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps with “a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year, and will establish a new tax credit that is worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.”

After completing college at Columbia University, Obama in 1983 became a community organizer in the Chicago-based Developing Communities Project, an organization that operated according to principles articulated by Saul Alinsky, whose 1971 book “Rules for Radicals” articulated a socialist strategy for gaining political power to redistribute wealth from the “haves” to the “have-nots.”


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