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Earlier today, a new friend emailed me this from Claudia Rosett. She makes the argument for selling people on that old-fasioned idea of liberty.

McCain's message was more muddled than Joe [the Plumber]'s. McCain spent more time promising to "fight" than he did explaining and championing the freedoms for which he himself once literally fought. Toward the end, it was a race in which both candidates were mainly hawking "change." On those vague and utopian terms, Obama had a hands-down lead.

Time was when America's creed could be summed up pretty well by the words of the 18th-century revolutionary Patrick Henry, whose reply in 1775 to the oppressive ways of British colonial rule was: "Give me liberty, or give me death."

If America is to remain a great nation, what must somehow be restored as the centerpiece of the nation's goals is not collective "change," but individual liberty.

Claudia asks, "What were McCain's voters voting for?" And if that doesn't nail it, I don't know what does. Personally, I wasn't voting for McCain, or McCain's stances. My cartoons and posts in the run-up to the election didn't sell McCain or McCain's positions. I didn't want Obama's mega spending proposals to come to pass via his election. I don't believe in a compulsory "spread the wealth" initiative led by the government.

Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's new chief of staff, wrote a book entitled, "The Plan," in which he outlines a "mandatory service" to the community that citizens must do. Got that? It's forced volunteerism. How's that for an oxymoron?

I don't think the high schoolers and college students who voted for Obama voted for that. Most parents can't even get them to do forced volunteerism in their own home. Know what I mean?

But that's the plan. Check it out for yourself at Obama's new presidential-elect web site:

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.
Did you see the word require? Forced volunteerism. Do you want that?

I believe that America is a place where you get to decide how to spend your time. Freedom. Liberty. Which leads me to a phrase I've gotten quite fond of and will work heavily to promote:


You decide for yourself who you are and what you do with your time. I don't care what age you are or what you do in your profession, the human desire for self-determination is universal.

Now let me say this: I love the idea of volunteering. I've done Habitat for Humanity. I've filled sandbags when the floods arrived. I've sheltered kids without a home and given money and time to people who needed it when I felt moved to do so. But it was my choice.

The only people I know who are compelled to do community service are criminals on probation.

Welcome to the new America, Land of the, well... almost Free.

Me, I'm for self-determination.

How about you?

ETC: Evidently, Obama's new administration got wind of the criticism his plan brought to him, so he's changed the wording on his web site to this:

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free.
You can compare that to my screenshot of his prior wording:

But let's go with his new wording. In 2006, according to the US Census Bureau, there were 20.5 million people enrolled in college.

$4,000 x 20,500,000 = $82,000,000,000 (82 billion dollars)

Welcome to America - the Land of Magic Money!

And by the way, as Bella points out, what college student wouldn't want $40 an hour? That's comparable to an $80K a year salary.

Do you get the feeling, like I do, that Obama just pulled these numbers out of thin air? What kind of expectations are you setting for college students to make $40 per hour doing government-sponsored "volunteerism?" Think those college students might miss the point of the joy of true volunteering, where you get nothing but a smile and a handshake in return?

And what about the other work that they do to earn a living while enrolled? Kinda makes their $8.00 an hour at Starbucks look dumb by comparison.

I have a word to describe all of this: haphazard.

MORE ETC: By the way, I forgot to mention the alternative to this plan.

College students do what they have always done and what they do today: they work their way through school. Their parents help them out. If they qualify for assistance, they get it.

That system seems to work pretty well. Why fix what isn't broken?

Based on what I see so far, I don't think Obama understands productivity, or what fosters productivity. An efficient economy is not an economy where money is just, you know, spent. Money spent is not the same as other money spent.


by Brett Rogers, 11/6/2008 11:24:51 PM


You know how I feel.

A few posts back you linked a video of a young gal who attended an Obama rally. She was damn near crying because she though she wasn't going to have to work to pay off her car or mortgage if Obama was elected. Something to the effect of "if I vote for him he'll take care of me". I wonder how she's going to feel when she has to spend 50 or 100 hours of her time picking up trash along the side of a highway instead of vegging in front of the tv eating government supplied cheese?

Volunteerism is great. But like most things it needs to be on my terms. Only then does it truely mean something.

Looks like the slope is being greased. He's not even sworn in and I can already say, "Don't look at me, I didn't vote for him".



Posted by Kelly, 11/7/2008 1:29:54 AM

When I used to donate items to charity (like Goodwill) I would never get a receipt to claim the tax deduction. I felt that if I got something out of it, it wasn't charity. But now I take the deduction, because those tax dollars I didn't deduct were going to charity I didn't support - like welfare. So I take the deduction and give money to the USO and the ASPCA and things I care about.

With the exception of my dear great-uncle, the folks I know who voted Obama are the most selfish people I know when it comes to their time. I'm with Kelly. I'll be saying I told you so.



Posted by Annette (, 11/7/2008 9:25:47 AM

Bend Over pretty much sums up my position here. By the way this is replacing the Ass Clown sticker on the back window of my SUV.

Time to fight this in a way that will make a difference. We need a leader at the top of the party that can believes the conservatism, liberty, and self-determination. Equally as important, they need to be able to sell it to the country. The solution isn't to slide to the left. This is why Bush took a nosedive and why McCain was the wrong choice from the start. The GOP has done a lousy sales job so we need a new leader who can excel in this role.



Posted by Pale Rider, 11/7/2008 10:26:18 AM

Oops, that was "We need a leader at the top of the party that can believes in conservatism, liberty, and self-determination." My attempt at using html went down in smoke as well. LOL.



Posted by Pale Rider, 11/7/2008 11:19:34 AM

Hmm... I've fixed your HTML, but frankly I didn't do anything to fix it except open it and save it in my comments admin interface. I need to study that - because I want you guys to be able to use HTML, if you choose.

I was up late last night working on a second blog here on beatcanvas. It's very rough, but inching toward what I want it to do.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 11/7/2008 11:28:48 AM

I don't post because, frankly, the hysteria of this website ticks me off, but here's what Obama's website says about the 100 hours of 'forced volunteerism' for college students. Word for word, copied and pasted from, not interpreted.

Require 100 Hours of Service in College: Obama and Biden will establish a new American Opportunity Tax Credit that is worth $4,000 a year in exchange for 100 hours of public service a year.

I think a lot of people would put in less than two hours a week for that in college.

This is what it says about schools and service:

Expand Service-Learning in Our Nation's Schools: Obama and Biden will set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year. They will develop national guidelines for service- learning and will give schools better tools both to develop programs and to document student experience.

As for schools, developing programs and guidelines and goals for service opportunities is a lot different than forcing kids to dig ditches, which is what you make it sound like. Documenting student experience, by the way, is known by us common folk as an 'internship'.

Jesus, guys. Get your panties out of the bunch, take a breath, and move on. Give the guy a chance. I know you'll be disappointed if the world doesn't end, but the rest of the country might benefit.



Posted by Bella, 11/7/2008 2:11:51 PM

Explain to me, Bella (or anyone else), what right the government has to require any citizen to do anything with his or her time? Show me where the government has that right.

If it's a voluntary program he wants to institute, that's one thing. But required? No "Universal Voluntary Public Service" can be required.

The guy deserves a chance as long as he respects the freedoms we have. Our time is our own, not for the government to determine for us. It's a shame you disagree with that.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 11/7/2008 2:32:14 PM

One other thing, as to your charge of interpretation. Go here:

And read this:

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.
Which is exactly what I pasted above. No interpretation... just copy and paste.

Also, you got hoodwinked by the $4,000 he speaks of. While it sounds impressive, it's not a check for $4,000. It's a tax credit, which would offset federal taxes owed by the college student.

What college student do you know who owes $4,000 in federal taxes in a year? That would require an income of around $50,000. And if I heard Obama right in his campaign, he plans to lower the taxes for people who don't make much money. Which means that their credit will disappear because they will owe barely anything in the first place. They get bupkis. It's worthless fancy talk.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 11/7/2008 2:39:59 PM

Well hello Bella.

Hysterics? I can't say I've seen hysterics here. Usually you can find that over on DKos or HuffPo.

Is that 4k really a tax credit or refund? Not many college students make anywhere near enough to take advantage of a tax credit of that size. Forgive my pessimism but Mr "95% of the population will get a tax cut" has made some mighty big promises that just don't add up.

Obama gets his chance, but I am opposed to many of his ideas. I can't say yet if I am for or against his methods as he hasn't done anything we can go back and measure him against.

It's a fundamental difference though. This forced volunteerism is more government expansion trying to force us to live our lives a certain way. That isn't the role I want my government to play and I'll challenge it as best I can. Where I choose to volunteer my time, who I choose to donate to are personal, not federal choices.



Posted by Pale Rider, 11/7/2008 3:15:41 PM

It's good to know that if the radical right wing counterparts to the radical left wing were to ever institute madatory military service Bella might not have any problem with that being forced upon her. I can see her in a uniform. Sexy!

There's no histaria here. The world isn't coming to an end (thanks for the drama). At stake is the freedom to choose for ones self. How can the country benefit from another program we can't afford? As I write this the United States debt is sitting at $10,631,475,875,985.88. To pay that off would cost every man, woman AND child over $35,000 and it's just going to go higher unless we cut spending. That's a lot of credit card debt for the next generations to have to pay off. But they voted for this guy in droves so eveidently they don't care. The government is going to save them since they can't do it for themselves.



Posted by Kelly, 11/8/2008 9:48:36 AM

Exactly right, Kelly. More money that will be left to our kids to pay later.

What loving parent would knowingly stick their kids with a huge tax burden when those kids become adults? No parent wants to harm their kids. I think the problem here is that most people don't know what lies ahead and what it will cost and the harm that will bring.

Paying attention and calling out a really bad idea is not hysteria. It's doing what little I can to protect my kids from the historically proven burden of socialism's costs.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 11/8/2008 10:49:16 AM

So let me get this straight. In the initial wording, a 4 year college student would have had to complete 400 hours based on the 100 hours per year clause. That would have net out to what, $10 an hour for a credit you don't receive until some future point. Oh yeah, I'd see college students lining up for that.

With the revised wording that would be 50 hrs a year for 2 yr/25 for 4 year students. Possibly an option for students when school is not in session but for those like me who had to work while going to college, it ain't gonna happen when class is in session.

So say students take up efforts like these, that are completely unrelated to most college curriculums. What impact will that have in internships? What is the impact to small business, summer businesses, that rely on student help?

This is nothing more than forced welfare for groups that are supposed to be volunteer. Using Brett's numbers, at the end of Obama's first term, we'd have a new entitlement program with a cost of up to 82 billion a year. Yes, this would be a re-curring entitlement.

If this is the kind of policy and economic brilliance Barry has to offer, predictions of a 2nd Carter term will become reality.



Posted by Pale Rider, 11/8/2008 11:53:06 AM

Yes, PR, that's it. Before the end of the weekend, I'll post something on productivity. But you're exactly right - he's diverting money and time from otherwise healthy and economy-lifting activities (working in a business that grows money) to non-productive activities that don't grow the economy (picking up trash on the roadside, for example).

That's what happens when you spend your days as a student, as a lawyer for ACORN, as a community organizer, and and as a politician. You have no sense of what makes for productivity in an economy. It's all just money changing hands and what's the difference where it goes, if you have that kind of background.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 11/8/2008 12:09:51 PM

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