Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guilt Through Television

As though it wasn’t enough to have the government increasing our debt exponentially and taking over whole sectors of the economy, now Americans will also be assaulted with guilt through their televisions. It’s not enough for this administration that Americans will be paying for their excesses for generations to come, we must also volunteer to spread their propaganda. Hollywood has acquiesced to requests from the government to include promotion for the “iParticipate” program. This is not just accepting advertising for that propaganda machine, but the actual inclusion of encouragement to participate written right into the scripts of weekly or even daily television shows for the week of Oct. 19th-25th. The sites you may be directed to are run by the Entertainment Industry Foundation (, the AARP (Create the and the government itself (

While Americans are among the most generous of people with our time and our money, apparently we are not volunteering for the “right” things. Here are just a few of the opportunities available at the sites that will be touting this propaganda during the week of Oct. 19th-25th.

There is the opportunity to “refute the lies” about Mr. Obama’s proposed healthcare plan through participation in a volunteer opportunity labeled “How to Spread the truth about Healthcare Reform” complete with a propaganda video showing bloggers and radio talk show hosts as a sneering masked woman named Miss Information. They want these volunteers to become unpaid trolls on blogs, talk radio and websites that oppose the administration’s healthcare agenda.

Planned Parenthood wants volunteers to push their political agenda in the upcoming healthcare legislation. Namely that the government should provide for elective medical procedures on the taxpayers dime.

The Secular Student Alliance, on, wants help to support and spread atheism and secular thinking among schoolchildren. Why should parents burden themselves with providing a religious education when the government can find volunteers to do it for them? Perhaps the folks at forgot the 1st amendment? ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” While this isn’t establishing a law, only a volunteer opportunity, why should these religions be promoted at taxpayer expense? (Atheism requires faith in the notion that there is no God, thus it is a religion.) is also looking for executive level volunteers who consider Iraqis to be “fully human” (Americans everywhere should find the implications of that phraseology insulting.)for an opportunity labeled “Provide Policy Guidance to correct Iraq Policy”. Apparently all that spending did not include money to keep our top brass informed on foreign policy and military matters and volunteers are needed to correct that deficiency. (See bottom of article for the text included on that page.)

Then there is the opportunity to become a “Global Warming Ambassador” This nifty little deal is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, a strong supporter of Cap and Trade legislation. You too can tell folks that they should want to pay more for the energy supplies they need to survive because disputed and manipulated data on global temperatures has resulted in scientifically questionable conclusions.

Not all of the volunteer opportunities are manipulative propaganda, but Americans may want to ask themselves why there are any. The pressure to insert this administration’s propaganda into television programming and volunteer sites is a truly outrageous abuse of government power. One might ask who is paying the salaries of those who researched and wrote these volunteer opportunities as well as who is funding The unfortunate answer is almost certainly that the money for this is coming from the American taxpayer. The government is supposed to maintain our freedoms, not tell us what to do with them and certainly not to dictate to us how to use our free time. Americans are quite able to find volunteer and political advocacy opportunities, if that’s how they choose to use their free time, without being manipulated into serving a government agenda under the guise of volunteerism or service.

Belanne Pibal is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

Author's note: All of the links originally included in this article have been adjusted, one assumes as the result of a reasonably competent government web-site manager, so that, instead of going to the specific pages mentioned, they all go to the start page. For this reason, I have not included those links in the re-posting of this article. I saved the webpage to my computer for the most egregious of those links as I anticipated that such would be the case. I have included the text of that page here.

Here is the relevant text of that page:"

Provide Policy Guidance to correct Iraq Policy
Posted By: The Project to Stabilize Iraq

Description: Explain to the President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor, Special Envoy, CENTCOM Commander and Ambassador the foundations of Arab society, the values of Arab people, how and why the current approach is injuring US national security, and what should be done instead. Most of the effort of this project will be aimed at getting face time with the identified individuals. Only about 45 minutes per briefing will be required to conduct actual explanations. Assume 15 hours of prep for each briefing.

Dates: Now/Anytime

Days: Daily

Location: Washington, DC See Map

Tasks for Volunteers: Mandatory: must have executive level experience developing and providing policy analysis and advice concerning international relations with the Arab world. Mandatory: must respect the people, culture and values of Iraqis. Must consider Iraqis fully human. Desired: Relevant Academic and publishing credentials

Learn More: Email this address

Available to: Men/Women

Details: Are attendees paid? No
Disability friendly No

Type: Education"

I felt compelled to include this, because I don't want folks to assume that I am lying when the link takes them to a portal page rather than the actual "volunteer opportunity".

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Taxation with Manipulation

Why is the United States tax code so complicated? One might think that our elected representatives could manage the chore of taxing people with a few relatively simple and easily understood words. Instead Americans are subject to thousands of pages of ever changing regulations. What possible use are all those regulations?

There have been several calls in the recent past for simplification of the tax system in America. They seem to have boiled down to two options: the fair tax and the flat tax. The fair tax (HR 25,/S 296) is a sales tax. It is paid once, at the point of purchase. The flat tax is a system whereby everyone is taxed the same percentage of their income. The rich would pay more because they make more. Both plans contain provisions by which those below the poverty level would receive a refund. There are a number of concerns with both of these plans, mostly regarding changes to the status quo and how those changes will affect the nation.

Will America see either one of these proposals come to a vote, much less enactment? It’s doubtful for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that the tax code is being used to influence the behavior of American citizens. The tax code is used as both the carrot and the stick. It rewards “good” behavior and it is used to punish “bad” behavior. The definition of “good” and “bad” is often dependent upon whomever is in power at the time. How much would a beer or a pack of cigarettes cost you without the “sin tax”? Would you really donate as much to that charity if it wasn’t the end of a year in which you needed another tax write-off? How about installing those new, energy efficient windows-they ones approved for the tax break?

Another reason the tax system hasn’t been simplified is because the current tax system isn’t just being used as a way to collect revenue for the government and influence behavior. It is a sword of Damocles hanging over the head of every American citizen. It is one of the largest and most effective law enforcement tools the government has. How can individual Americans scrutinize the thousands of pages of tax code that are changed and amended every single year to be sure they have done everything as they should? What American does not feel the least bit of trepidation when the time comes to sign their tax returns certifying that “to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and complete”?

Is this really an appropriate use of the tax system? Do the words ”to promote the general welfare” grant authority to the government for this kind of social engineering, experimentation and tyrannical oversight of our personal finances? Common sense and the most cursory of readings of our founder’s writings indicate otherwise. And yet, should any of the current healthcare proposals be passed, Americans will all be making healthcare choices determined by the fact that we will all be subject to being “taxed” for not obtaining “government approved healthcare.” We may even go to jail for non-compliance. Not to promote the general welfare, but to implement the policies of a president and administration who believe that the fruits of our labor should be “redistributed” according to their values, not ours.

Belanne Pibal is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.