On Thursday, August 6, an invitation from the National Endowment for the Arts was sent to a select group of pre-screened "artists, producers, promoters, organizers, leaders and just plain cool people."

The e-mail encouraged them to "heed the president's call to action this summer — United We Serve."

Sounds so warm and cuddly (and stupid), doesn't it?

The NEA described the call to action this way: "A call has come in to our generation. A call from the top. A call from a house that is White. A call that we must answer."

That's so artsy of them — instead of saying "White House." Get it?

This call from the top was designed to "expand the idea of service." The e-mail also lauded how artists everywhere are already doing great things to "reframe the image of volunteerism." The conference call would help them zone in on a few key issues to "focus on."

Now, the NEA is taxpayer funded. It exists in order to promote and support the arts. Last time I checked, it's not there to "reframe the image of volunteerism" at the behest of the president. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. That was just the e-mail invitation to the conference call. What happened next absolutely boggles my mind.

Michael Skolnic, one of the organizers of the call, announced that he has been asked by the folks at the White House and the NEA to bring together the artists around the country. Here is the actual audio of the goal for the phone call:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MICHAEL SKOLNIC, RUSSELL SIMMONS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: The president has a clear arts agenda, and has been very supportive of using art in creative ways to talk about the issues we face here in this country.

Continue to get involved in those things, to support some of the president's initiatives, but also to do things that we are passionate about and to push the president and to push his administration.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

Wow.

Is the NEA for supporting the arts, the president's agenda or the president? Apparently, since the call came from the "house that is White" it seems the president thinks the arts are meant to serve him.

And why wouldn't he?

Remember the "Hope" poster? That image helped solidify Obama as synonymous with hope — and it worked.

So why not try it again with the message of health care and cap-and-trade? I mean, besides the fact that it's the NEA and using artists to further issue oriented messages is… what do they call it again? Oh yeah: propaganda.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

YOSI SERGANT, NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS: I would encourage you to pick something, whether it's health care, education, the environment. You know, there's four key areas that the corporation has identified as the areas of service. Then my ask would be to apply your artistic creative communities' utilities and bring them to the table. Again, I'm really, really honored to be working with you.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

Oh, I bet.

Pick something — anything you want — but it would please our beloved leader if you work on one of the four key areas.

They were so giddy imagining the next "Hope" poster success story, and so comfortable in the company of a bunch of hippie starving artists, they almost forgot that this is blatant propaganda.

Well, almost:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SERGANT: This is just the beginning. This is the first telephone call of a brand-new conversation. We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government, what that looks like legally. We're still trying to figure out the laws of putting government Web sites on Facebook and the use of Twitter. This is all being sorted out. We are participating in history as it's being made. So bear with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely and we can really work together to move the needle and to get — to get stuff done.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

Still working it out legally?

It either never occurred to them before they conducted the conference call instructing artists to start using their creative abilities to "push the president," or this is such new and radical territory it's pretty complex to get it right. But one thing is clear, they didn't think anyone in the mostly Che-loving audience would care.

They were wrong.

At least one person on the call had a problem with it all. We talked to him on Tuesday. He posted his concerns on his blog.

And when The Washington Times called Yosi Sergant to talk about the invitation, he sent out a memo himself that said, "I didn't send that."

Of course he is denying that, because he knows he is creating a propaganda machine for the president of the United States and that is wrong.

Well, he knows that the rest of us think it's wrong. They don't think it's wrong. Progressives don't have a problem with it. They have been using propaganda since the get-go.

America, brace yourself, because the progressive machine is gearing up.

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