E PLURIBUS UNUM: I’M HELPING SAVE DEMOCRACY $1 AT A TIME – REBLOG – The Shinbone Star

E PLURIBUS UNUM: I’M HELPING SAVE DEMOCRACY $1 AT A TIME

WRITTEN BY GLENN REDUS, MARCH 6, 2019

One thing you notice pretty quickly once you go from neutral observer to bonafide political warrior is that you’ll get e-mail, tons of it, and all with a common theme: Send money!

Don’t get me wrong, I love helping out and love being on a first-name basis with Democratic stalwarts like Nancy Pelosi and John Lewis (hereafter referred to simply as Nancy and John), but c’mon, guys, I’ve got my own bills to pay!

Shouldn’t I get credit for having written more than 90 anti-Trump posts for The Shinbone Star? No bonus points for culling every last Trump-loving friend or family member from my Facebook feed?

I’ve got to hand it to bigwigs down at the DNC because once they sink their teeth into you they act like a dog on a bone. It doesn’t matter if that bone is already bleached whiter than the skeleton of a dead mule in Death Valley. Retiree on a fixed income? Forget about it! If you’ve still got a dollar to your name, send it in!

It’s true, they’re not necessarily asking for much. Hey, if you can’t send $25, then $1 will do. But they want you to keep sending it all the damned time! Remember that inscription on U.S. currency, “E Pluribus Unum?” It means “Out of Many, One,” but to hear the Democrats spin it, that’s gonna be many, many, many ones for the rest of your natural life.

It’s not that I ever had that much money to begin with. Working in the newspaper business for three decades sure won’t make you rich, but it will teach you a thing or two about deadlines. But I’m here to testify, I’ve never seen an outfit with more deadlines than these Democrats. They’ve got monthly deadlines, quarterly deadlines, and special super-duper deadlines. Even their deadlines have deadlines, and by god, every one is critical!

Whether I’m on my phone or on my computer, the e-mail notifications just keep coming.

Ding . . .

Oh, this is for the “special one-term president fund,” and you’re saying that if I don’t pony up right now, Trump might win again in 2020???? Gaaaaa, anything but that! To hell with the heating oil bill, I don’t care if I freeze my ass off, I’m writing a check to the DNC right now!

Sometimes, however, a simple call to duty doesn’t work, so my new DNC friends have adopted other tactics, like fear.

Ding . . .

Holy shit in the foothills! “EARTH-SHATTERING news!”

Please believe me, I’m well aware that Nancy, Deb, and Adam already e-mailed me, but I had to eat! But now, only 24 hours are left before the next deadline and someone at headquarters noticed that my excitement about the brand new Democratic majority wasn’t up to snuff. I guess maybe I wasn’t that hungry. I guess I could have sent them $1. I’m so ashamed!

They know when you’ve been sleeping. They know when you’re awake.

Ding . . .

I swear Nancy’s stalking my ass! She wants her $1 and by god, she’s not taking “no” for an answer. How the hell did she even know that I had deleted her first message before sending another the same day? Shitfire, they’re watching me!

But even guilt won’t work on some people. Sometimes all it takes is a straightforward plea from a true hero of the republic.

Ding . . .

Dang it, John, that just hurts. How can I deny a man like you who has given his blood for the civil rights movement? And all you’re asking for is one measly dollar? OK, man, you win. I’m sending it in right now, but just tell your pals to back off a little, OK? So what if the phone bill is due, I’ll . . .

Ding . . .

Oh crap, here comes Nancy again!

Wait a minute, you’re saying we have to top the GOP’s $44 million war chest and you can’t do it unless I chip in my last dollar? But for chrissakes, I just gave a dollar to John! Can’t I please just write another Shinbone article or maybe piss off another Trumpist relative instead?

Look, I’m not stupid, I know it takes money to run a campaign, but you guys really gotta know when to back off . . .

Ding . . .

Sheeeit! Nancy must have given my e-mail address to Adam!

But holy crap, man, I have been standing up! Haven’t you seen? Don’t you read The Shinbone Star? What more do I have to do??? I know, I know, just send in one more simoleon . . .

Ding . . .

Oh crap, Adam handed off to James, and he’s saying that even after all the money I’ve sent, we’re still SCREWED! And not only that, he’s snarky, pissy and demanding to boot: (Earth to Glen)

Seriously, James, you’re asking did I miss you? Was I concerned you would forget about me?

Well, Earth to James, I sure as hell wish you would forget about me because this much is clear: John, Nancy, Adam, Deb, Beto, Kamala, Barack, Hillary, Alexandria, Kirsten, Elizabeth, Tom, Mikie and a host of others sure as hell won’t forget about me until they have my last thin dime.

Ding . . . 

Final notice??? But I’m already a card-carrying Democrat! Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Nope, not falling for it this time!

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Read this original post and many other great ones
at The Shinbone Star!

TIS THE SEASON

This is the “giving season.” Not only does Christmas make many people feel they should give whatever they can afford to those less fortunate, but it is the end of the year. If you are going to donate money as a tax deduction, now is the time.

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Giving is good and worthy, but be careful to whom you donate. There are a huge number of charity scams, some legal, many not. They call on the phone, they send emails. They may solicit you on the street. What’s the real story?


I got a call a couple of months ago from a group supposedly collecting money to help women who have breast cancer. Specifically, this group purports to help woman by giving them money to cover the not-inconsiderable expenses connected with cancer. Any cancer, but breast cancer is currently in vogue. I ought to be on a list somewhere. Probably several lists given the breadth and diversity of my physical issues.

“Our goal,” said the collector, “is to assist women with breast cancer who are financially struggling.”

I asked her if she was offering to give me money or asking me to give them money. Because if she was asking me to give them money, she was calling the wrong woman. But if she was offering to help me out, I would be very grateful for any assistance.

Fake breasts
Nice tee-shirt. No part of the price went to charity, no matter what it says

She seemed confused by my question, so I explained that I am a breast cancer victim. I’m in persistent financial straits, so I should be exactly the type of individual for whom her organization is collecting funds. So, if the goal is to help woman with cancer who need money and they’re offering to give me some, I’d be delighted to give them my address so they could send a check. They already have my phone number. I’d be expecting your check. Not.

She told me to have a good day and hung up.

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So — for whom are they collecting the money? No one ever called to find out if I need help. She did insist they were collecting money for women just like me. I was obviously not on their “to be helped” list — and I’ve never heard of the organization.

No doubt they will use the money they raise to raise more money. Which they will use to line their own pockets. No one will ever benefit from it except the fundraisers. Another scam.

"Direct cash" is what they really give to someone other than themselves.
“Direct cash aid” is what really goes to support causes — about 5%.

Which is how these things seem to work. Have you ever heard of anyone actually getting any help from one of these groups? Ever? Even a rumor of someone who knew someone who heard about someone who was helped by such an organization? I haven’t. Not one person anywhere ever.

Tee shirts: I have a few breast cancer tee shirts. Some were gifts. One I bought because it made me laugh. Do not assume that any part of the money these transactions goes to charity. It doesn’t. Tee shirt makers’ personal bank accounts are the only cause they support.


I got a note from a friend of mine recently. She asked:

This may seem irrational, but …

I have some bitter feelings about ACS, left over from when my Mom was dying of multiple myeloma (think Geraldine Ferraro) back in the early 1980s, when there really was no treatment for that devastating disease. As her caretaker (and single parent, low-income but employed), I was feeling desperate and alone one time so I called the local chapter. The person who answered the phone day was curt and dismissive, telling me that the only way they could help was by giving us rolled bandages — which my Mom didn’t need. I like to think it would be different now, but ever since that phone call (just a fluke?) I have taken a dim view of ACS.

Not surprisingly, The Charity Navigator, a group that rates charities and how much of the money they collect actually gets to someone other than themselves, rates the American Cancer Society poorly. Two out of five stars.

I answered her as follows (this is my actual answer, with identifying information omitted for privacy reasons):

To the best of my knowledge, this is not an organization that has ever helped anyone. Ever. I called them when Jeff had cancer and they were just as helpful to me as they were to you. This is one of many “charitable organizations” that seems to exist to collect funds so they can collect more funds. And pay their CEO a princely salary (more than a million dollars annually). As far as I’m concerned, they’re a legal scam. They don’t help anyone.

Exactly who does get the money? Good question. Worth asking. When you get fundraising calls, it’s normal to want to give, if you can. After all, it’s for charity. Isn’t it?

worst charities
Most of the money ends up supporting the fundraisers.

Maybe. Maybe not. Before you open your checkbook, find out who they help. Where the money goes. Many “legitimate” groups — the bigger and better known especially — give almost nothing to help anyone or anything except themselves.

Typically, the percentage that goes to “serving those in need” is less than 5% of the total funds collected. If you gave $10, that’s 50 cents. Not much of a return on your investment. This doesn’t take into account the actual scams of which there are a frightening and rapidly growing number.

If you give to one of them, you have thrown your money away. For nothing and no one. How people can use other people’s suffering to enrich themselves? I don’t know, but, it’s done all the time. By many people.

salvation-army

A word about the Salvation Army. Although they do some good stuff, they charge high prices for donated items. I have seen clothing I donated tagged at prices so high that I couldn’t afford to buy it back. I no longer donate to them. Instead, I find groups who give clothing and other necessities to those who need it — free. Our church collects coats and other warm clothing, as do most churches in cold winter areas. There is also Planet World and other groups.

A FEW GOOD CHOICES

Catholic Charities of USA and associated local chapters support food pantries, free clinics, emergency programs for anyone who needs help regardless of religious affiliation. The American Kennel Club helps dogs, all kinds of dogs, purebred and not. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) provides legal assistance. Whether or not the work they do is something you choose to support is a different issue, but they do live up to their charter.

On the negative side, there’s the United Fund which exists to collect money to support its efforts to collect money. PETA doesn’t give anything to anyone except maybe each other. The American Breast Cancer Association (zero out of four stars) is a legal scam as is the Breast Cancer Prevention Fund  (one star) and there are many more.

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Your local church, synagogue, or mosque is a far better investment. Local religious groups do a lot of good in their communities, quietly, without fanfare. Usually behind the scenes and for free.

Direct charity is always a great choice. If you have a friends who having a hard time, help them. At least you will know your money went where it’s genuinely needed.

Bigger is not necessarily better, especially when you’re talking about charities. Big publicity campaigns mean that big money is being spent and not on helping people or doing research.

Most national charities have local chapters — and they do the real work. Local chapters need to raise funds themselves to continue their work because the national groups keeps the money for their own purposes — usually raising more money and paying high salaries to executives.

Donate to local groups rather than the national organizations.

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Finally, lots of charities have similar names. You need to know the precise legal name of the group. Scams and legitimate groups sound the same when spoken quickly by a solicitor on the phone. Don’t donate to street collectors or telephone solicitors unless you personally know the group and what they do.

Ask for literature. If they don’t have any, it’s a scam. Even the smallest groups have a leaflet of some kind. Do not assume a website means anything. You know how easy it is to create a website … fake address and all.

Old South Church steeple

Ask questions. Do your homework. For many of us, finding a little money to donate to anyone is a stretch, so before you give, know to whom it’s going.

Otherwise — I’m serious about this — give the money to someone who is struggling. At least you will know your gift helped someone. It won’t be tax-deductible, but that’s not the point, is it?

CHARITABLE GIVING – RICH PASCHALL

We are part of the solution or part of the problem. The answer is that those of us who have the means need to use what we give to its best advantage. There are a lot of fake charities out there playing on our sympathies. We need to do our homework before plunking down that check!

rjptalk

The Case for Good Works

Washington DC - Capitol Hill: United States Ca...
Washington DC – Capitol Hill: United States Capitol (Photo credit: wallyg)

It is often said that we should not expect the Federal Government to do every thing for everyone.  It can not, and should not, be expected to be all things to all people.  They are not good at it anyway.  Programs by the government created to address a variety of social needs have never been an effective way to actually meet people’s needs.  First and foremost among the problems is the inevitable bureaucracy that springs up around any social program administered by the government.  If they are at it long enough, there will be enough whistle blowers to point out the waste the program accumulates.  Proof will arise that anything run by the feds will sooner or later seem like a bad soap opera.  We can laugh about 100 dollar hammers or 200 hundred-dollar toilet seats but…

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