Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When a left-leaning crook leaves progressive charities teetering on the brink, we have to help


by Ken

I'm trying to remember who it was among Calvin Trillin's coterie of battling old-time lefties who was the author of the timeless aphorism, "There's no goniff like a left-wing goniff." I'm thinking maybe Harold the Committed? (Somebody out there must remember!)

This was, note, decades before Bernie Madoff staked his hard-to-dispute claim to the title of Goniff of Goniffs. Since our Bernie's empire came crashing down, we've been hearing a growing chorus of institutional cries of agony, an alarming number of them turning out to be death throes, from charitable organizations that had come to count on the G of G's contributions -- or, frequently, contributions from foundations supported by Madoff and Ponzi Partners.

Many of them turn out to be organizations dear to many of our hearts. I don't know whether anyone has yet attempted to compile a master list of the pained and actually imperiled (not to mention already-defunct) organizations. At a time when so many of us are buckling under the weight of the meltdown and recession, it isn't going to be easy for those of us who feel their pain to help plug the budget gaps, but for those in a position to help out, even a little, it would be nice to know (in verifiable form, or at least from credible sources) which worthy nonprofits are really hurting, or even teetering on the edge.

No doubt inspired by the reality that a couple of days remain for donors making qualifying charitable contributions to make them count toward their 2008 tax year, MoveOn.org's Civic Action wing has circulated an e-mail appeal on behalf of "some really important progressive organizations."
Groups that fight for human rights, fair elections and racial justice are getting hit hard—just in time for the holidays. We've worked side-by-side with many of them.

If these groups can't replace the funding that came from investment accounts that Madoff stole, they may be forced to start cutting important projects or, in some cases, even lay off staff.

Can you pitch in $25 or $50 for each of the four organizations we're highlighting below? Our friends at Atlantic Philanthropies and the Open Society Institute will each match every dollar that comes in until January 1! So, for the next three days, your donation of $25 or $50 means $75 or $150 for groups affected by Madoff. If a few thousand of us give together, it can make an enormous difference -- and help repair some of the damage Madoff has done.

MoveOn has set up a webpage to collect contributions ("we will forward 100% of your contribution to the organizations you select") for four organization they've "worked closely with over the last few years":
The Brennan Center for Justice is a nonpartisan institute that focuses on fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Their work ranges from voting rights to redistricting reform to checking presidential power in the fight against terrorism. MoveOn has worked with the Brennan Center closely in the fight for fair elections.

Human Rights Watch is one of the world's leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, they give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Its rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. MoveOn has worked with Human Rights Watch on campaigns to preserve the constitution and protect human rights in America and abroad.

Advancement Project is a policy, communications and legal action group committed to racial justice founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1998. They have pursued critical litigation to protect voters and also support grassroots movements for universal opportunity and just democracy in the areas of education and immigrants' rights. MoveOn has worked with Advancement Project to stop vote suppression, especially among minority folks.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a nonprofit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. MoveOn has worked with CCR to hold President Bush accountable for his unconstitutional acts, from illegal wiretaps to Guantanamo.
There are still two days left in 2008. For anyone in a position to help, these are obviously worthy causes. And if anyone has information about other verifiably imperiled and deserving organizations, please pass it on. The right-wing goniffs always seem to manage to take care of their own. Maybe we can help cushion the blow on our side.

And if you're reading this after December 31, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that worthy organizations that were in need in 2008 will be just as worthy and at least as needy in 2009.

Labels: , , ,


At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to kidding. I think this blog defines the term bleeding heart liberal. To ask people to pony up money so another "assclown" can lose it all in the stock market is truly laughable. Why don't we all just go to our wallets, take out a few 20s, go to the toilet, take a crap, wipe our asses with the green paper, and flush it down the toilet. It would be the same thing that you are suggesting. I think Speilberg and the rest of the Hollywood jews that were ripped off should make another movie about the Churben and donate the money to the bankrupt charities, with the stipulation that they keep the money under their mattresses.

At 9:04 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

After eight years of unbroken right-wing-induced catastrophe, and the state of wreckage it's brought us to, it's good to know that the brain-dead minions of the Right haven't (a) lost their sense of humor (I guess it's fun to be wrong all the time) or (b) unwedged their heads from their asses, with the, er, interesting view of the world you get there.



At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it can be shown that any of the monies those charities received were the results of fraud; the defrauded investors may be able to "claw back" the ill gotten spoils those charities obtained.
I think that might qualify for irony if irony weren't dead.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Norma said...

I thought I was reading a parody, and then I glanced at your blogroll. By golly miss molly, you're serious! Who's zooming who? If you've got extra money give it to an Illinois nursing home for their medicaid patients.


Post a Comment

<< Home