11 September 2009

Community Organizing:
To September 11th and Beyond!

Part I of my two-part crazy watchdog attempt at following the ACORN/US government trail. Part II is HERE

"Charity begins in the home." ~Sir Thomas Browne, 1642.

The President's daily speech regarding September 11th "Service" bothered me.

I was struggling with the idea of turning this day where
2,976 souls perished into some sort of volunteer day.

So did I hear the president correctly? "Originated by the family members those who lost loved ones on 9/11"? Really?

I found the text of Obama's speech on the Blog
Blue Virginia, which posted it impressively quick! So then I "Googled" that phrase. It took me to a website called Blackfive which had posted an article called "9/11 Families About Politicizing the Day". The article explains how the day became a subject of politicization:
"With the recent controversy over having a national service day on 9-11, an organization that is supported and accepted by many 9-11 families has been caught in the middle. MyGoodDeed.org was started by David Paine and Jay Winuk (who lost a brother at the World Trade Center) in order to create a legacy around that day that involved both chapters of 9-11: the tragic loss of Americans by terrorists and the good deeds done by Americans on that day and the days following. David Paine explained that “we don’t want to transform 9-11 from a day of remembrance to a day of service. It has to be forever linked and reflected on what happened on that day. ..The consensus within the 9-11 community is that we wanted it to be non-profit, voluntary, privately funded, not government organized, and have Americans do simple good deeds in addition to the memorial service.”

Also, Blackfive states in an interview of journalist Matthew Vadum:
"Mathew Vadum, a writer for American Spectator, pointed out to Blackfive that those associated with the day of service planning are “leftists Barbara Lee and Reverend Yearwood who are trying to insert their own views of social justice for this solemn day in American history.”
Lastly, the posting notes this regarding the history of making 9/11 a day of service:
"The former Director of Domestic Policy during President George W. Bush’s administration, John Bridgeland, pointed out that the administration wanted to create a spirit combining all the attributes demonstrated on 9-11 by making sure “it’s a day of remembrance, reflection, and organic volunteerism.”

I have had a whole new education about who and what "Community Organizing" is over the last year. I now associate the words "Community Organizing" with both the President's website "Organizing for America" and the now infamous ACORN. ACORN has made recent news on Andrew Breitbart's new site BIGGOVERNMENT where severe corruption has been exposed in both Baltimore and Washington DC. Based on the president's speech, "Organic volunteerism" as quoted above is the same? I don't know. But it made me think and do a little research, which I love to do.

Blackfive also mentioned the website MyGoodDeed.org. This web address connects directly to
911DayofService.org when typed in as a url. At the bottom of the 911 page, listed are "Program Supported by" with several icons, most of which you can click on and go directly to their page.
MyGoodDeed.org is listed, but you cannot link to it. Knowing that nothing on the internet really disappears, I did a little
digging and found out that MyGoodDeed.org used to be called OneDaysPay which was also called HandsOnNetwork.org. Hmmm. Shape-Shifting Websites. Interesting.

In an archive, OneDaysPay.org states:

"One Day's Pay, a national, non-profit, public benefit corporation, was founded in 2002 to honor the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. We pay tribute to their memory by pledging to permanently set aside time each September 11 to help others in need through community service or other giving activities. One Day's Pay is not affiliated with any charity or organization — it's mission is to support all worthy causes. People and organizations that make pledges on our site will not be called or solicited in any way. It is entirely up to each individual or group to investigate their own opportunities, to decide what they want to do and to plan their own activities.

"One Day's Pay, incorporated in the state of California is supported privately through contributions made by founders, suppliers, individuals, foundations and other funding organizations. The organization has filed for tax-exempt 501c3 status."
"One Day's Pay has permanently changed the name of its official Web site to www.myGoodDeed.org.

"Please be sure to post your pledge to perform at least one good deed on or around 9/11 in honor of those who were injured or lost their lives on September 11, 2001, as well as the many volunteers and heroes who responded to the national call for help"

The Internet is not called a WEB for nothing. I wound my way around a great archive site and found a connection from HandsOnNetwork.org to ChicagoCares.org. On their site posted March 31, 2002 ChicagoCares posts an employment opportunity for "Coordinator for The Chicago Cares AmeriCorps Partners In Technology Program". Again, interesting.

But back to 911DayofService.org. Among the listed "supporters" are the following 501(c) organizations:
Futher in exploring the Hands On Network archives in the web, I found this page where tons of people have listed their "donations". At the bottom of this page also are more of those "partner icons":
Ambac where you can view their "history" on their current page: Ambac Financial Group, Inc. is a holding company whose affiliates provide financial guarantees and financial services to clients in both the public and private sectors around the world. Ambac's principal operating subsidiary, Ambac Assurance Corporation, a guarantor of public finance and structured finance obligations. The Ambac Assurance financial guarantee is an unconditional and irrevocable pledge that investors will receive principal and interest payments in full and on time should the issuer of an Ambac-insured security default. Our valuable financial guarantee reduces financing costs for issuers, facilitates the structuring and distribution of securities by investment bankers and improves liquidity for investors.

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW) is the largest full-service investment bank that specializes exclusively in the financial services sector. Founded in 1962, our firm is recognized as a leading authority on financial services companies. KBW’s focus includes banking companies, insurance companies, broker/dealers, mortgage banks, asset management companies, and specialty finance firms. Our firm has established industry-leading positions in the areas of research, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and sales and trading for financial services companies.

KPMG A global network of professional services firms with over 135,000 people working together to deliver value in more than 140 countries. We draw on our firms' deep industry experience to provide Audit, Tax & Advisory services.

JPMorgan Chase major participant in the strongest, most vibrant capital markets in the world, operating across various businesses and geographies. We are a leading global financial services firm with assets of $803 billion.

These are all Corporations, not non-profits.
Aslo on the archived page at HandsOn is this:
where a person can decide to give money in the aftermath of 9/11. One place to donate is to the United Way of New York. Now, the United Way I'm sure is an honorable charity with good intentions. It's beyond the scope of my time to even attempt to look into them.

Also at the site, though, is a partial listing of non-profits that received funding from United Way of New York City in 2007-08. The list includes but is not limited to Common Ground, Community Service Society of New York, Craigslist Foundation, Mentoring USA, Inc., National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Planned Parenthood of NYC, Inc.

Common Ground. Comunity Service Society. A pattern is beginning to present itself to my brain, both in content and theme as well as in appearance of sites.

Center for Community Change

Here, I get momentarily "lost" with too many windows open on my poor little laptop, but that's not too important at this point. I had also stumbled onto a site called The Gamaliel Foundation. At all these websites I am in the habit of clicking on their "About Us" or "Partners" or even "Resources" tabs/links. The Gamaliel Foundation states on their home page that "
All human beings are created equal. All should be given the greatest opportunity for achieving their fullest potential. All should participate in shaping the community in which they live. The ideal is far from realized." That sounds lovely, but my conservative mind triggers a "Utopia" alert. Scroll down on Gamaliel's Home Page and you'll find an article titled "Barack H. Obama, former GAMALIEL ORGANIZER is the 44th President of the United States!" I can tell they are proud, and rightfully so. But there's that word again: "Organizer".

Ok, shift gears for a moment. The President's website, supported by the DNC, is called Organizing for America. Associated with it are (but not limited to):

Grants Policy Committee
End of Part I
Part II - Community Organizing: Where Have All the Dollars Gone?

*United Way is a worldwide network in 45 countries and territories, including nearly 1,300 local organizations in the U.S. It advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all, by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

**Among partners listed for Points of Light is the Altria Group , the parent company of Philip Morris USA, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, John Middleton, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Philip Morris Capital Corporation and in addition, Altria Group, Inc. holds a continuing economic and voting interest in SABMiller.

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