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Worthy Causes to Support this Christmas

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:54 pm - December 20, 2011.
Filed under: Worthy Causes

Two years ago at this time, I identified three of the charities I support every year and do so again at the end of this post.  In that post and this, I lamented how I am inundated with solicitations from various worthy organizations, often receiving ten solicitations a day in my “snail mail,” many from organizations to which I have never donated, some advocating for causes about which I’d never heard.

Today, as I began the process of making my end of the year contributions, I started sorting through the solicitations I had saved in a pile behind my desk.  What struck me was how certain groups sent out numerous missives (some nearly identical) over a very short period of time.  Many offered free gifts, others defined every letter as “urgent,” a handful told me to renew my annual membership to organizations I had never joined.

Some offered free gifts.  Now, I understand that in this world, a group often needs a gimmick to call attention to itself.  And groups that are excessively aggressive in their fundraising do do good work with the funds they receive.  Once again, I wish to highlight three of the groups I support largely because they, unlike so many organizations aren’t that aggressive.

Each does good work in its own way, so, as your finances allow, please join me in supporting these organizations:

  1. The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund provides immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. We direct urgently needed resources to post 9-11 Marines and Sailors, as well as members of the Army, Air Force or Coast Guard who serve in support of Marine forces. .”  Click here to donate.
  2. The Lamp Community helps “people living with severe mental illness move from streets to homes. Lamp offers immediate access to affordable, safe and permanent housing without requiring sobriety or participation in treatment.”  Click here to donate.
  3. The mission of the Cato Institute is to increase the understanding of public policies based on the principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and peace.”  They’ve done yeoman’s work on healthcare reform, promoting free market alternatives and challenging what was once the conventional wisdom on global warming.  Click here to donate.

Two years ago, I wrote, “strive to be generous throughout the year. Even if you don’t support these groups, please find a worthy cause to support. Or a lonely friend to visit. It’s not just through our donations that we can show our generosity.” I repeat that plea today.

Has Obama’s charm ever transformed a hostile dictator?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:40 pm - December 20, 2011.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance,Where's the Scrutiny?

Yesterday, when writing about candidate Barack Obama’s pledge, if elected to meet, the then-leader of North Korea, Jim Geraghty quipped that many

. . . of us are pleased that this promise reached its expiration date . . . but one would like to think that any future presidents would not need to be disabused of the notion that their personal charisma and reasonableness could win over unhinged hostile dictators.

Geraghty’s quip reminds us yet again that part of the Democrat’s appeal was that his supposedly superior temperament would provide the cornerstone for the change his election would herald.  Only problem is, save for the reactions of those to the charismatic candidate’s speeches, no one could provide much, if any, evidence that this man had ever used the power of his personality to reconcile opposing parties or effect real reform.

And his charm and reasonableness certainly haven’t helped transform hostile dictators threatening the United States and oppressing their citizens into benign despots making peace with the U.S. and relinquishing their control over their societies.

Let’s run with Jeb away from the straight line of the statists!

Yesterday and today, the conservatives blogosphere has been abuzz about an op-ed a successful former governor of a large swing state penned in the Wall Street Journal.  In the Washington Examiner, noting Republican “unhappiness” with presidential field, Byron York wrote that “there is new speculation focusing on [Jeb] Bush after the former Florida governor turned heads [with his] a campaign-like economic manifesto headlined ‘Capitalism and the Right to Rise.’

Rush Limbaugh, York reports, loved the piece, quipping that he could have written it himself.

Although Jeb Bush e-mailed Karl Rove saying that he’s not running, Jim Geraghty writes that “among those who thought it was too late for anybody to jump in, but . . . boy, what made Jeb Bush decide to write an op-ed like that for the Journal? He has to know that lots of people will interpret that as a trial balloon for a presidential bid . . .

Rush is right to praise the editorial.  It’s a nice succinct case for capitalism.  Jeb understands rights.  He understands freedom:

We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn’t seem like something we should have to protect.

But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.

That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.

But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself. (more…)