Freefall Lifeboats

Remember how the CEO of the RNLI was bleating the other day about his outfit not having enough money? Well, here’s how they spend it:

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution came under fire yesterday for spending millions of pounds on projects in foreign countries –including buying burkinis for Muslim women in Africa – while slashing more than 100 jobs in the UK.

Donations are being spent on swimsuits for devout Muslim women in Tanzania and on funding creches in Bangladesh which the RNLI claims helps to prevent drownings overseas.

If you were to go around collecting money for wounded soldiers and then you use it to buy a Porsche, you’d be arrested and charged with fraud. But it appears if you tap people up under the auspices of operating a lifeboat service along Britain’s coast but instead blow a few million on outfits which stop the male relatives of African girls beating them senseless whenever they wish to get wet, that’s just fine.

However, the charity intends to increase its annual spend on foreign projects by £400,000 this year.

I bet there wasn’t a single donor who had any idea they were spending money abroad, let alone on rubbish like this.

The RNLI has talked about trying to ‘influence policy-makers and partners’ and lobbying the United Nations to reduce deaths at sea.

It has a ‘national team of health, safety and environment advisers’, and a ‘diversity leadership group’ tasked with promoting the ‘International Day Against Homophobia’.

As I’ve remarked about the old RNLI CEO, grifters really don’t care about the ostensible purpose of any organisation they join: they’re there to feather their own nests and advance their careers. It’s why they turn up in a series of organisations which have nothing to do with one another: the consistency lies in their role of grifting. I expect the RNLI will be joining the rest of the major “charities” and shaking down the taxpayer for funds before too long. Anyone who still donates to them is a fool.


Sinking Funds

Remember this story?

A lifeboatman who served with the RNLI for 15 years was sacked alongside his junior colleague for having mugs with naked women on them in the office.

Whitby crewman Ben Laws and his workmate Joe Winspear were allegedly sacked over the phone on Tuesday.

The pair are reported to have swapped the ‘jokey’ tea mugs for Secret Santa presents.

One featured Mr Winspear’s head superimposed on a naked woman’s body.

And I said:

As an organisation grows and gets more wealthy, parasites in the form of professional “managers” come in and use the excess cash to feather their own nests and set about building their own little empires. In effect, the organisation splits in two. You have a ruling class, sitting in plush air conditioned offices pushing progressive agendas and advancing their careers; and you have everyone else, including those tasked with fulfilling the core function of the organisation.

Well, whaddya know?

The chief executive of the RNLI has said that the lifeboat charity is facing the “perfect storm” of a shortfall in funds at a time when its services are more in demand than ever.

Lifeboat crews and lifeguards are being called out more often to save lives but the charity is suffering from a shortfall, largely created by the economic climate and a drop in money left to the charity in supporters’ wills.

Of course, the drop-off in donations has nothing to do with the RNLI demonstrating to the public that it is nowadays more a jobs program for middle-class grifters than an organisation devoted to saving lives at sea.

In 2018 the RNLI’s financial resources dropped by £28.6m. Its total expenditure was £192.9m but its net income was £186.6m, leaving an operating loss of £6.3m. A leading factor that contributed was a reduction in legacy income of £8.5m.

And how much of that £192.2m is spent on middle managers whose job is to patrol lifeboat stations in all weathers looking out for offensive coffee mugs?

I notice that the CEO who presided over the debacle last year has moved on to another cushy posting, replaced by one Mark Dowie who is:

a former naval officer who went on to work in the banking industry

Which sounds a lot like the previous chancer, but at least this one does seem to have some relevant experience:

Dowie gave the example of Salcombe lifeboat station in south Devon, where he volunteered before taking on the role of chief executive, as an example of how the pressure on the service was growing.

Right, but:

Dowie, who has been in post for four months, said: “As a people we use the sea in ways that change all the time. We have many more people working on the sea, things that we weren’t doing when we were founded, for example wind farms. But there is also a vast amount more pleasure activity in, on and around the sea.”

Are there really many more people working on the sea than in 1824? I doubt it. The man is talking rot. Four months into the job and the only thing on his mind is how to get more money in, his predecessor having demolished the institute’s reputation in a matter of days.

Dowie said he hoped the decrease in bequests was just about “ebbs and flows”. He said: “We don’t have an easy way of getting statistics on why the amount of money from legacies was reduced.”

Translation: we know damned well why the money is drying up but we don’t want to say anything which will detract attention from our core business of policing the morals of those who volunteer to risk their lives for those at sea.


Employees of Conscience

This doesn’t surprise me:

Amnesty International is to lose most of its senior leadership team after a report said it had a “toxic” workplace.

The human rights organisation’s secretary-general, Kumi Naidoo, ordered an independent review after two employees killed themselves last year.

In the review one staff member described Amnesty as having “a toxic culture of secrecy and mistrust”.

Amnesty said the senior leadership team accepted responsibility and all seven had offered to resign.

Five of the seven senior leaders, based mainly in London and Geneva, are now believed to have left or are in the process of leaving the organisation.

Amnesty International is just one of an inexhaustible list of institutions captured by the hard left and converted to anti-western political campaigning with its original purpose forgotten. And it appears to have become a truism that the more self-righteous a charity is, and the more it embraces progressive ideology, the worse the people running it are.

In May 2018, Gaëtan Mootoo, 65, killed himself in Amnesty’s Paris offices. He left a note talking of stress and overwork.

A subsequent inquiry found he was unhappy over a “justified sense of having been abandoned and neglected”.

Amnesty International was founded to campaign on behalf of political prisoners who had been abandoned and neglected. Now they’re giving their staff a similar experience.

Many staff gave specific examples of experiencing or witnessing bullying by managers.

There were reports of managers belittling staff in meetings and making demeaning and menacing comments, for example: “You should quit. If you stay in this position, your life will be a misery.”

To be fair, this doesn’t sound much different from the management in any other large organisation. These days the only characteristic that is tolerated is unwavering obedience.

There were multiple accounts of discrimination on the basis of race and gender, and in which women, staff of colour, and LGBT employees were allegedly targeted or treated unfairly.

I’d be willing to bet major oil companies are an order of magnitude better on this score. But who gets held up as the conscience of the world while the other has protesters outside their offices looking to shut them down?

The report also pointed to an “us versus them” dynamic between employees and management.

Which is as common a management style as you’ll find anywhere.

Amnesty is not the only human rights organisation to come under fire for its treatment of employees.

A report earlier this year said that bullying and harassment were commonplace at Oxfam, and last year Save the Children was at the centre of serious allegations of workplace sexual harassment.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. One day someone will confirm the rumours I hear about what working in the United Nations is like.


Charitable propaganda

In September I speculated that the plethora of news articles concerning ill-treatment of Rohingyas in Myanmar and Uighurs in China were the result of lobbying efforts by pro-Muslim groups awash with zakat money. I’d like to see a study done on how many “news” items are simply campaign propaganda, paid for by political organisations masquerading as charities with too much money. Take this CNN report, for example:

Beef isn’t good for the planet. But you probably knew that already.
You might know beef is responsible for 41% of livestock greenhouse gas emissions, and that livestock accounts for 14.5% of total global emissions. If you didn’t, you’ve probably heard about the methane — a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent that carbon dioxide — that cattle produce from both ends.

This is one of several reports I’ve seen over the past few weeks claiming eating meat is bad for the environment and everyone needs to drastically cut down their meat consumption if the planet is to be saved. These stories appear on major news sites littered with question-begging statements coupled with wholesale acceptance of the most extreme climate change predictions. So who’s putting this garbage on newsroom desks?

Firstly, it must be understood that environmental campaigning, vegetarianism, and veganism are western, rich people’s hobbies. I read somewhere that Greenpeace gets the bulk of its donations from Germans; apparently they’re sanctimonious bores who like to tell others what how to live. Who knew? The last decade has seen the number of environmental groups multiply, probably as a result of government money being hosed at anyone who sings from the climate change hymnsheet, but also because societies – particularly those in northern Europe, north America, and Canada – have got richer. People – particularly those in mid-career with disposable income and no children – are more inclined to donate money to environmental and green charities, allowing them to lecture others on sustainability before jetting off to the Bahamas on holiday. Hell, some of them might even believe they’re helping.

What is certain is these environmental groups are awash with money. One proof of this is how much they spend on salaries and marketing campaigns: it runs into the millions. Only they’ve come under a lot of pressure recently to spend more on charitable activities, which to you or I means going outside and getting your hands dirty to help those in need. But the wealthy social science graduates who run these organisations aren’t going to do that; so instead they spend the money on “awareness” campaigns which can just about pass muster as “frontline services”. They’ll call up their friends in media and ask them to run some nonsense about how everyone must go vegan to save the planet, and they’re only too happy to oblige. It’s cheap and it’s free for starters, and they don’t even have to leave the building.

As I said, I’d love to see a study done on how many supposed news reports are simply media campaigns put out by charities. But what I’d like to see even more is the government carry out a thorough investigation into these alleged charities, strip them of their charitable status, and start treating them as political organisations. It’s high time the public started treating them that way, too.


Swamp Things

Yesterday I was spammed by some outfit calling itself Muslim Advocates which is “a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.” Here’s a recent tweet of theirs:

So, freedom and justice for all Americans except those who say things they disagree with. This outfit is hot under the collar over what they disingenuously insist on calling Trump’s “Muslim Ban”, which was ruled unlawful but is now before the Supreme Court. Naturally, these fair-minded race hustlers think the SCOTUS should uphold the decisions of the lower courts, and are trying to get people out protesting in Washington DC. Why they should have spammed me with an email about it I don’t know, but some of the other groups attending are worth looking at.

Justice for Muslims Collective whose mission is “to combat institutional and structural Islamophobia in the DC metro area” and which “envisions a world where Muslims around the world are treated with dignity and respect while being afforded equal access to human and civil rights.” Worthy aims indeed, but the DC metro area seems an odd place to focus their efforts.

The LGBT Bar Association whose position on the list is just above that of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. which “brings many disparate Asian American communities together online and offline to reimagine Asian American identity with nuance, specificity, and power. We are using this Asian American identity as the foundation to build a more just and creative world where our experiences are affirmed, our leadership is valued, and all of us have the opportunity to thrive.” However, in somewhat contradictory fashion, they “do not see the Asian American identity as monolithic.”  They also “acknowledge the pervasive role capitalism has played in ripping our communities apart”, because Asian Americans are famously ill-suited to capitalistic endeavours.

National Center for Lesbian Rights, who are rightly concerned about US immigration policy regarding Somalia.

No Muslim Ban Ever campaign, whose work would have been complete if only they’d read the Wikipedia entry on Executive Order 13769.

Japanese American Citizens League whose views on Japan letting in a whopping 20 refugees in 2017 are unfortunately not stated on their website.

Oxfam America, who presumably are concerned they may have to pay the going rate for white hookers if Trump’s ban on admitting starving teenage waifs from third-world disaster zones is upheld.

National Council of Jewish Women, who sound as though they were invited by accident.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU), who racistly assume any brown-skinned person coming to America is going to work in service and thus needs representing.

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), who obviously don’t like North Asians much.

There are around 40 of these anti-Trump rabble-rousing groups, most of which will be generously funded by taxpayers. One of the surest signs that a country is staggeringly wealthy, perhaps too much so, is that these outfits not only exist but are so numerous it’s impossible to keep track of them. It’s also worth mentioning a lot of them sprung up only when Trump was elected.


Never mind the elephants, there are girls to empower!

A correspondent tells me many years ago he began donating to Friends of Conservation, a charity concerned with saving endangered wildlife in Africa, particularly elephants and rhinoceroses. Earlier this week he received this letter from them, the fourth paragraph of which I reproduce below:

We are setting up an empowerment initiative in schools, primarily to help girls boost their confidence and increase self-esteem. As well as self-defence classes for girls and boys, there’ll be sessions in safe spaces where girls can discuss issues and become more aware of their rights; and classes where boys can will be encouraged to have greater respect for girls. We hope to help foster a learning environment where girls and boys are treated equally and have the same opportunities.

Spending charitable donations on woke feminist causes saves how many elephants and rhinos, I wonder? Needless to say, this has cost them at least one donor. At this point, I think it’s safe to assume every charity has been thoroughly corrupted in this manner. Can anyone point with confidence to one that hasn’t?


Are the giant overseas charities another Hollywood?

Two things. Here’s the first:

Mark Goldring, the chief executive, claimed critics motivated by an anti-aid agenda were “gunning” for Oxfam leaving the charity “savaged”.

In an interview with The Guardian, he said: “The intensity and ferocity of the attack makes you wonder, what did we do? We murdered babies in their cots?

The second:

The husband of the murdered MP Jo Cox has resigned from the two charities he set up in her memory after being publicly accused of sexual assault.

Together they made me come up with a theory.

The revelations that Oxfam was running orgies in disaster areas confirmed my long-held suspension that these giant do-gooder organisations are run by people who don’t consider themselves accountable to anyone, probably because they genuinely see themselves as modern day saints. Goldring’s comments are the words of man who thinks he operates on a higher plane than us lowly plebs, and lives in a world completely detached from the man on the street. The news about Brandon Cox being a sex pest only surprised me because I had no idea who he was until his wife was murdered, but those who knew of him before aren’t surprised in the least.

So here we have an industry whose leaders virtue-signal for a profession yet appear to tolerate gross and blatant sexual misconduct and turn a blind eye to sex pests. We’ve been here before, haven’t we? Could it be that what we saw with Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood is replicated across the charitable sector? All the signs are there. We have a closed industry protected by powerful politicians and the media where older men hold considerable sway with a steady stream of young, impressionable men and women turning up to help out in any way they can. How do you think the assignments are doled out among the volunteers? Who gets to stay in which hotel, ride in which vehicle, sleep in which tent? In whose lap do the plum jobs land, and who makes the decision? A lot of these people are volunteers so there’s no question of the organisations recruiting and paying for marketable skills like a commercial business does. If a pretty young thing shows up in the developing world for volunteer work in an organisation which doesn’t think twice about decking out Haitian waifs in company t-shirts and shagging them in front of everybody in a penthouse apartment, do you think nobody is going to make a move on her? Nobody is going to invite her up to the hotel room for a drink or two, and make promises of promotion in return for her nocturnal company?

There’s also the fact that these do-gooder organisations are very left wing, and as I’ve written before, many young left wing women tend to make themselves extremely vulnerable by judging a man’s character solely by his political opinions. Provided the man is spouting the right progressive mantra, dim lefty women seem quite unable to spot he’s a sex pest. And because he is spouting the right progressive mantra, those with power will defend him, and destroy her, when she complains. Like the protest groups and polyamorist circles, these organisations are ripe for sexual predators to come in, flatter the people in charge with a few well-placed lines of boilerplate progressivism, and help themselves to any fucked-up young men or women who come their way.

So here’s my prediction. In the next few days, weeks, or months we’re going to hear of quite startling revelations of sexual assaults on volunteers working for the big charities or environmental groups which would make Harvey Weinstein wish he’d answered that request to make a documentary with one of them after all. We’ll hear of a class of untouchable senior managers who openly boast of taking their pick of the prettiest staff, make blatant approaches towards underlings during parties and drinking sessions in the hotel bars, and all of this will be common knowledge among anyone involved with the group. Complaints would have been lodged and either ignored or the complainant hounded out of town, and national news reporters would have received dozens of stories but declined to run them through fear of upsetting their friends and political allies. Now The Times has broken ranks and published the Oxfam revelations, and stories are pouring in of similar happenings in other charities, I reckon they’ll be a new #metoo movement springing up before we know it. I find it highly unlikely, set up and staffed as they are, that such incidents are not commonplace in the big overseas charities and environmental groups.

You read it here first.


The Incompetence of the American Red Cross

Via bobby b in the comments at Samizdata, I find this rather comprehensive report on the failures of the American Red Cross in their response to hurricanes Sandy and Isaac.

The report highlights a catalogue of failures including spending more efforts on PR and fund-raising than actually helping people, e.g. by driving empty trucks around for the benefit of news crews:

Top Red Cross officials were concerned only “about the appearance of aid, not actually delivering it,” Rieckenberg says. “They were not interested in solving the problem — they were interested in looking good. That was incredibly demoralizing.”

Allow me to scan the article in search of a possible cause. Ah, here we are:

The Red Cross has endured patches of trouble in the recent past. It faced allegations of financial mismanagement after Sept. 11 and Hurricane Katrina and a series of chief executives were forced to resign. Congress forced an overhaul. The Red Cross recruited [Gail] McGovern to the top job in 2008.

McGovern had spent her career as an executive at AT&T and Fidelity and was teaching marketing at Harvard Business School. “This is a brand to die for,” she said in an early interview as the Red Cross’ chief executive.

A failing organisation recruits as their CEO a telecoms marketing power-skirt now working in academia. What could go wrong?

While often praised as a stabilizing presence by those outside the Red Cross, McGovern initiated a series of changes inside the organization that roiled the venerable charity. She executed layoffs and reorganizations that closed local chapters and centralized power at national headquarters in Washington.

With the glaringly obvious exception of fundraising, would you like to take a punt on whether McGovern was more interested in processes or outcomes?

But this was a few years ago now. How are things today? Well, McGovern is still in charge, and Bayou Renaissance Man points us towards this report:

Residents across Texas are expressing their outrage at The Red Cross after Hurricane Harvey victims and relief volunteers witnessed mismanagement and apathy from Red Cross workers … At Wednesday morning’s Houston City Council meeting, Councilman Dave Martin, who represents flood-ravaged Kingwood, had a very clear message to prospective donors of The Red Cross.

“I beg you not to send them a penny,” he said. “They are the most inept unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced. Don’t waste your money. Give it to another cause.”

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett was also uncomplimentary of the organization. Judge Emmett admitted that he asked a local nonprofit to manage the shelter at NRG Park, because he didn’t trust The Red Cross to do a good job.

And government officials are far from the only ones voicing their disapproval. We’ve seen story after story of Red Cross mismanagement expressed by both evacuees and volunteers across Texas. In fact, we’ve been hard pressed to find a positive story. When we do find one, we will update this article.

This comes as absolutely no surprise. The major charities long ago became vehicles for the ambitious middle classes to climb the greasy pole and enrich themselves while basking in the virtue which comes when people assume you’re working for a good cause. Why anyone still donates to them is a mystery to me.


Fake Charities

An organisation based in New York calling itself the Anne Frank Center is apparently not quite as it’s name suggests:

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, known until about a year ago as the Anne Frank Center USA, is a small organization of about nine staffers. It is independent from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which memorializes Anne’s hiding place, and is not connected at all to the Anne Frank Fonds, the Swiss organization that owns the rights to Anne’s diary.

The Anne Frank Center has reliably been willing to criticize the Trump administration in more aggressive and hyperbolic terms than any of these well-established groups, and media outlets have credulously rewarded it with extensive coverage.

With just its famous name and a savvy social-media strategy, the Anne Frank Center has transformed into a putative authority on anti-Semitism and American politics. But it’s not at all clear the organization speaks for anybody other than its own leaders—not Holocaust scholars, Anne Frank’s family, or the Jewish community.

In other words, it’s a political lobby group masquerading as a benevolent organisation under a highly misleading name.

This is more common than you think, and the only surprise (or not, given the state of our media) is that these fraudsters are not called out more often. In Britain we have the wonderfully named Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM) which appears to exist primarily to agitate for redistributive policies at home rather than alleviate hunger abroad. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) seems only concerned that western, liberal democracies have nuclear weapons; communist and other oppressive regimes get a free pass. I could go on.

The sooner these organisations are stripped of their charitable status and treated the same as every other special interest political lobby group, the better.


More Food for Thought

A friend has pointed out that in yesterday’s post about supermarkets and expired food I overlooked the practice of their deliberately destroying the food that goes into their bins.  The complaint of many seems to be that supermarkets do this simply because they don’t want poor people hanging around their bins.  Taking this at face value, it would sound pretty callous that supermarkets are denying hungry folk food simply because – for whatever reason, but probably because they are just bastards – they don’t want poor folk nearby.  Or maybe they don’t want poor folk feeding themselves for free when they can be forced into paying for it?

But there are valid reasons why supermarkets wouldn’t want this, aside from their just being bastards for fun.  Having anyone regularly rummaging through your bins is probably going to come with additional problems, such as people camping semi-permanently beside them waiting for food to be dumped and being a nuisance for staff and the public.  Private householders wouldn’t want people in their back yard rummaging through their bins, so I don’t see why supermarkets would be happy about it.

But in reality it feeds in (sorry!) to the main point I made yesterday regarding liability.  A company is still responsible for its waste products up until custody changes hands in the collection process.  A supermarket has a duty of care towards the public which includes doing everything reasonably practicable to ensure they are not harmed by its operations and products, which includes the waste food as it lies outside discarded in the bins.  This will also include ensuring nobody will come to any harm if they decide to climb into the bin to eat something: if somebody does so and injures themselves somehow, the supermarket is liable.  Stupid, but this is how the law works.  The supermarkets are also liable should somebody fall ill by consuming waste food which by the supermarket’s own definition is unfit for consumption.  The supermarkets are especially liable because they know in advance that people will try to gather and consume this stuff, so they cannot claim ignorance for not doing more to prevent it.

And this is the issue: the supermarkets are legally obliged to prevent people from eating out of their dumpsters.  If they just leave them open and unguarded, they are being criminally negligent in their duty of care towards the public.  And this is what the campaigners don’t get: those among their numbers have imposed these rules and regulations and set these legal precedents and this is the result.

Supermarkets have two realistic options here: secure the bins in such a way that nobody can get at them, or destroy the food so thoroughly that nobody will try.  This new law will be discarded as soon as a liability case arises, it is pointless posturing by the wealthy middle-classes.  If the welfare programmes that exist to ensure nobody goes hungry are failing, they need to be fixed: but that would likely involve shaking up bureaucracies and firing useless managers, and that would never do.  So instead they take a cheap swipe at the supermarkets for dealing with a set of conditions that they themselves created.