Grassroots Power and Unintended Consequences


    Update 11:53am: Komen has now reversed itself. Grassroots power wins!

    UPDATE 11:58 am by Lowell: Perhaps we shouldn’t declare victory too soon?

    There is only one way for us ordinary folks to fight against the rampant power of big money unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, plus the blatant influence on legislation by lobbyists with pockets full of campaign contributions. The many have to band together to defeat the powerful few with their numbers, and I’ve been heartened by a couple of incidents in the past few days.

    After winning the Florida primary, Willard “Mitt” Romney called on his deep-pocket friends to donate $1 million to a fund to make President Obama a one-term president. The Obama campaign took that as a challenge and started a Two-Term Fund, hoping to raise $2 million. In the two days since, the campaign has raised almost $1.6 million from more than 38,000 people. That’s sure not what “Silver Foot in Mouth” Willard intended.

    Also, a new, anti-choice vice president at the Susan G. Komen Foundation evidently engineered adoption of a new rule that effectively ended its funding to Planned Parenthood for breast health services to its clients. Planned Parenthood may have lost over $600,000 from Komen, but it has already received over $400,000 in small donations, plus two large donations totaling $500,000, easily overcoming the Komen action.

    That’s grassroots power. This blog, itself, is a tribute to that power, and so was that “Rag Tag Army” of volunteers who convinced a military hero and writer to take on and defeat an incumbent Republican buffoon, George “Macaca” Allen. And, we aren’t finished.  “Macaca” is back, but then so are we.

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      For some working class women without health insurance, the reproductive health care they receive at Planned Parenthood clinics is all they can afford. They, too, deserve regular mammograms and Pap tests. They, too, deserve early detection and treatment of their cancers. Komen was wrong here, and it has lost my support.

    • KathyinBlacksburg

      and no future donations to Komen ever.  If they would deny breast exams and other cancer screenings, they are not serious, but rather too political to trust for donor dollars.

    • KathyinBlacksburg

      I heard this AM that Planned Parenthood has also raised a million dollars since Komen’s action.  

      Anyone who wants stem cell research to continue should not give to Komen.  They yielded to right-wing political pressure and stopped funding that line of research too.

    • KathyinBlacksburg

      Vesting a partisan (friend of the Bush family) private organization with so much power and resources assures the politicization of medical research.

      It is doubtful at this point that we can ever disentangle medical research from corporate sponsorship.  But if there is a chance to accomplish that, we should.  The potential savings to our nation’s health bill would be enormous. As it is, Komen continues to back at least one treatment (a medication, which I won’t name here to avoid the litigation police) which has no demonstrated value.  Despite new findings, which it refuses to accept, it also continues to recommend mammography for younger women with no family history.  

    • VADEM

      is going to be just fine. Their direct donations have skyrocketed in the last 2 days and with Mayor Bloomberg pledging $250K to make up for the Komen mess, I think PP will flourish against the rethugs trying to put them out of business. Grassroots indeed!

      Where is Komen’s board of Trustees in all of this? All I’ve seen is crazy lady with the weird hair on all the news shows making her feeble attempt at damage control.

      Any adults in the room at the Komen Foundation? I especially like the way the media has put the entire foundation under a microscope telling us how much these big wigs at Komen make a year. I’d be interested to see how much out of $1.00 goes directly to breast cancer research, to their pink everything marketing tools, their lobbying and salaries across the board.

      They could still walk this back if someone in charge wanted to. If they don’t, I think they’ll be gone and out of business within a month.

    • See here:

      We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.

      The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.

      Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

      Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.

      It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics – anyone’s politics.

      Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

      We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.

    • NotJohnSMosby

      CNN just announced that Komen is going to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.  

    • VADEM

      Wonder how many heads will roll after this little fiasco???

    • I appreciate the Komen Foundation taking to heart the serious concerns raised by millions of concerned Americans regarding their decision this week to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. This reversal was the right call, and came swiftly enough that the damage to the Komen Foundation’s mission may be mitigated. The Foundation and Planned Parenthood work tirelessly to protect and improve the lives of women. This decision clears the way so that their good work can now resume.

    • Wonkette: “The foundation then decided they didn’t want to pay Planned Parenthood to help low-income lady people get free breast cancer screenings anymore, in case the ladies might accidentally get an abortion on the way down the hall to the mammography machine.”  

    • for being viciously anti-“illegal immigrant”

    • This explains a great deal.

      Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush and prominent right-wing pundit, secretly helped guide Komen Foundation’s disastrous strategy regarding Planned Parenthood. Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the postion of “Senior Vice President for Communications and External Relations” at Komen last December. According to a source with first-hand knowedge, Fleischer drilled prospective candidates during their interviews on how they would handle the controversy about Komen’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.