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Grassroots Power and Unintended Consequences

by: Elaine in Roanoke

Fri Feb 03, 2012 at 08:34:01 AM EST

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 :: Grassroots Power and Unintended Consequences
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Terrible Mistake (0.00 / 0)
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.

I just donated to Planned Parenthood (0.00 / 0)
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.

There's nothing in the middle of the road except yellow stripes and dead armadillos (Jim Hightower). PS I'm on Twitter here.

BTW (0.00 / 0)
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.

There's nothing in the middle of the road except yellow stripes and dead armadillos (Jim Hightower). PS I'm on Twitter here.

It is fantastic that folks have (0.00 / 0)
stepped up to replace the funding which Komen is pulling from Planned Parenthood during the current "crisis."  My concern is for future years.  Komen's support of Planned Parenthood has been on-going.  Many people are stepping up right now and it certainly seems the annual funding Komen offered Planned Parenthood will be surpassed by the grassroots activists this year.  But will that support continue next year and the year after, long after this discussion has ended and moved out of the media spotlight?

I also will never support Komen again!

[ Parent ]
Fundraising (0.00 / 0)
One thing about finding new donors when fundraising is that a good percentage of them will continue to donate in future campaigns.

Also, the uproar that Komen has caused may lead them to reconsider a decision that created a public relations nightmare for them. Another thing that may work in Planned Parenthood's favor is  that the "investigation" initiated by an anti-choice congressman will probably find that no federal funds were used for abortion services by PP.

(I wish I could figure out just what drives those men to obsess about women's reproductive functions. Is it some sort of "womb envy?" Are guys like Bob Marshall, et. al., psychologically wounded because they don't have ovaries?)

[ Parent ]
Haha! (4.00 / 1)
"...are guys like Bob Marshall, et al., psychologically wounded because they don't have ovaries?" It seems so. These are the  sort of jerks who engaged in psychobabble a few years ago, claiming women had "penis envy," when what women really wanted was not a penis but the same preferred treatment males got in our society---- they wanted a level playing field in jobs and society. This opens up another bucket of worms, about how so much of religious customs and social mores around the world are, at bottom, simply a way for men to control women (for the comfort and pleasure of men). Control freaks, dressed up as divinely inspired arbiters of society, i.e., of women.  

[ Parent ]
One more thing... (0.00 / 0)
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.  

There's nothing in the middle of the road except yellow stripes and dead armadillos (Jim Hightower). PS I'm on Twitter here.

Race for the cure (0.00 / 0)
The races are one of the largest fund raisers for Komen but with their corporate ties becoming more evident one wonders how sincere that title is since a cancer cure would be a huge blow to big pharma's profit margin on current treatment and pallative drugs.

[ Parent ]
Excellent Point (0.00 / 0)
The profits are so huge that a cure for any widespread illness is not as useful to the corporations as ever-new treatments. That said, however, countless people with various cancers are living much longer and better lives because of breakthroughs by drug companies.  

[ Parent ]
I (0.00 / 0)
have been told that cancers are completely curable in Sweden. But here in the U.S. we will never get a cure because Big Pharma would lose so much money. My brother told me that if he or I or anyone in my family got cancer he would put us on a plane (and he's not rich) the next day.
Not sure if this is true-little brother is a rethug big time-but I thought it was interesting anyway. I tend to believe it-Sweden is very progressive I think.

[ Parent ]
Unlikely (0.00 / 0)
Can your brother the Rethug explain why the Swedes are keeping such an earth-shaking discovery a big, bad secret? This sounds like one of those ever-present urban legends. Don't take it seriously. If I had cancer, I would head for the Mayo Clinic.

[ Parent ]
Uh, no. (0.00 / 0)
"Cancers are completely curable in Sweden?" Yeah, and the reindeer have red noses and fly over there too. Heh.

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[ Parent ]
PP (0.00 / 0)
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.

Komen backs down? (0.00 / 0)
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.

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Komen caves (0.00 / 0)
CNN just announced that Komen is going to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.  

Yay! (0.00 / 0)
Wonder how many heads will roll after this little fiasco???

And what the back story is (0.00 / 0)
internally... and, being cynical, I wonder what tricky new way the misogynist crowd posing as culture of lifers will find to accomplish the same purpose, i.e., gut Planned Parenthood, punish women? This was a skirmish in the war, not the last battle.

[ Parent ]
Jim Moran statement on Komen "reversal" (0.00 / 0)
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.

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Best summary I've heard (4.00 / 1)
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."  

Read more at and follow me on Twitter

Video: Komen Senior VP Karen Handel and Sarah' Freakin' Palin! (0.00 / 0)

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More on Komen Senior VP Karen Handel (0.00 / 0)

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Video: Komen Senior VP Karen Handel Hearts Jan Brewer (0.00 / 0)
for being viciously anti-"illegal immigrant"

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Video: Komen Senior VP opposes same-sex marriage (0.00 / 0)

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Video: Komen Senior VP on the "sanctity of human life" (0.00 / 0)

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Don't mess with Komen's Senior VP?!? (0.00 / 0)

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Wow (0.00 / 0)
With a Cro-Magnon cavewoman like this as a senior VP, a lot of donors need to re-evaluate their contributions to Koman.

[ Parent ]
Is "Koman" the singuler of "Komen?" (0.00 / 0)

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[ Parent ]
I must have been thinking (0.00 / 0)
Some combination of Komen, cavewoman and cro-magnon.

[ Parent ]
Reminds me of this (0.00 / 0)

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[ Parent ]
Put them together (0.00 / 0)

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[ Parent ]
The Ari Fleischer connection (0.00 / 0)
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.

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