There is a downside to altruism. It can be and frequently is used as a shield. People do horrible things and duck behind altruism to guilt trip people into not holding them accountable and leaving them alone. All kinds of organizations will go, "We're trying to do good here! We are an important source of taking care of certain causes! If we are gone, who will fill the gap?" It's a protection racket -- "It'd be a pity if something happened to your cause."
This afflicts organizations from the great (PeTA) to the small. Some of you may remember the computer game Basset Hound Games I did for free to raise money for a basset hound rescue operation. Not much of a basset hound fan, but the people loved the dogs, and a friend of mine pleaded with me, so I said sure. Then I found out people from the organization were taking home food for the rescued dogs for their own pets. They were stealing dog food, dog food meant for homeless dogs. If you wonder why I believe nothing in this world is held sacred, it's because of shit like this.
Among the current crop of teflon-coated sacred cows is the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Point blank: Congress isn't interested in women's health unless it can be used to control them. Look at abortion and funding sex education. What should be individual choice for the people become a political football to punish people who are sexually active and enforce draconian sexual values on them. Immunizations against the HPV virus are another perfect example. The Komen Foundation used this as leverage to promote fundraising for breast cancer awareness and research. And yes, I was one of the people who bought into it hook, line, and sinker.
The Komen Foundation has been untouchable for years. "Hey, no one in the Establishment is trying to promote breast cancer awareness and research!" In reality, the Komen Foundation has been like other other antiEstablishment types who became an Establishment themselves. Like Jesse Jackson, the Komen Foundation sells their influence to prop those they feel are worthy up, whether or not they actually are. Most of the Komen Foundation's money comes from corporate sponsorships, so all you have to do is give the Komen Foundation the right amount of coin, and they will endorse you as okay, enabling you to tell the public you are caring and concerned and involved. The process is formally known as "pinkwrap", a pun on "shrinkwrap." Marketing and political types call it "pinkwashing" because of what all it can hide (to put it in Christian terms, it is selling indulgences). Because people want to make a difference and affect positive change on this ever-darkening world, they will give you their money, thinking they are doing good but in reality just lining the company's pockets.
The list of indulgences the Komen Foundation has given is mindboggling. In 2010, Kentucky Fried Chicken offered the Komen Foundation $8 mil. The Komen Foundation got into bed with them, and they produced a little offspring called "Buckets For The Cure." Pink chicken buckets with that ribbon symbol that reassured people went out, distracting people from medical research suggesting that cancer is linked to obesity. Smith And Wesson got the rights to make a pinkwrapped handgun. Another company got to make pinkwrapped shotgun shells.
The Komen Foundation is not a charity, it is a business, more interested in making money for its employees than actually raising money for a cure like they say. According to their filings with the government, the amount of money the Komen Foundation passes on to cancer research that it collects has fallen from 26% to 19% in the past decade. Not only is it going down, but it wasn't that high to begin with. The filings don't tell enough, with the Komen Foundation using broad overhead terms to disguise its administrative costs.
Part of being a modern business is maintaining your brand and marketshare. The Komen Foundation does this by putting the squeeze on other cancer charities. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, "Last year, Ms. Tighe's Uniting Against Lung Cancer got a letter from Komen requesting it change the name of the charity's "Kites for a Cure" fund-raiser, a beach event featuring hand-decorated kites, to "Kites for a Cause," or another name. Komen later warned her against any use of pink in conjunction with "cure."" And you thought Mattel was obsessive about protecting the color pink in association with its Barbie products.
Which brings us to this week, and the Komen Foundation withdrawing its annual $700,000 contribution to Planned Parenthood. True, it's not that much as these things go, but those of you who think this is just a charity looking to place its funds where they will do the most good, lift up the rock, and look at all the nasty thing crawling under there.
This started last year with Senator John Kyl. During the budget debates that narrowly averted complete government shutdowns, Kyl attempted to boost his argument to withdraw funding from PPF by saying abortion was “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.” When reporters pointed out that only 3 percent of PPF’s work involved abortion, his spokesman actually said Kyl's statement was “not intended to be a factual statement.” Picking up the ball was Cliff Stearns. Stearns is a Republican Representative from the state of Florida who is fervently (possibly even obsessively) pro-life. For some reason he has declined to give, he started a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood. His reason is he wants to make sure federal funds are not being used to provide abortions. I will point out he has NO EVIDENCE THAT THIS IS GOING ON. There are no reports, no complaints, not even anything Wikileaks. He just wants to know, so he sicced the feds on them.
Planned Parenthood hasn't really been a political hot potato in a long time, mainly because even the political conservatives are fine with them. Dwight Eisenhower and Harry S Truman co-chaired the Planned Parenthood Foundation. Barry Goldwater, the Republican's version of the Messiah, openly endorsed it. Ann Romney has donated money to them. So has Laura Bush, who has also come out in support of Roe vs. Wade. But Republicans have become more militant about ending abortion, to the point where every candidate is making it a plank in their platform (Michelle Bachmann, a perfect argument for retroactive abortion rights, has said the Presidential election will end abortion in America).
Stearns decided to make PPF a political issue, and no one is fooled by his "concerns". Reps. Diana DeGette and Henry are ranking members of the Subcommittee On Oversight And Investigations, and told Stearns in a rather terse letter, “We question the basis for the investigation and whether Planned Parenthood is being singled out as part of a Republican vendetta against an organization that provides family planning and other medical care to low-income women and men.” Some more ammo was needed to attack PPF, and the puppet masters of the R's turned to the Komen Foundation.
Lest you think I'm just being politically reactionary, let me give you a little background. The Komen Foundation was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, a longtime social conservative. In 2000, she raised at least $100,000 for Shrub's election campaign, earning her the title of "Pioneer." Aw, that was nice of her. So nice, Shrub later made her ambassador to Hungary. In April this year, Brinker appointed one Karen Handel as VP at Komen. Handel used to be the Secretary of State of Georgia, she's a tea partier, and (surprise surprise) fervently anti-abortion.
The Komen Foundation has seized on Stearns' investigation of PPF as a reason to withdraw their funding. Komen's statement read they will drop any organization "currently under a local, state or federal formal investigation for financial or administrative impropriety or fraud". Bullshit. They still let Bank Of America, currently being investigated in four states for foreclosure and mortgage fraud, pinkwrap their credit cards and checks. Want to take another run at that?
This time, the Komen Foundation overplayed their hand. People are finally registering that the company perpetuates itself first and has become interested in pushing an agenda. In 24 hours, PPF received $400,000 in private donations from outraged supporters. Komen is finally revealed to be wearing no clothes.
And everyone now sees the ugly going straight to the bone.