Tag Archives: american psyche

Susan G Komen stirs up a hornets nest (Updated, again)

Pecos wilderness

Many, many years ago, I was out in the Pecos wilderness with several of my classmates. We found out, first-hand, what happens when you stir up a hornet’s nest. We were walking down this trail single-file. All of us were city slickers and most of us did not really appreciate being out in the woods. Therefore, we really were paying attention to our surroundings. Suddenly, one guy grabbed his leg and ran off the trail screaming in pain. A few seconds later, the guy behind him did exactly the same thing. It turned out there was some sort of hornet’s nest in the middle of the trail. The first two or three guys walked down the trail that the hornets stirred up. The middle of the group got stung. Those of us who were lagging behind saw the commotion and took a different path. In the end, everybody was fine, with the exception of a few stings. In this highly charged political atmosphere, one would figure that a major fund raising foundation would steer clear of hornet’s nests. Not the Susan G Komen Foundation for the Cure. On Tuesday, they decided, for purely political reasons, to stop funding Planned Parenthood. There was significant blowback. Today, they are in 100% damage control mode and almost  reversed their decision. This was a major announcement that did very little to guarantee future funds for Planned Parenthood.

We needed a pink gun, did we??

We live in an era in which nothing is exactly as it seems. Just a couple of years ago, the average American thought that British Petroleum really cared about the environment. They had a charm offensive which included more than five years of commercials filled with environmentally friendly talk. It only took one oil well and a completely tone deaf CEO to show America that British Petroleum was no different than any other major oil corporation. The Susan G Komen foundation had completely infiltrated the American psyche. They equaled breast cancer awareness and treatment. Even the NFL had one game where players would support the Foundation by wearing pink shoes or pink gloves or even have pink towels hanging from their waist. Personally, I have purchased golf balls, baseball caps and other merchandise which sported the Susan G Komen logo and supported breast cancer awareness and treatment. I have personally given money to people who have run in their multiple, well-publicized, “race for the cure” over the years. Now, that’s not happening. Millions of Americans have the same feeling. It will take Susan G Komen foundation years to recover from this strategic blunder.

In my opinion, the Board of Directors needs to clean house. The power structure of the Susan G Komen foundation needs to be fired. New management needs to be brought in if they are to convince the American public that they truly understand what the problem is. In my opinion, today’s announcement tells me that they know what the problem is, but that they don’t really want to fix it. Personally, it’s going be hard for me to pony up money to the Susan G Komen foundation ever again. I’ve already donated to Planned Parenthood, which I’ve never done in my life. I plan on making it a habit.

The Daily Kos has done an excellent job covering the to and fro of this debacle. Please check out their many posts here, here and here. Marcy Wheeler, fabulous blogger and personal friend, has an excellent post here. You can give to Planned Parenthood here.

Update: This is what anyone would describe as a bizarre episode in PR. This case just gets stranger. Ari Fleischer, Bush’s former press secretary, raises his ugly head. This just gets crazier and crazier. Komen has not been officially labelled a partisan, dead organization. I don’t see how the Susan G Komen foundation will be surviving this.

Here’s what I think is very sad about this whole ordeal. Women need an organizational advocate to raise huge sums of money to combat breast cancer. The advocate must be non-partisan and focus like a laser on breast cancer research and on helping women.

Update II:

I thought that this graphic would be helpful.

New Pentagon Report: No Iraq – Al Qaeda links (updated)

It seems that everyone knows this now except for our president and vice president.  They continue to suggest (and, in Cheney’s case, outright state) that there were links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

I guess I could’ve titled this post, “What is Old is New Again.” (I originally posted the above paragraphs back in 2007.) One of my commenters has made a full throated defense of our invasion of Iraq. I think that everybody’s entitled to their opinion. Everybody is not entitled to their own facts. We did not invade Iraq based on Saddam Hussein’s violations of UN sanctions. The American people would not invade a sovereign country based on Saddam Hussein playing hide and seek with UN weapons inspectors. Nor did we invade Iraq based on some continuum of the first Gulf War – going back to complete the mission. The Bush administration knew that the American people wouldn’t buy this. Yes, Saddam Hussein did fire at our jets patrolling the no-fly zones both in the north and the south. The Bush administration tried to make a lot out of this but the American people were not moved. They needed more. The Bush administration knew that the American people would defend themselves if we were directly threatened. Therefore, this is exactly what the Bush administration cooked up – a direct threat. They looked for not one thing but a combination of things that would frighten the American people into action.

The Bush administration came up with a unique combination of threats to attack the American psyche. Probably the most creative was the bombshell that Cheney dropped on Tim Russert. It was the connection between 9/11 hijacker and Iraqi government and a fictitious meeting in Prague. We can’t forget the aluminum tubes. These “proved” beyond a shadow of a doubt that Saddam Hussein was trying to build nuclear weapons. These aluminum tubes “could not be used for anything else” but for centrifuges used to concentrate uranium. Tony Blair (former British Prime Minister) was a great help when he talked about mobile biological labs which could strike England with less than 30 minutes’ notice. (We can thank Curveball for this.) Don’t forget the Yellowcake from Niger. These are the reasons that were sold to the American people. Whether there are other reasons, like protecting our oil supply and/or stabilizing the Middle East, those were minor reasons. The major reasons that were put forth by the Bush administration are listed above.

All of these reasons fell apart and were found to be untrue. To rewrite history and say that Saddam Hussein had links to terrorists and that’s why we went to war is simply not true. We, the American People, didn’t care that he had links to terrorists. Instead, what the Bush administration sold to the American people was that Saddam Hussein had specific links to Al Qaeda. There was a report that was commissioned by the Department of Defense which looked at thousands of Iraqi documents and found some minor communications between Saddam Hussein and some terrorist organizations. Saddam Hussein was not a state sponsor of terrorism. At least not in 2003 when we invaded. Finally, it should be restated that Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat to the United States or any of our major interests throughout the world.