A REVEALING EPISODE OF LEFTIST VICIOUSNESS AND HATE
Leftists are just not nice people. The continuities with Stalin are very visible. Given the power that Stalin had, the American Left would clearly behave as he did. Three commentaries below
The Liberal Enforcers
Komen couldn’t be permitted to get away with disrespecting Big Abortion
By Mark Steyn
As Senator Obama said during the 2008 campaign, words matter. Modern “liberalism” is strikingly illiberal; the high priests of “tolerance” are increasingly intolerant of even the mildest dissent; and those who profess to “celebrate diversity” coerce ever more ruthlessly a narrow homogeneity. Thus, the Obama administration’s insistence that Catholic institutions must be compelled to provide free contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients. This has less to do with any utilitarian benefit a condomless janitor at a Catholic school might derive from Obamacare, and more to do with the liberal muscle of Big Tolerance enforcing one-size-fits-all diversity.
The bigger the Big Government, the smaller everything else: In Sweden, expressing a moral objection to homosexuality is illegal, even on religious grounds, even in church, and a pastor minded to cite the more robust verses of Leviticus would risk four years in jail. In Canada, the courts rule that Catholic schools must allow gay students to take their same-sex dates to the prom. The secular state’s Bureau of Compliance is merciless to apostates to a degree even your fire-breathing imams might marvel at.
Consider the current travails of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. This is the group responsible for introducing the pink “awareness raising” ribbon for breast cancer — as emblematic a symbol of America’s descent into postmodernism as anything. It has spawned a thousand other colored “awareness raising” ribbons: My current favorite is the periwinkle ribbon for acid reflux. We have had phenomenal breakthroughs in hues of awareness-raising ribbons, and for this the Susan G. Komen Foundation deserves due credit.
Until the other day, Komen were also generous patrons of Planned Parenthood, the “women’s health” organization. The foundation then decided it preferred to focus on organizations that are “providing the lifesaving mammogram.” Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms, despite its president, Cecile Richards, testifying to the contrary before Congress last year. Rather, Planned Parenthood provides abortions; it’s the biggest abortion provider in the United States. For the breast-cancer bigwigs to wish to target their grants more relevantly is surely understandable.
But not if you’re a liberal enforcer. Senator Barbara Boxer, with characteristic understatement, compared the Komen Foundation’s Nancy Brinker to Joe McCarthy: “I’m reminded of the McCarthy era, where somebody said: ‘Oh,’ a congressman stands up, a senator, ‘I’m investigating this organization and therefore people should stop funding them.’” But Komen is not a congressman or a senator or any other part of the government, only a private organization. And therefore it is free to give its money to whomever it wishes, isn’t it?
Dream on. Liberals take the same view as the proprietors of the Dar al-Islam: Once they hold this land, they hold it forever. Notwithstanding that those who give to the foundation are specifically giving to support breast-cancer research, Komen could not be permitted to get away with disrespecting Big Abortion. We don’t want to return to the bad old days of the back alley, when a poor vulnerable person who made the mistake of stepping out of line had to be forced into the shadows and have the realities explained to them with a tire iron. Now Big Liberalism’s enforcers do it on the front pages with the panjandrums of tolerance and diversity cheering them all the way.
In the wake of Komen’s decision, the Yale School of Public Health told the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff that its invitation to Nancy Brinker to be its commencement speaker was now “under careful review.” Because God forbid anybody doing a master’s program at an Ivy League institution should be exposed to anyone not in full 100 percent compliance with liberal orthodoxy. The American Association of University Women announced it would no longer sponsor teams for Komen’s “Race for the Cure.” Sure, Komen has raised $2 billion for the cure, but better we never cure breast cancer than let a single errant Injun wander off the abortion reservation. Terry O’Neill of the National Organization for Women said Komen “is no longer an organization whose mission is to advance women’s health.” You preach it, sister. I mean, doesn’t the very idea of an organization obsessively focused on breasts sound suspiciously patriarchal?
By Friday morning lockstep liberalism had done its job. All that was missing was James Carville to declare, “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through an oncology clinic awareness-raising free mammogram session, you never know what you’ll find.” After 72 hours being fitted for the liberals’ cement overcoat and an honored place as the cornerstone of the Planned Parenthood Monument to Women’s Choice, Komen attempted to chisel free and back into the good graces of the tolerant: As Nancy Brinker’s statement groveled, “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 Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto was unimpressed by the liberal protection racket (Nice little charity you’ve got there; be a shame if anything were to happen to it). As Taranto pointed out, in a real-life protection racket, the victim never pays voluntarily: “The threat is present from the get-go.” By contrast, Komen’s first donations to Big Abortion were made voluntarily. A prudent observer would conclude that the best way to avoid being crowbarred by Cecile Richards is never to get mixed up with her organization in the first place.
It’s not like she needs the money. Komen’s 2010 donation of $580,000 is less than Ms. Richards’s salary and benefits. Planned Parenthood commandos hacked into the Komen website and changed its slogan from “Help us get 26.2 or 13.1 miles closer to a world without breast cancer” to “Help us run over poor women on our way to the bank.” But, if you’re that eager to run over poor women on the way to the bank, I’d recommend a gig with Planned Parenthood: The average salary of the top eight executives is $270,000, which makes them officially part of what the Obama administration calls “the 1 percent.” In America today, few activities are as profitable as a “non-profit.” Planned Parenthood receives almost half a billion dollars — or about 50 percent of its revenues — in taxpayer funding.
A billion dollars seems a lot, even for 322,000 abortions a year. But it enables Planned Parenthood to function as a political heavyweight. Ms. Richards’s business is an upscale progressives’ ideological protection racket, for whom the “poor women”’s abortion mill is a mere pretext. The Komen Foundation will not be the last to learn that you can “race for the cure,” but you can’t hide. Celebrate conformity — or else.
Big Sister Is Watching You
Totalitarian feminism and the smearing of Susan G. Komen
By JAMES TARANTO
The smear campaign against the breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure appears to have had its desired effect, although this may turn out to be a case in which appearances are deceiving. LifeNews.com, an antiabortion site, quotes the statement by Komen founder Nancy Brinker:
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.
But Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, parses the statement for LifeNews and finds it actually reflects no change in policy: "We have known and have reported that they are continuing five grants [to Planned Parenthood] through 2012. This is a reference to that. The second clause about eligibility is certainly true. Any group can apply for anything. It does not mean they are going to get anything."
Of course, it also doesn't mean they're not going to get anything. The Daily Caller reports that Komen's donations doubled in the two days after the Planned Parenthood assault began, presumably because lots of people wanted to support its apolitical work against breast cancer but did not want to give money to a group that was subsidizing a group that both performs and advocates for abortion.
If that describes you, you might consider following the advice of our friend Susan Carusi: Give to a local breast cancer support group, "which provides counseling and assistance to women diagnosed with breast cancer. At least this way you know exactly what the money is being spent on."
While our sympathies are with Komen in this whole kerfuffle, we must say that the group has displayed an appalling naiveté in its approach to the matter. It's reminiscent of the last big controversy the group was involved in, which we wrote about in 2009. In that instance, Komen hosted a conference in Alexandria, Egypt, for "international advocates." Komen was sandbagged when Israeli doctors who'd been invited to the event received disinvitations from the Egyptian health minister. The Egyptians backpedaled, but by then it was too late for the Israelis to attend.
In breaking ties with Planned Parenthood, Komen made the same mistake: It failed to understand it was dealing with intolerant fanatics. Planned Parenthood's attitude toward abortion opponents is not unlike that of Egyptian officials in the old regime toward Israelis.
Further, Komen offered a rationale for its decision--a new policy denying grants to groups under governmental investigation--that seemed disingenuous and provided a point of attack for Planned Parenthood and its allies. "I'm reminded of the McCarthy era, where somebody said: 'Oh,' a congressman stands up, a senator, 'I'm investigating this organization and therefore people should stop funding them,' " Politico quotes Sen. Barbara Boxer as saying on MSNBC.
In truth, Komen was under no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood. Its decision not to do so was not punitive and did not even appear to be. The episode is reminiscent of George Orwell far more than Joe McCarthy. Komen's actual aim was to extricate itself from the divisive national battle over abortion by severing its connection with a leading combatant.
The conservative Media Research Center notes that CNN "aired a pretty one-sided piece including statements from Planned Parenthood's president Cecile Richards, evidence supporting her claims of right-wing 'bullying,' and even vitriolic Facebook posts decrying the de-funding." No supporter of Komen's position or critic of Planned Parenthood was included. Even more appalling than that lack of balance, though, was CNN's echoing the charge of "right-wing 'bullying,' " while the network was participating in Planned Parenthood's effort to bully Komen.
The Ministry of Information--sorry, the New York Times--editorializes:
"With its roster of corporate sponsors and the pink ribbons that lend a halo to almost any kind of product you can think of, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation has a longstanding reputation as a staunch protector of women's health. That reputation suffered a grievous, perhaps mortal, wound this week from the news that Komen, the world's largest breast cancer organization, decided to betray that mission. It threw itself into the middle of one of America's nastiest political battles, on the side of hard-right forces working to demonize Planned Parenthood and undermine women's health and freedom."
The truth is that Komen blundered into a political battle by supporting Planned Parenthood in the first place and was attempting to back out of it quietly.
The Times's view exemplifies feminism's gradual transformation into a totalitarian ideology. Totalitarianism politicizes everything, so that neutrality is betrayal--in this case, neutrality on abortion is portrayed as opposition to "women's health." As we wrote last year, this is also why purportedly pro-choice feminists can hate Sarah Palin and her daughter for choosing not to abort their children.
Komen would have been better off approaching the matter straightforwardly, by announcing that it wished to opt out of the abortion debate and would not support groups that take a position on either side of the issue, including Planned Parenthood. This would not have averted the smear campaign that followed, for Planned Parenthood and its supporters have internalized the notion that abortion is health, and are determined that everyone else internalize it too. But an honest position would have been easier to defend. No one would have been able to dent Komen's integrity.
Race for the Smear
A cancer charity gets a brutal lesson in abortion politics
'Politics have no place in health care," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement Thursday. That pronouncement may strike New Yorkers, who've spent a decade complying with Mr. Bloomberg's nanny-state mandates on smoking and trans-fats, as ironic. Most recently, his administration has come under fire for using fake photos of diabetic amputees in subway ads about the dangers of sweetened beverages.
But Mr. Bloomberg was referring to the one area of "health care" that he believes should be left to individual choice: abortion. He announced a personal donation of $250,000 to Planned Parenthood, America's leading abortion provider, in response to a breast cancer charity's decision not to renew its six-figure grants to the group.
Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure had given Planned Parenthood $580,000 in 2010 and $680,000 in 2011 to provide initial breast cancer screenings, and referrals for mammograms, biopsies and treatment, in 19 of its clinics. Komen attributed its decision not to re-up to its adoption of a policy barring grants to organizations under investigation by any branch of the government. A House subcommittee is looking into whether Planned Parenthood has violated the law by spending government money on abortions.
Planned Parenthood's supporters say the probe is politically motivated. As it is a Congressional investigation, that is a trivial truth. We suspect, in any case, that the investigation was a pretext—that Komen, whose mission is apolitical, dumped Planned Parenthood because it wished to escape involvement with abortion politics. After all, its ubiquitous pink ribbons and "Race for the Cure" marketing invite donations to cure cancer, not to support abortion providers.
Planned Parenthood is not about to let anyone escape without exacting retribution. With the help of allies in politics, the media and other advocacy groups, this week it undertook a vicious campaign against Komen that explicitly urged corporate donors to cut off the charity if it didn't relent. Individual Komen board members have been publicly attacked, as if trying to stay neutral in abortion politics is a crime against women.
Yesterday Komen responded by seeming to back down. "We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants," Komen founder Nancy Brinker said in a statement.
It's unclear whether Planned Parenthood has actually brought Komen to heel. Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute argues that the wording of Ms. Brinker's latest statement reflects no actual change in policy. Komen never planned to revoke existing grants, and eligibility to apply for a grant does not necessarily mean eligibility to receive one. He advises that potential donors to Komen wait and see.
Apart from the brutal lesson in the intolerance of abortion advocates, the larger principle at stake is the right of a charity to donate to whomever it likes, for whatever reason it likes. Mr. Bloomberg is free to do whatever he wants with his money. But it is to his great discredit that he would join a campaign to smear Komen for exercising exactly the same right.
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