Editor’s note: Politics is controversial. Art is controversial. Where politics and art meet can be very controversial. We recognize the image above, and the words below, may seem controversial Â to some, but we respect our readers, and believe they would rather be challenged to examine, explore, and as they seek to understand.Â Â
In image and word this piece represents and explains the actions Susan G. Komen For The Cure has taken against Planned Parenthood and women’s rights, bowing to anti-abortion activists while supporting the sale of pink guns and events like “Shoot For The Cure.”Â
The beleaguered Susan G. Komen Foundation, in the wake of its decision to defund Planned Parenthood and subsequent reversal following an avalanche of criticism, inadvertently ended up subjecting itself to harsh scrutiny and a blazing media spotlight that shows no sign of stopping just yet, and from which it can’t run nor hide.
Brand damaging allegations, comments, old press releases, and on and off the record comments and accusations leave absolutely no doubt that the organization is steeped in political ideology that permeates its decision making and fractures its credibility.
Think Progress revealed further evidence that Komen lied about there being a political motivation to their decision in their widely publicized reversal, reporting that last December, former Press Secretary for George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, was secretly involved in Komenâ€™s Planned Parenthood strategy (if you could call it that).
Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the position of â€œSenior Vice President for Communications and External Relations,â€ grilling them on how they would handle the controversy over Komenâ€™s relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Fleischer, self-described long-time friend of CEO Nancy Brinker and vocal critic of Planned Parenthood, confirmed that he would, of course, be paid once the key communications position was filled.
No doubt, this will appease the anti-abortion critics of Komen Foundation who donâ€™t want their money going to the funding of abortions when it could be better spent hiring disgraced liars that are friends with the CEO.
The Komen Foundation did an excellent job of â€œborrowingâ€ the red ribbon from the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus, who created it in 1991 as a symbol to promote awareness about AIDS and HIV. The Visual AIDS Artists Caucus was clear that the ribbon was to be used as a consciousness raising symbol, not as a trademark. While the red ribbon had an enormous impact when first worn by Jeremy Irons at the 1991 Tony Awards, it didnâ€™t take long for it to become a rote, unconscious, politically correct fashion accessory for celebrities to wear to awards shows.
From the very outset, politics has been involved with the pink ribbon. The choice of the color resulted from an effort by Self magazine and the cosmetics company EstÃ©e Lauder to sidestep Charlotte Haley, an activist who had begun a peach ribbon campaign to pressure the National Cancer Institute to increase its budget for cancer prevention research, and did not want to commercialize the endeavor.
Komen didnâ€™t just step in and successfully appropriate the pink ribbon, promoting it as an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. They stylized it to make it their own, and took ownership of the color pink itself.
And while they canâ€™t actually claim ownership to the pink ribbon, per se, what Komen has trademarked — with the viciousness of the MPAA and RIAA combined — is the string of words â€œfor the cureâ„¢â€ (along with 200 other registered trademarks).
In 2007, to celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation officially changed its name to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. And as the organization grew, so too did its bullying tactics.
Last year, spending more than $1 million in donor funds, Komen aggressively launched dozens of legal battles against small charitable organizations daring to use â€œfor the cureâ€ or the color pink to raise funds. “It is startling to us that Komen thinks they own pink,” Mary Ann Tighe, told the Wall Street Journal after Komen challenged her over the color for her “Kites for a Cure” lung-cancer fund-raiser. “We cannot allow ourselves to be bullied to no purpose.”
Komen has also been accused of â€œpinkwashingâ€ by organizations such as Breast Cancer Action, by allowing companies to slap pink ribbons on carcinogenic products. Evidenced in their Think Before You Pinkâ„¢ campaign . And in documentaries like LÃ©a Poolâ€™s Pink Ribbons, Inc., in which she questions just how far the millions raised through pink ribbon marketing campaigns, go towards fighting breast cancer. (As opposed to hiring expensive political flaks like Ari Fleischer, perhaps.) Or the book that inspired the documentary, Dr. Samantha Kingâ€™s Pink Ribbons Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy.
Slapping carcinogenic products with the pinkwashed Komen stamp of approval is not the only thing that appears to counter the organizationâ€™s supposed laser beam focus on breast cancer â€“ and its â€œpro lifeâ€ stance.
Even though Komen continues to insist that there is no politics or ideology in their decision making and that â€œproviding hope for a cure must drive our efforts,â€ many supporters were alarmed to learn of a cozy relationship between Komen and gun makers — exacerbated by Komenâ€™s strenuous denials and the subsequent unearthing of documentation to the contrary. Komen has been slow and clumsy attempting to explain the questionable link between breast cancer awareness, prevention, treatment and research with gun sales. Accusations that further strain the entire â€œpro-lifeâ€ underpinning of their Planned Parenthood fiasco.
Events such as â€œShoot for the Cure,â€ or the Pink Hope 22 handgun available on Discount Gun Sales (recently removed in the wake of the accusations of politicization and right wing mission creep) give more than just a little credence to the pinkwashing accusations and embracing of what are traditionally considered right wing causes.
“We do not have partnerships with any firearms manufacturer,” Komen told Huffington Post when probed. Jim Clune, communications manager for the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure confirmed the denial. “This fundraising scheme is not sanctioned by us; we had no knowledge of it. We have not received a single penny from this gun seller. It is a rogue scheme,” he claimed.
With Komen spending millions to police and protect its mark, it stretches credibility that they are either uninvolved or unaware of anything using their name, slogans or color.
Naturally, some intrepid reporting by Village Voice and others revealed that Komenâ€™s gun loving ways are, in fact, quite well documented and guns and events in their name canâ€™t suddenly be hidden. From the First Annual Susan G. Komen Shoot for the Cure event in Illinois Â to pink rifles and pistols, Komen is clearly wielding its power to keep money flowing in wherever it can, at the expense of its scruples, and focus.
How else to explain the loss of nearly $12 million dollars in research money to eradicate breast cancer this year alone following Komenâ€™s decision to cease funding any organization affiliated in any way, shape or form, with embryonic stem cell research.
In a cryptic statement on its web site, Komen denies â€œdefundingâ€ human embryonic stem cell research, vowing it would continue to â€œfocus its research efforts on the most promising areas of science.â€ Adding: â€œTo this point, embryonic stem cell research has not shown promise for application in breast cancer.â€ For an organization with credibility issues, this kind of obfuscation does little to rebuild their brand, or treat their constituents with the transparency, respect and intelligence they deserve.
Nancy Brinker has done a formidable job in raising funds. And promoting herself. Of that there is no denying. The billions raised by the organization renders the upward of $5 million annual salary she draws, insignificant. By comparison.
And while she may be unabashedly Republican, she isnâ€™t overly generous with her political donations. Blogger and activist Michael Petrelis reveals of the $186,000 in total donations sheâ€™s given over the years, 98% of checks went to GOP pols and PACs, and just $3,750 went to a Democratic candidate. Of course she supports the winners like Mark Foley (who resigned in a sexting scandal) and the rabidly anti-abortion Rick Santorum, who would have Susan G. Komen give birth to the spawn of a rapist, were she alive and to suffer such a horror.
Komen’s red-faced about turn was about money and their clueless tone deafness to reality outside the rich, white Republican bubble. Maybe she was too busy checking up to see how the Promise Me fragrance -Â the first and only proprietary fragrance developed with Susan G. Komen for the Cure — was doing, and coincidentally sharing a name of the title of Nancy Brinker’s book, which purchasers of the fragrance were lucky enough to get for free.
Ralph Reed, disgraced chairman of an organization that has the audacity to call itself the Faith and Freedom Coalition, weighed in, calling the reversal â€œdeeply disappointing.â€ Ralph Reed, known for his conspiring to steal from Native Americans with convicted lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, tricked Christians into supporting gambling initiatives whilst laughing all the way to the bank. Unfortunately for the anti-abortion critics of Komen, sad media outlets like MSNBC quote him as a spokesperson for their cause with a straight face. Other ethicists like Bernie Madoff and Casey Anthony were presumably unavailable. And Timothy McVeigh and Jeffrey Dahmer are dead.
The drumbeat to fire the failed gubernatorial candidate, anti-gay, anti-abortion Karen Handel, (who is neither a doctor nor a scientist) who was hired as senior vice president of policy reached a crescendo culminating in her resignation Tuesday. Prior to the reversal last week, a defiant Nancy Brinker told MSNBCâ€™s Andrea Mitchell that Handel did not play a â€œsignificant roleâ€ in this decision.
In her resignation letter to Brinker, dripping with a nauseating mix of self-pity and piety, Handel wrote:Â â€œI am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komenâ€™s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyoneâ€™s political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komenâ€™s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy.â€
Good distancing there, Karen. Denying poor women mammograms and putting the brakes on any kind of promising stem cell research really better serves women. Almost as much as launching trademark lawsuits keeps Komen focused on its mission. Or selling pink dishtowels.
Jim Galloway at the Atlantic Journal Constitution reports that Handel refused a severance package that might have bought her silence, opting instead for a press conference this afternoon. Rest assured, with Sarah Palin-like speaking fees in mind, Karen Handel will become the new anti-Planned Parenthood spokesperson, with national road shows and frequent visits to Fox News.
Perhaps using Komen as a stepping stone was Handelâ€™s objective all along. She successfully convinced Brinker — preoccupied becoming the Martha Stewart of Breast Cancer — to take the decades of good work done in the name of her sister, Susan, and toss them aside by demonizing Planned Parenthood and turning Komen into a marginalized, anti-abortion political football. Except for the demonizing of Planned Parenthood, for whom Komenâ€™s gargantuan public relations catastrophe is a financial touchdown.
And within just one week, over 50% of the graduating class of the Yale School of Public Health sought to rescind Nancy Brinkerâ€™s invitation to give a commencement speech. Although Yale chose to honor the invitation, one of the students who had signed a petition to withdraw the invite, Vanessa Lamers, told Yale Daily News that she believes having Brinker as a speaker would â€œtarnish the schoolâ€™s reputation.â€ How quick and how far the mighty have fallen.
Just like a bitter, ugly frauds named Cliff Stearns or Mike Pence have failed in their blatant mission to cripple Planned Parenthood on the taxpayerâ€™s dime. Stearns is one of those big spending, big government panderers who initiated an inquiry to determine whether Planned Parenthood is being truthful in its denial that it uses any taxpayer funding to perform abortions.
Stearns, a Republican congressman from Florida, of course, Â introduced a bill in 2011 that would only provide federal funding to organizations that flagrantly violate the relationship between doctor and patient and show women unnecessary sonograms of fetuses and advise against ending pregnancies. When it comes to the living though, heâ€™s pro-death, and believes big government should be monitoring everything from steroids to art. In 2010, with straight faces, Citizens Against Government Waste named Stearns a â€œTaxpayer Hero,â€ for a second time.
Mike Pence is an unfortunately unaborted Indiana Republican and former talk show host that loathes Planned Parenthood almost as much as he does women. In 2011 he introduced a bill to the House that would ban federal funding for abortion providers. Hatred of women and reproductive health is not uniquely Republican though. Several pro-life Democrats cosponsored the bill. The amendment to defund Planned Parenthood passed the House of Representatives easily but lost 42 to 58 in the Senate.
And so you have it. A few Catholic bishops in Missouri and Ohio shifted their gaze from the crotches of prepubescent children and sheltering and shuffling pedophiles long enough to convince their parishioners to boycott Komen because of their ties to Planned Parenthood and stem cell research. A few right wing nutcases threatened to disrupt Komen events or boycott sponsors. Along with the pro-gun, anti-abortion politicos, allowing women to die in the name of â€œconscience rightsâ€ of doctors.Â Komen, already in bed with the very people declaring war on womenâ€™s health, didnâ€™t need much arm twisting.
â€œWe have made mistakes in how we have handled recent decisions and take full accountability for what has resulted, but we cannot take our eye off the ball when it comes to our mission. To do this effectively, we must learn from what we’ve done right, what we’ve done wrong and achieve our goal for the millions of women who rely on us. The stakes are simply too high and providing hope for a cure must drive our efforts,â€ declared Nancy Brinker in the wake of Karen Handelâ€™s resignation, as if a sudden refocus on the ball, from which eyes and efforts were largely diverted, will make the whole ugly mess just disappear. But in the haze of her astonishing arrogance, Nancy Brinker doesnâ€™t seem to realize sheâ€™s lost control and the ball has already rolled away.
Komenâ€™s mean-spirited, politically motivated board decision to change its policy late last year would have cut nearly $700,000 to Planned Parenthood and their affiliates. But the entire plan, along with Ari Fleicherâ€™s containment strategy blew up in their faces.
Planned Parenthood in just one week received almost $3 million — four times the amount it usually receives from the Komen annually — with high profile donations from the likes of Michael Bloomberg and Lance Armstrong. And a whole lot of former Komen donors, who didnâ€™t realize quite who they were supporting, and wonâ€™t be going back.
In this whole drama, two things are certain.
Planned Parenthood is no Acorn, and is not going anywhere soon. Not if anyone who cares about womenâ€™s health has anything to do with it.
Nothing short of Nancy Brinkerâ€™s immediate resignation will give Komen so much as a fighting chance to regain a shred of credibility and possibly survive in a smaller, more focused capacity. It may however, be too late, given just how much the cancer has spread.
Clinton Fein is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and First Amendment activist, best-â€‹known for his 1997 First Amendment Supreme Court victory against United States Attorney General Janet Reno. Fein has also gained international recognition for his Annoyâ€‹.com site, and for his work as a political artist. Fein is on the Board of Directors of the First Amendment Project, â€œa nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of information, expression, and petition.â€ Feinâ€™s political and privacy activism have been widely covered around the world. His work also led him to be nominated for a 2001 PEN/Newmanâ€™s Own First Amendment Award.
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Trump Makes False Claims About Classified Documents – And Obama
Donald Trump is responding to news reports he is under FBI investigation for actions covered by the Espionage Act by making apparently false claims about his mishandling of classified documents and about former President Barack Obama.
“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump says in a post on his Truth Social site, a claim legal experts say is incorrect. For any president to declassify documents, experts say, there is a process that involves actions being taken on each individual document. They also say the president does not have legal authority to declassify documents related to nuclear weapons.
“Number two,” Trump continues, “they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”
Again, according to reports, that too is false. DOJ issued a subpoena after the National Archives tried to get all the documents back and Trump still did not comply.
“They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago,” he continues in a separate post on Truth Social. “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”
Again, multiple reports say they did, numerous times.
None of his responses explain why he had at Mar-a-Lago what we now know were at least 35 cartons – 20 retrieved on Monday and 15 earlier this year – of items including confidential, classified, and top secret documents that were required by law to have been handed over to the National Archives.
“The bigger problem is,” Trump says, “what are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents, many of which are classified, that President Obama took to Chicago?”
That is also false.
The National Archives on Friday issued a statement after Trump repeatedly spread the false claim that former President Barack Obama had 33 million documents in his possession.
“President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots!” was one of Trump’s false attacks on his Truth Social site.
“The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama Presidential records when President Barack Obama left office in 2017, in accordance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA),” the Archives said in a statement posted to its website Friday.
“NARA moved approximately 30 million pages of unclassified records to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA,” the Archives added. “Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the PRA, former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his Administration.”
Trump Under FBI Investigation for Potential Violation of the Espionage Act Legal Experts Say
‘Simply Jaw-Dropping’: Legal Experts Also Stunned Over Top Secret, Confidential Contents of Cartons FBI Seized From Mar-a-Lago
“A search warrant viewed by POLITICO reveals that the FBI is investigating Donald Trump for a potential violation of the Espionage Act and removed classified documents from the former president’s Florida estate earlier this week,” Politico reports.
The New York Times also confirms.
“Federal agents who executed the warrant did so to investigate potential crimes associated with violations of the Espionage Act, which outlaws the unauthorized retention of national security information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary; a federal law that makes it a crime to destroy or conceal a document to obstruct a government investigation; and another statute associated with unlawful removal of government materials.”
Based on the search warrant released to far-right media outlet Breitbart News, multiple legal experts also say Donald Trump, the former president is under FBI investigation for potentially violating the Espionage Act.
“A federal magistrate judge has found probable cause to believe evidence of the crime of ESPIONAGE to be found at Mar-A-Lago. Repeat 5 times,” writes former U.S. Attorney and DOJ official Harry Litman, now an LA Times legal affairs columnist. He also notes that “top secret/compartmented is stratospherically high classification. Scandal he ever had in [those documents] the first place.”
Top national security lawyer Brad Moss writes: “18 U.S.C. 793 – Espionage Act. That’s for willful/grossly negligent removal of information relating to the national defense. 18 U.S.C. 2017 and 18 U.S.C. 1519 – that’s for concealing federal records.”
Moss also retweeted this statement by veteran Cox Radio Capitol Hill correspondent Jamie Dupree:
“So the leak of the Trump search warrant via Breitbart indicates that former President Donald Trump is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act and for Obstruction of Justice.”
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler also confirms, writing: “The hilarious thing is that since Brietbart doesn’t even know what a Supervisory Special Agent is, they probably don’t realize they’ve confirmed that Trump is under investigation for violating the Espionage Act.”
Western New England University School of Law law professor Jennifer Taub also confirms, writing: “Donald Trump is being investigated for espionage.”
The Wall Street Journal was first to publish details of what FBI agents seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion on Monday. Legal experts have been calling Friday afternoon’s revelations “jaw-dropping.”
FBI agents “removed 11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal,” the WSJ report states.
Despite initial reports the FBI seized between ten and 12 cartons of documents and other materials unlawfully removed from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, there were 20 cartons retrieved. That is in addition to the 15 cartons the National Archives were forced to retrieve earlier this year.
“The list includes references to one set of documents marked as ‘Various classified/TS/SCI documents,’ an abbreviation that refers to top-secret/sensitive compartmented information. It also says agents collected four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents, and three sets of confidential documents. The list didn’t provide any more details about the substance of the documents.”
The classified/TS/SCI markings are the most important.
Legal experts say the search warrant was “broad,” and indeed the Journal reports the warrant “shows that FBI agents sought to search ‘the 45 Office,’ as well as ‘all storage rooms and all other rooms or areas within the premises used or available to be used by [the former president] and his staff and in which boxes or documents could be stored, including all structures or buildings on the estate.'”
Late Thursday evening The Washington Post revealed FBI agents were looking to retrieve classified documents “related to nuclear weapons,” making Monday’s raid all the more important, and Trump and his teams handling – or mishandling – of those documents all the more egregious.
The George Washington University Law School’s Professor of Government Procurement Law, Steven L. Schooner, says, “removal of, failure to account for, & failure to return (under subpoena) ‘classified/TS/SCI documents’ is, ugh, simply jaw-dropping, and that’s regardless of whether it’s nuclear-related.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Watch: Boebert’s Mic Cut After Going Over Time and Refusing to End Lie-Filled Rant
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) refused to end her remarks attacking popular Democratic legislation known as the Inflation Reduction Act, and after being repeatedly warned – four times – she was over time as she ranted and delivered falsehoods on the House floor her microphone was finally cut.
Congresswoman Boebert, part of the far-right fringe that has taken over the Republican Party, yelled and wagged her finger as she spread misinformation.
In an ironic twist the pro-gun activist and former owner of Shooters Grill angrily – and falsely – claimed the bill mandates the hiring of 87,000 armed IRS agents.
“What are we doing here? What are we passing this so-called Inflation Reduction Act if inflation is at zero percent?” she asked.
Inflation in fact for the month of July was flat, coming in at zero percent, which brought the annual inflation rate down from 9.1% to 8.5%.
“Well in fact it’s the inflation enhancement act,” Boebert, a spreader of conspiracy theories falsely argued, calling it “just another con game by the Democrats,” which also is false.
She then went on to claim the IRS would have more “armed agents” than the Defense Dept.
After being warned four times she had gone over time her mic was cut, but she was subsequently granted additional time.
The Colorado Congresswoman, a pro-gun extremist, went on to lie that the Inflation Reduction Act “hires 87,000 IRS agents and they are armed and the job description tells them that they need to be required to carry a firearm and expect to use deadly force if necessary,” she shouted, calling it “armed robbery.”
The bill will enable the IRS to hire new employees, but nowhere near 87,000. Only a tiny fraction, about 300, would be armed, and not for nefarious purposes like “armed robbery.”
“Though the job is really about sniffing out income and accounting irregularities to build legal cases,” CBS News reports, “one of the potential duties is ‘conduct[ing] or participat[ing] in surveillance, armed escorts, dignitary protection, undercover operations, execution of search and arrest warrants, seizures, etc.,’ the job listing states.”
Boebert began by calling “supporters of this legislation insane,” falsely implied the Inflation Reduction Act increases taxes on ordinary middle-class Americans, while mocking “Green New Deal initiatives.”
Seconds after her “armed robbery” remarks Boebert again ran into overtime. Her mic was cut after the second warning.
Kentucky Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth, who spoke immediately after her, blasted the Colorado Congresswoman.
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