Daily Archives: February 2, 2012

Mario Piperni Does Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen Chooses Politics Over The Poor

February 2, 2012 By

The Planned Parenthood/Susan G. Komen story is another clear example of how right-wing ideology has forced its way into just about every aspect of American life. Pushing conservative social policies involves demonizing organizations like Planned Parenthood which provides vital breast cancer screenings to low-income and uninsured women.

Komen’s choosing to cease funding to Planned Parenthood because the organization is under investigation by Congress is simply another attack on women’s rights. The real reason PP is being defunded by Komen is because the latter is controlled by right-wing ideologues who have allowed politics to guide their decision making.  They have given in to anti-abortion zealots who have been running a boycott campaign against Komen.

Komen has been under pressure from anti-abortion groups to drop its funding for Planned Parenthood, which received $680,000 from the anti-cancer group in 2011. Most recently, abortion foes forced a Christian publisher to stop printing pink Komen bibles and pressured bookstores to take them off shelves. Groups have also called on supporters to boycott Komen entirely, and decried the group as a “lie from the pit of Hell.”

As for those right-wing ideologues controlling Komen…

Breast cancer charity giant Susan G. Komen for the Cure on Tuesday did not renew a grant to Planned Parenthood to fund breast exams. The move comes less than a year after Komen hired a new vice president, who has publicly stated her opposition to abortion, a service provided at some Planned Parenthood facilities.

Komen’s new vice president, Karen Handel, had run for governor of Georgia in 2010 on an aggressively anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood platform and was endorsed by Sarah Palin because of her opposition to reproductive choice. Handel wrote in her campaign blog that she “do[es] not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”

and

Komen’s founder is pretty conservative, too. Komen CEO Nancy G. Brinker, who founded the foundation in memory of a sister who died from breast cancer, was the chief protocol officer for the United States from 2007 to 2009 under the George W. Bush administration, and before that served as his ambassador to Hungary.

Brinker is also a major Republican donor, and has given more than $175,000 to Republican candidates and the Republican National Committee since 1990…

and

sitting on Komen’s Advocacy Alliance Board is Jane Abraham, the General Chairman of the virulently anti-choice and anti-science Susan B. Anthony List and of its Political Action Committee.  Among other involvements, Abraham helps direct the Nuturing Network, a global network of crisis pregnancy centers, organizations widely  known for spreading ideology, misinformation and lies to women facing unintended pregnancy and to use both intimidation and coercion in the course of doing so.

Here’s the bottom line: given a choice between their personal agendas and helping low-income Americans deal with vital health issues, the Susan G. Komen charity made the decision to go with the former.

That Komen–an organization ostensibly dedicated to scientific exploration of cures for breast cancer–has invited on its advocacy board women so closely allied with organizations that so blatantly ignore science and medicine and spread outright lies to other women about their health and welfare speaks volumes about Komen’s ethical principles as an organization.

And as a result of Komen’s decision, women will needlessly die.

The Borowitz Report

A Clarification from Mitt Romney

About Poor People


LA JOLLA, CA (The Borowitz Report) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today released the following letter to the American people:

Dear American People:

Yesterday, comments I made about poor people made me look terrible.  This always seems to happen when I say what I really believe.

The fact is, I do care about poor people.  That’s because I’m poor myself, when you compare me to Mark Zuckerberg.

According to most projections, Facebook’s IPO should net Mr. Zuckerberg a personal fortune of $28 billion.  I couldn’t make a pile of dough-re-mi like that even if I fired people twenty-four hours a day.

Now, let’s take a look at Mitt Romney’s net worth: a measly $200 million.  Now do you see why I consider myself poor?  Compared to Mark Zuckerberg, Mitt Romney is practically a crack whore.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and envy a rich person like Mark Zuckerberg.  That’s exactly what President Obama wants poor people like me to do.  Mark Zuckerberg made his money fair and square, by creating useful products like imaginary sheep and angry birds.  Say what you will about Facebook, it has totally revolutionized the way we waste our lives.

The fact is, if you’re poor in America, you should do what Mark Zuckerberg did: create a social network.  I’ve just started my own, called TwoFaceBook.  With TwoFaceBook, your profile doesn’t stay the same for more than two seconds.

In closing, there’s one more reason I don’t worry about poor people.  They have Groupons.

Vote for me,

Mitt Romney

Ezra Klein on the Problem with Willard

Mitt Romney’s problem isn’t his gaffes. It’s probably better to refrain from saying you’re “not concerned by the very poor” and that you “like being able to fire people,” but campaigns are long, and all candidates make comments that can be taken out of context to make them look bad. Nor is Romney’s problem his tax rate, or his wealth, or his time at Bain Capital. Romney’s problem is the interaction all of this has with his policies. In particular, the interaction it has with his tax and fiscal policies.

Romney’s tax policy, described simply, is to extend the Bush tax cuts and, then on top of that, sharply cut taxes on corporations, the wealthy, and upper-middle class investors, while letting a set of tax breaks that help the poor expire. The result, according to the Tax Policy Center, would be a $69 tax cut for the average individual in the bottom 20 percent and a $164,000 tax cut for the average individual in the top one percent. And Romney would pay for this through unspecified cuts to domestic programs. Since domestic programs mostly go to the poor and seniors, the regressive tax cuts would be regressively financed.

That’s a tough political sell for any candidate. But Romney is a very rich guy who already pays surprisingly little in taxes and has made some oddly callous comments about the poor. And now he wants to lower the tax burden on people like himself, and pay for it by cutting programs for the poor and seniors? That’s a much tougher sell.

And it’s probably not one that Romney, all things considered, wants to make. His tax plan, as I’ve pointed out ad nauseum, is the most moderate plan of any candidate in the GOP primary. Rick Santorum’s plan would give the top one percent a $341,000 tax cut. Newt Gingrich’s plan boosts that to $422,000. Nor is there much in Romney’s background to suggest he’s particularly interested in shredding the safety net to cut taxes. His big accomplishment in Massachusetts, after all, was universal health care, not a tax cut.

But Romney had to persuade conservatives he was one of them. And in today’s Republican Party, tax cuts — big ones — are the cost of doing business. So Romney has a big tax cut plan, which was necessary for him to be a strong candidate in the primary, but now he’s got to carry that big tax cut plan into the general. Now he has to explain why, with hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank, he wants to cut taxes on people like him and pay for those tax cuts by cutting programs for people who aren’t like him.

There’s been, of late, a fair amount of conversation about whether the long Republican primary will hurt the eventual candidate. Romney actually addressed the speculation in his Florida victory speech. “As this primary unfolds, our opponents in the other party have been watching,” he said. “They like to comfort themselves with the thought that a competitive campaign will leave us divided and weak. But I’ve got some news for them: A competitive primary does not divide us; it prepares us.”

He’s probably right: there’s not much evidence that long primaries hurt parties. Rather, the cost of the Republican primary came early for Romney. It locked him into a very conservative agenda that, due to Romney’s particular history and the country’s particularly budgetary situation, is going to be a big liability in the fall.

BuzzFlash on H1B Visas

A short time ago, BuzzFlash at Truthout ran a commentary on how US global corporations don’t give a hoot about increasing jobs in America.

In it, we included a section about how Silicon Valley high-tech companies, particularly Apple, use overseas contractors to manufacture their latest technological consumer products. It has been documented that some of these contractors create such harsh conditions and pay such low wages that workers have been driven to suicide, as The New York Times and other publications have detailed.

In a two-part Times expose, an Apple executive claimed: “We [Apple] don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems.” That was in response to Apple shipping so many potential US jobs overseas to these slave-wage sweatshops; e.g., “90 percent of the parts of an iPhone are made outside the U.S.”

But there’s another insidious way that the high-tech industry denies jobs to US citizens. It’s called the H-1B visa, which allows America’s technological firms – and other specialized employers – to bring in foreign employees, frequently at a lower wage package than might be paid to an individual with the same qualifications who is an American citizen. There are many arguments against the program, primarily the allegation that there is generally no actual shortage of US citizens with high-tech skills for the work done by H-1B visa holders.

President Obama appeared blindsided by a question on a Google Plus interactive town hall the other day from a woman whose husband had been laid off by Texas Instruments:

Jennifer Wedel was the second to question Obama, and the four-minute exchange was among the most memorable of the 50-minute online event.

“My question to you is to why does the government continue to issue and extend H-1B visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?” she asked.

Obama offered that industry leaders have told him that there aren’t enough of certain kinds of high-tech engineers in America to meet their needs. Jennifer Wedel interrupted him to explain that that answer didn’t match what her husband is seeing out in the real world.

“Jennifer, can I ask what kind of engineer your husband is?”

“He’s a semiconductor engineer,” she told the president, who seemed genuinely surprised.

“If you send me your husband’s resume, I’d be interested in finding out exactly what’s happening right there,” he told her. “The word we’re getting is somebody in that high-tech field, that kind of engineer, should be able to find something right away. And the H-1B should be reserved only for those companies who say they cannot find somebody in that particular field.”

Of course, the high-tech companies are telling the White House and Congress that they can’t find US citizens for the H-1B jobs, but many critics argue that many high-tech companies hire H-1B workers without even offering the positions to Americans. On top of that, after the H-1B workers are sent back to their native nations, there are reports that they are rehired by US companies abroad to start offshore high-tech offices that move more US jobs overseas. In short, the H-1B visa could be seen as an outsourcing training program at the expense of highly skilled US professionals.

It was nice of the president of the United States to offer his personal job placement services to Jennifer Wedel’s husband, but it’s a bit disturbing that the White House appears to have fallen for the Silicon Valley canard.

When it comes to the H-1B visa, it’s the same old story: follow the profits.

Mark Karlin,
Editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout