FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Komen Con

by DOUGLAS A. BERG

Nancy Goodman Brinker, a pioneer of “cause marketing”, founded Susan G. Komen For the Cure in 1982, reportedly as the fulfillment of a deathbed promise made to her sister, a victim of breast cancer. In 1994, Brinker founded In Your Corner, Inc., a for-profit company that markets health products and information. In 1998, Brinker sold In Your Corner to AstraZeneca, the third largest pesticide manufacturer in the world, primarily through Syngenta, a giant global agribusiness company it owns jointly with Novartis.

AstraZeneca has had close ties to Brinker for many years. It gave $97,000 to Komen and its affiliates in the first 6 months of 2008 alone, and it has been a big presence at Komen’s Race for the Cure. AstraZeneca is also one of the largest contributors to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The problem here is that pesticides cause breast cancer.

AstraZeneca solves the problem by no longer advertising itself as a pesticide manufacturer.  It is a “life-sciences” company. Ta da! Problem solved! Well, they still manufacture more pesticides than ever (substances that congregate in the sexual glands of mammals causing cancers, birth defects, etc., etc.,) but “life sciences” sounds so reassuring, yes?

Susan G. Komen has created a lengthy list of risk factors for breast cancer.  Nowhere in this list can you find exposure to toxins, probably the greatest risk factor of all.

Hey Nancy! Didn’t your sister ask you to cure breast cancer? Was her dying wish, “Please forgive them for killing me, pay yourself half a million dollars a year – and oh by the way please protect those poor pesticide manufacturers. They know not what they do.”

It gets worse. You’ve heard the famous slogan “The best prevention is early detection.” Think about it: If you get breast cancer, you didn’t see the doctor soon enough. Your fault. Next case.

No wonder AstraZeneca gives handsomely. The focus of Komen and pharmaceutical research is entirely on screening and treatment, not on prevention. In other words, “the cure” focuses on the symptoms and ignores the cause. Less than 5% of the total research dollars in this country are spent determining and eliminating the causes of cancer — none of that money, you can bet, spent by “life sciences” companies.

You have to hand it to AstraZeneca. Not only do they recognize and reward good propaganda when they see it, they also recognize a great market opportunity. Since the 90’s, AstraZeneca has bought up cancer treatment centers until it owns one of the country’s largest chains. With $13 billion in profits in 2011, it makes billions on oncology drugs, and it makes billions on pesticides and herbicides.

In business parlance, this is “vertical integration.” AstraZeneca causes cancer, they give money to charities that ignore the causes of cancer, and they “cure” us with their toxic drugs. An enviable business model–the worse the product, the more money they make.

And AstraZeneca isn’t the only culprit in this unholy alliance. General Electric is also a large contributor to Susan G. Komen. Mammograms have come under heavy criticism in recent years for needlessly exposing patients to radiation, and for yielding numerous false positives which often result in unnecessary surgeries. Unlike many doctors and charities, Komen continues to recommend annual mammograms. GE, not so coincidentally, is a huge manufacturer of mammogram equipment. Europe has a only fraction of the breast surgeries that occur in the U.S., and yet they have nearly identical rates of cancer deaths.

It is hard not to think of Komen as a pure propaganda ploy, and a great tool for supplying qualified prospects to the cancer industry. Is it any surprise that Nancy Brinker was a bundler of campaign contributions for George W. Bush and also a Bush Pioneer, a title that required making contributions of at least $100,000 to his Presidential Campaign? Is it surprising that the staff of Komen is stuffed full of right-wing extremists? Anyone surprised by Komen’s decision to drop Planned Parenthood?

If you are surprised, you’ve bought Susan G. Komen’s purported mission of “curing” breast cancer, rather than understanding the real mission of the cancer-industry and its supporters in the “life science” of killing insects with chemicals that also kill humans. Putting the spotlight upon this unholy alliance is making some very rich, very immoral people very nervous.

Expect a rash of corporate name changes and massive increases in public relations budgets if the attention lasts much longer. What one should not expect is any change in business practices.

Douglas A. Berg is a computer scientist and children’s book writer in Mesa, Arizona. He contributed this article to ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, which is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
Norman Pollack
Economic Nationalism vs. Globalization: Janus-Faced Monopoly Capital
Binoy Kampmark
Railroaded by the Supreme Court: the US Problem with Immigration
Howard Lisnoff
Of Kiddie Crusades and Disregarding the First Amendment in a Public Space
Vijay Prashad
Economic Liberalization Ignores India’s Rural Misery
Caroline Hurley
We Are All Syrians
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail