UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 26, 2009

WHERE ENSIGN, SANFORD & HILLARY CLINTON WERE ON THE SAME PAGE

Washington Post - It blends into the streetscape, tucked behind the Library of Congress, a few steps from the Cannon House Office Building, a few more steps to the Capitol. This is just the way its residents want it to be. Almost invisible.

But through one week's events, this stately old pad -- a pile of sturdy brick that once housed a convent -- has become the very nexus of American scandal, a curious marker in the gallery of capital shame. Mark Sanford, South Carolina's disgraced Republican governor and a former congressman, looked here for answers -- for support, for the word of God -- as his marriage crumbled over his affair with an Argentine woman. John Ensign, the senator from Nevada who just seven days earlier also was forced to admit a career-shattering affair, lives there.

"C Street," Sanford said Wednesday during his diffuse, cryptic, utterly arresting confessional news conference, is where congressmen faced "hard questions."

On any given day, the rowhouse at 133 C St. SE -- well appointed, with American flag flying, white-and-green-trimmed windows and a pleasant garden -- fills with talk of power and the Lord. At least five congressmen live there, quietly renting upstairs rooms from an organization affiliated with "the Fellowship," the obsessively secretive Arlington spiritual group that organizes the National Day of Prayer breakfast, an event routinely attended by legions of top government officials. Other politicians come to the house for group spirituality sessions, prayer meetings or to simply share their troubles. . .

Although Sanford visited the house, there is no indication that he was ever a resident; when he was in Congress from 1995 to 2000, the parsimonious lawmaker was famous for forgoing his housing allowance and bunking in his Capitol Hill office. But it is not uncommon for residents to invite fellow congressmen to the home for spiritual bonding. There, Sanford enjoyed a kind of alumnus status. Richard Carver, president of the Fellowship Foundation, said, "I don't think it's intended to have someone from South Carolina get counseling there." But he posited that Sanford turned to C Street "because he built a relationship with people who live in the house.". . .

The house's residents mostly adhere to a code of silence about the place, seldom discussing it publicly, lending an aura of mystery to what happens inside and a hint of conspiratorial speculation. In a town where everyone talks about everything, the residents have managed largely to keep such a refuge to themselves and their friends. . .

And now the part the Post left out. . .

Kathryn Joyce And Jeff Sharlet, Mother Jones - Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection. . .

When Clinton first came to Washington in 1993, one of her first steps was to join a Bible study group. For the next eight years, she regularly met with a Christian "cell" . . . Clinton's prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or "the Family"), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to "spiritual war" on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship's only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast. . . The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God's plan. . .

The Fellowship's ideas are essentially a blend of Calvinism and Norman Vincent Peale, the 1960s preacher of positive thinking. It's a cheery faith in the "elect" chosen by a single voter - God . . .

The Fellowship's God-led men have also included General Suharto of Indonesia; Honduran general and death squad organizer Gustavo Alvarez Martinez; a Deutsche Bank official disgraced by financial ties to Hitler; and dictator Siad Barre of Somalia, plus a list of other generals and dictators. Clinton, says Schenck, has become a regular visitor to [the group's] Arlington, Virginia, headquarters. . .

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The rich have given to the poor a little food, a little drink, a little shelter and few clothes - the poor have given to the rich, palaces and yachts and an almost infinite freedom to indulge their doubtful taste for display; and bonuses and excess profits, under which has been hidden the
excess labour and extravagant misery of the poor" - Gilbert Seldes

"The oppressors do not perceive their monopoly of having more as a
privilege which dehumanises others and themselves" - Paolo Freire

"How far, O rich, do you extend your senseless avarice? Do you intend to be the sole inhabitants of the earth? Why do you drive out the fellow sharers of nature, and claim it all for yourselves? The earth was made for all, rich and poor, in common. Why do you rich claim it as your exclusive right?"
St. Ambrose 340? - 397

June 26, 2009 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

The longer I live and the more I see, the more convinced I become that the willingness to indulge in religious display and cant should be an absolute, automatic disqualification for public office.

Anyone claiming to be religious is a fraud.

June 27, 2009 5:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sanford missed the new GOP instructional video: http://bit.ly/24bf6

June 27, 2009 10:49 AM  
Blogger Inspector Clouseau said...

There is a very simple reason why disgraced politicians should immediately resign no matter what the offense, or the talent they may possess which could benefit society: in this partisan, acrimonious, political environment in which we currently live, and at this point in time in our nation’s evolution, any elected official needs as much support from his constituency which he or she can gather. After the offense, that support base will undoubtedly diminish, and render their service less effective.

As for resignation, you might check out http://www.tinyurl.com/n3vlg3

July 15, 2009 10:53 PM  

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