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

July 15, 2009

WHAT JOHN ENSIGN, HILLARY CLINTON & THE HONDURAN RIGHT WING HAVE IN COMMON

Wayne Madsen Report - The extramarital sex scandal surrounding Senator John Ensign (R-NV) is increasingly involving the Fellowship Foundation, also known as "The Family," and, as previously reported by WMR, "the Christian Mafia.". . .

Adding to the Fellowship's perception as a powerful and secretive organization is its ownership of a boarding house and conference center around the corner from the U.S. Capitol at 133 C Street, SE, Washington, DC. At any given time, eight members of the Senate and House have resided at the C Street Center where they sleep, pray, and eat for a mere $600 a month. . .

Past and current residents of the C Street Center have included former Representatives Steve Largent (R-OK) and Ed Bryant (R-TN), former Representative and current Democratic Governor of Maine John E. Baldacci, Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) (Brownback is also a member of the right-wing Fascist-oriented Opus Dei sect within the Catholic Church), Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), John Ensign (R-NV), and Tom Coburn (R-OK),Representatives Mike Doyle (R-PA), Bart Stupak (D-MI), Zach Wamp (R-TN), and former Senator Don Nickles (R-OK).

Other past members included Senators Sam Nunn (D-GA), John Chafee (R-RI), Roger Jepsen (R-IA), Charles Percy (R-IL), Strom Thurmond (R-SC), David Durenberger (R-MN), Jennings Randolph (D-WV), Paul Trible (R-VA), Phil Gramm (R-TX), William Armstrong (R-CO), Lawton Chiles (D-FL), Dan Coats (R-IN), Jeremiah Denton (R-AL), John Stennis (D-MS), Al Gore, Jr. (D-TN), and Larry Pressler (R-SD), and former Representatives J. C. Watts (R-OK), Robert Dornan (R-CA), and Tony Hall (D-OH). George W. Bush named Hall, who purported to be a strong defender of human rights, to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for World Hunger. In typical Fellowship fashion, Hall immediately began to lobby the UN on behalf of Monsanto to accept genetically-modified foods.

Other significant members of the Fellowship are Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Conrad Burns (R-MT), Richard Lugar (R-IN), James Inhofe (R-OK), Bill Nelson (D-FL) (Nelson's wife Grace serves on the Fellowship Foundation's Board of Directors), and Rick Santorum (R-PA), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), and George Allen (R-VA), Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Representatives Frank Wolf (R-VA), Tom DeLay (R-TX), Tom Feeney (R-FL), Curt Weldon (R-PA), Jerry Weller (R-IL), and Joseph Pitts (R-PA).

Friends of the Fellowship, if not outright members, include Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO), and former Senator Zell Miller (D-GA).

One of the more interesting affiliates of the Fellowship is Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). A former "Goldwater Girl" in the 1964 presidential campaign, Mrs. Clinton seemed to have partially recovered some of her earlier conservative underpinnings. According to her autobiography, Living History, after her husband became president, Clinton paid a visit to a women's meeting at the Cedars on February 24, 1993. Present were Susan Baker (wife of the first Bush's Secretary of State, James Baker III), Grace Nelson (wife of Florida's Bill Nelson), Joanne Kemp (wife of former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp), Linda LeSourd Lader (wife of Clinton ambassador to Britain and founder of the Renaissance Weekend Phil Lader -- the Renaissance Weekend in Charleston, South Carolina is billed by Lader as a "spiritual" event), and Holly Leachman of the Falls Church Episcopal Church (one of the churches taken over by the Fellowship). Leachman and her husband Jerry had been involved in 1997 with a Cleveland, Ohio Fellowship adjunct called the Family Forum. The Leachmans were interviewed by ABC's Nightline on February 25, 2004. They extolled the virtues of Mel Gibson's controversial film," The Passion of the Christ," along with other evangelicals, including some Jewish converts to Christianity.

Senator Clinton admits to having a continuing close relationship with Susan Baker, through Baker's visits to Capitol Hill and the letters she and other Fellowship wives wrote her during the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. Even Bill Clinton seemed to have been taken in by the Fellowship. In his autobiography, "My Life," Clinton brags that he never missed a National Prayer Breakfast. In his autobiography, Bill Clinton erroneously writes that it was not until 2000 that Coe invited the first Jew, Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), to speak at the breakfast. However, New York Mayor Ed Koch spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1981, Senator Jacob Javits in 1984, and Arthur Burns in 1986.

Ironically, it was Susan Baker's husband James Baker who served as the political fix-it man for George W. Bush and against Clinton's Vice President Al Gore in delivering Florida's 25 electoral votes to George W. Bush in 2000, costing Gore the White House. In fact, Senator Clinton wrote that all of her relationships with the Fellowship began with the luncheon she attended in 1993. In her biography, Senator Clinton writes of Douglas Coe, "[he] is a genuinely loving spiritual mentor . . . Doug Coe became a source of strength and friendship." Of course, Clinton is referring to the period of time when her husband was being harassed by conservative Republicans out for blood -- the Whitewater investigation and impeachment hearings brought about by what she called the "vast right-wing conspiracy" against her husband. It is amazing that Mrs. Clinton would have established such a trusting relationship with people who were the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that she complained about so vociferously.

Nevertheless, Mrs. Clinton remained close to Coe, whom she invited to accompany her as a member of the U.S. delegation that attended Mother Theresa's state funeral in Calcutta in 1997. Mother Theresa had spoken at Coe's National Prayer Breakfast meeting in Washington in 1994. . .

Using tax-free religion dodges, the 133 C Street house, which was once reistered to the non-profit C Street Center, is now registered with the "Youth With a Mission of Washington, DC," also a non-profit entity. The Fellowship maintains its headquarters at The Cedars in nearby Arlington, Virginia, another facility that attracts Washington's power elite, as well as foreign dignitaries. . .

It is not only the Fellowship's involvement with the Ensign and Sanford sex scandals that has raised eyebrows but also Secretary of State Clinton's milquetoast response to the military coup in Honduras that ousted President Manuel Zelaya, a progressive. The National Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the Fellowship, has, in the past, attracted the right-wing elite of Honduras, including Zelaya's predecessor, Ricardo Maduro, who was backed by the same Christian evangelical forces that forced Zelaya from power.

WMR also previously reported on another link between the Fellowship and Honduras's right wing through the DeMoss Foundation, which is linked to Fellowship ministry operations: The DeMoss Foundation is anti-gay, anti-abortion, and favors close links between church and state.

Arthur [DeMoss] dropped dead of a heart attack at age 53 while playing tennis at his ritzy Main Line estate in Bryn Mawr, outside of Philadelphia.

In addition to supporting [Charles] Colson's [Prison Fellowship] group, the foundation gives generously to the American Center for Law and Justice, the legal group run by Pat Robertson. DeMoss also supports the Plymouth Rock Foundation, an extreme right-wing Christian Reconstructionist movement that advocates the imposition of Biblical law in the United States and the death penalty for adulterers, homosexuals, heterosexual sodomists, non-Christians, and witches.

DeMoss's son, Mark, a former employee of Jerry Falwell, is also a member of the DeMoss Board of Directors. It is significant that Sun Myung Moon has bailed out Falwell's Liberty University on a number of occasions.

A daughter of Arthur DeMoss, Deborah DeMoss-Fonseca, worked for 10 years for Senator Jesse Helms and was the senator's liaison to a number of Latin American dictators and death squad leaders, including Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet and Salvadoran pro-Nazi anti-Semitic death squad leader Roberto D'Aubisson.

Deborah DeMoss's husband is retired Honduran Colonel Hector Rene Fonseca, a one-time Honduran presidential candidate for the right-wing National Party. The DeMoss-Fonsecas, as well as Senator Orrin Hatch, were among the primary backers of Honduran immigrant Miguel Estrada to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. After Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee called into question Estrada's credentials, including debunking the myth that he was from a poor Honduran family (in fact, Estrada hailed from one of Honduras's elite families), the right-wing judicial hopeful withdrew his name from nomination.

The Fellowship's "Youth Corps" is also very active in Honduras.

The involvement of the shadowy and slippery Fellowship in the Ensign and Sanford extramarital scandals and its ties to the Honduran right wing suggests that the Christian Mafia is as powerful as before. And the advent of the Obama administration with the secretary of state's links to the Fellowship serves as a warning for progressive governments and leaders who may end up in the same predicament as Honduras's beleaguered President Zelaya.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Mairead said...

The Constitution should require that government officeholders be strictly secular while in office, any observable religiosity causing immediate non-judicial loss of office, salary, perqs, and pension.

July 15, 2009 4:52 PM  

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