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K Gardner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-25-08 11:58 AM
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Hillary's Quest for Power, Doug Coe, The Family and Tales of Genghis Khan
The conversation about Hillary Clinton begins and all else flows from one seminal incident where she made a very conscious choice. The woman, who was a child at the time, has been homeless and led a very dysfunctional life; yet she says Clinton probably "did what she had to do". Imagine the trauma of being raped, then accused of being responsible for it - being humiliated and victimized. Imagine a life of despair and sorrow.. a child who felt devoid of worth, responsible for her rape, grew into a woman who excused her victimizer. Hillary Rodham stepped over a 12-year-old rape victim on her on her way to power. The first of many.

The victim was visibly stunned when handed the affidavit by a reporter this fall. "It kind of shocks me - it's not true," she said. "I never said anybody attacked my body before, never in my life." In December, when Clinton was campaigning in Iowa, the woman was being released from a state prison after serving a year for forging checks to pay for her methamphetamine addiction. She doesn't blame Taylor for all her problems, but says the incident continues to haunt her, compounding her bouts of depression and anxiety. "I remember a lot of bad things about what he did to me in that pickup of his," said the woman, who says she attempted suicide a year after the incident. "I've had a lot of counseling and saw a psychiatrist for five to ten years ... It really affected me mentally. I was always kind of scared to be alone with a guy afterwards."

In 2005, while working in a laundry, the victim stole several hundred dollars worth of checks from her boss to buy drugs. She is now living in a halfway house and looking for work. Despite these problems, she bears Hillary Rodham Clinton no ill will and was eager to read "Living History" - at least pages 72 and 73, which contain her case.

Sunday, February 3, 2008
Jeff Sharlet, The Family, 2008

"Just when we thought the Christian right was crumbling, Jeff Sharlet delivers a rude shock: One of its most powerful and cult-like core groups, the "Family," has been thriving and even drawing in Democrats like Hillary Clinton. Sharlet's book is one of the most compelling and brilliantly researched exposes you'll ever read-- just don't read it alone at night!" --Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, and Dancing in the Streets

From the bookjacket:

They are the Familyfundamentalisms avant-garde, waging spiritual war in the halls of American power and around the globe. They consider themselves the new chosen, congressmen, generals, and foreign dictators who meet in confidential cells, to pray and plan for a leadership led by God, to be won not by force but through quiet diplomacy. Their base is a leafy estate overlooking the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia, and Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have written from inside its walls. The Family is about the other half of American fundamentalist powernot its angry masses, but its sophisticated elites. Sharlet follows the story back to Abraham Vereide, an immigrant preacher who in 1935 organized a small group of businessmen sympathetic to European fascism, fusing the Far Right with his own polite but authoritarian faith. From that core, Vereide built an international network of fundamentalists who spoke the language of establishment power, a family that thrives to this day. In public, they host prayer breakfasts; in private they preach a gospel of biblical capitalism, military might, and American empire. Citing Hitler, Lenin, and Mao, Doug Coe, the Family's current leader, declares, "We work with power where we can, build new power where we can't." Sharlets discoveries dramatically challenge conventional wisdom about American fundamentalism, revealing its crucial role in the unraveling of the New Deal, the waging of the Cold War, and the no-holds-barred economics of globalization. The question Sharlet believes we must ask is not What do fundamentalists want? but What have they already done?

"Of all the important studies of the American right, The Family is undoubtedly the most eloquent. It is also quite possibly the most terrifying. This story of a secretive and unmerciful church of 'key men' goes way beyond Jesus Christ, CEOit's Jesus Christ, lobbyist; Jesus Christ, strikebreaker; and maybe even Jesus Christ, fuehrer." --Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas?

"Forget what you think you know about the Christian Right; Jeff Sharlet has uncovered a frightening strain of hidden fundamentalism that forces us to revise our understanding of religion and politics in modern America. A brilliant marriage of investigative journalism and history, an unsettling story of how this small but powerful group shaped the faith of the nation in the 20th century and drives the politics of empire in the 21st. Anyone interested in circles of power will love this book."--Debby Applegate, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for biography for The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher

"A gripping, utterly original narrative about an influential evangelical elite that few Americans even know exists. Jeff Sharlet's fine reporting unveils a group whose history stretches from the corporate foes of the New Deal to the congressional lawmakers who gather each year at the National Prayer Breakfast. The Christian Right will never look the same again." --Michael Kazin, author of A Godly Hero: the Life of William Jennings Bryan

"The organization of influence these men constitute may remind readers of a Rotary Clubbut it is a Rotary Club equipped with nuclear weapons. When the Family's members say 'Let us pray,' they are not just making a suggestion." --Michael Lesy, author of Wisconsin Death Trip

Un-American theocrats can only fool patriotic American democrats when there arent critics like Jeff Sharlet around -- careful scholars and soulful writers who understand both the majesty of faith and the evil of its abuses. A remarkable accomplishment in the annals of writing about religion. --Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America

Sharlet responds to Ehrenreich's article on Clinton, Coe & Co. "dangerous theology":
03/19/2008 @ 11:29pm

I'm grateful to Barbara Ehrenreich for reading my book and recommending it here in The Nation, but I'd jump in on this regardless. She's right to describe a group whose leader distorts Jesus like so--"You say, hey, you know Jesus said, 'You got to put Him before mother-father-brother-sister'? Hitler, Lenin, Mao, that's what they taught the kids. Mao even had the kids killing their own mother and father. But it wasn't murder. It was for building the new nation. The new kingdom"--as "fascist-leaning." Actions matter more than words, of course, which is why The Family's active support for the late and very murderous dictator Suharto, as reported in my book, based on The Family's documents; and its interventions during the 1980s on behalf of death squad leaders, as reported by the LA Times--presents even stronger evidence for describing the group as "fascist-leaning." One could go further--in the book, I dedicate a chapter to The Family's postwar efforts to bring together former Nazis with American Congressmembers.

Of course, that doesn't mean Hillary, who writes gushingly of the group in her memoir, is fascist-leaning any more, than Obama's friendship with Jeremiah Wright means that he, too, believes that perhaps white people invented AIDS. But Wright's, and Obama's, roots are in liberation theology, regardless of how far afield Wright may go on occasion; Hillary's are in a conservative interpretation of neo-orthodoxy that has allowed her to seek spiritual counsel from as authoritarian a thinker as Doug Coe. To me, that's a problem, not a conspiracy. There's no conspiracy here, just a mixture of bad theology and opaque politics that should be troubling to anyone, left or right, who believes in open democracy. But then, maybe I'm just a conservative--I believe ideas have consequences.

This is hardly tit-for-tat as part of the electoral cycle. Barbara Ehrenreich drew from a book I began back in 2003, with a Harper's story about a month I spent living with The Family. I spent the years in between then and now researching the group. Hillary emerged as part of the story as early as 2003. The piece certainly wasn't intended as a hatchet job--I actually voted for Hillary, months after Kathryn Joyce and I wrote the MoJo piece Ehrenreich refers to, on the strength of her health plan vs. Obama's. I've since been won over to Obama's camp, but that's beside the point--everything here is documented, and, for that matter, almost all public record. Put the electoral cycle aside and ask yourself: What do you think of public officials seeking spiritual solace in a group that repeatedly praises Hitler as a leadership model? They're not Nazis--they consider Hitler an evil man. The problem, they believe, is that he put himself where Jesus should be. Huh. Somehow, I don't imagine Jesus wanted to be a fhrer. There's no conspiracy here; just some very dangerous theology. And that's plenty bad enough.

Jeff Sharlet
Brooklyn, NY

Sharlet should know. He is the author of a previous book on The Family and formerly went undercover as a member of their sect. The house he describes in detail is one Clinton wrote about in Living History. She describes her first encounter with Fellowship leader Doug Coe at a 1993 lunch with her prayer cell at the Cedars, the Fellowship's majestic estate on the Potomac. Coe, she writes, "is a unique presence in Washington: a genuinely loving spiritual mentor and guide to anyone, regardless of party or faith, who wants to deepen his or her relationship with God."

Undercover Among America's Secret Theocrats

Ivanwald, which sits at the end of Twenty-fourth Street North in Arlington, Virginia, is known only to its residents and to the members and friends of the organization that sponsors it, a group of believers who refer to themselves as the Family. The Family is, in its own words, an invisible association, though its membership has always consisted mostly of public men. Senators Don Nickles (R., Okla.), Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), Pete Domenici (R., N.Mex.), John Ensign (R., Nev.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), and Conrad Burns (R., Mont.) are referred to as members, as are Representatives Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Frank Wolf (R., Va.), Joseph Pitts (R., Pa.), Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.), and Bart Stupak (D., Mich.). Regular prayer groups have met in the Pentagon and at the Department of Defense, and the Family has traditionally fostered strong ties with businessmen in the oil and aerospace industries. The Family maintains a closely guarded database of its associates, but it issues no cards, collects no official dues. Members are asked not to speak about the group or its activities.

The organization has operated under many guises, some active, some defunct: National Committee for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership, the National Leadership Council, Fellowship House, the Fellowship Foundation, the National Fellowship Council, the International Foundation. These groups are intended to draw attention away from the Family, and to prevent it from becoming, in the words of one of the Family's leaders, a target for misunderstanding. 11. The Los Angeles Times reported in September that the Fellowship Foundation alone has an annual budget of $10 million, but that represents only a fraction of the Family's finances. Each of the Family's organizations raises funds independently. Ivanwald, for example, is financed at least in part by an entity called the Wilberforce Foundation. Other projects are financed by individual friends: wealthy businessmen, foreign governments, church congregations, or mainstream foundations that may be unaware of the scope of the Family's activities. At Ivanwald, when I asked to what organization a donation check might be made, I was told there was none; money was raised on a man-to-man basis. Major Family donors named by the Times include Michael Timmis, a Detroit lawyer and Republican fund-raiser; Paul Temple, a private investor from Maryland; and Jerome A. Lewis, former CEO of the Petro-Lewis Corporation. The Family's only publicized gathering is the National Prayer Breakfast, which it established in 1953 and which, with congressional sponsorship, it continues to organize every February in Washington, D.C.

On Doug Coe:A covenant, Doug answered. The congressman half-smiled, as if caught between confessing his ignorance and pretending he knew what Doug was talking about. Like the Mafia, Doug clarified. Look at the strength of their bonds. He made a fist and held it before Tiahrt's face. Tiahrt nodded, squinting. See, for them it's honor, Doug said. For us, it's Jesus. Coe listed other men who had changed the world through the strength of the covenants they had forged with their brothers: Look at Hitler, he said. Lenin, Ho Chi Minh, Bin Laden. The Family, of course, possessed a weapon those leaders lacked: the total Jesus of a brotherhood in Christ.

That's what you get with a covenant, said Coe. Jesus plus nothing.

Two weeks into my stay, David Coe, Doug's son and the presumptive heir to leadership of the Family, dropped by the house. My brothers and I assembled in the living room, where David had draped his tall frame over a burgundy leather recliner like a frat boy, one leg hanging over a padded arm. You guys, David said, are here to learn how to rule the world. He was in his late forties, with dark, gray-flecked hair, an olive complexion, and teeth like a slab of white marble. You guys know about Genghis Khan? he asked. Genghis was a man with a vision. He conqueredDavid stood on the couch under the map, tracing, with his hand, half the northern hemispherenearly everything. He devastated nearly everything. His enemies? He beheaded them. David swiped a finger across his throat. Dop, dop, dop, dop.

David explained that when Genghis entered a defeated city he would call in the local headman and have him stuffed into a crate. Over the crate would be spread a tablecloth, and on the tablecloth would be spread a wonderful meal. And then, while the man suffocated, Genghis ate, and he didn't even hear the man's screams. David still stood on the couch, a finger in the air. Do you know what that means? He was thinking of Christ's parable of the wineskins. You can't pour new into old, David said, returning to his chair. We elect our leaders. Jesus elects his.

He reached over and squeezed the arm of a brother. Isn't that great? David said. That's the way everything in life happens. If you're a person known to be around Jesus, you can go and do anything. And that's who you guys are. When you leave here, you're not only going to know the value of Jesus, you're going to know the people who rule the world. It's about vision.

In a document entitled Our Common Agreement as a Core Group, members of the Family are instructed to form a core group, or a cell, which is defined as a publicly invisible but privately identifiable group of companions. A document called Thoughts on a Core Group explains that Communists use cells as their basic structure. The mafia operates like this, and the basic unit of the Marine Corps is the four man squad. Hitler, Lenin, and many others understood the power of a small core of people. And what the Family desired, from Abraham Vereide to Doug Coe to Bengt, was power, worldly power, with which Christ's kingdom can be built, cell by cell.

On Abraham Vereide: Vereide arrived in Washington, D.C., on September 6, 1941, as the guest of a man referred to only as Colonel Brindley. Here I am finally, he wrote to his wife, Mattie, who remained in Seattle. In a day or twomany will know that I am in town and by God's grace it will hum. Within weeks he had held his first D.C. prayer meeting, attended by more than a hundred congressmen. By 1943, now living in a suite at Colonel Brindley's University Club, Vereide was an insider. My what a full and busy day! he wrote to Mattie on January 22. The Vice President brought me to the Capitol and counseled with me regarding the programs and plans, and then introduced me to Senator Brewster, who in turn to Senator Burtonthen planned further the program and enlisted their cooperation. Then to the Supreme Court for visits with some of them . . . then back to the Senate, House. . . . The hand of the Lord is upon me. He is leading.

By the end of the war, nearly a third of U.S. senators attended one of his weekly prayer meetings.

In 1944, Vereide had foreseen what he called the new world order. Upon the termination of the war there will be many men available to carry on, Vereide wrote in a letter to his wife. Now the ground-work must be laid and our leadership brought to face God in humility, prayer and obedience. He began organizing prayer meetings for delegates to the United Nations, at which he would instruct them in God's plan for rebuilding from the wreckage of the war. Donald Stone, a high-ranking administrator of the Marshall Plan, joined the directorship of Vereide's organization. In an undated letter, he wrote Vereide that he would soon begin a tour around the world for the , combining with this a spiritual mission. Vereide met with Jewish survivors and listened to their stories, but he nevertheless considered ex-Nazis well suited for the demands of strong government, so long as they were willing to worship Christ as they had Hitler.

Sharlet on Clinton and The Family

Sharlet addressed the matter of Hillary's involvement in The Family in his infamous Mother Jones article:

But the senator's project isn't the conversion of her adversaries; it's tempering their opposition so she can court a new generation of Clinton Republicans, values voters who have grown estranged from the Christian right. And while such crossover conservatives may never agree with her on the old litmus-test issues, there is an important, and broader, common groundthe kind of faith-based politics that, under the right circumstances, will permit majority morality to trump individual rights. The libertarian Cato Institute recently observed that Clinton is "adding the paternalistic agenda of the religious right to her old-fashioned liberal paternalism." Clinton suggests as much herself in her 1996 book, It Takes a Village, where she writes approvingly of religious groups' access to schools, lessons in Scripture, and "virtue" making a return to the classroom.

Then, as now, Clinton confounded secularists who recognize public faith only when it comes wrapped in a cornpone accent. Clinton speaks instead the language of nondenominationalisma sober, eloquent appreciation of "values," the importance of prayer, and "heart" convictionswhich liberals, unfamiliar with the history of evangelical coalition building, mistake for a tidy, apolitical accommodation, a personal separation of church and state. Nor do skeptical voters looking for political opportunism recognize that, when Clinton seeks guidance among prayer partners such as Coe and Brownback, she is not so much triangulatingmuch as that may have become second natureas honoring her convictions. In her own way, she is a true believer.

All this leads one to wonder who is really pulling the strings behind Clinton's zealous and megalomaniac quest for the Pentultimate Seat of Power at any cost. Does Hillary's assured belief that She Is The One come from something other than her own ego.. perhaps from a group whose members sit in seats of Power all around the World? Is there more to this than just the Clinton's Quest to regain the White House?

At the time Hillary began running for President, she had graduated into Coe's most Elite Cell: The Senate Prayer Breakfast.

Though weighted Republican, the breakfastregularly attended by about 40 membersis a bipartisan opportunity for politicians to burnish their reputations, giving Clinton the chance to profess her faith with men such as Brownback as well as the twin terrors of Oklahoma, James Inhofe and Tom Coburn, and, until recently, former Senator George Allen (R-Va.). Democrats in the group include Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, who told us that the separation of church and state has gone too far; Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is also a regular. We contacted all of Clinton's Fellowship cell mates, but only one agreed to speakthough she stressed that there's much she's not "at liberty" to reveal. Grace Nelson used to be the organizer of the Florida Governor's Prayer Breakfast, which makes her a piety broker in Florida politicsshe would decide who could share the head table with Jeb Bush. Clinton's prayer cell was tight-knit, according to Nelson, who recalled that one of her conservative prayer partners was at first loath to pray for the first lady, but learned to "love Hillary as much as any of us love Hillary."

Cells like these, Nelson added, exist in "parliaments all over the world," with all welcome so long as they submit to "the person of Jesus" as the source of their power.

From a case in Arkansas in 1975, which most people are loathe to discuss, to her current behavior on the campaign trail and her willingness to Do Anything To Win, a remarkably disturbing pattern emerges about the character of Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is apparent and it is frightening. And it is most assuredly why she has the backing of The Family and its wide network of influence around the world.

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DURHAM D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-25-08 12:20 PM
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1. Great stuff.
Says more about you then it does about Hillary.
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k8conant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-27-08 01:42 PM
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2. Thanks for posting this...the Family is to be feared...
they're dominionists and greedy for power.
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UALRBSofL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-27-08 01:48 PM
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3. Thank you for posting the articles
It's good to know more about our candidates spiritual beliefs. I know a lot more about Obama's then Hillary so this helps a lot, thanks. Very good reading. :)
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City Lights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-27-08 01:58 PM
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4. Hillary and her "Family" deserve equal time in the media! eom
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Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-27-08 01:58 PM
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5. Nice job, K
I'd suggest you edit it down a bit and repost - I noticed this too late to get my recommend in. :hi:
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