Where Those Who Now Run the U.S. Government Came From and Where They Are Taking Us


By Wayne Madsen

Part I


fter several months of in-depth research and, at first, seemingly unrelated conversations with former high-level intelligence officials, lawyers, politicians, religious figures, other investigative journalists, and researchers, I can now report on a criminal conspiracy so vast and monstrous it defies imagination. Using “Christian” groups as tax-exempt and cleverly camouflaged covers, wealthy right-wing businessmen and “clergy” have now assumed firm control over the biggest prize of all – the government of the United States of America. First, some housekeeping is in order. My use of the term “Christian” is merely to clearly identify the criminal conspirators who have chosen to misuse their self-avowed devotion to Jesus Christ to advance a very un-Christian agenda. The term “Christian Mafia” is what several Washington politicians have termed the major conspirators and it is not intended to debase Christians or infer that they are criminals . I will also use the term Nazi – not for shock value – but to properly tag the political affiliations of the early founders of the so-called “Christian” power cult called the Fellowship. The most important element of this story is that a destructive religious movement has now achieved almost total control over the machinery of government of the United States – its executive, its legislature, several state governments, and soon, the federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court.


The United States has experienced religious and cult hucksters throughout its history, from Cotton Mather and his Salem witch burners to Billy Sunday, Father Charles Coughlin, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Marshall Applewhite, and others. But none have ever achieved the kind of power now possessed by a powerful and secretive group of conservative politicians and wealthy businessmen in the United States and abroad who are known among their adherents and friends as The Fellowship or The Family. The Fellowship and its predecessor organizations have used Jesus in the same way that McDonald’s uses golden arches and Coca Cola uses its stylized script lettering. Jesus is a logo and a slogan for the Fellowship. Jesus is used to justify the Fellowship’s access to the highest levels of government and business in the same way Santa Claus entices children into department stores and malls during the Christmas shopping season.


When the Founders of our nation constitutionally separated Church and State, the idea of the Fellowship taking over the government would have been their worst nightmare. The Fellowship has been around under various names since 1935. Its stealth existence has been perpetuated by its organization into small cells, a pyramid organization of “correspondents,” “associates,” “friends,” “members,” and “core members,” tax-exempt status for its foundations, and its protection by the highest echelons of the our own government and those abroad.

The Roots of the Fellowship

The roots of the Fellowship go back to the 1930s and a Norwegian immigrant and Methodist minister named Abraham Vereide. According to Fellowship archives maintained at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Illinois, Vereide, who immigrated from Norway in 1905, began an outreach ministry in Seattle in April 1935. But his religious outreach involved nothing more than pushing for an anti-Communist, anti-union, anti-Socialist, and pro-Nazi German political agenda. A loose organization and secrecy were paramount for Vereide. Fellowship archives state that Vereide wanted his movement to “carry out its objective through personal, trusting, informal, unpublicized contact between people.” Vereide’s establishment of his Prayer Breakfast Movement for anti-Socialist and anti-International Workers of the World (IWW or “Wobblies”) Seattle businessmen in 1935 coincided with the establishment of another pro-Nazi German organization in the United States, the German-American Bund. Vereide saw his prayer movement replacing labor unions.


A student of the un-Christian German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Vereide’s thoughts about a unitary religion based on an unyielding subservience to a composite notion of “Jesus” put him into the same category as many of the German nationalist philosophers who were favored by Hitler and the Nazis. Nietzsche wrote the following of Christianity: “When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible! This, for a Jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God’s son? The proof of such a claim is lacking.”


One philosophical fellow traveler of Vereide was the German Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger, a colleague of Leo Strauss, the father of American neo-conservatism and the mentor of such present-day American neo-conservatives as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. Strauss’s close association with Heidegger and the Nazi idea of telling the big lie in order to justify the end goals – Machiavellianism on steroids — did not help Strauss in Nazi Germany. Because he was Jewish, he was forced to emigrate to the United States, where he eventually began teaching neo-conservative political science at the University of Chicago. It is this confluence of right-wing philosophies that provides a political bridge between modern-day Christian Rightists (including so-called Christian Zionists) and the secular-oriented neo-conservatives who support a policy that sees a U.S.-Israeli alliance against Islam and European-oriented democratic socialism. For the dominion theologists, the United States is the new Israel, with a God-given mandate to establish dominion over the entire planet. Neither the secular neo-conservatives nor Christian fundamentalists seem to have a problem with the idea of American domination of the planet, as witnessed by the presence of representatives of both camps as supporters of the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century, the neo-conservative blueprint for America’s attack on Iraq and plans to attack, occupy, and dominate other countries that oppose U.S. designs.


What bound all so-called “America First” movements prior to World War II was their common hatred for labor unions, Communists and Socialists, Jews, and most definitely, the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Vereide’s Prayer Breakfast Movement, pro-Nazi German groups like the Bund, and a resurgent Ku Klux Klan had more than propaganda in common – they had an interlocking leadership and a coordinated political agenda.


Not only was Vereide pro-Hitler, he was the only Norwegian of note, who was not officially a Nazi, who never condemned Norwegian Nazi leader Vidkun Quisling, a man whose name has become synonymous with traitor and who was executed in 1945. Vereide and Quisling were almost the same age, Vereide was born in 1886, Quisling in 1887. They both shared a link with the clergy, Vereide was a Methodist minister and Quisling was the son of a Lutheran minister. The Norwegian link to the Fellowship continues to this day but more on that later.


Another pro-Nazi Christian fundamentalist group that arose in the pre-Second World War years was the Moral Rearmament Movement. Its leader was Frank Buchman, a Lutheran minister from Philadelphia. Buchman was a pacifist, but not just any pacifist. He and his colleagues in the United States, Britain, Norway, and South Africa reasoned that war could be avoided if the world would just accept the rise of Hitler and National Socialism and concentrate on stamping out Communism and Socialism. Buchman coordinated his activities with Vereide and his Prayer Breakfast Movement, which, by 1940, had spread its anti-left manifesto and agenda throughout the Pacific Northwest.


Buchman was effusive in his praise for Hitler. He was quoted by William A. H. Birnie of the New York World Telegram, “I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism[1] Buchman also secretly met with Heinrich Himmler, the head of the Gestapo and controller of the concentration camps. Buchman was at Himmler’s side at the 1935 Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg and again at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The predecessor of Buchman’s Moral Rearmament Group, the Oxford Group, included Moslems, Buddhists, and Hindus. Buchman and Hitler both saw the creation of a one-world religion based largely on Teutonic, Aryan, and other pagan traditions mixed with elements of Christianity. Buchman saw Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism as being compatible with his brand of Christianity. Hitler, too, had an affectation for Islam and Buddhism as witnessed by his support for the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the anti-British Muslim Brotherhood, and Tibetan Buddhists.[2] But Buchman had no sympathy for the Jews who Hitler was persecuting. Buchman told Birnie, “Of course, I don’t condone everything the Nazis do. Anti-Semitism? Bad, naturally. I suppose Hitler sees a Karl Marx in every Jew.”


Such global ecumenicalism is a founding principle for today’s Fellowship. With total devotion to Jesus and not necessarily His principles at its core, the Fellowship continues to reach out to Moslems (including Saudi extreme Wahhabi sect members), Buddhists, and Hindus. Its purpose has little to do with religion but everything to do with political and economic influence peddling and the reconstruction of the world in preparation for a thousand year Christian global dominion. Post-millenialist Fellowship members believe that Jesus will not return until there is a 1000-year pure Christian government established on Earth. It is this mindset that has infused the foreign policy of George W. Bush and his administration. The desire for a thousand year political dominion of the world is not new. Hitler planned for a “Thousand Year Reich” over the planet. It is not a coincidence that Hitler desired and the so-called Christian dominionists/reconstructionists now contemplate a thousand year reign. The Christian dominionists are the political heirs of Hitler, the Norwegians Vereide and Quisling, Buchman, Opus Dei founder and fascist patron saint Josemaria Escriva and their political and religious cohorts.

The Unsuccessful Right-Wing Coup Against a Democratic President

Vereide and Buchman had important allies on Wall Street. According to Marine Corps General Smedley Butler, shortly after Franklin Roosevelt was elected President in 1932, he was approached by a group of wealthy Republican industrialists to lead an anti-Roosevelt Fascist coup against the government. As with today’s Fellowship, Vereide and Buchman were merely front men for anti-Socialist big businesses who hid behind the façade of a Christian evangelical movement. To them and their bankrollers, Roosevelt was some sort of anti-Christ who was going to go to bat for the workers, blacks, the poor and women while, at the same time, menacing the ultra-rich and the rising Nazi and Fascist specter in Europe. The coup was to be financed mostly by the J. P. Morgan and Du Pont financial empires. General Butler, who had no time for these industrialists since his military forays into Central America and the Caribbean as a foot soldier on behalf of wealthy capitalists, rejected their overture. Gerald MacGuire, a Wall Street bond salesman and former Commander of the Connecticut American Legion, was the chief recruiter for the coup plot. Butler informed Congress of the plans for the coup. However, Congress was owned by Wall Street and no charges were ever brought against the plotters. Butler was incensed and went public but he was dismissed as a conspiracy theorist. Not until 1967, when journalist John Spivak uncovered the secret Congressional report, was Butler’s version of the events validated. In the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Nazi Propaganda Activities in the United States, Rep. Samuel Dickstein (D-NY) concluded that there was evidence of a coup plot by the right-wing against Roosevelt. However, much to Butler’s chagrin, no criminal action was taken against the plotters.


Butler said MacGuire’s plan was for Butler to force Roosevelt to declare he had become too sick from polio and create a powerful new Cabinet position, the Secretary of General Affairs, to run the government on his behalf. The New Deal, something the U.S. fascists and Nazis referred to as the “Jew Deal,” would have be scrapped. The comparison between the Secretary of General Affairs and the present Secretary of Homeland Security is striking. If Roosevelt did not agree to the coup plotters’ demand, a half million American Legion veterans would march on Washington to physically remove Roosevelt from office. But MacGuire decided that the perception management campaign would work and an armed force would not be required. He told Butler, “You know the American people will swallow that.  We have got the newspapers.  We will start a campaign that the President’s health is failing.  Everyone can tell that by looking at him, and the dumb American people will fall for it in a second…”  Shortly after his testimony before the House investigation committee, MacGuire died of pneumonia at the age of 37.


The perception management concerning the attempted right-wing coup against FDR was a harbinger of more ruses that would come from the same right-wing elements: that the first Secretary of Defense James Forrestal was suffering from mental illness when he threw himself out of the sixteenth story of Bethesda Naval Hospital in 1949, that John F. Kennedy was killed by a lone, pro-Communist assassin, and that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The coup plotters involved some of the biggest names in American business and politics, including Irenee Du Pont of the wealthy chemical company family and founder of the pro-Fascist American Liberty League; J. P. Morgan officers Grayson Murphy and John Davis; General Douglas MacArthur; southern segregationist Governor Eugene Talmadge of Georgia; and, in what represented a sea change for the extreme American right-wing, two influential Catholics, former Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith, who had become very anti-Roosevelt, and John Raskob, a senior Du Pont official and a high ranking member of the Catholic Knights of Malta. The concordat between right-wing Protestants and Catholics presaged a later alliance between The Fellowship and the proto-Fascist Opus Dei movement.


Buchman, who was also involved in the creating the psychologically abusive Alcoholics Anonymous (which enticed many converts from booze to “Jesus”), created an organization called First Century Christian Fellowship. In 1939, while preaching against life’s extravagances, Buchman set up his headquarters in New York’s posh Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Buchman also found common cause with right-wing racist groups. In addition to his anti-Semitism, Buchman had no time for the civil rights movement.  Like Vereide, he rejected women’s suffrage and the labor union movement. When the United States entered the war in December 1941, many of Moral Rearmament’s leaders sought conscientious objector status in the draft as “lay evangelists.” As with today’s fundamentalist Christians, Buchman was rejected by his fellow evangelicals and mainstream religious leaders, including his old evangelical colleague Sam Shoemaker and Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, leader of the United Lutheran Church in America, who called Buchman’s connection with Lutheranism “minimal.” After Senator Harry S Truman received the 1944 nomination for Vice President, he also dropped his past tenuous connections to Buchman. Reinhold Niebuhr, the famous theologian, and George Orwell both labeled Buchman’s Oxford Group and his successor Moral Rearmament Movement as “fascist

The Wartime Nazi Invasion of Washington You Never Heard About

Meanwhile, Buchman’s co-ideologist Vereide made his first entrée into the U.S. Congress. In 1942, he began to hold small and discreet prayer breakfasts for the U.S. House of Representatives. The next year, the Senate began holding prayer breakfast meetings. Vereide’s Prayer Breakfast Movement was formally incorporated as the National Committee for Christian Leadership (NCCL). Its headquarters were in Chicago. In 1944, while Vereide’s friends in Germany were being pummeled by the Allies, especially by the Soviet Red Army, NCCL changed its name to International Christian Leadership (ICL), an indication that Vereide saw an immediate need to extend his influence abroad in the wake of a certain Nazi defeat. Vereide also made plans to move his headquarters to Washington, DC. In 1944, his first ICL Fellowship House was established in a private home at 6523 Massachusetts Avenue. In 1945, Vereide held his first joint Senate-House prayer breakfast meeting. In 1945, Vereide quickly got together a group of powerful right-wingers for a prayer breakfast following the death of President Roosevelt, one of Vereide’s and Buchman’s most despised politicians. Roosevelt did not comport with a President who followed the dictates of “God’s Will,” a major Vereide and Buchman principle. At the breakfast were Senators H. Alexander Smith (R-NJ), Lister Hill (D-AL), and World Report publisher David Lawrence. Lawrence was an ardent foe of the New Deal.


After President Truman announced that he was going to continue FDR’s programs – what he called the Fair Deal – the religious right of Republicans and southern Democrats decided to attack Truman. His vulnerability to charges that Communists were embedded in his administration would give rise to the cancer of McCarthyism. However, for the religious right of Vereide, Buchman, and their political allies, this was a necessary and God-driven form of political and moral cleansing. The radical right would also force Truman to consolidate power in a new post-war intelligence agency that would replace the Office of Strategic Services – the Central Intelligence Agency.


Senator Smith was a colleague of fellow Republican and anti-New Dealer Senator Prescott Bush from Connecticut  (father of George H. W. Bush and grandfather of George W. Bush). According to Smith’s archived papers, he was also active with Buchman’s Oxford Group. Prior to the war, Alexander’s New Jersey was a hotbed of Nazi activity. The home of German admirer Charles Lindbergh (and the crime scene for a Nazi conspiracy to kidnap and murder his son) and the first port of call for the ill-fated Nazi airship, the SS Hindenburg, New Jersey was friendly territory for groups like Moral Rearmament, the Bund, the Ku Klux Klan, and Vereide’s Prayer Breakfast Movement. One of Alexander’s predecessors as a New Jersey Senator, J.P. Morgan investment banker Hamilton Fish Kean, was also a strenuous opponent of the New Deal until he left the Senate in 1935. His grandson, Thomas H. Kean would serve as New Jersey’s governor and co-chair of the controversial 911 Commission.


It was odd that Lister Hill would have been associated with Vereide and Buchman. He had been a major supporter of the New Deal, which greatly benefited Alabama. However, Hill was also staunch opponent of Roosevelt’s other major initiative, civil rights. The evangelical Christian movement championed segregation. Vereide and Buchman could always be relied upon to come up with a Biblical reason for segregation and that was good for Hill’s political future.


The connection between Vereide and segregation was highlighted by his close relationship with a Senator who was not only a member of the Ku Klux Klan but was engineered into office by them. But, surprisingly, this Senator was not from Alabama or Mississippi but from Maine. Republican Ralph Owen Brewster was not only a member of Vereide’s ICL, an anti-New Dealer but also anti-Catholic. This was yet another irony of the pre-Fellowship. Religious contradictions among its members were not as important as the drive for political and financial power. The contradiction exists today with the Fellowship: Orthodox Jews, secular-oriented neo-conservative Jews, conservative Catholics, evangelical Protestants, and fundamentalist Sunni and Wahhabi Moslems all cooperate to further an agenda that uses Jesus as a de facto corporate logo.


Brewster was the consummate “religious” politician-businessman of his time. He was the person who personally introduced Vereide to many of his colleagues, including Senator Harold Hitz Burton (R-Ohio), a future Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.


Played by actor Alan Alda in the movie about Howard Hughes, The Aviator, Brewster engaged in a backroom illegal deal on behalf of Pan American Chairman Juan Trippe to force Hughes to sell Trans World Airlines to Pan Am in return for Brewster dropping a congressional investigation against Hughes for alleged war profiteering. One of Pan Am’s directors at the time of the feud between Hughes and the team of Brewster and Trippe was Prescott Bush. The grandfather of George W. Bush had seen the assets of Union Banking Corporation, on whose board he served, seized after the beginning of the Second World War by U.S. Treasury agents. It turned out that Bush’s bank was operated by Bush and his boss Averell Harriman on behalf of Nazi Germany. Prescott’s father-in-law, George Herbert “Bert” Walker, also represented Nazi German interests through his Brown Brothers, Harriman investment company and affiliated firms with names like American Shipping & Commerce, Harriman Fifteen Corporation, Holland Amercian Trading Corporation, Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation, Silesian-American Corporation, and Hamburg-Amerika Line that were tangled together in a circuitous spider’s web. This would be a blueprint for future Bush family/right-wing oil and intelligence enterprises involving election fraud, drug and weapons smuggling, and political assassinations.


Perhaps because of his first name and his ties to Florida and Latin America, Juan Trippe was often thought of as a Cuban. However, he was of English ancestry and was born in Sea Bright, New Jersey.


Like Pan Am director Prescott Bush, Trippe’s close friend and business partner Charles Lindbergh also had a run in with the U.S. government. After being awarded the Service Cross of the German Eagle medal by Hermann Goering, Lindbergh, an ex-Army Air Force colonel, was not permitted to have his commission as an officer restored under direct orders from Roosevelt himself. Roosevelt always believed that Lindbergh was a Nazi. Lindbergh became an advocate for the United States avoiding war with Germany through his activity with the America First Committee – yet another group sprung from the pro-Nazi right-wing in America. According to Lindbergh biographer Laura Muha, Lindbergh said that he was suspicious of American Jews because of “their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our Government.” It was a claim that many years later would be repeated by the guardian angel of the Fellowship, Reverend Billy Graham.


Meanwhile, Howard Hughes spent much of his own capital on prototype aircraft for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Hughes hired his own gumshoes to spy on Brewster and Trippe and dig up dirt on them. Their connections to Vereide and his pro-Nazi religious friends was likely their biggest “catch” and something the secular right-wing Hughes would later use as political capital. When the right-wing religious Republicans mounted a challenge against Richard Nixon at the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami using Ronald Reagan as their standard bearer, Hughes’ money and influence would ensure Nixon’s nomination and the religious right’s defeat. The Fellowship would have its revenge against Nixon and his backers in the late summer of 1974.

Onward Christian Soldiers!

After the war, Vereide moved to consolidate right-wing groups in Europe. His hated Communists and Socialists had taken over governments across Eastern Europe and were on the verge of achieving power in Western Europe. Winston Churchill had been swept from power by a very leftist-oriented Labor government headed by Clement Atlee. For the remnants of the Nazi movement in America, an “SOS” was being transmitted from Europe for assistance. Vereide traveled to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, France and Germany. His ICL made an alliance with the like-minded British Victory Fellowship in Great Britain. He also struck up a close relationship with German Lutheran pastor Gustav Adolf Gedat. The German clergyman had been a leading anti-Semite before and during the war. During the same year that Vereide began his prayer breakfasts in Seattle, from the pulpit Gedat thundered that, “God ordered the Germans to hunt down Jews.” Gedat became an apologist for top Nazi officials. He was an activist against tracking down Nazi war criminals, such as former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, a personal friend of the current Republican Governor of California and fellow Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger. It should be noted that Schwarzenegger’s father, Gustav Schwarzenegger was a volunteer in the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA), also known as the Brown Shirts, in Austria and served in the German Army.


As a member of the West German Bundestag, Gedat brought about the cancellation at the Cannes Film Festival of the showing of a movie about a family of Jewish refugees from Prague during the Nazi regime. At the same time, Gedat was one of three of Vereide’s International Council for Christian Leadership (ICCL) representatives in Europe. The other two were also Nazis, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (married to Queen Juliana) and German Prince Max von Hohenlohe. The latter served under SS head Walter Schellenberg and, according to SS documents captured by the Soviets, Hohenlohe engaged in direct negotiations during the war with Allen Dulles of the OSS. Like Vereide and Buchman, Dulles was a strong anti-Semite who saw Communism and Jews through the same lens. Through the OSS’s and CIA’s “Rat Line” program, such infamous Nazis as Klaus Barbie (the “Butcher of Lyon”), Nazi “mad scientist” and butcher Dr. Joseph Mengele, concentration camp vaccine “tester” Kurt Blome, and SS Commander Adolf Eichmann, escaped from Europe to South America with the assistance of Opus Dei collaborators in the Vatican.


In January 1947, Vereide sponsored the first Washington meeting of ICCL. representatives from the United States, Canada, Britain, Norway, Hungary, Egypt and China. In 1949, Vereide sent Wallace Haines to represent ICL at a meeting of German Christians held at Castle Mainau in Switzerland. Haines would become Vereide’s personal emissary to Europe. Haines was replaced in 1952 by the virulent anti-Communist Karl Leyasmeyer. In 1953, Vereide made his first entrée into the White House when President Dwight Eisenhower agreed to attend the first Presidential Prayer Breakfast. By that time, Vereide’s congressional core members grew to include such senators as Republicans Frank Carlson of Kansas and Karl Mundt of South Dakota. Both were virulent anti-Communists who established close ties with Vereide and his worldwide anti-Communist movement. Vereide also became very close to one of the Senate’s most ardent segregationists, Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, the man who led the Dixiecrat revolt against the Democratic Party in 1948. Thurmond would be a key part of the strategy of Vereide to evangelize poor whites in the South. For Vereide, it would bring converts to his peculiar brand of Christianity; for Thurmond, it would bring into the Republican Party former New Deal Democrats who saw their party straying from segregation and embracing civil rights. For the United States, the strategy would bring a radical form of fundamental zealotry closer to taking control of the country.


Buchman, clearly wishing to obfuscate about his pro-Nazi ties before the war, turned his attention towards Asia, particularly Korea. One Korean Presbyterian preacher, who took an interest in Buchman’s Moral Rearmament principles of a universal religion and total personal submission, was Yong Myung Mun of North Korea. He later changed his name to Sun Myung Moon and, after being expelled from the Presbyterian Church for preaching heresy, he established a right-wing, nominally Christian sect called the Unification Church. Like Vereide and Buchman, Moon began to spread his influence globally.


By 1957, ICL had established 125 groups in 100 cities, with 16 groups in Washington, DC alone. Around the world, it had set up another 125 groups in Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Ethiopia (where Emperor Haile Selassie gave ICL property in Addis Ababa to build its African headquarters), India, South Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Bermuda. ICL’s international activities coincided with activities in countries where the CIA was particularly active – an obvious by-product of the close cooperation between Vereide and the CIA’s Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton. Angleton and his close associate, Miles Copeland, favored using private businessmen to conduct operations that the CIA was barred from conducting statutorily. The ICL fit the bill very nicely. And although the Fellowship despised homosexuals, that did not stop FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who was strongly rumored to have been gay, writing a prayer for Vereide.


With the end of colonial rule in large parts of Africa and Asia, Vereide and his new disciple, an Oregonian Christian youth worker named Douglas Coe, set out to make contacts in a number of the newly-independent nations. Coe soon became Vereide’s heir apparent. ICL also established an Asian headquarters in Hong Kong.


Graham Crackers and Moon Rise


In 1958, Representative Albert H. Quie (R-MN) became an important core member of Vereide’s group. The Presidential Prayer Breakfast became an annual Washington institution. Since Billy Graham became a regular fixture at the misnamed “Presidential” prayer breakfast, many attendees figured that the event was officially sponsored by the White House. They were wrong, very wrong. Had they understood the Nazi and Fascist pasts of Vereide and his associates, it is doubtful that the annual prayer breakfast would have taken on such trappings of a state function. Early attention to the group may have prevented them from gaining a toehold in the White House and Congress.


One of Buchman’s followers in the military was General Edwin A. Walker, fired by President John F. Kennedy for insubordination. It was later alleged that Lee Harvey Oswald had attempted to assassinate Walker, a laughable charge considering the right-wing affiliations of both.


As the world reeled in horror at the shooting death of President Kennedy in Dallas in November 1963, the ICL moved into a new Fellowship House at 2817 Woodland Drive in northwest Washington, DC near the Shoreham Hotel. Later it would move to 1904 North Adams Street in Arlington, Virginia, just a few blocks from 2507 North Franklin Road where another virulent right-winger and anti-Semite named George Lincoln Rockwell had set up his own national headquarters. From another one of his Arlington headquarters, nicknamed Hatemongers Hill, Rockwell flew the Nazi flag, blared the Nazi Horst Wessel anthem into the street and menaced trespassers with two vicious dogs – one named Gas Chamber, the other dubbed Auschwitz. Rockwell, a retired U.S. Navy Commander, was the Fuehrer of the American Nazi Party. Rockwell and Vereide shared something in common other than the same neighborhood: absolute hatred for Jews and homosexuals.


In 1965, an aging Vereide resigned as director of ICL and was succeeded as acting director by Richard Halverson, a Presbyterian minister who later became the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. Vereide continued as Director of Fellowship House. According to Jeff Sharlet of the Center for Religion and Media at New York University and the author of a 2003 Harper’s article on the Fellowship, Vereide often exhorted his followers to emulate the cadres of Hitler or Mao Tse-tung in spreading their form of militant Christianity.


In 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated after he won California’s Democratic primary by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian émigré to America. Kennedy was succeeded in the Senate by Charles E. Goodell, appointed by New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Goodell was also a core member of the Fellowship.


On January 30, 1969, Vereide, Billy Graham, and newly-inaugurated President Richard Nixon gathered for the Presidential Prayer Breakfast. There is little doubt that Nixon had been tipped off years before by his friend and bankroller Howard Hughes about Vereide’s ties to Pan Am’s Trippe and his bought-and-paid for senator, Brewster. Nevertheless, Nixon, a Quaker, became close to Billy Graham, the North Carolina-born evangelist and one-time student at Bob Jones University who is also the Fellowship’s patron saint. Obviously, Nixon shared the Fellowship’s and Graham’s anti-Semitism.


The Nixon tapes reveal that in 1972, Nixon, Graham, and H.R. Haldeman had a conversation in the Oval Office in which the Jews were targets:


Graham: “This [Jewish] stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.”

Nixon: “You believe that?”

Graham:  “Yes, sir.”

Nixon: “Oh, boy.” So do I. I can’t ever say that but I believe it.”

Graham: “No, but if you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something.”

Graham: “By the way, Hedley Donovan has invited me to have lunch with [the Time Magazine] editors.”

Haldeman: “You better take your Jewish beanie.”

Graham: “Is that right? I don’t know any of them now . .  .A lot of Jews are great friends of mine . . .They swarm around me and are friendly with me because they know that I’m friendly with Israel. But they don’t know how I really feel about what they are doing to this country.”

Nixon: “You must not let them know.”


The tapes reveal the inconsistencies of the Fellowship. On one hand, their Nazi and Fascist past and tendencies make it seem unlikely that they would be supportive of Israel. Yet, support for Israel is not only something advocated by Graham but also by the shock troops for today’s fundamentalist movement, the so-called “Christian Zionist” wing of the Fellowship.


Although Nixon would later come to distrust the Fellowship, one of his closest confidants, Charles Colson, would become one of the key figures in the group. Colson served time in jail as a result of his involvement in the Watergate scandal. He would later re-emerge “born again” and serve as a covert adviser to the very same elements who would propel George W. Bush into office as President. No longer would the Fellowship have a paranoid, moderate Republican like Nixon or corny, superficially Christians like Reagan or George H. W. Bush in the White House. For the Fellowship, Nixon, Reagan and the first Bush served their purposes but they were not true believers. In their minds, after an unsuccessful coup against Roosevelt and war with their brethren in Germany; the uncooperative and “left leaning” administrations of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson; a paranoid administration in Nixon; a transitional Gerald Ford; a born again Christian anomaly in Jimmy Carter; partial entrees to power with Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush; and absolute disgust with Bill Clinton, the Fellowship believed it was God’s will that they would have one of their very own core members wielding power in the Oval Office and carrying out God’s (the Fellowship’s) dictates. In George W. Bush, who had been indoctrinated into the total submission to Jesus (the Fellowship) after his involvement with alcohol and drugs, fundamentalists would not only be able to remake the United States but, indeed, the entire world.


Additional tapes indicate that the Internal Revenue Service had Graham under investigation in September 1971. Since Graham was so close to the various Fellowship front activities and foundations, it is likely that the IRS was looking at the illegal mixing of tax-exempt religious groups with political campaigns. When Graham informed Nixon of the IRS probe, Nixon was not happy as the tapes indicate:


Nixon [to Haldeman]: “Please get me the names of the Jews, you know, the big Jewish contributors of the Democrats … Could we please investigate some of the cocksuckers?…Here IRS is going after Billy Graham tooth and nail. Are they going after Eugene Carson Blake [president of the liberal National Council of Churches]?”


Unlike Graham, the Fellowship would not have any problem with its taxes. A letter from the Department of Finance and Revenue of the District of Columbia to Douglas E. Coe of International Christian Leadership, Inc., dated October 21, 1971, granted the group tax- exempt status on its property located at 2817 Woodland Dr., N.W. Washington, DC. In his request for tax-exempt status, Coe listed some of the activities that took place at Fellowship House. They included a Tuesday morning bi-monthly prayer meeting for Foreign Service wives; a Thursday morning “Mattie Vereide Bible Study” (Mattie was Abraham’s wife); “training and orientation activities,” including “regular sessions with associates from around the world;” “how to run small groups;” “how to set up prayer breakfasts;” “regular dinners involving the leadership of the world;” and “meetings to which students, blacks and other groups are invited by business and government leaders to discuss the importance of a strong spiritual foundation in our country.” The last activity would prove fruitful for grooming future young African-American and other political activists who would oversee the Fellowship’s ultimate seizure of political power in America. The Fellowship was camouflaging its Nazi roots and accepting into its fold those minorities it considered useful for its political goals.


Billy Graham also supported the war in Vietnam. On April 15, 1969, just a few months after the National Prayer Breakfast, Graham sent a secret letter to Nixon from Bangkok, where the evangelical preacher was meeting Fellowship missionaries from South Vietnam. Graham and the missionaries urged Nixon to step up the bombing of North Vietnam and include in the campaign the bombing of dikes to “overnight destroy the economy of North Vietnam.”


In 1969, Vereide died and was succeeded by Coe. It is amazing how this right-wing Nazi sympathizer has been eulogized by Fellowship adherents. Norman Grubb’s biography of Vereide, titled Modern Viking — The Story of Abraham Vereide, Pioneer in Christian Leadership, offers the following description of Vereide’s biography:


“This is the story of a Norwegian immigrant to the United States who was the founder of International Christian Leadership, the legal name of what is popularly called The Fellowship, the origin of the Prayer Breakfast movement. While pastoring in Seattle, he also founded the first Good Will Industry. Vereide was a single-minded pre-World War II pioneer. The book is a narrative of meetings, people and letters as Vereide befriended government and business leaders in the name of Christ. He was a world-class leader whose legacy is thriving today on every continent.”


Buchman died in 1961 and his Moral Rearmament Movement in the United States soon gave way to the Unification Church of Moon. Moon began to penetrate the United States with his “missionaries” in the 1960s. In 1972, Moon made his first journey to the United States. His number one priority was to take over control of the U.S. government by getting his followers elected to office. Moon traveled the country in what he called his International One World Crusade. As with Buchman, Moon kept his initial meetings small – house parties were used to entice converts – and like Vereide and Coe, groups were organized into small “cells.” And as with Vereide’s prayer breakfasts and Buchman’s “crusades,” hundreds of politicians around the country were duped into extending official welcomes to the enigmatic Korean.


In August 1974, as Richard Nixon’s administration was coming to an end after the constitutional crisis caused by the Watergate scandal, Moon dispatched his minions to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in defense of Nixon as the House was voting to impeach the president. Moon’s defenders of Nixon were joined on the Capitol steps by members of Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Baruch Korff’s National Citizen’s Committee for Fairness to the Presidency. Korff had been a strong Zionist supporter of Israel. Meanwhile, according to Ohio Republican Party sources, a wealthy Christian fundamentalist from Cleveland had an important meeting with Nixon in the White House.


Fred Lennon was a kingpin in Ohio conservative politics. The owner of Crawford Fitting Company, Lennon built a fortune in manufacturing valves and fittings for the oil and aerospace and chemical industries. Du Pont was one of his biggest customers. Lennon became the majority owner in Swagelok Companies, the parent of Crawford Fittings and held half the shares in Lubrizol, the largest oil additive company in America before it was bought by General Motors. A right-wing Catholic, Lennon, like Vereide and Coe, adopted a simple motto for his business: “Secrecy is Success. Success is Secrecy.” Lennon, who insisted that his employees avoid beards and wear conservative suits with white shirts and ties, was a major financial contributor to conservative Christian Republicans, including Ronald Reagan and the late Republican Representative John Ashbrook of Ohio. Lennon criticized Ohio Republican Representative Steve LaTourette for wearing a beard even though the congressmen had received campaign contributions from the billionaire.


Lennon later established the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs to advance the cause of “traditional conservative values.” Women’s rights foe Phyllis Schlafly and neo-conservative pamphleteer and pundit William Kristol later sat on the Ashbrook Center’s board. Ashbrook’s big claim to fame was that he opposed Nixon because he, like Lennon, thought the president was too liberal.


Lennon even pressured his various industrial suppliers to ante up for the Republican cause. Lennon was not the only Republican right-wing Mr. Money Bags in Ohio. Raymond Q. Armington, the wealthy Cleveland-based founder of Armington Engineering Company, which later merged with Euclid Road Machinery Company, also donated generously to right-wing causes. Armington later ended up on the board of General Motors. Armington was fond of introducing up and coming conservative politicians like Dan Quayle to “influential people.” Armington bequeathed a large portion of his estate to California’s Pepperdine University, a breeding ground for future right-wing Republican politicians. Pepperdine would eventually name President Clinton’s chief inquisitor and tormentor Kenneth Starr as Dean of its “Christian” law school. The influence of wealthy Ohio conservative Christian businessmen like Lennon, Armington, and Cincinnati’s Carl Lindner of United Fruit (later Chiquita Foods) would have far reaching effects. Ohio would become a haven for the activities of the Fellowship and their affiliated organizations and churches. In 2004, the inculcation of these forces in Ohio politics would have drastic and far-reaching effects for the United States and the world.


It was the “secrecy is success” philosophy that prompted Lennon to pay a visit to the beleaguered Nixon in August 1972. When Lennon said he had an offer to make Nixon, the president pulled him into a closet off the Oval Office. Lennon asked Nixon how much money it would take to salvage Nixon’s presidency from the Watergate crisis. Nixon replied that it was all over. And, for Nixon, as far as the Christian right was concerned, over it was.


The word went out to Christian right-wing circles and people who never really trusted Nixon that he was history. Shortly thereafter, two members of the Fellowship, Representatives Quie and John J. Rhodes (R-Arizona) met with Vice President Gerald Ford at a special “prayer meeting” on Capitol Hill. The date was August 8, 1974, the day before Ford was sworn in as President. On August 7, Rhodes accompanied two other Republican congressional leaders to the White House to tell Nixon it was over. The powerful Fellowship lurked behind the political maneuverings that led Nixon to decide to quit. After Nixon resigned, some Fellowship members, including Colson, made attempts to try to get Nixon to join their group as a way to salvage his legacy. Nixon would have nothing to do with them.

The Born-Again Nativity of George W. Bush

Yet another influence convinced Nixon that for the good of the Republican Party he should resign. He was the individual Nixon named as chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1973. His name was George H. W. Bush, the man whose grandfather and father had championed the very same interests who were behind the pseudo-Christian Fellowship and Moral Rearmament – the Nazis and Fascists.


Bush had reason to be thankful to the Christian fundamentalists. They helped his son, George W. Bush, avoid a certain court martial and prison time. On or about April 18, 1972, the Houston Police arrested First Lieutenant George W. Bush of the Texas Air National Guard for possession of cocaine. Bush and a friend were booked into the Harris County jail. Bush’s father, who was serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, hurriedly flew to Houston from New York and began to make the required phone calls to keep his son from receiving a court martial, dishonorable discharge, and a prison sentence. As one senior Bush business partner recalled, then-Ambassador Bush knew that junior was in “deep shit.” Senior Bush arranged for his son to serve at a religious drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in San Diego between May and November 1972. Conservative San Diego was a major center for Fellowship activities.


The time Bush spent in religious rehab in San Diego represents part of the famous “gap” in Bush’s National Guard service record. According to a fitness report on Bush issued by the White House in 2004, Bush was “Not rated for the period 1 May 72 through 30 Apr 73. Report for this period not available for administrative reasons.” This represents the time Junior Bush was being shown the way from drugs to Jesus in San Diego and afterwards, his court-ordered community service penance in Houston. The senior Bush arranged to have the arrest record on Junior expunged and even his name removed from the police blotter. Later, a ruse that Junior Bush went to Alabama to work on the Republican Senate campaign of Winton Blount was concocted to throw off nosy opposition research investigators and journalists. The deception worked.


After drug rehab, Bush returned to Houston to perform prior court-arranged community service with Project P.U.L.L. (Professional United Leadership League), a Houston inner-city program to help troubled and mostly minority teens. It was run by John White, a former tight end for the Houston Oilers, who died in 1988. White’s assistants told Knight-Ridder in late October 2004, that because the senior Bush was honorary co-chairman of Project P.U.L.L., he asked White to do him a favor by placing Junior Bush into a volunteer slot. One of White’s administrative assistants told the news service that White recalled that Junior Bush had “gotten into some kind of trouble” but was not more specific. Willie Frazier, another former Houston Oiler and a P.U.L.L. volunteer in 1973, recalled to Knight-Ridder that the senior Bush impressed on White that an “arrangement” had to be made for the Junior Bush. P.U.L.L. closed its doors in 1989, a year after White’s death but several P.U.L.L. associates remembered that unlike other volunteers, Junior Bush’s hours as a volunteer had to be accounted for because he was in some kind of “trouble.”


Senior Bush had a few other chores to take care of. One was to thank Harris County District Attorney Carol Vance, a past president of the National District Attorneys’ Association, for helping to drop the drug charges against Junior and expunging the arrest record. According to close Bush associates, in appreciation, Mr. Vance was rewarded with a partnership at the prestigious Houston law firm of Bracewell & Patterson. First International Bank (later InterFirst Bank), on whose board Senior Bush served, was a major client of Bracewell & Patterson. InterFirst and its predecessor served as a primary money conduit for Saudi and other foreign money that was pumped into the business and political campaign coffers of both George Senior and Junior.


Vance also had links to the organization that would become Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries, an adjunct of the Fellowship. Vance, an evangelical Methodist, ministered to inmates in solitary confinement in Texas prisons. Later, Vance would team up with Colson in a variety of prison ministry projects in the United States and Brazil. Governor Ann Richards appointed Vance to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, the entity that oversees the state’s Correction’s Department. Vance convinced newly-inaugurated Governor George W. Bush to establish faith-based prisons in Texas, a move that was endorsed by Colson. Bush also permitted ministers to act as detoxification counselors without professional training and certification. In addition, churches were allowed to operate day care centers without state accreditation. Vance became one of the leading advocates of evangelical-run prisons in the United States – something that Colson, Bush, Coe, and the Fellowship all advocated. Vance also saw Satan as being behind Ouija boards and the game Dungeons and Dragons – cultural smears that would be extended by his fellow evangelicals to other innocent children’s icons like Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz’s Good Witch of the North and Wicked Witch of the West, the Vulcan Mr. Spock in Star Trek, and Jedi Knight Yoda in Star Wars, all accused of spreading Satanism and the Teletubbies character Tinky Winky, SpongeBob SquarePants, Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, Buster Baxter the Bunny from Public Broadcasting’s Postcards from Buster, and Barney the Dinosaur, all charged with promoting homosexuality.


Junior Bush’s time in San Diego at a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is where the future President of the United States would first be given large doses of Jesus indoctrination. With Nixon’s resignation in disgrace and the Republicans taking a beating in the 1974 elections, little did the Fellowship realize what a huge catch they had made in George W. Bush. Gerald Ford’s administration vainly tried to salvage the Republican cause – but Ford would be defeated in the 1976 race against a born-again Christian, nuclear submarine commander, and former peanut farmer from Georgia named Jimmy Carter. True, Carter was an evangelical Christian but he was not the type favored by the Fellowship and their big business allies, especially two key members of the Ford administration, Chief of Staff Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And Ford’s CIA Director, George H. W. Bush, was miffed when Carter did not invite him top stay on as spy chief. Bush would have his revenge against the upstart former Governor of Georgia and peanut farmer soon enough.


Fellowship of the Kingmakers and Assassins

Coe continued to expand his influence in Congress through the National Prayer Breakfast (it changed its name from “presidential” to “national” in 1970). Both sides of the political aisle were tapped as members and friends of the Fellowship. Democratic Senator Harold Hughes, a confirmed liberal, was a core Fellowship member as was liberal Republican Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon. Hatfield was no real surprise. As an evangelical lay leader, Hatfield had a natural inclination to be drawn into the Fellowship. Moreover, Hatfield had gone to college with Coe in Salem, Oregon. But Hughes was different. He was a recovering alcoholic and a bitter enemy of Nixon and his administration. However, given the fact that the Fellowship and its allied arm, Alcoholics Anonymous of Buchman, preyed on those with drug and alcohol problems, Hughes fit into the Fellowship very nicely. The Fellowship provided Hughes with “Christian” cover in case he fell off the wagon. It was the case with many Fellowship politicians. They could be forgiven for their transgressions because they had submitted to God (the Fellowship). A number of observers of the Fellowship claim politicians love to get involved with the group because it is a way for them to escape accountability for their actions.


Hughes actually struck up a close relationship with Nixon’s Watergate consigliore Colson. Tom Phillips, the chief executive officer of Raytheon, where Colson once worked as general counsel before he joined the Nixon administration, arranged a meeting through Coe between Colson and Hughes. They immediately discussed how they had unconditionally accepted Christ and afterwards became great chums. Colson had already been converted by Phillips, a man who made most of his company’s profits from arms sales to the U.S. military and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Ironically, the Saudis, who championed the extreme fundamentalist form of Wahhabi Islam, despised Jews and Christians alike.


The aftermath of Watergate had a disastrous effect on mainstream Republicans, many of whom went down to defeat in the 1974 elections. But Watergate permitted a new breed of Republicans, those of the right-wing fundamentalist Christian variety, to advance up the political ladder. After Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” which saw large numbers of Democrat white segregationists in the South convert to the Republican Party, the fundamentalist conservative Republicans had a ready-made flock of supporters.


Several foot soldiers of the extreme right would emerge from this period. One young Texas college apprentice of Nixon’s chief dirty tricks sorcerer Donald Segretti, Karl Christian Rove, was one of them. There were also credible reports that Segretti used members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist White People’s Party in Los Angeles to engage in dirty tricks on behalf of the Nixon campaign. Another suspected Nazi sympathizer with the Nixon campaign was his White house aide Fred Malek. Nixon was also deputy director of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP). Nixon ordered Malek to find out if there was a “Jewish cabal” within the Bureau of Labor Statistics and he ordered him to make a list of Jews in the agency. Later, in 1988, Malek was George H. W. Bush’s liaison to Eastern European right-wing “ethnic community” leaders who were members of the Heritage Groups Council. Many of these ethnic leaders were ex-Nazis. They included Hungarian fascist Arrow Cross officer Laszlo Pastor, Romanian fascist Iron Guard official Father Florian Galdau, and Radi Slavoff of the Bulgarian National Front, the successor organization to Bulgaria’s wartime Nazi and Fascist parties.


Like Vereide, Rove was a Norwegian-American with a penchant for evangelical politics. Rove’s decidedly un-Christian method for going below the belt politically earned him the attention and interest of the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, George H. W. Bush. The 22-year-old Rove, who dropped out of college, decided to run for Chairman of the College Republicans. The coordinator of his campaign in the southern states was Lee Atwater, another noted dirty tricks operator. Both Rove and Atwater would rise to prominence as members of the Bush Dynasty’s inner circle.


Rove’s opponent to head the GOP College Republicans was Terry Dolan, a conservative but also a rumored homosexual. Rove, whose political attack skills were honed in the 1972 presidential race, wasted no time in feeding the rumor mill about Dolan. Rove defeated Dolan, who then went on the head the National Conservative Political Action Committee and coordinated his efforts with such right-wing “Christian” luminaries as Jerry Falwell, Paul Weyrich, and Richard Viguerie. All three were connected to televangelist Pat Robertson, another “Christian” with a bon vivant past, who was also the son of Virginia’s segregationist Democratic Senator Willis Robertson. With the help of Weyrich, Falwell started Moral Majority. In 1988, after his own failed attempt to wrest the Republican presidential nomination away from Vice President George H. W. Bush, Robertson would launch the Christian Coalition headed by himself and another young Republican operative, Ralph Reed. The Bush Dynasty and the right-wing Christians decided to reach a concordat. Senior Bush’s intermediary with the Christian right was his “converted” son George W. Bush. After some fits and starts with booze and drugs, George W. Bush was ready for prime time and, with the fervent backing of the Fellowship and its subordinate and allied organizations – Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, the Unification Church, he was being groomed to enter national politics.


In 1973, Weyrich and Joseph Coors (after all, “Jesus” and beer are not mutually exclusive) started the right-wing Heritage Foundation, a spawning ground for future Republican politicians and policy planks. Many of their policy initiatives, including the dismantling of Roosevelt’s New Deal, Truman’s Fair Deal, and Johnson’s Great Society, were to have their genesis in the Heritage Foundation.


Rove helped George W. Bush in his failed 1978 campaign for a congressional seat in Texas. Although Bush got his first dose of “Jesus” control in 1972 in San Diego, he was not a very good disciple. In 1978, he was still drinking heavily. A failed oilman in west Texas, it would have been easy to write him off politically. But this son of George H. W. Bush would prove extremely useful for the Fellowship and its allies.


Another troubled young man who was exposed to Christian evangelism but who became active in right-wing Nazi causes was John W. Hinckley, Jr., the Texas-raised son of the wealthy head of Vanderbilt Energy Company, John W. Hinckley, Sr. Eventually, the Hinckleys moved from Dallas, Texas to Evergreen, Colorado. Hinckley, Jr., like Rove, dropped out of college. After a failed attempt at becoming a songwriter in Hollywood, Hinckley returned to Evergreen, where he worked as a busboy in a nightclub. In late 1980, at the same time George H. W. Bush was planning his meeting in Paris with emissaries of the Islamic regime in Iran to convince them to hold on to U.S. embassy hostages taken captive in Tehran in 1979 until after the presidential election  — in order to deny President Carter an “October Surprise”  — Hinckley began stalking Carter. He also stalked presidential candidate Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. When Nashville Airport baggage metal detectors identified two handguns in Hinckley’s luggage, he was arrested, had his weapons confiscated, fined $62.50, and released. President Carter was making a campaign stop in Nashville the day Hinckley was arrested but the Secret Service decided not to make any more inquiries. Hinckley then purchased two more handguns.


John Hinckley’s brother Scott, who was Vice President of Vanderbilt Energy, was a friend of Neil Bush, George H. W. Bush’s Colorado-based son who would later go on to infamy in the Silverado Savings & Loan scandal. George H. W. Bush was sworn in as Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1981. Instead of a surprise that would help Carter win re-election, the October Surprise turned out to be a Bush surprise that cost Carter the election. True to their agreement with Bush, the Iranians released American embassy hostages they very moment Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president. A few weeks later, Reagan appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton Hotel along with Vice President Bush. Longtime Fellowship leader Albert Quie, then Governor of Minnesota, gave the keynote message.


A little over two months later, John W. Hinckley, Jr., stepped from a crowd gathered outside the very same hotel where Reagan had prayed in February with the Fellowship. Hinckley fired six shots from his Rohm R6-14 handgun in the direction of Reagan. One struck the president in his left chest, the bullet lodging an inch from Reagan’s heart. George H. W. Bush was literally one inch from the presidency. But the Bush dynasty’s total seizure of the White House would have to wait.


At George Washington Hospital, Reagan was erroneously given a cold blood transfusion, something that a number of medical experts later saw as contributing to the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. White House Press Secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a Washington police officer were also wounded – Brady so severely he became an invalid. Ironically, the next evening, Neil was to have hosted Hinckley’s brother Scott at a dinner party at his Colorado home. Immediately, the media began to concentrate on the connections between Reagan’s attempted assassin and the Bush family. NBC’s John Chancellor was particularly interested in the connection between Bush and Hinckley. According to the Houston Post, Bush spokeswoman Shirley Green called the connection  “a bizarre happenstance, a weird occurrence.” For a family whose imprimatur is connected to so many American scandals, bizarre and weird should have been replaced with commonplace and expected.


John Hinckley and Neil Bush both lived in Lubbock, Texas during 1978. Neil was in Lubbock to work as manager for his brother George’s 1978 congressional campaign. Also in Lubbock was John Hinckley, Jr., who lived there since 1974. Rove was also a frequent visitor to Lubbock as a campaign strategist for the Bush campaign. It was yet another nexus between the Bush Family and other nefarious events. After all, George H. W. Bush’s address and phone number (“Bush, George H.W. [Poppy] 1412 W. Ohio also Zapata Petroleum Midland 4-6355”) were found in the address book of George de Mohrenschildt, a Texan and Russian émigré with a fascist past in Europe who befriended Lee Harvey and Marina Oswald after the future accused assassin of President Kennedy returned from the Soviet Union. The pro-Nazi Allen Dulles was appointed by President Johnson to serve on the Warren Commission, which ensured the investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination never went beyond the self-described “patsy,” Oswald, to include his right-wing friends and associates.


And the Nazi thread was also strong with both Oswald and Hinckley. Oswald had the Arlington, Virginia Nazi Party headquarters address of George Lincoln Rockwell in his address book when he was arrested following Kennedy’s assassination. Hinckley was a member of the National Socialist Party of America, which continued to function after Rockwell’s assassination in Arlington in 1967. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Hinckley, Jr. had participated in a march honoring Rockwell.


The senior Hinckley had been involved with World Vision, a Christian evangelical association involved with a number of covert U.S. intelligence operations abroad. Like the Fellowship, World Vision acted as a Trojan horse for U.S. intelligence and business interests in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and Central America during the illegal U.S. support for the Nicaraguan contras. In fact, a number of World Vision officials, including two of its presidents, have been core members of the Fellowship. World Vision continues to involve itself in such hot spots as Iraq and Congo. According to Jeff Sharlet’s 2003 article in Harper’s, Coe admitted to having a close relationship with Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the dictator the Sandinistas overthrew in 1979. While the senior Hinckley headed up World Vision, one of its youthful volunteers was Mark David Chapman, also a native of Texas. He would later assassinated ex-Beatle John Lennon on a New York City street. Like John W. Hinckley, Jr., another right-wing would-be assassin and busboy was Arthur Herman Bremer from Milwaukee.


An ultra-rightist who shaved his head in the Nazi style, Bremer despised George McGovern and stalked him during the 1972 presidential election. But McGovern would not ultimately be his target. On May 15, 1972, Bremer, sporting a “Wallace for President” button, approached Alabama Democratic Governor and presidential candidate George C. Wallace at a campaign stop at a Laurel, Maryland shopping center. Bremer fired five bullets into Wallace, who was paralyzed for the rest of his life. Wallace, of course, was not what the new right-wing Republicans wanted to see grab the Democratic nomination. After all, Republican Winton Blount’s senatorial campaign in Alabama against veteran Democrat John Sparkman was intended to help wrest control of the South from the Democratic Party. It was a campaign that George W. Bush participated in by making cameo appearances between Christian drug rehab sessions in San Diego. Wallace stood to derail the Republican’s “Southern Strategy.” By sidelining Wallace, Bremer helped propel the GOP’s new Southern Strategy. The strategy would be refined in 1973 by the new chairman of the Republican National Committee – George H. W. Bush, — who would have two young and ruthless assistants to help him – Karl Rove and Lee Atwater. With the help of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Bob Jones, and other fundamentalist Christians, the South would eventually fall under almost complete control of a Republican Party that emphasized intolerance and a de facto return to Jim Crow laws. Ironically, Wallace, a former segregationist, would later win back the Governorship of Alabama with a majority of the African-American vote.


The world would not hear the last of Rockwell and his disciples. His Nazi Party would change its name to the National Socialist White People’s Party and remain in Arlington. Eventually, it would change its name to “The Order” and move to the West where it became even more violent. One former Rockwell assistant, William Pierce, would form the neo-Nazi National Alliance. Pierce had worked with Rockwell in Arlington in the 1960s. He later joined the National Youth Alliance, headed up by another neo-Nazi, Willis Carto, who also led the Liberty Lobby. Using the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald, Pierce would pen “The Turner Diaries,” a neo-Nazi rant that called for the overthrow of the U.S. government and the extermination of non-whites and Jews. Pierce was the inspiration behind the founding of the Aryan “Christian Identity” movement. One of Pierce’s fans was Timothy McVeigh, found guilty of bombing the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people, including a number of children. According to Jersey City Police sources, when arrested, McVeigh had the business card of a Jersey City social services worker in his possession.


Jersey City was a major base of operations for Ramzi Yousef, who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Mohammed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi, who piloted two passenger jet liners into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. This would not be the only connection between right-wing Nazis and radical Islamists. The Fellowship and Doug Coe reached out to the most radical elements in the Islamic world, including members of the Saudi royal elite who bankrolled Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda followers. According to the Los Angeles Times, as early as 1979, Coe had a special relationship with the Saudis when he arranged a meeting between a Pentagon official and the Saudi Minister of Commerce. In 1988, Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Saud, read passages from the Koran at the National Prayer Breakfast. This was at a time the Afghan mujaheddin was coming under the radical influences of Saudi Wahhabis through the “good offices” of Osama bin Laden and other radicals. Coe and his Cedars members also kept in close touch with such Muslim leaders as Presidents Suharto and Megawati Sukarnaputri of Indonesia, General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Mohammed Siad Barre of Somalia (who offered Coe that he would convert to Christianity from Islam if he could be assured of U.S. weapons sales to combat aggression from Soviet-armed Ethiopia), Kuwaiti officials, and even Saddam Hussein. At the same time, Coe heaped praise on the “covenants” Bin Laden, as well as Hitler, established with their respective followers.


In 1990, just prior to George H. W. Bush launch of Desert Storm against Iraq in response to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, Fellowship core member Senator David Durenberger (R-MN) led a Fellowship delegation to Baghdad. That same year, the Senate Ethics Committee ordered Durenberger to pay over $124,000 in restitution for shady book and real estate deals. Such ethical lapses were the rule rather than the exception with many politician members of the Fellowship.

Part II

The Cedars of Arlington

In 1976, the Fellowship began looking for a permanent headquarters in Arlington. It set its sights on the estate of George Mason IV, The Cedars, located at 2301 North Uhle Street.  Mason was one of the drafters of the Bill of Rights. The Fellowship, also known as the International Foundation, bought the property from Charles Piluso. Although not much is known about Piluso, the Los Angeles Times reported that Howard Hughes, the man with whom Fellowship Senator Ralph Owen Brewster once sparred, also lived there. According to a senior Pentagon official, the Cedars had been used as a CIA safe house prior to the Fellowship’s purchase of the estate. The Fellowship paid $1.5 million for the Cedars, the money coming from Tom Phillips, the CEO of Raytheon, and Ken Olsen, the CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation. Sanford McDonnell of McDonnell Douglas Corporation was another deep-pocketed supporter of the Fellowship through Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, an activity linked to Fellowship core member Pat Robertson.


According to the Los Angeles Times, other wealthy contributors to the Fellowship and its adjunct International Foundation include Republican donor Michael Timmis, a conservative Catholic Detroit lawyer who replaced Colson as chairman of Prison Fellowship International (Colson remained as Chairman Emeritus) and who also served on the board of the Promise Keepers, another evangelical group; Jerome A. Lewis, the Denver-based oilman who is chairman of Petro-Lewis, one of the largest oil and natural gas partnership firms in the world; and Maryland oilman Paul N. Temple. The Fellowship has also received support from the Eli Lilly and Pew Foundations, contributors to a number of right-wing causes.


In 1991, according to the New York Times, Fellowship member Mark Hatfield came under a Senate ethics investigation and a Federal grand jury probe after he made $300,000 from real estate deals since 1981 involving the sale and purchase of properties from Temple. The investigation of Hatfield followed years of reports that he had received additional largesse from the Fellowship in loans and other favors. It should be noted that Hatfield’s son, Mark Hatfield, is currently the Director of Communications for the Department of Homeland Security. The Fellowship and its members know good real estate deals when they see them. For example, the Cedars is now valued at $4.4 million – and Arlington County received zero in taxes from it because it is tax-exempts a “church.”


A letter from the Fellowship Foundation’s lawyers, Barman, Radigan, Suiters & Brown, to Van Caffo, Zoning Administrator for Arlington County, dated September 9, 1976, requested permission to house “overnight guests” at the Fellowship’s recently-purchased estate, known as “The Cedars.” The letter stated, “no more than ten individuals could be accommodated at any one time.” The letter also affirmed, “that no [emphasis in original] person not involved in the Fellowship would ever be invited to spend the night at the House.” That statement would later prove embarrassing to a number of politicians who stayed at Fellowship group homes while insisting they were not members of the group.


The Fellowship’s attorneys stressed that “anyone staying at the House will have prior involvement with the activities of Fellowship Foundation.” The letter continued, “According to Mr. Coe, these individuals fall into two main categories:


1.    Those who come to the Washington area for the sole [emphasis in original] purpose of participating in the worship activities of Fellowship Foundation. I understand that you have no problem with this category.

2.    Those who come to the Washington area for a dual purpose, one of which is participation in the worship activities of Fellowship Foundation. It is this category of individuals, which apparently gives you pause.”


For Arlington County, the mere presence of yet another right-wing group, in addition to the Nazis who had already given the county a black eye in the national media, was more than reason to be concerned. However, the Fellowship’s attorneys, using double-speak, convinced the Arlington authorities to grant the group the necessary permits. The Fellowship’s attorneys also made it clear that “the Foundation works quietly but extremely effectively in accomplishing its singular purpose.”


A letter from Arlington County’s Department of Inspection Services to Coe’s attorneys, dated September 20, 1976, granted the Fellowship use of the Cedars as a “place of worship.” The Fellowship would provide more than just a place of worship at the Cedars. The estate would become the site for international intrigue and charges from neighbors that troubled young people staying at the home were being subjected to mind control.


In 1984, the Fellowship achieved a record at its National Prayer Breakfast. The 34th such gathering attracted representatives from over 100 nations. Similar prayer breakfasts were held in over 500 American cities. Conservative politicians were being tapped as never before for future service to the goals of the Fellowship and its affiliates. Moreover, the Christian fundamentalists were gaining influence in the media. Pat Robertson’s 700 Club began the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), which cleverly combined news broadcasts with religious programming. In 1983, Moon started the Washington Times, a paper that was built on the remains of the William F. Buckley’s defunct Washington Evening Star. Ronald Reagan called the money-losing Washington Times his favorite newspaper. It did not matter that Moon was named as a central player in the Koreagate scandal that rocked Washington politics from 1976 to 1978. Moon, an operative named Bo Hi Pak (who was president of the Washington Times), and the Korean Central Intelligence Agency were accused of bribing politicians. Ford’s Vice Presidential running mate in 1976, Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, was one of those who called for a full investigation of Moon.


Representative Donald Fraser (D-MN) launched a House investigation of the Korean political influence peddler. Fraser’s committee concluded that Moon was a central to an “international network of organizations engaged in economic and political activities” and that Moon’s organization “had systematically violated U.S. tax, immigration, banking, currency, and Foreign Agents Registration Act laws.” The New York Daily News’ Lars Erik Nelson called for the Justice Department to investigate the Washington Times for violation of the Foreign Agents’ Registration Act. The Fraser Report also proved the connection between Moon and the Korean CIA. For his efforts, Moon’s propaganda machine branded Fraser an “agent of Moscow” and began a vicious character assassination campaign against him. Undaunted, Fraser went on to become Mayor of Minneapolis. But for the Christian Right, Moon’s personal attack template would serve as a blueprint for future Christian fundamentalist candidates. One recommendation of the Fraser Committee went unheeded by the incoming Reagan administration: a White House Task Force to investigate Moon and his operations. George H. W. Bush’s hat trick with the Iranian hostage takers ensured that Moon would not have to worry about White House interference.


Nor did it matter that U.S. counter-narcotics investigators were uncovering evidence that Moon supplemented his various enterprises around the world with money from drugs from Latin America and Asia – proceeds that partially wound up in the coffers of Jerry Falwell. The Fascist thread that Moon inherited from Buchman’s Moral Rearmament was evident in one of Moon’s richest supporters, Ryoichi Sasakawa, one of Japan’s richest businessmen and a self-described “fascist.” According to PBS’s Frontline, Sasakawa, who met Benito Mussolini in 1939 and called him the perfect “fascist,” was imprisoned by U.S. forces after World War II as a war criminal. In 1967, Sasakawa and Moon formed the Japanese chapter of the right-wing World Anti Communist League, a right-wing group that would help Moon gain an entrée to Latin American military dictators and other right-wing groups around the world. It was the same network that was used by the Fellowship Foundation and World Vision. Moon and Sasakawa were also connected to the Japanese “Yakuza,” the Mafia that controlled gambling and the illegal narcotics market in the country.


But while he thought he had a free pass from Reagan and the conservatives in his administration, Moon miscalculated the IRS and its enforcement of tax laws. In 1982, Moon was convicted in a federal court for income tax evasion. He was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment at the Danbury Federal Correctional Facility in Connecticut. Immediately, Falwell called for a presidential pardon from Reagan. The pardon initiative for Moon was championed by former Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). When Fellowship core member Richard Thornburgh, the former Governor of Pennsylvania, became Attorney General under George H. W. Bush, the Fellowship network no longer had to worry about running afoul of tax laws. Thornburgh would later serve on a committee that investigated CBS anchor Dan Rather and 60 Minutes for their use of Texas Air National Guard documents that pointed to George W. Bush’s absent without leave (AWOL) status in 1972. The original documents had been scanned thus giving them the appearance of being forged. However, 60 Minutes, which had exposed past government, business, and religious wrongdoing, had been largely neutered and Rather announced his retirement. One former Justice Department Criminal Division attorney said he was not surprised to hear that former Attorneys General Ed Meese, Thornburgh, and John Ashcroft were core members of the Fellowship. He said they were “the three worst Attorneys General my division ever worked for.”


One other prominent Christian reconstructionist member of Reagan’s cabinet was Interior Secretary James Watt. He actually once told a congressional panel that the environment was not important in light of the imminent return of Jesus. Under oath, he told a congressional committee that believed that Jesus would return “after the last tree is felled.”


At the same time Moon was on his rise, another Christian dominionist began to put his stamp on Republican right-wing policies. His name was Rousas John Rushdoony, the son of Armenian refugees from the anti-Armenian Turkish pogroms of the early 20th century. Rushdoony ran a Christian Right think tank in Los Angeles called the Chalcedon Foundation. Chalcedon became the source for much of the philosophical underpinnings of the Fellowship’s political platform – a platform that would provide much of the political and religious propaganda spread by Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell on their respective television programs. Robertson had been very much like George W. Bush in his earlier years. The son of Senator A. Willis Robertson (D-VA), Robertson was known as a playboy with a questionable military service record during the Korean War. But like George W. Bush, Robertson “found God.” Converted by Vereide’s close associate Harold Bredesen who spoke in “tongues.” In a bizarre display, Bredesen reportedly once spoke in ancient Arabic to a wealthy Egyptian heiress during a Fellowship meeting. Robertson, in addition to running his 700 Club television program, decided to invest in diamond mines in Africa. He became close to three of Africa’s most infamous despots – Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent D. Kabila of Zaire/Congo and Charles Taylor of Liberia. It was discovered that Robertson was using his “Operation Blessing” aircraft, not to provide aid to African victims of famine, war, and disease, but to transport equipment and supplies for his various diamond mining ventures on the continent. It would not be the only criminal activity engaged in by the Fellowship in Africa’s affairs.


Rushdoony became a Presbyterian minister in California during the mid-1940s, the same time Vereide and Buchman were extending their influence in Washington and around the world. Rushdoony’s writings attacked the Unitarian religion and what he considered its contrivances, which included the United Nations. He was also an early proponent of home schooling (an important part of the Fellowship’s agenda) and a charter member of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP) – a right-wing version of the Council on Foreign Relations whose first head was Christian Right leader Tim LaHaye, the one-time head of the Moon-funded Coalition for Religious Freedom whose advisory board members included such Christian Right luminaries as Don Wildmon, the pro-censorship head of the American Family Association; Pat Crouch, the founder of the Trinity Broadcast Network; and James Kennedy, the televangelist head of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Another important CNP member was Baptist deacon and former Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), who also championed right-wing fascist Latin American leaders favored and supported by the Fellowship. These included El Salvadorean death squad leaders Roberto d’Aubisson and General Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova (now living in South Florida under the protection of Jeb Bush and the right-wing Cuban community), El Salvador’s right-wing President Alfredo Cristiani (in 1990, President George H. W. Bush reportedly held a special prayer with Cristiani and death squad leader d’Aubisson in a side room at the National Prayer Breakfast with Coe officiating), Honduran evangelical Christian death squad leader General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet, Brazilian dictator Artur da Costa e Silva, Guatemalan dictator and evangelist Efrain Rios Montt (in 2004, Montt’s daughter, Guatemalan Senator Zury Rios Sosa married Fellowship adherent Representative Jerry Weller (R-IL), Guatemala’s evangelist President Jorge Serrano Elias (his George W. Bush-like quote upon election in 1991: “We have won the election with the support of the people and God. I have no commitment to any political power base; my only commitment is to God, to whom I’ve committed myself to govern the best I can`. . .”); and Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza (also one of Coe’s friends). The Fellowship had been on very good terms with Panamanian dictator and drug runner Manuel Noriega who the first Bush ousted in a 1989 military invasion. Other CNP initiatives included supporting apartheid in South Africa (Jerry Falwell called South Africa’s Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu a “phony” and Pat Robertson’s 700 Club provided a convenient propaganda outlet for South Africa’s apartheid regime) and opposing Corazon Aquino’s attempt to depose Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The looted gold bullion and gems from the deposed Philippine dictator’s coffers and other ill-gotten foreign funds would eventually be used to fatten the off-shore Bush bank accounts (artifices with various Bush family corporate code names – Five Star Companies, Lone Star Companies, Phoenix Group, Winston Partners, Cosmos Corporation, Hamilton Trust, InterFirst Bank, European Pacific Group, Mongoose Enterprises, Equity Trust, Interfax Gold Corporation, etc.) and serve as the source for the money used in the future to “fix” elections in favor of George W. Bush and his political allies.


Rushdoony developed his own network of right-wing fundamentalist Christians, including Oklahoma State Representative Bill Graves, an ardent Christian dominionist, and John Whitehead, the director of the Rutherford Institute, the right-wing outfit funded by Rushdoony that propelled Paula Jones to national stardom as Bill Clinton’s chief accuser and involved itself in the 2000 Florida election recount fiasco on behalf of George W. Bush. Rushdoony’s son-in-law, Gary North, is a very active Christian dominionist in right-wing politics and the proponent of “Christian economics,” which is based on the Austrian (Fredrich von Hayek) or Mount Pelerin Society schools of economics. The precepts of this economic school are based on Fascist economic theories of the 1920s and 30s. The umbrella organization for Rushdoony and North’s activities was the William Volker Fund, which also funded the conservative Hoover Institution.


North also founded the Aaron Burr Society. The group’s emblem has a drawing of Burr shooting Alexander Hamilton in their infamous duel. The emblem bears the motto: “Not soon enough,” referring to the notion that Hamilton’s assassination should have occurred much sooner.


The Fellowship also made inroads within the U.S. military, particularly the officers’ ranks. Through an entity known as the Officers Christian Fellowship (OCF), the Fellowship tapped officers in all the services and future officers in the service academies to become “ambassadors for Christ in uniform.” The motto of the OCF is “Pray, Discover, Obey.” The Christian Military Fellowship served as the OCF’s counterpart among the enlisted ranks. Adjunct Fellowship organizations targeted foreign officers and enlisted men, particularly in Great Britain and Australia; service spouses; and service mothers. The international military fellowship is known as the Association of Military Christian Fellowships (AMCF). One person close to the AMCF is Arthur E. (“Gene”) Dewey, a retired Army officer who served as Colin Powell’s Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration. Dewey was also a personal consultant to Douglas Coe. In his State Department position, Dewey was an ardent foe of international family planning programs, including the denial of reproductive health care to refugee women.


Eventually, the Fellowship would count some of the military’s top leaders among its members. They include former Joint Chiefs Chairman General David Jones, current Joint Chiefs chairman General Richard Myers, former Marine Corps Commandant and current NATO commander General James L. Jones, Iran-contra figure Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, and, perhaps even more controversial than North, Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, the military head of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s intelligence branch. In 2003, Boykin, in a speech to the First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, referred to the United States as a “Christian nation” and, that in reference to a Somali warlord, he stated, “ I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.” The reverberations of Boykin’s comments were felt around the world. But his allies and Fellowship compatriots, Rumsfeld, Myers, Kansas Representative Todd Tiahrt, and most important, George W. Bush, refused to condemn him. Calls for Boykin’s reassignment when unheeded. Soon afterwards, Boykin’s Pentagon intelligence group was discovered to have been involved with the torture and sexual molestation of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The sexual molestation of prisoners included male and female teens being held in Iraq. Also of note is the current head executive director of the OCF. He is retired Lt. Gen. Bruce Fister, the former head of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command.


One of the larger OCF chapters is at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the home of the U.S. military’s disciplinary barracks and a prime recruiting and mentoring center for Fellowship members. All sorts of military members who have been sentenced by courts martial around the world have served their prison terms at Leavenworth. In 1982, a key member of the OCF began his four-year sentence at hard labor at Leavenworth after he was convicted of over 19 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with minors, including the dependents of naval personnel under his command. He was Lieutenant Commander Larry W. (Bill) Frawley, Jr., U.S. Naval Academy graduate, P-3 Orion pilot, and the one-time Commanding Officer of the Coos Head, Oregon Naval Facility, a classified Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) station that mainly monitored Soviet submarines on missile patrol and maneuvers in the Pacific. Frawley was heavily involved in a child pornography ring before FBI agents discovered his name after a major bust of a kiddie porn kingpin in Chicago. The Operations Officer assigned to Coos Head was requested by the Naval Investigative Service and the FBI to set up a “sting” against Frawley. Duly sworn in as a temporary special agent of the FBI, the Operations Officer gained Frawley’s trust, gathered incriminating evidence against him, handed it to federal and local law enforcement agents from Coos Bay, Oregon; Portland, and Seattle, and testified as the government’s star witness at Frawley’s court martial at the Navy’s Sand Point Base in Seattle. It was later discovered by NIS and the FBI that Frawley and other members of the OCF used the Christian organization as a cover for their child pornography business. And one other tidbit had been discovered by the FBI. Frawley had traveled secretly to the Soviet Union while he held a Top Secret nuclear weapons and cryptographic security clearance.


That discovery led to the reassignment of the Operations Officer, the Portland-based and Seattle-based NIS agents, and the Coos Bay-based FBI agent to relatively insignificant desk jobs in Washington, DC. While he held his confidence and trust, Frawley revealed to the Operations Officer that those involved with his ring included other top-ranking military officers, lawyers, and members of the clergy. Later, the two NIS agents revealed that the Coos Bay scandal “went to the very top” of the Reagan administration. Frawley’s prison term at Leavenworth was anything but “hard labor.” Navy insiders reported that he attended therapy sessions. If the sessions involved the OCF, it is easy to ascertain how they operated. Jeff Sharlet’s Harper’s article provides a unique insight into the Fellowship’s thinking about sex perverts. Sharlet recounted a discussion Douglas Coe’s son, David, was having with one recruit named Beau at the Ivanwald compound. Coe asked Beau, “Beau, let’s say I hear you raped three little girls. And now here you are at Ivanwald. What would I think of you, Beau?” Embarrassed, Beau replied, “Probably that I’m pretty bad!” Coe responded, “No, Beau, I wouldn’t. Because I’m not here to judge you. That’s not my job. I’m here for only one thing.” Beau’s answer was, “Jesus!”


The Fellowship certainly did not mind when singer Michael Jackson stayed with his children at the Cedars in October 2001 when he was in Washington for a benefit concert for the 911 victims. In a lawsuit filed in 1993, Jackson was accused of sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy. According to a September 27, 2002 Los Angeles Times article by Lisa Getter, Jackson’s stay at the Cedars was arranged through David Kuo, George W. Bush’s White House director of the Office of Faith-based Initiatives. Kuo, a former CIA employee who co-wrote a book with Ralph Reed, had been Executive Director of the Center for Effective Compassion, founded in 1995 by Arianna Huffington and Marvin Olasky. Olasky is a Jewish convert to evangelical Christianity, a major Christian reconstructionist proponent, and an ardent supporter of George W. Bush. Kuo also previously worked for the Christian Coalition and Senator John Ashcroft.


After the Navy’s cover-up of the Frawley and other related criminal cases, the Operations Officer used his Washington, DC base to expose the matter to the public. He received warnings from other active duty and retired Navy personnel that his activities were “embarrassing” to the Navy and that there would be professional and “other consequences” if he did not desist.  The cover-up went to the highest echelons of the Navy’s command structure and included Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, the man whose obfuscation abilities would be used to cover-up the gun turret explosion on board the USS Iowa battleship, the tail hook scandal involving naval aviators, and, ultimately, the 911 attacks when he was named as a member of the 911 Commission by George W. Bush. In the interest of full disclosure, it must be stated that this author was the Operations Officer referenced above.


Another organization affiliated with the Fellowship is the Campus Crusade for Christ, which, in turn, runs something called the Christian Embassy, its outreach arm in Washington. There is also an “International Christian Embassy” in Jerusalem that also houses the studios of Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. Through the Campus Crusade, the Fellowship and its affiliates seek converts among college students in the United States and abroad. An additional Fellowship activity is the National Student Leadership Program and the associated Navigators, which seek converts among college and high school-aged young people. The Fellowship’s network can also reach out to other evangelicals for the purpose of political marches on Washington. Whether they are called “Jesus Marches,” Promise Keeper rallies, or anti-abortion gatherings, the fundamentalists have been able to tap the support of Falwell; Richard Roberts, the son of Oklahoma-based evangelist Oral Roberts; and Florida-based evangelist Benny Hinn. In addition, the Fellowship has its own aggressive “Youth Corps,” which is active seeking converts, according to Jeff Sharlet’s Harper’s article, in countries as diverse as Russia, Ukraine, Romania, India, Pakistan, Uganda, Nepal, Bhutan, Ecuador, Honduras, and Peru. The Fellowship seeks to groom young leaders for future positions of leadership in countries around the world. According to Sharlet, the goal of the Fellowship is “two hundred national and international world leaders bound together relationally by a mutual love for God and the family.” In Fellowship-speak, the “family” is synonymous with the Fellowship. The strategy of placing Fellowship “moles” in foreign governments would pay off nicely when George W. Bush and his advisers had to cobble together a “Coalition of the Willing” to support the U.S. invasion of Iraq.


The Christian Right, having cleverly hidden its Nazi and Fascist past, was on the march. The movement would soon tap ambitious conservative politicians eager to use its vast resources to achieve political power. Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, John Ashcroft, Tom DeLay, Dan Quayle — and, after a concordat with failed 1988 Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson — George H. W. Bush, would all become followers, some for truly religious reasons, but most for political opportunism. But the biggest prize of all was yet to be heard from. The failed businessman and politician from west Texas, George W. Bush, was now a firm believer in the Fellowship agenda. In his father’s 1988 race against Michael Dukakis, the junior Bush was his father’s liaison to the fundamentalist right. Junior Bush would help channel advice and money from the Christian Right to his father’s campaign. In a sign of things to come, the Bush campaign savaged Michael Dukakis over a convicted murderer and prison parolee in Massachusetts named Willie Horton, who, after he was released from prison, held a Maryland couple hostage, raping the wife and stabbing her husband. The strategy was based on the Bush campaign notion that Dukakis, if elected, would pardon African American prisoners who would rape white women. An attack ad ran on television by a Republican group insinuated that Dukakis would release blacks who would threaten whites. For the junior Bush and the Christian Right, it was a campaign position that would pay off handsomely in the future when dealing with John McCain and John Kerry. One of the architects of the 1988 “Willie Horton was Lee Atwater, the close associate of Karl Rove. In 1990, Atwater would move into the Cedars after he discovered he was dying from brain cancer.


Consolidating Fellowship Power


As with any “army,” in this case a Christian army, the Fellowship lost no time in establishing both physical and political bridgeheads in the United States and abroad. First, the Fellowship ensured that its new fortress, “The Cedars,” was well protected.  Through a variety of incorporated foundations, the Fellowship masked its various real estate investments through various entities, including the Fellowship Foundation, the Wilberforce Foundation, and two used by the Fellowship in the past: Kresage Foundation and Tregaron Foundation. Kresage, at one time, appeared to have links to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Tregaron was used in 1975 by the Fellowship and President Ford to search for a purchase a mansion for the Vice President. Ford was significantly closer to the Fellowship than was his predecessor, Nixon. The purchase of a Vice Presidential mansion was no longer necessary when Vice President Nelson Rockefeller moved into the former mansion for the Chief of Naval Operations at the Naval Observatory – it has been the home of the Vice President ever since. According to the minutes of the District of Columbia’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3-C dated January 26, 2004, there is 20 acres of property in Northwest Washington known as the “Tregaron property.” There were plans to sell the property for the construction of 16 houses, a plan that was opposed by the Cleveland Park Citizens Association (“CPCA”) and Friends of Tregaron that wanted the land preserved as a national historic site. It isnear this property that the Klingle Mansion is located. It is noteworthy that records indicate that intern Chandra Levy may have gone to the mansion to meet someone before she was murdered.





Wilberforce Foundation

705 Melvin Ave Ste 105
Annapolis, MD 21401

$1,612,691 (end FY 01)

$116,000 (end FY 01)

Tregaron Foundation (sometimes spelled in Fellowship archives as “Treagon”


Fellowship Foundation

2244 N 24th St
Arlington, VA 22207 (Ivanwald)

$8,479, 884 (end  FY 02)

$1,313, 990 (end FY 02)

Kresage Foundation


C Street Center

133 C Street SE
Washington, DC 20003

Officially designated a “church” – IRS filing not required

Prison Fellowship Ministries

P.O. Box 17500, Washington, DC 20041

$25,252,541 (end FY 03)

$10,790,975 (end FY 03)

Officers Christian Fellowship

3784 S. Inca St.
Englewood , CO 80110

$4,471,262 (end FY 03)

$824,162 (end FY 03)

Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc.

100 Lake Hart Dr. MC 3900
Orlando , FL 32832

Tax exempt religious organization

Fellowship Foundation Corporate Entities (Source of assets/liabilities: www.guidestar.com)

*Worked with President Ford to purchase a mansion for the Vice President.

One of the first tactics employed by the Fellowship was to expand outward from the Cedars. The Fellowship purchased two homes in close proximity to the Cedars that became “group homes” (dormitories) in violation of county ordinances prohibiting such homes without proper state and county accreditation. The Fellowship argued that it had verbal authorization from the county for such homes, a point of contention with some of the non-Fellowship neighbors. The two homes are called Ivanwald (a group home for men) and Potomac Point (a group home for women). It was well known to the neighbors that these group homes were used to house troubled teens and young adults (a significant number of them were the children of prominent politicians and businessmen) but the Fellowship kept the names and home addresses of these mostly out-of-state “guests” a secret from the county government and the local Woodmont Civic Association, which began to complain about the out-of-state traffic as well as certain VIP limousines constantly speeding through the quiet residential neighborhood in north Arlington.


Although secrecy was paramount to its operations, the Fellowship saw a need for a public relations point man.  They selected Richard E. Carver, a former Republican mayor of Peoria, Illinois; a reserve Air Force colonel, and Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management under Ronald Reagan. In 1982, Carver, a member of Reagan’s Commission on Housing, recommended cutting billions of dollars from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 housing program. That resulted in thousands of people, including families with children, going homeless across the nation. According to the Chicago Tribune, Carver caused waves in the Air Force when he insisted on purchasing custom made Air Force dinnerware and whiskey glasses from a West German manufacturer for the use of 65 Air Force attaches in capital around the world. It turned out that Carver wanted to impress the top management at Passau, West Germany-based ZF Industries with his abilities to expedite procurement through the vast Air Force bureaucracy. There was one problem for Carver – the Pentagon had a directive prohibiting such purposes except for a very few top flag rank officers. In 1986, Carver bypassed the Secretary of Defense and went straight to the Secretary of the Air Force for authorization to spend $100,000 on the West German dinnerware. When the cost of the dinnerware increased to $115,000, Air Force purchasing officers began to complain.


Subsequently, the West German china manufacturer went through ZF Industries to complain that the cost did not cover shipping. Carver then requested additional money for shipping costs. When that posed a problem, carver suggested that the dinnerware order be increased to $1.1 million to cover the original order in addition to custom made china for 138 commanders, mostly colonels, of Air Force bases and stations around the world. Lt. Gen. Carl Smith, chief of the Air Staff, then put his foot down – telling Carver that his china deal was way out of line. Smith said if colonels received dinnerware, every general would want it also. The bill could top $6.3 million. Smith told Carver the money could be used to improve dilapidated housing for officers and enlisted men in some of the Air Force’s residential units. Carver told General Smith that he should reconsider, whereupon, Smith retorted with a firm “No.” In other words, Smith was not about the follow such a ludicrous order from a civilian superior.


Carver eventually left the Pentagon. He hooked up with the Fellowship as its major front man, became a consultant for Smith Barney (it was reported that Carver actually was retained by Smith Barney as a consultant while he still worked at the Pentagon at a fee of $920 a month), and joined ZF Industries as head of its U.S. subsidiary. The Chicago Tribune referred to Carver as an “Ed Meese of the Pentagon.” The comparison was serendipitous. Meese, Reagan’s ethically-challenged Attorney General, was also a core member of the Fellowship. One of Carver’s deputies at the time was Ernie Fitzgerald, the whistleblower who, in 1968, identified a $2 billion overrun with the C5A cargo plane. His reputation as a dogged whistleblower on government waste and fraud with contractors, Carver quickly gave Fitzgerald and unfavorable performance report and  transferred Fitzgerald out of his office, which prompted a complaint from Representative John Dingell (D-MI), a determined watchdog on contractor overruns. Carver told People magazine, “Ernie has the capacity to really irritate people . . . He has a kind of antagonistic way of doing things.” Certainly, not the way of the Fellowship, where people smile, talk about their commitment to “Jesus,” and engage in backroom shady deals. Soon, Carver would turn his attention away from the likes of Fitzgerald and towards the suspicious neighbors of the Cedars.


Residents of the Woodmont neighborhood of Arlington noticed something strange about the Cedars shortly after the Fellowship moved in. One long time Arlingtonian was hired to do some plumbing at the estate. He noticed in 1980 that the estate’s “carriage house” had been converted into a group home. Men and women who stayed there were assigned chores around the complex – women would cook and do the laundry while the men would tend to the lawn and perform other maintenance work. In 1980, the Fellowship referred to themselves not only as “The Family” but also “The Way.” The plumber also noticed that the old “well house,” which sat in an extreme corner of the estate, overlooking Washington, DC, was converted into a residence. Although that home appears nowhere on Arlington zoning maps, neighbors have discovered that it serves as the residence for Coe when he visits the Cedars.


After it became apparent that the Fellowship was establishing much more than a place of worship in North Arlington, neighbors became more concerned. The first event that triggered suspicion was when a one-lane bridge that carried cars, bicycles, and pedestrians on North Uhle Street over Spout Run Parkway collapsed. The Fellowship saw to it that without the bridge, it turned its end of what was renamed 24th Street became a secured cul-de-sac. Even though the very end of 24th Street remains county property, the Fellowship painted the bridge supports white to give them the appearance that they were a “gate” onto the Fellowship’s private property. When non-Fellowship neighbors tried to have the one-lane bridge rebuilt as a pedestrian and bicycle trail, the Fellowship resorted to a nasty campaign to discredit and harass the proponents. As a result, a mini-civil war broke out in quiet Woodmont. Some residents suggested the Fellowship actually sabotaged the original North Uhle Street bridge to provide permanent secrecy and security.


Similar suspicions surround the purchase by a Fellowship member of the neighboring 19-acre estate property, which was resold to Arlington County. The county turned it into a historic site and park – the Fort C.S. Smith Park. However, a number of residents contend the Fellowship wanted the park to be a security buffer zone. Originally, there were plans to build a nursing home on the adjoining property. Although the park closes at night, it keeps its lights on 24 hours a day. A government source confided the Fellowship worked out a deal with the county to keep the lights on so the parking lot can be used as an emergency heliport in the event the Cedars must evacuate its VIPs.


In August 2003, Ivanwald and the Cedars received the kind of attention it disdains. The Washington Post ran a couple of stories about James Hammond, a 21-year-old male resident of Ivanwald, who broke into four homes in the Woodmont neighborhood looking for prescription drugs. Although he broke into four homes, he pleaded guilty to breaking into only two. Rose Kehoe, the past president of the Woodmont Civic Association, complained about the secrecy associated with the Fellowship’s dormitories for the troubled youth. Some neighbors argued that criminal background checks should be required for the residents of the Fellowship homes. In addition, residents of Woodmont, who referred to the Fellowship as the “pod people,” complained that additional Fellowship youth were being housed in other Fellowship homes in the neighborhood. Over twenty homes in the Woodmont neighborhood were purchased by Fellowship members as of the end of 2004. Kehoe told the Post, “We don’t know who is running around. We don’t know if they are criminals or previous sex offenders.”


One local resident told the Arlington County Board that the young people who stay at the Cedars complex appear “abnormally passive.” She said that they wait for “God to tell them what to do.”


Passions became inflamed when non-Fellowship residents learned that the Fellowship never possessed a special permit to run group homes in the neighborhood, a violation of Arlington County’s zoning laws. Carver, the Fellowship spokesman, insisted the Fellowship had an informal verbal nod from the county. A number of the young residents who filter in and out of Ivanwald and Potomac Point are students from Christian evangelical Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.


Another bone of contention between the Fellowship and residents was the speeding limousines that transported U.S. and international political VIPs to and from the Cedars. On Tuesday mornings, the Cedars hosts an “ambassadors breakfast,” while on Thursday mornings, former Senator Charles Percy hosts something called the “International Finance Meeting” for 25 people. One retired Washington, DC newspaper editor who has lived in Woodmont for 48 years referred to the Fellowship as the “rich Christians.”


A U.S. State Department bus transports foreign and U.S. diplomats to and from the Cedars for the Tuesday morning 7:30-9:30 a.m. meeting. Yet more limousines arrive at the Cedars for a meeting held at 9:30 p.m. on Sundays. The county placed speed bumps on 24th Street to answer the concerns about speeding motorcades but they did not deter the speeding. One neighbor estimated that there are some 80 limousine trips per week to the Cedars. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat visited the Cedars in 1999 complete with his automatic weapon-carrying security guards. Out-of-state license plates abound at the Cedars compound.


To say that the Cedars is wired into American foreign policy would be an extreme understatement. One of the Fellowship’s core members with significant links to the foreign policy establishment, including the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), is Dr. Douglas Johnston, a veteran of nuclear submarines, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Director of Policy Planning and Management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Jimmy Carter, and the founder and president of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. Johnston, who was involved in various international conflict resolution programs, prepared a conflict resolution casebook in which he cites Buchman’s Moral Rearmament post-war reconciliation efforts between Germany and France. Of course, for Buchman and his friends, those efforts largely involved nothing more than reintegrating supporters of the German Nazis and Vichy French back into government and business.


The Cedars have hosted various world leaders – becoming what has amounted to a shadow State Department. Perhaps its importance as an international rendezvous point is why several miles of fiber optic cables have been installed at the Cedars by Verizon and Comcast. In one instance, the Fellowship requested permission to build an “underground chapel” on the Cedars premises. Although the facility was never built, neighbors suspected that it was a bomb shelter.


Local residents, who, as they put it, have not drunk the Fellowship’s “Kool Aid,” point to the constantly expanding Fellowship enclave in Arlington. They claim the Fellowship has taken over two local church congregations – Falls Church Episcopal and Cherrydale Baptist – as well as opening their own private school – Rivendell.  Two other northern Virginia churches reportedly have a number of Fellowship congregants – Potomac Falls Episcopal and McLean Bible Church. In addition, Arlington skeptics of the Fellowship point to the increasing political clout of the Fellowship, for example, in placing one of its members, Michael Foster, on the Arlington Planning Commission as chairman, successfully buying the votes of four of the five members of the Arlington County Board (all Democrats), and installing an ally as president of the Woodmont Civic Association.


Sometimes, the Fellowship invites members and non-members alike to special functions at the Cedars. For example, it sent out this invitation in 2004:




Woodmont Neighbors and Friends of the Cedars

Are cordially invited to attend a

Free Lecture on

Oriental Rugs


Safi Kaskas of Beirut, Lebanon


Saturday, May 1, 2004


Hosts: Hon. And Mrs. Don Bonker [former Democratic Representative from State of Washington]


When non-members attend such functions at the Cedars, they are assigned one person who follows them everywhere they go. In every room in the Cedars, they are always under the watchful gaze of a photograph of Billy Graham. Coe has been referred to as the “shadow Billy Graham.”


According to Arlingtonians who have investigated the Fellowship, Doug Coe once owned a residence in very liberal Takoma Park, Maryland and continues to own residences in Annapolis, Maryland (where he and his followers have similarly taken over a residential area cul-de-sac) and Seattle, Washington, the one-time hometown of his mentor Vereide. Local politicians point to the Fellowship’s generous political contributions as a way of buying influence and maintaining their secrecy in the county.


Another troublesome aspect to the Fellowship’s expanding presence in Arlington is a resurgence of Nazi activity in the county. “White power” and Nazi groups continue to hold meetings in the same North Arlington neighborhoods where Rockwell and his Nazis once lived. The rise of Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in Louisiana GOP politics spurred the Nazi movement around the country, including the persistent cell in Arlington. As late as 1999, these meetings attracted Nazi skinheads from around the country as well as foreign leaders, like the leader of the British National Front, a racist, ultra-right party. In addition, there were very recent cases of anti-Semitism experienced by members of one of the local American Legion posts. It should be recalled that the American Legion was to be used as the vanguard of the 1930s right-wing coup against Franklin Roosevelt. In December 2004, suspected white supremacist arsonists set fire to dozens of expensive homes under construction in nearby Indian Head, Maryland in a subdivision called Hunters Brooke. Some of the homes had been purchased by African Americans. At least ten of 26 homes set ablaze were severely damaged. Immediately, the right wing media began blaming “eco-terrorists,” but soon the real culprits were soon uncovered. It emerged that at least five white racists charged with the arson were members of a group called “The Family,” which is, ironically, one of the names used by the Fellowship.


But the Fellowship has shed much of its former ties to the Nazis and fascists. Although the fascist ideology is behind the scenes, the Fellowship has dropped its explicit hatred for other races and religions. One observer called the Fellowship “Fascism with a smiley face.” For a group with so much power, it is amazing that since the early 1970s, only a handful of meaningful articles have been written about it. In the early 1970s, Playboy wrote about Senator Hatfield’s association with the group. The Portland [Maine] Phoenix wrote a story about Governor Baldacci’s ties to the group and the Las Vegas Weekly looked into Senator Ensign’s membership in the group. Two major exposes were Jeff Sharlet’s Harper’s article, “Jesus Plus Nothing,” and Lisa Getter’s article in the Los Angeles Times. The Washington Post wrote about the Fellowship after the break-ins of homes in Arlington by resident of Ivanwald and the resulting problems with neighbors and county. Perennial Democratic presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche’s various publications have also focused on the Fellowship and its influence in government. But aside from those articles and some mention on a few Weblogs, the Fellowship continued to maintain its preferred secretive existence.


During the 2004 election campaign, northern Virginia Democratic congressional candidate James Socas highlighted the membership in the Fellowship of his opponent, incumbent Republican Frank Wolf. Socas said his research indicated that Wolf was a member of a religious cult whose leadership praised the leadership qualities of Hitler, Ho Chi Minh, Lenin and Osama Bin Laden. The Socas campaign released a report titled, “Who is Frank Wolf? Moderate Republican or Leader of the Religious Right?” The Washington Post also reported on Socas’s charges that Wolf was a member of an extremist religious group and Wolf’s response that the charges were “bogus.” The Fellowship’s public relations man Carver told the Post that Socas’s charges were “ludicrous.” Coe did not return phone calls from the Post. It was the kind of political donnybrook the Fellowship abhorred but here was a congressional candidate bringing to light the membership in “the Family” of one of the House’s most powerful Republicans. In yet another example showing the ties between the Fellowship and the neo-conservative movement, the Post quoted Michael Horowitz of the neo-con Hudson Institute defending Wolf. Lamely, and obviously without researching the history of the Fellowship, Horowitz called Socas’s linking of Wolf to a group that praised Hitler nothing more than “hate speech” and “McCarthyism.”


Turning the “People’s House” Into the “People’s Temple”


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. C Street Center resident Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) claimed on his Federal Election Commission expense report that he paid the C Street Foundation $762 on December 11, 2001. Similar boarding houses have been set up by the Fellowship in London for Members of Parliament and in Moscow for members of the State Duma.


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), Lincoln Chaffee (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), Rick Santorum (R-PA), 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[3]), 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 who served as the political fix-it man for 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, who 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. From that platform, Mother Theresa launched a verbal broadside against President Clinton’s pro-abortion policy. For Coe, being at Mother Theresa’s state funeral was a strange juxtaposition from his reported attendance at Bohemian Grove meetings of San Francisco’s elite Bohemian Club – festivities that are replete with pagan rites. But as one senior Pentagon official said, “the Fellowship has nothing to do with God or Jesus, it is a capitalist cult.” One of the major members of the Bohemian Club is former NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe, who is also close to conservative Christian Representative Tom Feeney (R-FL), the former Lieutenant Governor running mate of Jeb Bush in the 1994 Florida gubernatorial election, a major political operative in 2000’s fixed presidential election when he was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, attorney and registered lobbyist for Yang Enterprises – the NASA contractor accused of creating rigged election software and spying for China, and the politician accused of helping to launder large sums of money through the Florida Department of Transportation – the agency that controls one of Florida’s biggest cash cows – the toll turnpikes.


Other important women members of the Fellowship are Interior Secretary Gale Norton, former Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Eileen Bakke, the wife of former Advanced Energy Systems (AES) CEO Dennis Bakke. Dennis Bakke, who was succeeded at AES by former George H. W. Bush Budget director and current Carlyle Group official Richard Darman, resigned after allegations that Bakke funneled AES revenues into the Fellowship. AES became infamous when it took over the Republic of Georgia’s electrical distribution system and began cutting off electricity to those who never paid for it under Soviet rule. Affected were elderly people on fixed pensions, young couples, and even the Tbilisi airport and an important military base. Dennis Bakke is a resident of the Cedars neighborhood where he owns an estate called Dogwood Rise.


Entertainers and sports figures have also been featured at the Fellowship’s political prayer meetings over the years. They have included Jim Nabors, Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry, and the Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and fullback Charlie Harraway.


Not every member of Congress thought the Fellowship’s activities on Capitol Hill were appropriate. Former Senator Lowell Weicker (R-CT) told The Washington Post in 1981 that the Christian evangelicals “want to proselytize the whole country . . . That’s what I’m fighting against.” Former Senator and Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern (D-SD), the son of a minister, told the Post, “those guys have such a personal view of religion that it isn’t reflected on the Senate floor — if anything, they lean over backwards to avoid social issues . . . one of my criticisms is that they don’t see the social implication of moral and religious faith.” Former South Carolina Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC), a devout Lutheran, never went to a Fellowship meeting. According to long-time investigative journalist Robert Parry, in 1983, Representative Jim Leach (R-IA), speaking at a meeting of the moderate Republican Ripon Society, warned that the College National Republican Committee, once headed by Karl Rove, had solicited and received money from Moon’s Unification Church. Rove’s successor, Grover Norquist, disrupted Leach’s presentation. Norquist is now an unofficial adviser to both Rove and George W. Bush. And like the Fellowship, also had links to the Similarly, for those who question or criticize the Fellowship, Coe has a patent response, “They are enemies of Jesus.”


A senator who incurred the wrath of the Fellowship and its allies was the man who challenged George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 – John McCain. After McCain beat Bush in New Hampshire, the right-wing evangelicals pulled out all the stops to nail McCain on their home turf – South Carolina. Christian operatives associated with Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, and South Carolina’s Bob Jones University began spreading rumors – through “push polls,” e-mail, sermons, and word-of-mouth that McCain fathered an illegitimate “black girl” out of wed lock (a reference to his adopted Bangladeshi daughter), that he was a traitor while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, that his wife Cindy was a druggie, and that he was gay. The gambit paid off. McCain was trounced by Bush in South Carolina and Bush went on to win the Republican nomination. For the Christian mafia, Bush was their best hope for total control since the founding of the United States. Next, the fundamentalists turned their attention to the Democratic nominee – Al Gore, a former theological seminary student.


Although Gore won the popular vote for President, a phalanx of right-wing GOP operatives descended on the pivotal state of Florida to engage in judicial subterfuge after widespread voter suppression took place at the polling places. Two fundamentalists on the U.S. Supreme Court – Antonin Scalia (an Opus Dei member) and Clarence Thomas – voted with three other members to stop the Florida vote recount, ensuring that Bush won the White House. Nevertheless, Gore has always admired Doug Coe, even calling him his “personal hero.”


The Moon organization also gained immense influence in the George W. Bush administration. Not only had Bush’s father taken Moon’s money to give speeches after he left office, but the junior Bush appointed Unification Church members to sensitive posts in his administration. David Caprara, head of Moon’s American Family Coalition, was appointed to head the AmericCorps’s anti-poverty program, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). Moon’s rhetoric would track with the right-wing policies of Bush – Moon called gays “dung eating dogs” and American women “prostitutes.” And hearkening back to the days of Vereide and Buchman and their Nazi friends, Moon said the Holocaust was God’s revenge for the crucifixion of Christ.

The Fellowship’s Very Own Foreign Policy


Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the Fellowship is their involvement in international affairs at the highest levels. Ever since Vereide sent emissaries abroad to further the aims of the Fellowship, the group had sought access at the highest levels of governments abroad. A significant Fellowship presence was established in various English-speaking countries – Britain, Canada, Australia, and South Africa – as well as the Netherlands, Germany, France, India, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and countries in Scandinavia, Latin America, and Africa. Thanks to the support of two ministers in General Franco’s Fascist Spanish government, Vereide and Coe were able to penetrate Spain and obtain adherents, mostly through the offices of the neo-Fascist Catholic Opus Dei sect. Vereide was also able to convince Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie to be a major supporter of the Fellowship. Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalist Chinese government was also a supporter and remains one to this day. Every year, the Fellowship’s C Street Center receives a $10,000 check from the head of Taiwan’s mission in Washington. The Fellowship also established close links to Liberia’s autocratic President William Tubman. Today, Fellowship adherents are even found in the leftist government of Brazil’s President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. Fijian dictator Sitiveni Rabuka is a Fellowship member. He also overthrew his nation’s democratically-elected government. In Canada, a Fellowship ally, the extreme conservative Stockwell Day of the Canadian Alliance, calls for the establishment of a Christian state. He wants to overturn the Canadian Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage, wants public funding of private religious schools, and outlaw abortion. Day hopes to one day become Canada’s Prime Minister. One Fellowship denomination in Toronto, the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, was expelled from its parent denomination, the Vineyard Churches of Anaheim, California. The parent body cited the Toronto church’s prayer and Scripture interpretation practices. Another one of those who the Fellowship counts as a friend is French far-right leader Jean Marie Le Pen. The French leader has created a firestorm of protests in France and elsewhere by claiming the Nazi occupiers of France were not so brutal and that the Nazis were not inhumane. It is the same rhetoric once espoused by Vereide, Buchman, and Gedat.


The Fellowship’s involvement in foreign countries is documented in archived files held at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in Illinois. Organized in a manner similar to how the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) stores and segregates files, the Fellowship’s archives consist of 592 boxes of documents, photos, audiotapes, film, and negatives. The documents are have an automatic declassification schedule, in the same manner that NARA handles classified files. The Fellowship’s new policy, adopted in 2003, states “All folders with paper records less than twenty-five years old are closed to users until January 1st of the year following the 25th anniversary of the creation of the youngest document in that file, except to those users with the written permission of the President of the Fellowship Foundation. This restriction applies to everyone, including Foundation staff and associates. Example: A folder containing material dated no later 1977 would be open January 1, 2003.”


Coe has been one of the Fellowship’s most frequent travelers. A review of international wire service stories reveal Coe globe hopping with congressional Fellowship members for a number of years. From Pakistan Newswire, Islamabad, on November 29, 2000 (a little less than a year before 911 and a few weeks after the presidential election): “A five-member US business delegation headed by Mr. Douglas Coe, Special envoy of Congressman Mr. Joseph Pitts, called on Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries and Production Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood at Ministry of Industries and Production here on Wednesday.” From the Polish Press Agency, Warsaw, December 17, 1997: “Former deputy Sejm speaker Aleksander Malachowski was granted Wednesday the St. Brother Albert award for his concern for ‘the weak and those in need’ and his ‘social journalism characterised by humanistic values.’ In the scope of ecumenical activity the awards went to priest Waldemar Chrostowski and Stanislaw Krajewski for creating the foundations of Christian-Jewish dialogue and Douglas Coe from the United States for organizing annual meetings of politicians in Washington for furthering communication regardless of political divisions.”


From Xinhua News Agency, Havana, November 27, 1990: “Two U.S. congressmen arrived here Monday on the first stage of a 10-day visit to the Caribbean to seek ways of understanding between the united states and the region, the official news agency Prensa Latina informed. Republican senator for Minnesota and Tony Hall, the Democrat representative for Ohio, are traveling as members of the ‘National Prayer Breakfast’ religious organization, which aims to promote friendship between peoples. Upon his arrival, Durenberger told the press, ‘we are visiting Cuba with the goal to make new friends on a personal basis.’ Political relations reflect personal ties and in the case of Cuba, and the United States ‘there are no political or personal ties,’ he said. Hall affirmed that their visit, which will last little more than 24 hours, aims to ‘build bridges between political and personal lines,’ and help create ‘ways of communication’ between the two countries. The two congressmen expressed their hope that the relations between the two nations, which were suspended in 1961, can improve in the near future. Durenberger was a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee for eight years and severely criticized former President Ronald Reagan’s policy of force against Nicaragua. The delegation which also includes Douglas Coe, a member of the ‘National Prayer Breakfast’ Executive Board, and other businessmen will also visit the Grand Cayman Island, Belize, Aruba and Venezuela.”

The trip to off-shore banking havens by the Fellowship delegation is of note. These were the same islands noted by former U.S. intelligence operatives as the location of billion dollar money tranches and corporate artifices used by the Bush family to engage in various illegal activities, including drug money laundering, corporate fraud, and funding the fixing of elections. The Fellowship not only had an interest in Caribbean off-shore banking havens but made special invitations to Cook Islands Prime Minister Geoffrey Henry and Fiji Prime Minister Sir Ratu Kamisese Mara. Both island nations are off-shore banking havens and the Cook Islands featured prominently in the transfer of money and gold looted from the Philippines and placed in Bush-controlled secret accounts following Marcos’s overthrow in the 1980s. Henry and Mara were guests at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1991 where George H. W. Bush was also present.


In 1987, Coe was in Mongolia, officially as a tourist (Mongolia was still Communist). However, shortly after Communism fell, the Fellowship and the Moon organization set up shop in the largely Buddhist country. Fellowship missionaries fanned out across to other Buddhist regions that had been close for years to outsiders: the Russian Buddhist Republics of Tuva, Kalmykia, Buryatia, and Evenkia. The Fellowship called them “unreached peoples.” Similarly, after the recent tsunamis that killed over a quarter million people in South and Southeast Asia, fundamentalist Christian aid workers arrived with more than relief in mind. Local officials in Sri Lanka and Indonesia complained about the relief workers using the disaster to proselytize and adopt orphans into Christian homes. The people of the worst affected area, Aceh in Sumatra, were also referred to as “unreached people,” meaning they had not yet been subject to conversion outreach.


The Fellowship also had a keen interest in intelligence matters, especially when they involved Fellowship members. For example, one of the tape reels held by the Fellowship at the Billy Graham Center concerns the use by the CIA of journalists as informants. The tape is described: “Reel-to-reel, 7 ˝ ips. 1 side only. January 23, 1976. Radio program Panorama, broadcast on station WTTG in Washington, DC, hosted by Maury Povich, with commentator Ms. Bonnie Angelo. The guest on the show is correspondent and informant for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The conversation is about contacts between U.S. intelligence agencies and journalists. Chuck Colson is referred to very briefly during the interview, in reference to knowledge of a list in the Nixon White House of journalists who were intelligence informants.”


The Fellowship’s influence in Vereide’s native country of Norway was revealed in late 2004 when the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet exposed Norway’s Lutheran minister and Christian Democratic Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik as a secret member of the Fellowship. Although Bondevik at first downplayed his role in the Fellowship, Bondevik later was forced to admit that in December 2001 he met at a dinner at the Cedars with then-Attorney General Ashcroft and that the meeting involved his official role as Prime Minister. Apparently, Bondevik and Ashcroft discussed the U.S. military tribunals. Ashcroft referred to Bondevik as his “brother in Christ” and he serenaded Bondevik Norwegian folk songs after dinner. Bondevik had previously argued that his involvement with the Fellowship was a personal matter. In addition, it was revealed that Norway’s ambassador to the United States, Knut Vollebuk, was a frequent visitor to the Cedars as were a number of members of Norway’s Christian Democratic Party.  As the scandal deepened, Coe’s involvement in Norwegian politics came to the fore. Torkel Brekke, a Norwegian religious researcher, revealed in his book Gud i norsk politkk (God in Norwegian Politics) that Coe provided advice and money to Christian Democrat politician Lars Rise. During a campaign in 1997, Coe told Rise to target voters in the heavily Muslim eastern part of Oslo. Coe emphasized that Christians and Muslims shared common views on the evils of pornography, alcohol, abortion, and same sex marriages. For Rise, the strategy was successful although a subsequent election saw him dropped as a Christian Democratic candidate. The Coe-Rise affair points to the alliance the Fellowship has formed over the years with Muslims, particularly more radical Islamists. For example, in 1988, the first Muslim, Saudi Prince Bandar, spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast.


Norway’s opposition political leaders, from the right to the left, demanded an explanation from Bondevik about the role of the Fellowship in Norwegian politics. Socialist Left leader Kristin Halvorsen told the Oslo daily Aftenposten, “seen with Norwegian eyes, this is a reactionary association.” The Labor Party and right-wing Progress Party also raised concerns about Bondevik and the Fellowship. For many Norwegians, Bondevik was tied with George W. Bush through a secret and right-wing fundamentalist group.


It has also been reported that under the Bush administration, U.S. embassies have held prayer breakfast meetings as a way of buying access to U.S. officials, particularly those involved in important trade and defense issues. Such meetings have been reported taking place in U.S. embassies in Copenhagen; Oslo; Stockholm; Helsinki; Tallinn, Estonia; Vilnius, Lithuania; Bern, Switzerland; Luxembourg; The Hague; Rome; Brussels; Canberra; Port Louis, Mauritius; New Delhi; Mexico City; Belize; Warsaw; Vienna; Berlin; and Prague.


Fellowship members are found in governments throughout the world. This is not surprising considering the country-by-country files the Fellowship has on its worldwide activities. There are files on such hotspots as Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Greece (with a special file on 1967 — the year of the nation’s military coup), Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Kuwait, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Panama and the Canal Zone, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. The files also cover the Fellowship’s activities in the more obscure Sao Tome and Principe, Upper Volta, Mali, and Aruba. One country that is missing from the Fellowship files is Chile, where on September 11, 1973, a bloody U.S.-inspired coup was launched against the socialist government. That coup resulted in the assassination of President Salvador Allende and years of suppression that saw the murder of thousands of opponents of fascism.


The National Prayer Breakfasts serve as important opportunities for foreign leaders to meet with American presidents. Leaders like former Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi, South African Zulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Hungarian President Arpad Goncz, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet, King Taufa’ahau Tupuo IV of Tonga, the late Macedonian President (and Methodist minister) Boris Trajkovski, and leaders of Lithuania, Slovakia, Albania, and Romania have all sought the offices of Coe and the Fellowship to meet the President of the United States. The 2003 National Prayer Breakfast drew 3 heads of government, 21 Cabinet ministers, 11 Members of Parliament, 54 ambassadors, 56 U.S. senators, 245 U.S. House members, and a majority of Bush’s Cabinet secretaries.

In 2001, the unlikely joint appearance of Congo’s new President Joseph Kabila and his arch-enemy (but one-time mentor) Kagame at the 2001 Prayer Breakfast just after Bush’s inauguration raised eyebrows. Although they could not arrange a separate meeting with Bush, the two leaders did meet at the Cedars. What was unusual is that on January 16, 2001, just four days before Bush’s swearing in, Kabila’s father, the former Marxist rebel Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in the Congolese capital Kinshasa. Observers suspected Rwandan influence behind the assassination. The elder Kabila was battling Rwandan army units in the eastern Congo. Forty years earlier, almost to the hour, Congo’s first Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, was executed by U.S.-backed mercenaries working for the CIA. It was also four days before President Kennedy was sworn in as President.


Coe’s invitations to various leaders would pay off for George W. Bush. When he had to cobble together a “Coalition of the Willing” to support his invasion of Iraq, Bush was able to call on Fellowship leaders to sign on. It was through their Fellowship connections that the leaders of Albania, Palau, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Uganda, Rwanda, Tonga, Romania, Lithuania, Solomon Islands, El Salvador, and other countries signed on to the “coalition.”


Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) told the Los Angeles Times he did not think much of the Fellowship’s backdoor diplomacy, “Well, if I might observe, I’m not sure a head of state ought to be able to wander over here for the prayer breakfast and, in effect, compel the president of the United States to meet with him as a consequence . . . I mean, getting these meetings with the president is a process that’s usually very carefully vetted and worked up. Now sort of this back door has sort of evolved.”


Coe’s son David apparently did not think much of Bush’s war against Afghanistan. According to a Fellowship insider, the younger Coe spoke derisively of Bush’s Afghan campaign, asking rhetorically, “this is his vision?” David Coe indicated that Afghanistan was small potatoes and that if one wanted to see a real military campaign, the exploits of Genghis Khan and his invasion of Afghanistan should be studied.


The involvement of the Fellowship in central Africa’s woes may be deeper than in organizing meetings at prayer breakfasts. On April 6, 1994, the executive jet carrying the Hutu Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi from a peace summit in Tanzania with Kagame’s U.S.-backed guerrilla army in Uganda was shot down by Soviet made surface-to-air missiles captured by U.S. forces from Iraq in Desert Storm. All aboard the presidential aircraft were killed, including the French crew. That prompted a terrorism investigation by a special French anti-terrorism court. The author’s book, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999 prompted an invitation by the chief judge to testify as an expert witness about the shooting down of the Rwandan plane.


It was during that testimony, the author was asked to investigate a secretive group made up of right-wing Republicans, current and former intelligence agents, U.S. oil interests and particularly associates of then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Evidence indicated that the group was involved in the terror attack on the Rwandan aircraft. One ad hoc name for the group uncovered by French intelligence and law enforcement was the “International Strategic and Tactical Organization” or “ISTO.” In fact, the description provided of the group by the French and the Fellowship match almost completely. The location of Armitage’s consulting firm, Armitage & Associates LC (AALC) in the Kellogg, Brown & Root/Halliburton building in Rosslyn (Arlington), Virginia, just around the corner from Advanced Energy Systems and a few miles from the Cedars pointed to the Fellowship as the secretive and dangerous group the French counter-terrorism investigators had discovered during their five year investigation. The results of the downing of the aircraft were staggering: 800,000 people died in Rwanda in Hutu-Tutsi ethnic warfare after the attack, tens of thousands died in similar ethnic strife in Burundi. But in Congo, some 4 million died after successive U.S.-supported Ugandan and Rwandan invasions of the country. The deaths resulted from warfare, famine, and disease brought about by the invasions. However, U.S. gem, mining, and oil companies made handsome profits in central Africa amidst the war and ethnic turmoil. Richard Sezibera, Rwanda’s ambassador to the United States and Kagame’s special envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region, is a frequent guest at the Cedars. One interesting footnote – a senior U.S. government official ran into Doug Coe during the height of the inter-ethnic warfare in central Africa. Coe was in Burundi.


If Islamist fundamentalists can embrace terrorism, can fundamentalist “End Time” Christians? The FBI thinks so. Prior to 2000, the FBI, in a report titled “Project Megiddo” warned that Christian millenialist sects might use the beginning of the 21st century to pull of a grand terrorist act. The report stated, “The volatile mix of apocalyptic religious and [New World Order] conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end of the world as prophesied in the Bible.” The name Meggido refers to a hill in northern Israel that was the site of a number of Biblical battles. “Armageddon” is Hebrew for Megiddo Hill. The FBI report warned that Christian millenialists might strike military installations and buildings in New York City such as the UN headquarters.

Stealing an Election for Christ

According to Time magazine, after Bush’s re-election, a group of evangelicals, not surprisingly known as “The Arlington Group,” wrote Karl Rove a letter signed by former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, Don Wildmon, Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell demanding that Bush not waver and support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Rove is a key Fellowship asset in the White House. Often whistling “Onward Christian Soldiers” in the halls of the White House, Rove was credited with turning out millions of fundamentalist voters in the 2004 presidential election. Rove also managed to turn out hundreds, if not thousands, of evangelical and fundamentalist election “fixers,” who ensured that Democratic votes were suppressed, miscounted, undercounted, discounted, and not counted.


The Fellowship’s network of fundamentalists would never be as important as it was in the 2004 presidential election. With polls showing the race either tied or with Democratic candidate John Kerry ahead in key “swing” states, the alert to very zealous Christian activist went out across the nation.


The prime target was Ohio, where the Fellowship and its fundamentalist allies had built up a vast network of operatives in state and local government, including state agencies and county election boards. But more importantly, the Fellowship had links to the election machine companies that would be crucial to fixing election results in Ohio, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, and other states – ensuring that Fellowship core member George W. Bush had four more years to put a practically indelible fundamentalist stamp on the United States. The money invested over the years by Lennon, Armington, Lindner, and other right-wing Ohio captains of industry in fundamentalist Christian causes and think tanks like the Ashbrook Center finally paid off. The Ohio Secretary of State, Kenneth Blackwell, who, copying Katherine Harris’s antics in Florida’s fraudulent 2000 election, used his government position and his co-chairmanship of Bush’s state election campaign to suppress the vote, especially in largely Democratic African-American districts.


Blackwell, who, as a former Deputy Undersecretary of HUD, was well versed in the art of distributing Bush political slush fund money and ensured that this was distributed far and wide in Ohio. This money is what Republican strategist Ed Rollins once called “walking around money” – money used by Republicans in New Jersey’s elections to pay off African American preachers to turn out the vote for their candidates. In Ohio, this tactic paid off in polling places in churches. Instead of turning out the vote, some local preachers, white and black, aided and abetted in suppressing the vote. One of Blackwell’s closest friends is fundamentalist preacher Ron Parsley of World Harvest Church. At the New Life fundamentalist church in the Gahanna District of Columbus, machines tallied 4258 votes for Bush when only a total of 628 votes were cast. Similar chicanery and racketeering occurred throughout Ohio and in other states during the vote tabulation and recounting processes. Two of the voting machine companies contracted by Ohio are headed by people who are conservative Republican partisans – Walden O’Dell, the CEO of Diebold of Columbus and the Rapp family that runs Triad Government Systems of Xenia, Ohio. Both brand of machines caused election problems in Ohio and elsewhere.


For example, several churches in Mahoning County, Ohio were the scenes of voting irregularities. They include:


Price Memorial Zion Church, Precinct 2E, Youngstown (voters were given confusing information and many elderly voters were told their polling place had changed, also voters voting for Kerry had their votes switched to Bush).


Spanish Evangelical Church, Precinct 2A, Youngstown, machines inoperative and switched votes from Kerry to Bush.


Elizabeth Baptist Church, Precinct 2C, Youngstown, one voting machine failed to record votes properly.


Tabernacle Baptist Church, Precinct 3C, Youngstown, one machine failed to record votes.


Martin Luther Lutheran Church, Precinct 5F, Youngstown, one touch screen machine broken the other erased votes.


St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church, Boardman, first two attempts to vote for Kerry go to Bush, third attempt records vote for Kerry. Poll worker brushes off complaints.


St. Nicholas Byzantine Church, Youngstown, machine records Kerry votes for Bush.


The skimming of votes in Mahoning County was replicated across the state. Ohio’s 20 electoral votes were delivered to George W. Bush just like manna from the heavens. For the fundamentalists who took part in the fraud, the “Christian” ends were definitely justified by the Machiavellian ways.



Waiting for God


Journalist, columnist, and television commentator Bill Moyers recently wrote that “for the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.” Ever since Abraham Vereide, a misguided immigrant to this country who brought very un-American ideas of Nazism and Fascism with him in his steamer trunk, the so-called “Christian” Right has long waited to take the biggest prize of all – the White House. Moyers correctly sees the Dominionists or “End Timers” as being behind the invasion of Iraq. He cites the Book of Revelation that states, “four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of man.” Such words may have their place in Sunday School and in church halls but using such thinking to launch wars of convenience or religious prophecy have no place in our federal and democratic republic. Moyers also rightly sees fundamentalist thought behind Bush’s “faith-based initiatives” and the rolling back of environmental regulations.


Hundreds of millions of people around the world no longer feel the United States is a country that can be trusted. They feel the people who run the affairs of state are out of control and dangerous. Considering the hold the Fellowship and their like-minded ilk have on the United States (and some of its allies) they are correct in their fears.


The political and religious dynasties who have embraced the Fellowship, Vereide, Fascism, Moon, Buchman, Moral Rearmament and all of their current and past manifestations, hatreds, and phobias show no sign of ceding power any time soon. There are many such father-son dynasties that hope to ensure a continuation of their shameful racketeering and political chicanery under the corporate “logo” of Jesus: George H. W. Bush to George W. Bush; Douglas Coe to David Coe; Billy Graham to Franklin Graham; Oral Roberts to Richard Roberts, Pat Robertson to Gordon Robertson; Jerry Falwell to Jonathan Falwell; Jeb Bush to George P. Bush; Robert Schuller Sr. to Robert Schuller, Jr., and Sun Myung Moon to at least nine sons (who are known about).


For them and their followers, they should keep in mind something Jesus said, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”



William A. H. Birnie, “Hitler or Any Fascist Leader Controlled By God Could Cure All Ills of World, Buchman Believes,” New York World Telegram August 26, 1936.

[2] One conservative Christian picked up similar notions from George W. Bush’s second inaugural speech. Christian commentator John Lofton questioned Bush’s praise of the Koran during his speech and his giving the Islamic text equal weight to the Old and New Testaments. Lofton also questioned Bush’s failure to mention Jesus Christ in his Christmas address a few weeks earlier. Lofton noted, “Bush failed to mention the name of Christ — yet he honored Ramadan and an Indian holiday that features an eight-legged elephant god.” What many evangelical Christians fail to understand is that as a “one world religion” adherent of Vereide and Buchman, Bush only pays lip service to Jesus while advancing a Dominionist (“fascist”) plan for global control. Ref:  http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/1/242005h.asp


[3] Although billed as non-political, the last “Weekend” drew such conservatives as Richard Viguerie, GOP pollster Frank Luntz, and Fellowship members Senator Bill Nelson and his wife Grace (Grace Nelson is a member of the board of the Fellowship Foundation). It was at the Renaissance Weekend functions that Bill Clinton’s and Tony Blair’s idea of a “Third Way” between capitalism and socialism was developed.

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C Street politics: The Family sponsors death for homosexuals Hillary Clinton



C Street politics: The Family sponsors death for homosexuals in Uganda

By: Michael Stone

C Street politics: The Christian mafia is advocating the death penalty for homosexuals in Uganda. The Family at C Street, aka the Christian mafia, is backing proposed anti-gay legislation in Uganda that will sentence homosexuals to death.

The Family at C Street is actively supporting the Ugandan leaders who are championing this draconian legislation, legislation that would institute the death penalty for homosexuality.
C Street has been a Christian fundamentalist frat house for US congressman and senators. The house, sometimes referred to as the “C Street Complex”, is home base for the Family.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and David Bahati, a key Ugandan lawmaker, are both active members of the Family, and the major force behind the legislation. Indeed, they represent the Family in Uganda. Bahati organizes the Family’s Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast and oversees an African student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which the Family has poured millions of dollars.

The Family is a secretive international Christian cult that preaches a doctrine known as the “Seven Mountains Mandate” in which believers seek to gain world control, by gaining influence over seven key sectors of society: religion, government, media, education, arts and entertainment, family, and business. The group is quite sexist, believing in a strong patriarchy, and obviously radical in their homophobia. Members take an oath and are sworn to secrecy.
The Family espouses strange and nefarious goals. Indeed, their mission is to create a universal Christian theocracy, a world where all governments are subordinate to this dangerous and secretive Christian sect.
Some of the U.S. politicians who belong to the Family include Congressmen Bart Stupak and Joe Pitts, (notorious for working together to strip reproductive rights out of U.S. health care reform); Nevada Senator John Ensign, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, and former Representative Chip Pickering of Mississippi, (all three guilty of adultery and hypocrisy – all three made their political careers by publicly professing their religious faith and their so-called “family values”); and, Senators Brownback and Inhofe.
The Family at C Street wants to see gay people dead in Uganda. They are advocating death for homosexuals. Where is the outrage? Where are the consequences for this most heinous, most evil policy stance? Who will speak out against this travesty? Who will stand up and say “No” to this abomination?
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The Original Underclass Poor White Americans



The Original Underclass

Poor white Americans’ current crisis shouldn’t have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has.

The Despair of Poor White Americans

Alec MacGillis and ProPublica

Sometime during the past few years, the country started talking differently about white Americans of modest means. Early in the Obama era, the ennobling language of campaign pundits prevailed. There was much discussion of “white working-class voters,” with whom the Democrats, and especially Barack Obama, were having such trouble connecting. Never mind that this overbroad category of Americans—the exit pollsters’ definition was anyone without a four-year college degree, or more than a third of the electorate—obliterated major differences in geography, ethnicity, and culture. The label served to conjure a vast swath of salt-of-the-earth citizens living and working in the wide-open spaces between the coasts—Sarah Palin’s “real America”—who were dubious of the effete, hifalutin types increasingly dominating the party that had once purported to represent the common man. The “white working class” connoted virtue and integrity. A party losing touch with it was a party unmoored.

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That flattering glow has faded away. Today, less privileged white Americans are considered to be in crisis, and the language of sociologists and pathologists predominates. Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 was published in 2012, and Robert D. Putnam’s Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis came out last year. From opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, they made the case that social breakdown among low-income whites was starting to mimic trends that had begun decades earlier among African Americans: Rates of out-of-wedlock births and male joblessness were rising sharply. Then came the stories about a surge in opiate addiction among white Americans, alongside shocking reports of rising mortality rates (including by suicide) among middle-aged whites. And then, of course, came the 2016 presidential campaign. The question was suddenly no longer why Democrats struggled to appeal to regular Americans. It was why so many regular Americans were drawn to a man like Donald Trump.

Equally jarring has been the shift in tone. A barely suppressed contempt has characterized much of the commentary about white woe, on both the left and the right. Writing for National Review in March, the conservative provocateur Kevin Williamson shoveled scorn on the low-income white Republican voters who, as he saw it, were most responsible for the rise of Trump:

Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence—and the incomprehensible malice—of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs … The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin.

Analysis on the left has been less gratuitously nasty but similarly harsh in its insinuation. Several prominent liberals have theorized that what’s driving rising mortality and drug and alcohol abuse among white Americans is, quite simply, despair over the loss of their perch in the country’s pecking order. “So what is happening?” asked Josh Marshall on his “Talking Points Memo” blog in December. “Let’s put this clearly,” he said in wrapping up his analysis of the dismal health data. “The stressor at work here is the perceived and real loss of the social and economic advantages of being white.”

The barely veiled implication, whichever version you consider, is that the people undergoing these travails deserve relatively little sympathy—that they maybe, kinda had this reckoning coming. Either they are layabouts drenched in self-pity or they are sad cases consumed with racial status anxiety and animus toward the nonwhites passing them on the ladder. Both interpretations are, in their own ways, strikingly ungenerous toward a huge number of fellow Americans.

They are also unsatisfying as explanations for what is happening out there. Williamson, for one, mischaracterizes the typical Trump voter. As exit polls show, the candidate’s base is not the truly bereft white underclass Williamson derides. Those Americans are, by and large, not voting at all, as I’m often reminded when reporting in places like Appalachia, where turnout rates are the lowest in the country. People voting for Trump are mostly a notch higher on the economic ladder—in a position to feel exactly the resentment that Williamson himself feels toward the shiftless needy. As for liberals’ diagnosis that a major public-health crisis is rooted in racial envy, it fails to square with, among other things, the fact that blacks and Hispanics have hardly been flourishing themselves. Yes, there’s an African American president, but by many metrics the Great Recession was even worse for minorities than for whites.

Two new books—one a provocative, deeply researched history and the other an affecting memoir—are well timed to help make better sense of the plight of struggling whites in the United States. Both accounts converge on an important insight: The gloomy state of affairs in the lower reaches of white America should not have caught the rest of the country as off guard as it has—and mobilizing solutions for the crisis will depend partly on closing the gaps that allowed for such obliviousness.

“Welcome to America as it was,” Nancy Isenberg, a historian at Louisiana State University, writes near the outset of White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. Her title might seem sensational were it not so well earned. As she makes plain, a white lower class not only figured more prominently in the development of the colonies and the young country than national lore suggests, but was spoken of from the start explicitly in terms of waste and refuse.


For England, the New World beckoned as more than a vast store of natural resources, Isenberg argues. It was also a place to dispose of the dregs of its own society. In the late 16th century, the geographer Richard Hakluyt argued that America could serve as a giant workhouse where the “fry [young children] of wandering beggars that grow up idly and hurtfully and burdenous to the Realm, might be unladen and better bred up.” The exportable poor, he wrote, were the “offals of our people.” In 1619, King James I was so fed up with vagrant boys milling around his Newmarket palace that he asked the Virginia Company to ship them overseas. Three years later, John Donne—yes, that John Donne—wrote about the colony of Virginia as if it were England’s spleen and liver, Isenberg writes, draining the “ill humours of the body … to breed good bloud.” Thus it was, she goes on, that the early settlers included so many “roguish highwaymen, mean vagrants, Irish rebels, known whores, and an assortment of convicts,” including one Elizabeth “Little Bess” Armstrong, sent to Virginia for stealing two spoons.

One of America’s founding myths, of course, is that the simple act of leaving England and boldly starting new lives in the colonies had an equalizing effect on the colonists, swiftly narrowing the distance between indentured servant and merchant, landowner and clerk—all except the African slave. Nonsense, Isenberg says: “Independence did not magically erase the British class system.” A “ruthless class order” was enforced at Jamestown, where one woman returned from 10 months of Indian captivity to be told that she owed 150 pounds of tobacco to her dead husband’s former master and would have to work off the debt. The Puritans were likewise “obsessed with class rank”—membership in the Church and its core elect were elite privileges—not least because the early Massachusetts settlers included far more nonreligious riffraff than is generally realized. A version of the North Carolina constitution probably co-authored by John Locke was designed to “avoid erecting a numerous democracy.” It envisioned a nobility of landgraves and caciques (German for “princes” and Spanish for “chieftains”), along with a “court of heraldry” to oversee marriages and make sure they preserved pedigree.

Class distinctions were maintained above all in the apportionment of land. In Virginia in 1700, indentured servants had virtually no chance to own any, and by 1770, less than 10 percent of white Virginians had claim to more than half the land. In 1729 in North Carolina, a colony with 36,000 people, there were only 3,281 listed grants, and 309 grantees owned nearly half the land. “Land was the principal source of wealth, and those without any had little chance to escape servitude,” Isenberg writes. “It was the stigma of landlessness that would leave its mark on white trash from this day forward.” This was not just a Southern dynamic. The American usage of squatter traces to New England, where many of the nonelect—later called “swamp Yankees”—carved out homes on others’ land only to be chased off and have their houses burned.

The Founding Fathers were, as Isenberg sees it, complicit in perpetuating these stark class divides. George Washington believed that only the “lower class of people” should serve as foot soldiers in the Continental Army. Thomas Jefferson envisioned his public schools educating talented students “raked from the rubbish” of the lower class, and argued that ranking humans like animal breeds was perfectly natural. “The circumstance of superior beauty is thought worthy of attention in the propagation of our horses, dogs and other domestic animals,” he wrote. “Why not that of man?” John Adams believed the “passion for distinction” was a powerful human force: “There must be one, indeed, who is the last and lowest of the human species.”

By the time the nation gained independence, the white underclass—its future dependents—was fully entrenched. This underclass could be found just about everywhere in the new country, but it was perhaps most conspicuous in North Carolina, where many whites who had been denied land in Virginia trickled into the area south of the Great Dismal Swamp, establishing what Isenberg calls “the first white trash colony.” William Byrd II, the Virginia planter, described these swamp denizens as suffering from “distempers of laziness” and “slothful in everything but getting children.” North Carolina’s governor described his people as “the meanest, most rustic and squalid part of the species.”

Accounts of this underclass as “an anomalous new breed of human,” as Isenberg puts it, proliferated as poor whites without property spread west and south across the country. These “crackers” and “squatters” were “no better than savages,” with “children brought up in the Woods like brutes,” wrote a Swiss-born colonel in the colonial army in 1759. In 1810, the ornithologist Alexander Wilson described the “grotesque log cabins” where the lowly patriarch typically stood wearing a shirt “defiled and torn,” his “face inlaid with dirt and soot.” Thomas Jefferson’s granddaughter came back from an 1817 excursion with her grandfather telling of that “half civiliz’d race who lived beyond the ridge.” In 1830, the country even got its first “Cracker Dictionary” to document the slang of poor whites.

At various junctures, politicians (think Davy Crockett and Andrew Jackson) turned humble roots into a mark of “backwoodsman” authenticity, but the pendulum always swung back. The term white trash made its first appearance in print as early as 1821. It gained currency three decades later, by which point observers were expressing horror over these people’s “tallow” skin and their habit of eating clay. As George Weston warned in his widely circulated 1856 pamphlet “The Poor Whites of the South,” they were “sinking deeper and more hopelessly into barbarism with every succeeding generation.” Speaking of this class as a separate breed—a species unto itself—was a way to skirt the challenge it presented to the nation’s vision of equality and inclusivity. Isenberg points up the tension: “If whiteness was not an automatic badge of superiority, a guarantee of the homogeneous population of independent, educable freemen … then the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were unobtainable.”

With so much talk of breeds, it is no surprise that, in the early 20th century, the U.S. was gripped by a eugenics craze, which Isenberg sees as motivated by revulsion over the supposed degeneracy of poor whites, especially those in the South. State fairs held “fitter family” contests, Teddy Roosevelt fretted about Americans’ “germ protoplasm,” and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. issued a ruling upholding the forced sterilization of a poor Virginian named Carrie Buck, deemed a “moron.”

Isenberg, for all her efforts to clarify the role of class in the national culture, succumbs to a different kind of distortion herself. She is frustratingly hazy about regional distinctions within the white lower class, a blurriness that also skews some of the contemporary liberal theorizing about white despondency. As her account progresses, she focuses increasingly on the South, without squarely addressing that choice and its implications. To zero in on the white underclass in or near slaveholding areas is, understandably, to dwell on the fraught dynamic between poor whites and enslaved African Americans and its role in the national debate leading up to the Civil War. On the one hand, opponents of slavery argued that the association of labor with servitude dulled the work ethic of poor whites. On the other, defenders of slavery claimed that being spared the lowliest toil kept poor Southern whites a step above their Northern counterparts.

But there were whole other swaths of the country where many poor whites lived without any blacks nearby to speak of—not least the broad expanse of Appalachia. Isenberg makes plain in a brief aside that she does not buy the idea, enshrined in so many books in recent years, of a separate cohort of “Scots-Irish”—hard-drinking, hard-scrapping brawlers from the “borderlands” of Scotland, northern Ireland, and northern England who, cherishing their freedom and wanting nothing to do with the coastal elites, settled up in the Appalachian hills in the mid-18th century. One such account, Grady McWhiney’s Cracker Culture (1988), earns Isenberg’s brisk dismissal as a “flawed historical study that turned poor whites into Celtic ethnics (Scots-Irish).”

Regardless of the merits in that dispute, Isenberg ought to have reckoned more fully with the distinctions between poor whites in the Deep South and those elsewhere. At points, she mentions “hillbilly” whites (a k a “mountaineers” and “briar hoppers”) as a subset of her white underclass. But at other points, she makes it sound as if all poor whites lived with blacks in their midst and, when the Civil War came, went off with varying degrees of enthusiasm to fight to maintain their superiority over those blacks. In reality, many poor whites in Appalachia avoided what they saw as the war of the slaveholding planters of the Deep South and the cavaliers of the Tidewater region of Virginia—and even created a new state, West Virginia, in their resistance. Whether or not one buys into the Scots-Irish version of events, the history of greater Appalachia is one of provincial upstarts asserting themselves against elites, not merely one of dispossessed victims.

The distinction’s relevance persists today. Large areas of “real America” are almost entirely white. In Appalachia, that homogeneity, along with the region’s populist tradition, helps explain why white voters there took so much longer to flip from Democrat to Republican than in the Deep South. This does not mean that racism is absent in these areas—far from it. But it suggests that the racism is fueled as much by suspicion of the “other” as it is by firsthand experience of blacks and competition with them—and that political sentiment on issues such as welfare and crime isn’t as racially motivated as many liberal analysts assume. A focus on the South also eclipses places where low-income whites consist mainly of descendants of later European immigrants. (Think of the South Boston Irish, or Baltimore’s Polish American dockworkers depicted in the second season of The Wire.)

As Isenberg’s chronicle moves into the middle of the 20th century, she offers a fascinating account of how the trailer parks built to provide housing for war-industry workers gave rise to a whole new demeaning stereotype: trailer trash. She captures the reflexively pejorative depictions of poor southern whites during the civil-rights years. And she shows how, starting in the 1970s, the new preoccupation with ethnic heritage instilled a semi-ironic pride in “redneck” identity. The upgraded self-image prefigured the elevation of the “white working class” in the years to follow.

By the time her account reaches the late 20th century, though, the social and economic texture thins. Instead, Isenberg resorts to cataloguing representations of poor whites in pop culture (Deliverance, Hee Haw, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo) and celebrity politics (Tammy Faye Bakker, Bill Clinton, Sarah Palin), and offers some fairly trite commentary on the current political scene. Isenberg’s history is a bracing reminder of the persistent contempt for the white underclass, but you will have to look elsewhere for insights into why the condition of this class has taken a turn for the worse—and what its members think of themselves, and of the elites who have trashed them for so long.

To have become a memoirist when he’s barely cracked 30, J. D. Vance suggests at the outset of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, is “somewhat absurd”—except that the result couldn’t be better-timed. Vance’s story amounts to a one-family composite of nearly all the worrisome trends affecting poor white Americans. The cover image of a mountain cabin is slightly misleading. Vance’s family straddles “hillbillies” who have remained in Appalachia and those whose ancestors left for work in the Midwest and are now struggling across the postindustrial flatlands. He still has relatives in Breathitt County, Kentucky, and feels a strong bond with that place. But most of the book is set where his grandparents moved decades ago and he grew up, the small manufacturing city of Middletown, in distinctly un-hilly southwestern Ohio.


Unlike Isenberg, Vance subscribes fully to the notion of the Appalachian Scots-Irish as a distinct breed of low-income Americans who have brought their pugilistic ways with them wherever they have gone. His family fits the bill to the point of straining credulity. His beloved maternal grandmother, Mamaw, once nearly killed a man who stole the family’s cow. His great-uncle forced a man who made a leering comment about the young Mamaw to eat her panties at knifepoint. Later, when Mamaw got angry that her husband, Papaw, had come home drunk again, she set him on fire. (One of their daughters put out the flames.) Papaw was no slouch himself, having once apparently killed a neighbor’s dog by feeding it steak marinated in antifreeze after it nearly bit Vance’s mom.

But Vance, a self-described conservative who has contributed to National Review, is not offering another lurid saga of hillbilly exploits. He is trying to figure out how things went wrong for his people. “I am a hill person. So is much of America’s white working class,” he writes. “And we hill people aren’t doing very well.”

In Vance’s story, the troubles are embodied above all in one person: his mother. After graduating high school as the salutatorian, Bev became a teenage mother, as Mamaw had also been, and embarked on a string of marriages—five, at last count. She was bright—“the smartest person I knew”—and drilled the importance of reading and education into her son. She checked out library books on football strategy to get him to think more deeply about the game he loved, and revamped his third-grade science project the night before it was due, just like any suburban helicopter mom.

But her marriages were riven by fighting. She drank heavily, and became addicted to the painkillers she could pilfer in her job as a nurse, and later to heroin. Vance and his older sister were raised amid an extreme form of the instability and dysfunction that Charles Murray and Robert Putnam lament: He grew up with three stepfathers, and during one two-year stretch he lived in four houses. At one low point, when he was 12, his mother was taken away in handcuffs after he fled to a stranger’s house to escape a beating from her. At another point, she asked him to pee into a cup so she could use his urine to pass a drug test. “Chaos begets chaos,” he writes. “Welcome to family life for the American hillbilly.”

Vance survives this endless turbulence, thanks in large part to the tough love he receives from Mamaw, living nearby, who sees in him a chance to redeem her parenting failures with Bev. His grades are good enough to get him into the best state colleges in Ohio. But fearing that he isn’t ready for unstructured campus life, he enlists in the Marine Corps, and gets a stint in Iraq and a large helping of maturity and perspective. After finishing his tour, he excels at Ohio State and, to his joyful amazement, is admitted to Yale Law School.

With the same appealing guilelessness that he brings to the story of his youthful ordeals, Vance describes the culture shock he experiences in New Haven. He doesn’t know what to make of the endless “cocktail receptions and banquets” that combine networking and matchmaking. At the fancy restaurant where he’s attending a law firm’s recruitment dinner, he spits out sparkling water, having never drunk such a thing. He calls his girlfriend from the restroom to ask her, ‘What do I do with all these damned forks?’ ”

His estrangement often reflects poorly on the echelon he’s joined, whose members, he says with understatement, could do a better job of “opening their hearts and minds to” newcomers. He is taken aback when law-school friends leave a mess at a chicken joint, and stays behind with another student from a low-income background, Jamil, to clean it up. “People,” he writes, “would say with a straight face that a surgeon mother and engineer father were middle-class.” To his astonishment, he is regarded as an exotic figure by his professors and classmates, simply by virtue of having come from a small town in the middle of the country, gone to a mediocre public high school, and been born to parents who didn’t attend college.

He adapts to his new world well enough to land at a Washington, D.C., law firm and later in a court clerkship, and is today prospering as a principal at an investment firm in San Francisco. But the outsider feeling lingers—hearing someone use a big word like confabulate in conversation makes his blood rise. “Sometimes I view members of the elite with an almost primal scorn,” he admits. And questions nag at him: “Why has no else from my high school made it to the Ivy League? Why are people like me so poorly represented in America’s elite institutions?” He is acutely aware of how easily he could have been trapped, had it not been for the caring intervention he received at key moments from people like Mamaw and his sister. “Thinking about … how close I was to the abyss, gives me chills. I am one lucky son of a bitch.” He asks:

How much of our lives, good and bad, should we credit to our personal decisions, and how much is just the inheritance of our culture, our families, and our parents who have failed their children? How much is Mom’s life her own fault? Where does blame stop and sympathy begin?

Vance’s answers read like works in progress: His passages of general social commentary could have benefited from longer gestation, and are strongest when grounded in his biography. He is well aware of the larger forces driving the cultural decline he deplores. He knows how much of the deterioration in Middletown can be traced to the shrinkage of the big Armco steel-rolling mill that, during World War II, drew so many Appalachians—including Papaw—to the town. His tales of the increasingly rarefied world of elite education offer good evidence for why “many people in my community began to believe that the modern American meritocracy was not built for them.”

But he also sees the social decline in personal terms, as a weakening of moral fiber and work ethic. He describes, for instance, working at a local grocery store, where he “learned how people gamed the welfare system”:

They’d buy two dozen-packs of soda with food stamps and then sell them at a discount for cash. They’d ring up their orders separately, buying food with food stamps, and beer, wine, and cigarettes with cash … Most of us were struggling to get by, but we made do, worked hard, and hoped for a better life. But a large minority was content to live off the dole. Every two weeks, I’d get a small paycheck and notice the line where federal and state income taxes were deducted from my wages. At least as often, our drug-addict neighbor would buy T-bone steaks, which I was too poor to buy for myself but was forced by Uncle Sam to buy for someone else.

As Vance notes, resentment of this sort—which surfaces again and again in his book—helps explain why voters in the world he came from have largely abandoned the Democrats, the party of the social safety net.

Nor is the animus new: Isenberg traces it back to the days when poor Southerners were scorned for availing themselves of the aid extended to freed slaves—and joined in the scorn as soon as they escaped the dole. “The same self-made man who looked down on white trash others had conveniently chosen to forget that his own parents escaped the tar-paper shack only with the help of the federal government,” she writes. “ ‘Upscale rednecks’ had no trouble spotting those below them in their rearview mirrors.” In Vance’s book, those “below” are mostly fellow whites and the resentment is not primarily racially motivated, as many liberals would have one believe of all anti-welfare sentiment.

Vance does not pivot from such observations to a full-blown indictment of social-welfare programs. He isn’t ready to join the Republican chorus that blames the government (and specifically the black president who now heads it) for all ills. But he zealously subscribes to its corollary: The government, in his view, can’t possibly cure those ills. In a summary that borders on the polemical, he exhorts the “broad community of hillbillies” to “wake the hell up” and seize control of its fate.

Public policy can help, but there is no government that can fix these problems for us … Mamaw refused to purchase bicycles for her grandchildren because they kept disappearing—even when locked up—from her front porch. She feared answering her door toward the end of her life because an able-bodied woman who lived next door would not stop bothering her for cash—money, we later learned, for drugs. These problems were not created by governments or corporations or anyone else. We created them, and only we can fix them.

Vance’s intentions here are sincere and understandable. He’s tired of folks back home talking big about hard work when they are collecting checks just like the people they denigrate—tired of “the lies we tell ourselves.” He’s fed up with the quick resort to political blame, like the acquaintance in Middletown who told him that he had quit work because he was sick of waking up early but then declared on Facebook that it was the “Obama economy” that had set him back. “Whenever people ask me what I’d most like to change about the white working class,” writes Vance, “I say, ‘The feeling that our choices don’t matter.’ ”

He is wrong, though, that the burden of fixing things falls entirely on his people. The problems he describes—the reasons life in Middletown got tougher for his mom’s generation than it was for Mamaw and Papaw when they came north for work—have plenty to do with decisions by “governments or corporations.” The government and corporations have presided over the rise of new monopolies, the effect of which has been to concentrate wealth in a handful of companies and regions. The government and corporations welcomed China into the World Trade Organization; more and more economists now believe that move hastened the erosion of American manufacturing, by encouraging U.S. companies to shift operations offshore. The government and corporations each did their part to weaken organized labor, which once boosted wages and strengthened the social fabric in places like Middletown. More recently, the government has accelerated the decline of the coal industry, on environmentally defensible grounds but with awfully little in the way of remedies for those affected.

A family moves belongings into a trailer in Chauncey, Ohio. (Matt Eich)
Even at the edges, solutions lie within the purview of the powers that be—such as allowing Medicaid expansion to proceed in the South and expanding access to medication-assisted treatment to help people like Vance’s mother get off heroin. Yes, aid should be tailored to avoid the sort of resentment that Vance felt at the grocery store. At moments, he seems to acknowledge a role for taxpayer-funded compassion. “The best way to look at this might be to recognize that you probably can’t fix these things,” a friend who worked at the White House once told him. “They’ll always be around. But maybe you can put your thumb on the scale a little for the people at the margins.”

Perhaps you can even put your whole hand on the scale. One of the most compelling parts of Isenberg’s history is her account of the help delivered to struggling rural whites as part of the New Deal. Projects like the Resettlement Administration, led by Rexford Tugwell, which moved tenants to better land and provided loans for farm improvements, brought real progress. So did the Tennessee Valley Authority, which not only spurred development of much of the South but created training centers and entire planned towns—towns where hill children went to school with engineers’ kids. The New Deal had its flops. But men like Tugwell recognized that citizens in some places were slipping badly behind, and that their plight represented a powerful threat to the country’s founding ideals of individual self-determination and advancement.

A case can be made that the time has arrived for a major undertaking in, say, the devastated coal country of central Appalachia. How much to invest in struggling regions themselves, as opposed to making it easier for those who live in them to seek a livelihood elsewhere, is a debate that needs to happen. But the obligation is there, as it was 80 years ago. “We think of the left-behind groups as extinct,” Isenberg writes, “and the present as a time of advanced thought and sensibility. But today’s trailer trash are merely yesterday’s vagrants on wheels, an updated version of Okies in jalopies and Florida crackers in their carts. They are renamed often, but they do not disappear.”

Except they are now further out of sight than ever. As Isenberg documents, the lower classes have been disregarded and shunted off for as long as the United States has existed. But the separation has grown considerably in recent years. The elite economy is more concentrated than ever in a handful of winner-take-all cities—as Phillip Longman recently noted in the Washington Monthly, the per capita income of Washington, D.C., in 1980 was 29 percent above the average for Americans as a whole; in 2013, that figure was 68 percent. In the Bay Area, per capita income jumped from 50 percent to 88 percent above average over that period; in New York, from 80 percent to 172 percent. As these gaps have grown, the highly educated have become far more likely than those lower down the ladder to move in search of better-paying jobs.

The clustering is intensifying within regions, too. Since 1980, the share of upper-income households living in census tracts that are majority upper-income, rather than scattered throughout more mixed-income neighborhoods, has doubled. The upper echelon has increasingly sought comfort in prosperous insularity, withdrawing its abundant social capital from communities that relied on that capital’s overflow, and consolidating it in oversaturated enclaves.

So why are white Americans in downwardly mobile areas feeling a despair that appears to be driving stark increases in substance abuse and suicide? In my own reporting in Vance’s home ground of southwestern Ohio and ancestral territory of eastern Kentucky, I have encountered racial anxiety and antagonism, for sure. But far more striking is the general aura of decline that hangs over towns in which medical-supply stores and pawn shops dominate decrepit main streets, and Victorians stand crumbling, unoccupied. Talk with those still sticking it out, the body-shop worker and the dollar-store clerk and the unemployed miner, and the fatalism is clear: Things were much better in an earlier time, and no future awaits in places that have been left behind by polished people in gleaming cities. The most painful comparison is not with supposedly ascendant minorities—it’s with the fortunes of one’s own parents or, by now, grandparents. The demoralizing effect of decay enveloping the place you live cannot be underestimated. And the bitterness—the “primal scorn”—that Donald Trump has tapped into among white Americans in struggling areas is aimed not just at those of foreign extraction. It is directed toward fellow countrymen who have become foreigners of a different sort, looking down on the natives, if they bother to look at all.

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White Trash A new window into the time-honored tradition of American politicians

White Trash

A new window into the time-honored tradition of American politicians stoking racial and class tensions for personal gain.

Hazel Bryan and Elizabeth Eckford, Little Rock, Ark., September 1957.
Hazel Bryan and Elizabeth Eckford in Little Rock, Arkansas, September 1957.

Will Counts/Indiana University Archives

In one of the iconic images of the Civil Rights movement, Elizabeth Eckford, a 15-year-old black student, was photographed trying to enter Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of the 1957 court-ordered desegregation of the school. Eckford looks dignified and serious. Behind her stands a snarling white girl, described by Nancy Isenberg in her new book, White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, as “the face of white trash. Ignorant. Unrepentant. Congenitally cruel. Only capable of replicating the life into which she was born.” The girl, whose name was Hazel Bryan, had a history to back up that stereotype. She grew up in a house without indoor plumbing, with parents who had never graduated from high school themselves and a father who beat her. Later on, she would drop out of school, marry, and move into the quintessential domicile of the American white underclass in the 20th century: a trailer.

 Laura MLaura Milleriller

Laura Miller is a books and cunt columnist for Slate


A less familiar element of this story is R.C. Hall High, built on the west side of Little Rock for the city’s affluent white families—and nicknamed “Cadillac High.” Unlike Central, whose students were working class, Cadillac High was not selected for desegregation in 1957. An opponent of the action complained that the “only race-mixing that is going to be done is in the districts where the so-called rednecks live.” The man was a racist, but he wasn’t wrong on that point. What happened in Little Rock is typically portrayed as a binary opposition—black vs. white—but the truth was a three-party affair: blacks vs. rednecks vs. white elites. Call it a hate triangle.


White Trash offers a deep-diving history of people like Bryan going all the way back to the first European incursions into the Americas. From the founding of the Jamestown settlement to the present day, Isenberg insists, America has always had a class hierarchy and has never offered equal opportunity to all (white) comers. A history professor at Louisiana State University, she writes, “Most colonizing schemes that took root in 17th– and 18th-century British America were built on privilege and subordination, not any kind of proto-democracy.” The rich, powerful and well-connected men behind those schemes stocked their ships and settlements with “expendable people—waste people,” typically indentured servants bound to work off the price of their passage, workers who could be used up in taming the wilderness. The authorities back in England welcomed such plans as a way to drain Britain of its human dregs: convicts, vagrants, the orphaned children of paupers. If the hard work didn’t redeem them, the hard conditions would eliminate them.


Tapping into scores of sources, Isenberg traces the emergence of the white-trash stereotype from its roots in British beliefs that the working class was truly a separate race from the middle and upper classes: congenitally stupid, lazy and shiftless—when they weren’t sly and conniving. Poverty, in the form of miserable living conditions, dirtiness, ignorance, illness, violence, and despair, was viewed as the inherited misfortune of blighted bloodlines. Isenberg shows how consistent this prejudice has been over the centuries, carrying on with only a few alterations right down to the present.

The first few chapters of White Trash can be heavy sledding due to the density of information and occasional clumsiness of Isenberg’s prose. (“If Laura Miller was educated beyond reading Vanity Fair and Cracker-Jacks Labels .) She organizes the material around significant figures, founders like Franklin and President Thomas Jefferson, as well as theorists, scientists, landowners, politicians, administrators, and artists.


It’s when she gets around to President Andrew Jackson that things pick up.(really? Laura Miller is a Thrill Seeker? You are a Foolish old Woman.)

Jackson, aka “Old Hickory,” campaigned as the embodiment of the backwoodsman “cracker” spirit, as his critics put it, even though by the time he was elected he’d become a slave-owning planter just like the wealthy elites who had bamboozled or bullied so many freeholders out of their small plots. He lacked “statesmanlike qualities” and he failed even to defend his lower-class constituency from the depredations of the upper crust.


But the fact that “Jackson did not look or act like a conventional politician,” Isenberg writes, “was a fundamental part of his appeal.” He was boastful and overbearing, not “a government minion or a pampered courtier,” an outsider who promised to clean up Washington corruption by the bluntest methods available.


As one of his fellow politicians  wrote, “boisterous in ordinary conversation, he makes up in oaths what he lacks in arguments.” A ruthless and successful general, Jackson was “quick to resent any who disagreed with him,” and eschewed reasoned debate in favor of challenging his opponents to duels.


This, of course, sounds awfully familiar. If White Trash is rather weak at weaving its assorted elements into a coherent narrative, it sheds bright light on a long history of demagogic national politicking, beginning with Jackson. It makes Donald Trump seem far less unprecedented than today’s pundits proclaim.


When it came to reining in the big landowners, Jackson betrayed the economic interests of working-class whites but won their favor all the same by prosecuting a brutal Native American removal policy, targeting unpopular, powerless “barbarians.” His rough ways endeared him to the humble folk whose interests he couldn’t be bothered to defend. When opponents ridiculed his partisans for their lack of “taste and breeding,” it only sweetened his victories in that constituency’s eyes.


Jackson employed what Isenberg dubs the “Arkansas Traveller” strategy for winning over the white rural poor. The name comes from a mid-19th-century folktale about a city slicker journeying through the backcountry who comes upon a squatter sitting in front of his hovel. The slicker repeatedly asks the squatter for information, help and/or refreshment—and gets nothing but evasive answers. It’s only after the slicker proves his down-home cred by picking up a fiddle and sawing out a hillbilly tune that the squatter welcomes him and provides what he needs.

Sorry, you foolish elitist bitch: Laura Miller, fool! The story is a true story, but a low information ignorant non educated dope like you would never know: you are woefully undereducated and willfully stupid!

The author of this piece is describing one form of what James Madison used to call “the politics of envy.” Quite true. But by a judicious selection of examples she makes it seem that this form of demagoguery is the exclusive property of the Right and so manages to make it the springboard for another drearily predictable Slate anti-Trump harangue. Truth to tell, the Left has its demagogues who do precisely the same thing, manipulate class divisions for their personal gain. Bernie Sanders is a prize example. Both he and Trump are rabble-rousers, and in both cases a certain number of their followers can accurately be described as rabble. Rabble can be found in college dorms just as much as in trailer parks.

Generations of politicians would follow this formula by posing for photos with hogs, or mules, or crooning hill-country ballads to win votes. An Australian visitor Isenberg quotes dubbed America, “ ‘a democracy of manners,’ which was not the same as real democracy.”


If Andrew Jackson was the first “white trash” presidential candidate, Trump is surely the most recent despite the paradox presented by his wealthy urban upbringing. He has followed Jackson’s playbook where he can, updating other chapters for the post-industrial 21st century. In place of a martial career spent whuppin’ redcoats, Trump crows about his prowess in the battlefield of business.


He manfully rejects the lily-livered politesse of the snooty, educated classes who look down on him and his followers. His policies matter less than his personal style, because his selling point is not what he will accomplish but who he will gleefully offend and bulldoze. Instead of dutifully adopting upper-class tastes and decorum, he is, like Elvis, empowered by his wealth to flaunt his vulgarity. Even the springboard of his fame among the white working-class—reality television—is one of the few mass-culture arenas where rednecks can win renown just for being their unapologetically trashy selves.


And, like Jackson and his successors, Trump has singled out dark-skinned others as a threat to the American way of life. White Trash is weakest in its handling of race, a theme intimately entangled with the notion of a white-trash identity, but a subject Isenberg avoids when at all possible. Slavery was an institution that benefited rich plantation owners to the catastrophic disadvantage of small farmers and free laborers; it made the rich richer and the poor poorer. The Confederate Army, which granted service exemptions to slaveholders and other elite Southern whites, consisted largely of subsistence farmers and other workers expected to fight to preserve the very economic system that had kept them down. Many deserted. One Alabama recruit said, “They think all you are fit for is to stop bullets for them, your betters, who call you poor white trash.” Many of those so-called betters ranked poor white trash as equivalent to, if not lower than, slaves. After the war, two-thirds of the farmers who worked the South’s land under the bone-breaking, dead-end system of sharecropping were poor whites.


Yet, for all that the South’s white underclass resented the elites, they nevertheless allowed themselves, in great numbers, to be manipulated into believing that blacks and other people of color were their real enemies. Even politicians who identified and sympathized with poor whites found this exasperating. President Lyndon B. Johnson, whose Great Society program focused on helping not only urban blacks but also the crushingly impoverished whites of Appalachia, told a reporter, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”


Isenberg clearly means White Trash to be a rebuke for generations of middle- and upper-class Americans who write off poor rural whites as worthless and blame their miserable, marginalized existence not on poverty and civic neglect but on bad genes and weak character. As Toni Morrison observed during the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998 when she called Bill Clinton “our first black president,” the attributes Clinton’s haters found so revoltingly white-trash about him—“single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas”—replicate the “tropes of blackness.” In addition to being slapped with virtually the same stereotypes, poor blacks and poor whites have, as Isenberg observes, “similar economic interests.” But the one trait now most commonly associated with white trash—overt, vicious racism—keeps them at odds.


Writing for the New Republic after the June 2015 mass shooting that killed nine black worshippers from a Charleston, South Carolina, church, Frank Guan complained that the murderer would most likely be called “white trash.”* This, he argued, allows higher-status whites to ignore the structural nature of white supremacy and to pretend that “anti-black racism is purely the province of accented simpletons in greasy overalls.” While this argument is true, it misses how easily the formula reverses itself, how the overt racism expressed by underclass whites gives educated, middle-class Americans permission to disregard the entrenched deprivation, fear, and hopelessness that foments it. It’s a mistake to think class prejudice, whatever form it takes, can’t be as visceral as racism. If you are a disgusting, contemptible racist and display it shamelessly, it’s easy to view you and everyone like you as beyond the pale of humanity. Even if a lot of the repulsion you inspire has to do with how you look or talk or dress or manage your sex life and front lawn, your racism provides others with moral cover for all those petty loathings. You are, as the internet puts it, a garbage person, so you and your degenerate kind can be left to rot in the hinterlands without a second thought.


Which is more or less how the wealthy British officials and corporations viewed the poor white riffraff sent to hack colonies out of this continent all the way back in the 17th century. “They are who we are,” Isenberg writes in the final sentence of White Trash, “and have been a fundamental part of our history, whether we like it or not.”



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The White Trash Theory of Donald Trump

The White Trash Theory of Donald Trump

By Sarah Marshall

The book’s first section is in many ways its most compelling. In it, Isenberg demonstrates that colonial America could never have existed without a large and forgotten class of “waste people”: the convicts and orphans and indentured servants who made America habitable for religious extremists and political idealists.

Isenberg’s argument is based on painstakingly supported factual analysis, and studded with narratives as horrific—and as disturbingly familiar—as that of Jamestown’s Jane Dickenson, the wife of an indentured servant. Captured by Native Americans in 1622, she was freed nearly a year later only to find that she owed an exorbitant sum to her dead husband’s master. Jane’s husband had not lived long enough to complete his period of indenture, so it was Jane’s job to work it off for him. The specter of indentured servitude itself—in which servants worked off the cost of their passage to the colonies on arrival—is chillingly familiar in an America where debt can follow us across national borders, through the decades, and even beyond the grave.

Yet perhaps even more illuminating is Isenberg’s conception of the role America played in the British imagination. From the beginning, Isenberg shows us, America was, to many Britons, not a “Citty upon a Hill” or a “Holy Experiment,” but a cesspool. “During the 1600s,” Isenberg writes, “Far from being ranked as valued British subjects, the great majority of early colonists were classified as surplus population and expendable ‘rubbish.’” When it came to disposing of the “rubbish” class, the theory went that:

Either nature would reduce the burden of the poor through food shortages, starvation, and disease, or, drawn into crime, they might end up on the gallows. Finally, some would be impressed by force or lured by bounties to fight and die in foreign wars, or else be shipped off to the colonies… Once there, it was hoped, the drones would be energized as worker bees.

Before we had a government or even a national identity, we had a foundation of disposable Americans who could best play their mandated role in society by either working or dying. But what do we do with those perverse individuals who refuse to do either? What do we do with those Americans who can neither be “energized as worker bees,” nor relied upon to relieve their country of the burden of providing for them?

“Those who fail to rise in America are a crucial part of who we are as a civilization,” Isenberg writes. Perhaps most meaningfully, they demonstrate that America is and always has been a country where one can fail to rise: A country where debt begets debt and money dries to nothing, where poverty is inescapable, and where there is and always has been liberty and justice for some.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Donald Trump’s campaign has been his ability to turn disenfranchised citizens into “worker bees” by alchemizing their alienation into votes. Such a class of Americans has always existed, and so has their often all too justified belief that their government is unable or unwilling to provide for their needs. Whether Trump’s success suggests an increase in this demographic’s size is ultimately less relevant than the question of why, as Americans, we remain so compelled to perpetuate a mythology that ignores our country’s very foundation—and what might happen, quite simply, if we accepted our heritage as a trash nation. Would doing so allow us to better care for the Americans we have done our best to forget?       

White Trash loses some of its vitality as Nancy Isenberg leaves behind the wreckage she has handily made of early American rhetoric, and draws toward the present day. Despite her nuanced examination of such white trash icons and chroniclers as James Agee, James Dickey, Jimmy Carter, and Elvis Presley, these chapters pale in comparison to the finely-wrought destruction Isenberg wreaks on America’s founding narratives. Of all the contemporary figures Isenberg explores, however, perhaps the most revealing are those who have been able to simultaneously embody America’s white trash dreams and nightmares. Nowhere is this quality more compellingly on display than in The Andy Griffith Show, and in the show’s bitter, forgotten cousin, Elia Kazan’s 1957 film A Face in the Crowd, which Isenberg also examines.

A Face in the Crowd stars Griffith as Lonesome Rhodes, a redneck drifter who becomes first a pop culture sensation and then a down-home kingmaker, all while remaining, Isenberg writes, “a volatile mix of anger, cunning, and megalomania.” For Lonesome Rhodes, the ride ends when a hot mic reveals him to his adoring public as a crude and hateful tyrant in the making. Today, it seems that no such accident could harm Donald Trump’s, whose speeches are based less on any rhetorical tradition than on the primal scream. As long as voters believe Trump is screaming for them, and not at them, they have no reason to leave his side.

Perhaps the only accident that could hurt Trump’s numbers would be a hot mic that revealed him as thoughtful, empathetic, or even kind. So far, the closest thing we have to a moment like this might be a scene from a 2007 episode of The Apprentice, in which Trump took sudden and surprising umbrage at a contestant describing himself as “white trash.”

“You shouldn’t use that expression anymore,” Trump said, after firing the contestant. “It’s a terrible expression. It’s not a nice expression.”

If Donald Trump sees white trash as his core demographic, he isn’t telling. Doing so, after all, might mean facing the fact that his constituents are drawn to him not because they are impassioned by his message, but because they have been rendered voiceless for so long that they are happy to have anyone speak on their behalf. It might mean facing the fact that his own rise, in business and in politics, is based on exploiting others’ weakness. It might mean realizing that such a vast class of desperate, marginalized people has always existed but does not need to exist, and that, if America was “great,” there would simply be no one left to vote for him.

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The deep roots of “white trash” in America:


The deep roots of “white trash” in America: “Not only are we not a post-racial society, we are certainly not a post-class society”

Kate Tuttle

Nancy Isenberg’s book “White Trash” begins by looking at the characters in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Both the book and the movie play with the divide between Atticus Finch, who is saintly and proper, and the poor white family, the Ewells, whose daughter’s false rape accusation is at the story’s center, as an example that there are two kinds of white people in the South. The book has been on Isenberg’s curriculum for 15 years, as part of a history class called “Crime, Conspiracy, and Courtroom Dramas,” which she teaches at Louisiana State University.

From “Mockingbird,” Isenberg’s book travels back to the first English arrivals on the American shore, tracing four centuries of how we talk and think about class (and race) in our most unequal union. It’s a bracing, sometimes upsetting read, beginning with its name, a term which still causes deep offense in some quarters.

When did you first start working on the idea of the “poor white” or “poor white trash?”

When you’re a historian, you gravitate toward certain issues. Part of it has to do with my graduate training; my first book dealt with race, class and gender. But it also had to do with when I was working on “Madison and Jefferson,” which I coauthored with Andrew Burstein. I became very aware of the importance of how Jefferson talked about the poor. He has this amazing line where, at the same moment that he’s calling for the education of the poor, something the Virginia legislature would reject, he refers to the poor as “rubbish.”

I became interested in figuring out the language: how do Americans talk about the poor? And then I realized that this is connected to the larger problem Americans have about class, that they believe a myth. We are told over and over again by writers, sometimes journalists, but mainly politicians, that we are an exceptional country, that we embrace the American dream. And that’s rooted to this idea that we believe in social mobility. And we think that that idea, that promise, goes all the way back to the American revolution, that at that moment we broke free from the British system and that somehow we unburdened ourselves from the English class system. Now this is a problem that Americans have – they often prefer the myth over reality.

I began to look more closely at how Americans talk about class. There are a long list of slurs and of terms such as waste people, vagrants, rascals, rubbish, lubbers, squatters, crackers, clay-eaters, degenerates, rednecks, and of course, trailer trash. And you’ll see that just by paying attention to the words people use … what comes up over and over again, is the way the discussion of class throughout our history has forced on the centrality of land and land ownership, as well as what I call breeds, or breeding. And both of these big concepts come from the British. For example, the early indentured servants, the poor who the British wanted to dump into British colonial America, they were called waste people. And where does that term come from? It comes from the idea of waste land.

If a rich field, a productive field, is the sign of success, then fallow and untilled soil, soul that is ignored, the scrubby, swampy, completely worthless tract of land, is what waste land was. We forget – through most of our history we were an agrarian nation. That means that land ownership was the most important marker for designating an individual – and course we’re talking about, primarily, men – it was the most important signifier of civic identity, it was the first way to measure who had the right to vote, it also was a measure of independence. Americans didn’t believe everybody was free, you were only free if you had the economic wherewithal to control your destiny and where did that come from? It came from owning land.

It’s interesting, because you talk about the fact of owning land versus not, but you also talk about the very type of land: the idea that if you come from poor soil, weak soil, soil without nutrients, it also by osmosis makes you weak, less than vigorous, with these markers of poverty on your body. And this sort of leads to the eugenics idea of breeding, and good blood and bad blood.

The idea that the quality of the soil determines the quality of the people is an old English idea. And it also ties into ideas of demography. Another English idea is that the wealth and the strength of the nation are based on the size of its population. And how do you get a large population? By healthy land, healthy soil. So, those ideas are really important. And it becomes a common way to dismiss the poor. Part of it is that they are denied opportunities to buy the land, they’re always on the worst land, the marginalized land. But it’s also this idea that you do receive an inheritance. And this is another English idea I focus on – not only bloodlines, and lineage, and pedigree, but inheritance – this is what lays the foundation for the eugenics movement. Another theme the English were obsessed with was pedigree, and so these ideas become really central in the 19th century, to talk about race and to talk about poor whites, because they begin to be seen in the early 19th century as clinical specimens.

Particularly when they talk about the clay eaters and the sand hillers, they are identified by their yellow skin, which is equated to tallow or parchment – this is a theme that picks up later, that poor whites are not quite white. And their children are seen as taking on the qualities of the poor soil they live on. Their hair is compared to crops, because it’s bright white. They’re seen as a strange breed apart. And that’s also really important for class, because what it means is that there’s no point in giving the poor charity, because they’re trapped, their fate is set, their destiny is set, because they pass on these qualities, these traits, form one generation to the next.

One of the other really strange things that I think we’ve forgotten about the way in which race and class get intertwined. If you look at the embrace of social Darwininsm and evolutionary theory, and again this is building on the old ideas of animal husbandry, that you can breed people the way you breed dogs, there is the idea that poor whites are evolutionarily backward, they are unevolved people. And this particularly gets attached to those who live in Appalachia, the hillbilly. At the end of the 19th century there’s an attempt to recover these people as a kind of purer Anglo Saxon, that they have been protected from being corrupted. But the dominant theme is that they have not evolved at all. 

There’s this idea that the poor white is marked by the connection to this terrible land and this bad inheritance, but at the same time there’s this anxiety that some of them could pass into respectable society, and then bear children that would take you back, and that’s what leads to the sterilization movement.

Yes, this is a really disturbing thing, and it also similar to race. The idea of passing goes back to the English idea of class passing – the servant who marries the lord – that same fear becomes really important, particularly at the beginning of the 20th century, and it overlaps with the eugenics movement. One of the things I focus on is the racial integrity act of 1924, which is passed in Virginia, and it’s a perfect example. Because what is acknowledged by elites and the middle class is that if you look at where poor whites live and socialize, they’re more likely to interact with free blacks, so their fear is that somehow that if we don’t clearly distinguish who can marry who, which is what the racial integrity act does, and we make sure that we designate all people who supposedly have black blood, and red blood, because they became equally concerned about Native Americans, there’s also this equally important fear that blacks and Native Americans are more easily going to have sex with poor whites, and then the poor white will rise up and contaminate the middle class and the upper class. What we’ve forgotten about is that this obsession with pedigree, this obsession with controlling the boundaries between not only races but classes, is a really central part of our past and our history. 

This goes hand in hand with this myth that we’re a socially mobile country. So, we say that social mobility is a good thing, but if people were truly socially mobile, it terrifies people who are at the top of the heap.

Right. There’s this strange idea – I talk about this particularly in the 1960s and early 70s – suddenly the middle class has become boring. And if you think about the language of assimilation, what that means is that you erase all the traces, anything that would be seen as contributing in a negative way to society. You have to fit in, so that means you have to adopt the dominant language, you have to dress a certain way. And this is across the board of how we measure assimilation.

But in the ’60s and ’70s, suddenly the middle class is being associated with TV dinners, and all Americans somehow want to rediscover their roots. And this is linked to Alex Haley discovering his African roots, and Jewish writers who looked at the New York Jewish ghetto praised the idea of [as one wrote] of having “a ghetto to look back to.” “But while it’s nice when the ghetto is in the past, or the people coming over on Ellis Island are at a distance, people are still very fearful about living next to someone who isn’t of the same class or the same background.

So, the other thing I talk about is that class has a geography. Not only has our country particularly since the World War II period, where you have the rise of suburbia and the middle class, reinforced racial segregation, we’ve also imposed class zoned neighborhoods. And what could be a better way of ensuring that people are divided, that people measure each other by the value of the land that they own – owning a home is still considered the most important measure of being in the middle class.

The pedigree issue, not only does it raise the importance of the eugenics movement – and I highlight that this wasn’t a marginal movement, it was promoted by academics, politicians, prominent speakers, president Theodore Roosevelt was a eugenicist, and by 1931 you have 27 states that had sterilization laws on the books, so this was not a marginal movement. But when we pay attention to pedigree, that explains why this movement could be so widespread and so popular and so readily accepted as a justifiable way for Americans to protect the population. And we know that this is still with us today. This is one of the things I’ve been noticing about Donald Trump. He’s obsessed with pedigree! It starts with birtherism and his attacks on President Obama. It’s played out when he attacks the judge, and claims this guy couldn’t make a decision because of his Mexican heritage. And now he’s been going after Elizabeth Warren and calling her Pocahontas and claiming any of her claims to Native American background is a lie, is a fraud.

But at the same time, Trump appeals to voters who some people might call white trash voters. He embodies this kind of excess that you talk about when writing about Dolly Parton, Tammy Faye Baker. He’s tacky. He’s like a caricature of a rich person that appeals to poor people.  

Right. And this is one other thing I talk about: the problem of our American democracy. And we can take it back to Andrew Jackson. An Australian writer wrote in 1949 that we don’t have a real democracy, we have what’s called a democracy of manners. Which means that people will accept huge disparities of wealth, but they will vote for someone who pretends to be just like us. And how do politicians do that? In Trump’s case, he steps down from his penthouse, puts on his bubba cap, and yes, he sounds as if he’s someone who could work on the docks, the fact that he refuses to ever be polite – which as we know, in terms of the old measure of social breeding, politeness was the most important marker of class status.

Early on he was seen as cornering the white trash vote, his rabble rousing and race-baiting was inciting the revenge of the lower classes. But the problem with that is that someone like Nate Silver has argued that Trump’s voters are wealthier than either Clinton’s or Sanders’s constituencies. So we have two things going on. The visual images of the rallies and the racial tension, which I wrote about for Salon, harkens back to people like [early 20th century Mississippi Governor] James Vardaman, who engaged in this kind of race-baiting, who pitted poor whites against blacks. And he has tapped into class fears and anxieties, particularly in his emphasis on global grade. I think his wall, his famous wall which will never be built, what it really represents is not only the fear of poor immigrants from Mexico and south American coming into the country and creating job competition and lowering the wages of typical Americans, but it’s also a metaphor for keeping jobs in this country, there’s a certain isolationism that’s very appealing to voters who are attracted to Donald Trump.

One thing I’ve always been curious about was that, while there have always been poor white people in every part of this country, at some point the idea of poor whites, of “poor white trash,” became a Southern thing. How did that happen? And why, now, do so many who reclaim that identity – no matter where they live – look to the South, to the confederate flag for instance, as a symbol of their heritage?

 You’re right. One of the things I’m trying to emphasize is that poor white trash comes out of the rural notion of talking about the poor. There are differences when we deal with the urban poor as opposed to the rural poor. We have to remember that rural poverty isn’t just restricted to the South, but the reason it becomes identified with the South has more to do with politics. I talk about the importance of the sectional controversy in the middle of the 19th century, the rise of Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party. They made the argument of free soil, and it goes back to James Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, that when you have a slave society where slave owners become the most powerful class, they monopolize the land, and that hurts the ability of poor whites to experience social mobility. That idea starts with Oglethorpe, it’s repeated by Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, and then it reemerges as part of the Free Soil party and the Republican Party. And what they argue is that slavery’s not only wrong because it oppresses slaves, but it undermines the ability of poor white men to achieve economic independence and also to achieve social mobility.

It’s actually ironic that working class men would want to embrace the confederacy, because one of the things I highlight about the confederacy is that it very much relied on reinforcing a racial and a class hierarchy, and this is a hangover from the antebellum period. The planter elite saw themselves as very much to the manor born. They assumed that they were the class that should exercise political power and rule. They began to defend the idea that a born to rule elite should control southern states, and particularly South Carolina, and they are very dismissive of poor whites. Not only was it reinforced during the confederacy, it existed before the confederacy.

So the confederacy is one of the most elitist political systems that we’ve had in this country. To assume that somehow the confederacy embraced poor whites, it even goes against the history of how the conscription laws worked. As we know the poor always suffer the worst during wars: they lose their land, they’re the ones who are put on the front lines, and you have high numbers of poor whites who desert from the confederacy because they don’t think it’s fighting for their interests.

So if it’s 1861 and you’re a poor white person, you’re going to be very wary of the confederacy, because they’re trying to recruit you to this war because you’re going to be cannon fodder. But if it’s 1961 and you’re a poor white, you might fly the confederate flag because you’re so threatened by the civil rights movement.

Again, it goes back to the fact that most Americans don’t know their history. Or the history they’ve been told has been grossly distorted. When writing about the civil rights movement, I focus a lot on Little Rock, Arkansas, and Governor Orval Faubus. First of all, he’s attacked as a hillbilly and seen as poor white trash. But he’s more than willing to fan the flames of race and class tension. And he can do that in Little Rock, because part of what we often miss from that history is that there were three high schools in Little Rock. There was the elite white school called Cadillac High, which was not integrated, and then there was an all-black school, and then there was a poor working-class high school, Central High School, which was the one that was chosen for desegregation. And he exploited that. On the verge of the first day of school, he claimed that poor whites were going to come from around the state of Arkansas, and they’re going to come in droves, and we’re going to have a race war.

And it also goes back to the confederacy, because when the confederate elites began to feel threatened by mass desertions,there was even talk of taking the vote away from some of the poor whites who were allowed to vote. But they decided we’d better not do that because then they won’t fight in the war. But at the same time they start trying to come up with a rationale to convince poor whites to fight for the confederacy, and the argument that they make is that poor whites don’t fight for the confederacy they’re going to lose out on their end, they’re going to drop down to the level of free blacks or slaves. And again, there’s this idea of pitting these two groups against each other, but it also completely contradicted the way the south and the Southern elite really felt about poor whites. Because in the antebellum period they felt their slaves were more valuable than poor whites, because slaves at least contributed to the economy.

So we have to realize that first of all poor whites are not always the enemies of black Americans. Because at times they lived next to each other, they socialized with each other. But it’s a very, very effective tool for politicians when they feel the elite is threatened to focus on pitting those on the lower ranks of society against each other. And this has been used again and again. Why do you have all these negative terms for the poor, why do these ideas persist? Because to project hatred onto the lower classes is a very effective way to transfer the problem, to blame the poor. Not only do you say they’re lazy and deserve their fate, it makes everyone else less accountable. It’s so fascinating how these ideas go all the way back to the 18th century.

For example, in 1790 John Adams argued that Americans not only scrambled to get ahead but they needed someone to disparage. “There must be one,” he wrote, “indeed, who is the last and lowest of the human species.” His argument is exactly what Lyndon Johnson said, when he talked about the racism of poor whites: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

People will tolerate having people above them, they’ll defer to an elite class, just as long as they have someone beneath them. We forget the psychological power of that. Americans like the rhetoric of equality but they don’t like it when it’s real, and they don’t really defend it when it comes to how can we create an equal society. When it’s so easy to dismiss different groups, usually in very shallow ways, just as a way for us who are of the middle class to feel that somehow we deserve what we have. We always want to mask it, we always want to rationalize it, but it’s been with us and it’s still with us. Not only are we not a post-racial society, we are certainly not a post-class society.

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Prisons – The New Asylums (News Report)





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June 24, 2006
Prisons – The New Asylums (News Report)


There is a very good in-depth report by Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) on how in the USA prisons have been turned into the new mental asylums. We encourage you to view the entire video and explore the entire web site. Perhaps some outraged family members and/or citizens can motivate some changes to the system – as Pete Early is working on. The report explains:

Fewer than 55,000 Americans currently receive treatment in psychiatric hospitals. Meanwhile, almost 10 times that number — nearly 500,000 — mentally ill men and women are serving time in U.S. jails and prisons. Why are so many mentally ill behind bars? Who’s to blame? What can I do as a citizen? Why is Ohio at the forefront of dealing with this issue?…

An interactive map displaying statistics on the mentally ill in state prisons and contact information in each state.

A look at the legacy of closing America’s mental hospitals … the push for mental health diversion courts … why so many mentally ill cycle back into jails and prisons after being released.

In the total US jail system approximately 738 people were locked up for every 100,000 residents. This rate is approximately 500% higher than in any other developed country – in England the rate is approximately 140 people per 100,000 residents.

Prisons; The New Asylums (web site)

New Book: Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness

Excerpt from The New Asylums report:

We are the gatekeepers of a lot of persons who are mentally ill, and that’s not something we relish. … We don’t like the idea that we’re being charged with fixing a lot of the woes of our communities,” says Reginald Wilkinson, director of the Ohio Department of Corrections. “In addition to being the director of the Department of Corrections, I became a de facto director of a major mental health system.”

In “The New Asylums,” FRONTLINE goes deep inside Ohio’s state prison system to explore the complex and growing issue of mentally ill prisoners. With unprecedented access to prison therapy sessions, mental health treatment meetings, crisis wards, and prison disciplinary tribunals, the film provides a poignant and disturbing portrait of the new reality for the mentally ill.

“It was surprising to see how much treatment was going on inside Ohio’s prisons,” say FRONTLINE producers Miri Navasky and Karen O’Connor. “And while the prison system is doing a commendable job, you are still left with the feeling that prison is not the answer to this very large social problem.”

As the rising number of mentally ill inmates shows no sign of abating, those working inside the nation’s prisons are struggling with a system designed for security, not treatment. Corrections officers now have the responsibility of not only securing inmates, but also working with mental health staff to identify and manage disturbed prisoners.

“Providing effective psychiatric care in a maximum security prison is extraordinarily difficult,” says prison psychiatrist Gary Beven. “If you have untreated manic depression or bipolar disorder, untreated schizophrenia, somebody might be hallucinating and extremely paranoid. If you don’t identify the fact that [a] person has schizophrenia, if you don’t provide them with the proper medication, if you don’t place them in an environment that allows them to function at an adequate level, then it’s just a matter of time, perhaps, [that] something aggressive might occur.”

Visit the Web site, watch the entire video series, and read more:https://player.pbs.org/portalplayer/2365608491/?uid=&clientId=d043e262-255c-11e7-b74d-22000b2a8a0e&callsign=WEDH&parentURL=http://video.cptv.org/
Prisons; The New Asylums
Posted by szadmin at June 24, 2006 02:39 PM

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