Cult Paper Touts Harold Ford's Split With Democrats On Iraq
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 29, 2007 at 03:11:47 PM EST
[editor: this story fits into a broader story about an ideological struggle within the Democratic Party as some in the consultant class advise Democrats to adopt right leaning positions on reproductive and gay rights issues, in foreign policy, or by pandering to religious groups, demonizing "secularism", and cutting mention of church/state separation out of political speech. See "related stories" at the end of the following piece]
A March 29, 2007 Washington Times story highlighting a Democratic Leadership Council speech in which DLC  head Harold Ford Jr. challenged Democratic Congressional efforts to set a deadline for a US pullout from Iraq raises questions about Ford's affinity with the Unification Church, whose DC  newspaper seems to be the only major news source right now covering Ford's break with the Democratic Party on Iraq. That might be so for the simple fact that Ford, who lost in his bid for a Tennessee US senate seat in the 2006 election, now speaks for the DLC but does not really represent an electoral constituency. But there are other reasons the cult-owned far right Washington Times may favor the new DLC head. First of all, Harold Ford has a history as a hard right hawk on Iraq and was one of nine members of Congress who, in 2001, wrote a letter to George W. Bush urging military action against Saddam Hussein. In 2002, also, the Washington Times wrote a warm endorsement of Ford as "the kind of Democrat that Republicans should fear".

Then, there's the issue of Sun Myung Moon's freakish March 24, 2004 Washington "coronation" as the "messiah" ; was Harold Ford Jr. there ? Was he really a Congressional Co-Sponsor of the event ? No, claimed Ford, but the Washington Times and the Unification Church said otherwise....

unification churchNow, Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon really should be the sort of cult leader mainstream politicians steer a wide berth around.

Moon claims to be the Messiah, calls the Christian cross "satanic" and has paid black churches to throw away and bury their crosses, unification churchhas said his long term goal is "the natural subjugation of the American government and population" and called for "an automatic theocracy to rule the world", blames the Holocaust on Jews, has called gays "dung eating dogs", advised Unification Church men to pinch their genitals with pliers and declared that the vaginas of American women should be filled with concrete, claims to talk to Hitler and Stalin, has extensive connections to the Bush family, and has spent over 3 billion dollars subsidizing the Washington Times newspaper that advances Moon's ideological agenda.

Moon has parlayed his considerable wealth, much of it from murky sources, into astounding national political influence, and the Washington Times, which Moon founded in 1982 and reportedly subsidizes to the tune of $100 million dollars a year, is central to advancing Moon's political agenda and often attacks Democratic and left leaning politicians. In light of the paper's history and ownership, it is notable that the Washington Times has so enthusiastically endorsed Harold Ford Jr. and perhaps just as striking how unabashed Ford has been about the Sun Myung Moon-owned newspaper endorsement he received in 2002. On Harold Ford's 2006 Tennessee Senate race campaign website, you can still see, prominently displayed, a 2002 Washington Times plug :

Conservative-leaning newspaper The Washington Times called Harold Ford Jr. "the kind of Democrat that Republicans should fear": "A young, black politician with deep Tennessee roots, Mr. Ford is the kind of Democrat that Republicans should fear. In a caucus that lacks both ideas and energy, he is full of both" (Washington Times, 11/12/02)

Was Moon's pet attack newspaper partial to Harold Ford Jr. because of Ford's preciously bellicose call for military action against Iraq ? According to a statement from the US State Department website ( no longer available on the official state dept. site ) :

[ from a US State Dept. article dated December 5, 2001 ] “Nine members of Congress have written a letter to President Bush, urging the administration to step up support for the Iraqi opposition to remove Saddam Hussein from power. ‘This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons program. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf war status,’ the letter, dated December 5, said. The letter was signed by Senators John McCain, Jesse Helms, Richard Shelby, Sam Brownback, Joe Lieberman, and Trent Lott, and by Representatives Henry Hyde, Ben Gilman, and Harold Ford, Jr.
Was the Unification Church partial to Ford's war-advocacy ? Who knows, but given the sort of politics the Washington Times has historically advanced, and Ford's retrograde positions on war, reproductive, and gay rights, a case can be made that Republicans actually have not that much to fear from Harold Ford but that many Democrats, and many of their constituents, have a good deal to worry about if Democratic Party positions shift towards those of the NeoDemocrat, Ford-led DLC.

Robert Parry, in The GOP's $3 Billion Propaganda Organ, written for Consortium News, provides comprehensive overview of the role Moon's newpaper has played in helping the rise of the American right, excerpted below:

unification churchThough best known as the founder of the Unification Church, Moon, now 86, has long worked with right-wing political forces linked to organized crime and international drug smuggling, including the Japanese yakuza gangs and South American cocaine traffickers.

Moon insiders, including his former daughter-in-law Nansook Hong, also have described Moon's system for laundering cash into the United States and then funneling much of it into his businesses and influence-buying apparatus, led by the Washington Times.

The Times, in turn, has targeted American politicians of the center and left with journalistic attacks - sometimes questioning their sanity, as happened with Democratic presidential nominees Michael Dukakis and Al Gore. Those themes then resonate through the broader right-wing echo chamber and into the mainstream media.

Washington Times articles are routinely cited by C-SPAN, for instance, without explanations to viewers that the newspaper is financed by an ultra-right religious cult leader, a convicted tax fraud and a publicly identified money-launderer. Most American listeners just think they're getting straightforward news.

A Majestic Spectacle ?: The Messiah Has Come !

A Washington Times story written the day after the event said Harold Ford, then a Congressman and now head of the right-leaning Democratic Leadership Council, was present in the US Senate's Dirksen office building on March 24, 2004, while Sun Myung Moon and his wife were crowned the "King and Queen Of Peace" and while Moon declared himself to be "savior, Messiah, returning Lord" before an audience that included several US Senators, dozens of House of representative members, and perhaps hundreds of foreign dignitaries.

unification churchThe Unification Church invitation sent out to herald the event listed Rep. Harold Ford Jr. as a "Congressional Co-Sponsor" of the "coronation" event and, when the scandal about the freakish event took off on the Internet, through the blog world, and eventually forced sluggish mainstream news outlets to take notice, Harold Ford denied being at the event and a staffer of Ford's said the Tennessee Congressman knew nothing about Sun Myung Moon's imperial and celestial ambitions for the Dirksen building ceremony. As Lee Penn, for The Christian Challenge, wrote on June 15, 2006

"Mark Schuermann, a staffer for Rep. Ford, said that Ford did not attend the event, and did not participate in planning it. Schuermann also said that if Rep. Ford was on the Host Committee, "he was not aware that it had any affiliation with the Unification Church," and that Ford "does not accept Moon's claims to be messiah."

So, Harold Ford Jr. didn't accept Sun Myung Moon as the "Messiah", lord, savior, and ruler over this that and everything : good.

But, the Washington Times and The Unification Church both contradicted Rep. Harold's Ford's claim that he did not attend the event, as a subsequent Lee Penn story relates :

On March 24, The Washington Times identified Reps. Davis, Bartlett, Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN), Curt Weldon (R-PA), Chris Cannon (R-UT), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), and Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN), as "assisting at" the March 23 banquet.

Other than Davis and Bartlett, all but one of these lawmakers have denied that they support Moon and the Unificationists. Those who attended the event said that they were there briefly to honor constituents who were receiving awards, or to receive a peace award themselves. Chris Lisi, the press secretary for Sen. Dayton, said that the meeting planners "were not being up front as to who was sponsoring the event. We would never have been there if we knew what the event really was."

A knowledgeable source on Capitol Hill confirmed that some legislators attended the March 23 banquet without knowing the real sponsorship and intent of the gathering. "There was a mass exodus from the event as soon as folks realized that it was a Rev. Moon event, and that he was there," the informant said.

The Moonies claim in a video of the banquet that, in all, "81 U.S. senators and members of Congress...26 ambassadors to the United States...and some 450 leaders from various fields... came to participate in an Ambassadors for Peace Awards...and Crown of Peace Ceremony." If this is true, it would account for a "mass exodus" when assembled legislators realized whose party they were unwittingly attending.

However, the Unificationists have denied tricking the congressmen, saying those invited knew Moon would be there. In response to the coronation controversy, a Unificationist spokesman said "an invitation letter sent initially to every Congressional office clearly identified Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the founders of the [IIPC], and stated that they would participate and be honored at this event."

So there it rests : Harold Ford wasn't there, or at least wasn't caught on film like other listed "Congressional Co-Sponsor" members such as Congressional Black Caucus Representative Danny K. Davis, who himself crowned Moon the new "lord", savior", and "Messiah" of.... well, pretty much everything in the Universe. In the end Ford might just have a scraped past this scandal on dumb luck - lack of seniority.

[ from The Money-Mooners Meet on Capitol Hill, by Bill Alexander, for Rick Ross.com ]

"While wearing white gloves, head bowed, and holding a tassled red pillow upon which a gold crown rested, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) participated in a recent Capitol Hill ceremony where Rev. Sun Myung Moon declared himself "savior, Messiah, returning lord."

The crown bearer was Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), who was among a gaggle of African-American ministers and politicians - including CBC Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and former D. C. Congressional Delegate Walter Fauntroy (D) - who gathered at an controversial "Crown of Peace" ceremony in March at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, which is now getting some serious press play.

"A'int no big deal," Davis, a fourth-term congressman, tells Bet.com. "They asked me if I would do it, so I carried the crown for Mrs. Moon." Moon and the missus were crowned the "King and Queen of Peace."

Davis now distances himself from the Messiah remark made by Moon, saying, "Had I known what his comments were going to be, I would not have wanted to be in that environment."  "

And, so it goes.


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Display:
Davis and Ford are examples of the way that the religious right engages and compromises elements of the Democratic Party.

And make no mistake: the Unfication Church of Sun Myung Moon is part of the religious right.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Mar 29, 2007 at 05:02:18 PM EST



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