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Blue Dog Leader Works With Theocratic "Mafia" Opposed to Health Care Reform

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Blue Dog Democrats in Congress played a "magnificent" role in blocking health care reform during the Clinton administration and now, under the "courageous" and "smart" leadership of House Pro-Life Caucus leader and Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, and with the support and prayers of Republicans categorically opposed to the Democratic Party's health care reform effort, the Blue Dogs may be able to do it again.

That's what Stupak's caucus co-chair Chris Smith (R-NJ) told his audience at a "townhall" panel event last Friday at the Family Research Council Action's Washington DC 2009 Values Voter Summit [see video, below]. Another Republican at the event, Tom Price (R-GA), suggested that lockstep GOP opposition to health care reform affords the Blue Dogs "an opportunity to show some backbone" and "stand up to their leadership to say 'no more will we allow this travesty to go on.'"

Besides leading anti-abortion Democrats in the House, Stupak is a longtime member of the mainly-Republican radical free-market, union-busting theocratic Washington fundamentalist group known as "The Family," which runs the "C Street House" registered as a church where Bart Stupak has enjoyed Christian fellowship and cheap rent for years. Stupak's former "C Street" housemate Senator James DeMint (R-S. Carolina) has vowed to make the fight against health care reform President Barack Obama's "Waterloo".

During Family Research Council Action's over-one hour "townhall" event on health care, featuring a panel of three GOP house representatives that included Smith, Price, and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn), an audience member addressed Representative Smith:

It's been said that the main roadblock to this legislation in the House are the Blue Dog Democrats. I actually happen to think it's the pro-life Democrats. And I'm just wondering - I also read on a pro-life blog not long ago -- that Steny Hoyer was apoplectically reaming the pro-life Democrats after a vote sometime ago.

I'm just wondering -- are you all confident that the pro-life Democrats are not going to have their arms twisted by Nancy Pelosi and that they are going to not waver from this and, more specifically, what are you all as Republicans doing to voice solidarity with them -- because I think if there's any group in the Congress right now that needs our prayers it's those courageous pro-life Democrats.

In response Representative Smith gushed:

[Bart Stupak] has been absolutely valiant and brave and courageous, and very smart.... the pro-life Democrats, and there are fewer now then when we went through this trial with HillaryCare, and they too, during that difficult time, were magnificent - standing there with an amendment saying that, 'we will not be part of the greatest expansion of abortion in United States history since Roe vs. Wade.' So Bart Stupak, and people like Jim Oberstar from Minnesota, and others, have signed letters to the speaker and to the president saying that they will not vote for ObamaCare unless all the pro-life problems, the pro-abortion problems, have been rectified.

While Stupak, who leads a substantial block of antiabortion Democrats in Congress, has publicly indicated that his support for a health care bill is contingent on preventing federal money from going to pay for abortions, he has co-sponsored, along with his fellow long-time Family member GOP Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA), a health care amendment that would have barred not only publicly but also privately funded abortion coverage in a national health care exchange system: a requirement which would make abortions unavailable to most Americans. The Stupak/Pitts Amendment has been repeatedly blocked by House Democratic Party leadership.

Early in September, Congressman Stupak told the Christian Broadcasting Network that he was "confident" he had the votes, from as many as 39 pro-life House Democrats, to block the current House health care reform bill, H.R. 3200, from coming to the floor. In a video statement to CBN, Stupak refused to commit categorically to a Democrat-sponsored health care bill, citing the possibility it would contain "back door policies."

Then, in a Friday, September 16th Fox News interview, Representative Stupak suggested President Barack Obama's assurance that federal funds would not go to finance abortions under a new health care system was a lie, telling Fox "it's just not true."

Stupak's statements also suggest he is opposed to a health care system which acknowledges any basic reproductive rights at all. On Wednesday September 23rd, in an interview for the National Catholic Register, which bills itself as the nation's biggest Catholic pro-life publication, Bart Stupak warned that under public health care options, "At least one dollar of your money will go to supplement reproductive rights or abortion services."

While Stupak has been careful to avoid giving the impression that he is categorically opposed to any health care reform bill, his associates in the powerful, secretive, and anti-democratic Washington Christian fundamentalist association known as The Family, or The Fellowship, have led some of the most virulent opposition to health care reform and especially a "public option".

Bart Stupak has been a longtime resident at The Family's now-infamous "C Street House" that over Summer 2009 became nationally notorious for a trio of sex scandals which enveloped three national GOP politicians who have lived at or been associated with the house. The C Street House provides below market rate rent, is registered as a church, and functions, according to journalist Jeff Sharlet, as an unregistered lobby. Sharlet is author of the 2008 NYT bestelling book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at The Heart of American Power, a heavily researched exploration of the secretive but remarkably influential DC-based international fundamentalist group whose members are known to refer to their association as a "Christian mafia."

In a July conference call with journalists, Representative Stupak told Michigan Messenger reporter Ed Brayton, "I don't belong to any such group. I rent a room at a house in 'C Street.' I do not belong to any such group. I don't know what you're talking about, [The] Family and all this other stuff." But in an interview for a seminal 2002 LA Times article on The Family by journalist Lisa Getter, Stupak indicated he considered himself bound by a C Street House or Family code of secrecy, telling Getter, "We sort of don't talk to the press about the house." The C Street House is owned by a global missionary group whose founder advocates that Christians infiltrate and take over key sectors of society such as business, media, educations, and government.

One of Bart Stupak's housemates at C Street identified in Getter's article was then-South Carolina Congressman Jim DeMint, now a Senator. In a July 17th conference call DeMint told conservative activists, "if we're able to stop Obama on this [health care] it will be his Waterloo. It will break him and we will show that we can, along with the American people, begin to push those freedom solutions that work in every area of our society."

During the Summer of 2009 DeMint, author of the new book Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America's Slide into Socialism, held a "townhall" forum event which, as described by Editor of Editor & Publisher magazine Greg Mitchell, featured "lies and misinformation that came both from the crowd and the stage" which "probably exceeded what many might have imagined."

Longtime Family member and GOP Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kansas) also held a summer townhall forum promoting brazen falsehoods about proposed Democratic health care legislation. As described in Jeff Sharlet's groundbreaking 2003 Harpers story "Jesus Plus Nothing: Undercover Among America's Secret Theocrats," Tiahrt has had the benefit of personal personal tutelage from Family head Doug Coe. Exclusive video footage shown in an April 2008 NBC News story by Andrea Mitchell and Jim Popkin, from the late 1980s, showed Coe before an audience celebrating the dedication and political efficacy of Hitler's Nazis, Lenin's Bolshevik's, and Mao's Red Guard -- who during the Cultural Revolution demonstrated such dedication they were willing to chop off their own parent's heads for the good of the state according to Coe.

One of Bart Stupak's C Street housemates is Arizona Senator John Ensign, who has taken a lower profile since becoming embroiled in a summer C Street House-baeed sex scandal but made an appearance at an early September 2009 roundtable discussion with 20 health care professionals during which Ensign declared that if the Democrats "want a public option, it won't be bipartisan. I don't know a single Republican that, if there is maybe there's one, but I personally don't know of any Republican that could live with this so called public option. Because it will destroy, I believe, and most believe, that it will destroy the private insurance system."

Senior Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee and Family member Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has played an outsized role in negotiations over possible health care legislation. As Grassley told the Wall Street Journal in late August, "Government is not a competitor, it's a predator." Criticizing the public option Grassley then declared, "[w]e'd have 120 million people opt out [of private insurance], then pretty soon everyone is in health care under the government and there's no competitor." As described in journalist Jeff Sharlet's book The Family, Grassley has at times served as Family head Doug Coe's personal international emissary.

Like Grassley, James Inhofe (R-Okla) has also served as Coe's personal representative, making repeated taxpayer-financed trips to Africa to evangelize African heads of state. In an early 2009 conversation with Washington evangelist Rev. Rob Schenck, Inhofe described visiting Africa in the mid 1990s, at the request of Doug Coe, to "take the name of Jesus" to "the kings". Inhofe has stated he will vote against any health care reform bill without even reading it first.

Although The Family's politics in the aggregate skew decidedly right the group's membership includes a number of centrist Democrats, such as Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who has opted to throw his substantial political weight behind Montana Senator and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus' compromise health care bill, H.R. 3200, which does not include a public option. Nelson's wife Grace has served on the board of the Fellowship Foundation, one of the main nonprofit organizational entities of the Family.

Founded in the 1930s as an anticommunist and union-busting initiative, The Family advocates a type of laissez-faire Christian theocracy called "Biblical Capitalism", in which a divinely ordained elite caste in business, government, and other sectors would beneficently rule the masses. As founder Abraham Vereide wrote in a pamphlet entitled Better Way, "We have entered into an era when the masses of the people are dependent on a rapidly diminishing number of leaders for the determination of their way of life and the definition of their ultimate goals. It is the age of minority control."

In a recent Salon.com article, Jeff Sharlet explained that The Family "began 74 years ago as an anti-New Deal coalition of businessmen convinced that organized labor was under the sway of Satan. The Great Depression, they believed, was a punishment from God for what they viewed as FDR's socialism."

[video transcript]

Questioner:

Hi. It's been said that the main roadblock to this legislation in the House are the Blue Dog Democrats. I actually happen to think it's the pro-life Democrats. And I'm just wondering - I also read on a pro-life blog not long ago -- that Steny Hoyer was apoplectically reaming the pro-life Democrats after a vote sometime ago.

I'm just wondering -- are you all confident that the pro-life Democrats are not going to have their arms twisted by Nancy Pelosi and that they are going to not waver from this and, more specifically, what are you all as Republicans doing to voice solidarity with them -- because I think if there's any group in the Congress right now that needs our prayers it's those courageous pro-life Democrats.

Rep. Chris Smith:

It's an excellent question. Bart Stupak from Michigan is the co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus -- I'm the Republican chair, he's the Democrat -- [he] has been absolutely valiant and brave and courageous, and very smart. He and Joe Pitts, who is also a Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, crafted an amendment that would take abortion out -- completely -- from ObamaCare. And their amendment initially won in the committee, amazingly, only to have a parliamentary maneuver pulled, a couple of arms were twisted, and they were able to, on the pro-abortion side, eke out a very small, narrow victory. And then on what's known as the CAPS Amendment, which is a very, very pro-abortion amendment...

Uh, I agree with the questioner... the pro-life Democrats, and there are fewer now then when we went through this trial with HillaryCare...uh, and they too, during that difficult time, were magnificent -- standing there with an amendment saying that, "we will not be part of the greatest expansion of abortion in United States history since Roe vs. Wade." So Bart Stupak, and people like Jim Oberstar from Minnesota, and others, have signed letters to the speaker and to the president saying that they will not vote for ObamaCare unless all the pro-life problems, the pro-abortion problems, have been rectified.

And so your call for prayer -- Bart is a very principled lawmaker. And a man who is, a can tell you -- because we know what it's like behind the scenes. What we see in front of the scenes is bad enough. But he is not well liked by certain elements of the Democratic coalition. So he needs our prayers, he needs our support, and he is a very, very courageous man and I greatly admire him. So thank you for that question.

Rep. Tom Price:

Let me just take one minute if I may. I'd be remiss if I didn't say that the opportunity that the Blue Dogs have, to finally show some backbone, is because of the unanimity of the Republican Conference in the House of Representatives -- standing united against this remarkable government takeover of health care.

It is imperative to remember that every single Blue Dog voted for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House. And, you've got to remember that because that's the individual that sets the agenda for the House of Representatives.

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