Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Speaking of Manchurian Candidates ...

I’ve been following the goings-on of notorious right-wing cult leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon for several years now. Moon, founder of the Unification Church, has long and deep ties to the Bush Administration, the Bush family, and the GOP, as well as top leaders of the Christian right such as Tim LaHaye and the late Jerry Falwell.

He’s a creepy guy to the say least; if you think Scientology is weird, check out Moon, who calls himself Messiah and has his fingers in a dizzying array of global businesses (not all of which are legal, say Moon watchers). For instance, did you know that Moon supplies nearly all of the country’s sushi restuarants with fish? If you eat sushi, chances are you're supporting this creepy cult leader (I know, I eat sushi anyway, too).

About a year ago we heard rumors that the Bush family had bought thousands of acres of land in Paraguay adjacent to Unification Church land there. Some speculated that because there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and Paraguay, this was Bush’s exit strategy. This struck me as a little silly and anyway, we do indeed have extradition treaties with Paraguay, so the argument was wrong.

But there’s clearly something going on, beause the land deal is real, and First Brother Neil Bush has been traveling with Moon in South America, as did George Bush Sr. back in the 1990s. Last week, Neil Bush was in Paraguay to meet with President Nicanor Duarte along with a group of Moon associates.


I don’t know what’s going on, but some tin-foil hat types have wondered if the Bush family isn't a key player in Moon's stated plans to take over the world. That also strikes me as silly, but no one has yet explained to me what was up with that "coronation" of Moon and his wife at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in 2004. Understandably, those involved in this bizarre event, including former Rep. Curt Weldon and Sen. Lindsey Graham, have been too embarassed to talk about it and have hoped the whole thing would fade from memory. As if.

I also think it’s interesting that several “Moonies” were given prominent positions in the Bush Administration: for example, David Caprara, one of Moon’s top political players, was director of the Office of Faith Based & Community Initiatives. His previous gig with Moon was as head of the American Freedom Coalition, which the Los Angeles Times described as an organization "dedicated to repairing Moon's tattered persona in the United States" (Caprara is now with the Brookings Institution, BTW).

All of which is food for thought. I'm not saying I buy into the conspiracy theories but I do think it's disturbing that a destructive cult leader and ex-felon would have access to those holding the reins of power in America. I'm blogging about this today because I think it's fascinating, and Ken Layne’s column yesterday offers a good run-down on the Bush-Moon connection. Folks might get a kick out of reading it.