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The Republican Party, cults and their money

Use to be people thought of the Moonies as a cult. But now, thanks, in part, to George and Barbara Bush who get $100K a pop for giving pro Moonie speeches, they are not perceived that way. For starters see GOP and Straight; GOP and Scientology™; FACTNET.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Melvin Sembler--The Ugly American.
Miguel Martinez's blog on European opinion of wealthy Americans

Last year Miguel Martinez, an Italian, published a web page, in Italian, about Mel and Betty Sembler and their Straight program. His page is here:

Now, just moments ago, I received an eMail from Miguel. He has written a blog on Sembler's latest scandal--getting US taxpayers to buy him a $113 million monument to himself. Here is his eMail to me:

The US gov't has just bought a huge building in Rome and added it to the US Embassy. What is interesting is that Congress has called it officially "The Mel Sembler Building". It isn't Sembler is still alive, but he has buildings named after him by the government - reminds me of Stalingrad and Saddam City :-))Obviously the construction tycoon wanted what every European jokingly says about the American super-rich: to get immortality by having his name big in the city of the Vatican and the Colosseum. However, Sembler apparently didn't trust them to do so when he was dead, so he pressured them into doing it while he was
still alive.

I wrote something in my blog about it (in Italian only) here:

However below is the full article on the topic from the website of the US embassy.

Good luck,
Miguel Martinez, Italy

US Embassy website on the Mel Sembler Building


Dear Miguel,

Thank you for your eMail about Ambassador Sembler's latest folly and thank you for helping educate the Italian people about who this guy we sent you really is. Unfortunately, the American political process has evolved into electing a President who has raised the most money because he is the one who can buy the most advertising time on TV and in the press. In return for their money, our presidents often reward their wealthy contributors by giving them ambassadorships to beautiful European countries. Merit has nothing to do with it. And we, the American people, suffer because of the bad name these pampered, rich elite give to all our countrymen. Personally, I was deeply offended for years over the way Americans are perceived by Frenchmen, in particular, since many of our soldiers died liberating France from Germany. However, since meeting Melvin Sembler I can finally understand how such a small handful of influential US envoys and businessmen have given us all a bad name.

It's funny that you compare Sembler's monument to the naming of Stalingrad and Sadam City because yesterday I wrote a blog comparing repression in the US Embassy in Rome to repression in Iraq under Sadam Hussein. That link is here.

The story of Sembler's monument in Rome actually goes much deeper than what has been reported in The Washington Post. A fuller accounting can be found in an article by me here.

Thank you,

Wes Fager,


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