Posted by Curt on 22 November, 2008 at 10:35 am. 4 comments already!

John Rosenthal is asking the Obama campaign to fully disclose a obvious conflict of interest:

The publicly funded Franco-German “cultural” channel Arte did not waste any time celebrating the dawn of a new era in transatlantic relations. This is the same Arte, incidentally, whose earlier contributions to transatlantic understanding have included a report accusing American soldiers of beheading Vietnamese civilians during the Vietnam War and a portrayal of President George W. Bush with devil’s horns and fangs. On the day after the election of Barack Obama to succeed the outgoing demon-president, the channel broadcast a 70-minute-long special, live from Washington, with the highly imaginative title “A Black Man in the White House” [Un Noir à la maison blanche]. (To their credit, the editors at Arte-Germany chose to abjure the racist impulses of their French counterparts and titled the show instead “Obama: A New Wind in the White House” [Frischer Wind im Weissen Haus].) The guests on the program included Annette Heuser, the executive director of the Bertelsmann Foundation’s new Washington, DC, office. The influential German foundation set up shop in DC just this past spring, presumably in anticipation of the impending “change.” Host Daniel Leconte revealed that the foundation had even helpfully prepared “a little aide, a little white book” for the incoming president on how to conduct his relations with Europe. He was careful to interject that the “white book” had been prepared for both candidates.

In any case, Bertelsmann can be sure that Mr. Obama will read its “little aide, its little white book” very carefully. For — as Ms. Heuser failed to disclose and as was not mentioned either in an op-ed on Obama that she published in the Washington Post in July — the Bertelsmann Corporation happens to be the president-elect’s principal source of income. It was Bertelsmann, namely, that agreed to pay Obama a reported $1.9 million in advances for a three-book deal that the then-senator-elect signed with its fully owned American subsidiary, the Random House publishing group, in December 2004. And who knows? The real amount of the deal might well be more than the reported amount. After all, it was only in April of this year that we discovered that a reported $10 million book deal signed by former President Bill Clinton with Bertelsmann/Random House in 2001 had in fact been worth $15 million.

John goes on to detail the fact that Obama has earned over four million dollars in income from the Random House division of Bertelsmann:

In the interest of transparency, Obama should surely now release the full details of his contractual relationship with the Bertelsmann Corporation. After all, if one is to judge by his recent tax returns, even as president, he will be paid far more by Bertelsmann than by the American taxpayers. For him to be taking advice from the Bertelsmann Foundation suggests conflict of interest on a magnitude that has perhaps never before been seen in the history of the American presidency. Although legally distinct, the foundation and the corporation are, in effect, just functionally distinct parts of a single entity. The Bertelsmann Foundation is in fact the majority shareholder in the corporation, presently holding roughly three-quarters of the company shares, to which, however, there correspond no voting rights. All the remaining shares are held by the Mohn family: family patriarch Reinhard, his wife Liz, and their children. The Mohns in turn control the foundation (to which Reinhard Mohn assigned a large part of the company capital in 1993), such that foundation and corporation are perfectly intertwined and both are, in effect, emanations of the Mohn family’s power.

Even more interesting is the fact that the Mohn family has commissioned three histories of the family and the Bertelsmann Corporation, all written by Dirk Bavendamm. Dirk is not only a twoofer, but also believes FDR permitted Pearl Harbor to happen:

His book Roosevelt’s Way to War (Roosevelts Weg zum Krieg) was published in 1983. Rewriting history, he stated that Roosevelt, not Hitler, had caused World War II. He also wrote that American Jews “controlled most of the media,” and he claimed they gave a false picture of Hitler.

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In a second book, Roosevelt’s War (published in 1993, reissued in 1998), Bavendamm accuses the US President of enacting a plan to start World War II. In the same book he suggests that Hitler’s threats in early 1939 against European Jewry were a reaction to Roosevelt’s strategy against Germany.

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Bavendamm said in an interview that he could not “remember exactly” what his role had been in the publication of the fake Hitler poems and drawings. Discussing Roosevelt and Hitler, he described his views as “nonconformist and independent.” He added, “All the world is under the impression that Hitler was in the main responsible for the outbreak of World War II. But I see it in a bigger framework of the United States moving to the status of a superpower.”

Bevandamm is not alone in his beliefs. Jeremiah Wright also buys into the FDR let Pearl Harbor happen baloney and has said so in his sermons:

The government lied about Pearl Harbor too,” he says. “They knew the Japanese were going to attack. Governments lie.

So the company that made Obama a millionaire, and has printed an “advice” book for Obama to show him how to conduct relations with Europe, also has this twoofer and obvious America hater in their employ. Coincidentally Obama sat in the pews while Wright spewed the same America hating rhetoric.

Once again, his associations and judgment are in question.

The Obama team and the Mohns would undoubtedly say that it is scandalous to suggest that the Mohns were using their millions to influence the American presidency or that Obama could possibly be corrupted. But as a reputed former professor of constitutional law, Obama will surely recall the famous words of James Madison in the Federalist Papers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” The president-elect’s most fervent followers may well be convinced that he is divine. But his financial relationship to Bertelsmann proves, after all, that he is only human.

Indeed.

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