One of the ugly ironies in the Right's depiction of President Barack Obama as Hitler and health reform as a plan for Nazi-style euthanasia is that the owner of the Washington Times, which has pushed this line of attack, has longstanding ties with World War II-era Nazis, neo-Nazis and rightist "death squads."
Indeed, the Washington Times founder and funder, Sun Myung Moon, built his international religious-business-media empire in collaboration with Japanese fascist war criminals and with operational assistance from ex-Nazi SS officer Klaus Barbie, the so-called "Butcher of Lyon."
The 89-year-old Moon also has had close ties to later generations of neo-Nazis and right-wing murderers, especially in Latin America where Moon-related organizations threw in their lot with brutal military dictators including some involved in cocaine trafficking.
Yet, in the 1970s and 1980s, Moon emerged as a major financier for the American Right. He sponsored lavish conservative conferences, slipped millions of dollars into the pockets of right-wing activists, supported prominent Republicans and "" in 1982 "" launched the Washington Times, which has been a prime propaganda vehicle for right-wing causes ever since.
Though the prominence of Moon and his Washington Times has diminished in recent years with the emergence of an even richer media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, and his flagship Fox News, Moon's newspaper has continued launching key propaganda themes and serving as a clearinghouse for right-wing disinformation campaigns.
For instance, as the New York Times has noted, the absurd idea of linking the Obama administration to Nazi euthanasia surfaced only weeks after the Nov. 4, 2008, election when a Washington Times editorial brought up the Nazis' Aktion T4 program in which "children and adults with disabilities, and anyone anywhere in the Third Reich was subject to execution who was blind, deaf, senile, retarded, or had any significant neurological condition."
Citing the supposedly pro-euthanasia inclinations of the incoming Obama administration, the Washington Times editorial said, "it will be up to everyone who sees the current climate as a budding T4 program to win the hearts and minds of deniers," especially regarding abortion rights.
"That won't be a final solution to end the deaths, but it may stanch them and stop the forward progression of extermination (there is no other word for it) from prenatal to postnatal to child to adult that is so seductively "rational' - and horrifying."
On Feb. 11, the Washington Times returned to the Aktion T4 theme, with an editorial accompanied by a file photo of Adolf Hitler. This time Moon's editors denounced the Obama administration's plans for achieving some efficiencies in health-care delivery, such as computerizing records to avoid duplication and to reduce chances of life-threatening misdiagnoses.
Though this concept has been supported by many Republicans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Washington Times took the word "efficiency" from Obama supporters and linked it to the Nazis via a quote from the Aktion T-4 program: "It must be made clear to anyone suffering from an incurable disease that the useless dissipation of costly medications drawn from the public store cannot be justified."
The Times editorial stated: "This notion is fully in the spirit of the [Democratic] partisans of efficiency, but came from a program instituted in Hitler's Germany called Aktion T-4. " This was the Nazi version of efficiency, a pitiless expulsion of the "unproductive' members of society in the most expeditious way possible."
Soon, anti-Obama protestors were showing up at rallies with Obama pictured with a Hitler mustache. Talk show host Rush Limbaugh likened Obama's logo for health care reform to a Nazi symbol. A swastika was painted on the office sign of a Democratic member of Congress. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin famously ranted about how Obama's health reform would create a "death panel" for her parents and her son with Down Syndrome.
Yet, beyond the absurdity of this psy-war style attack on Obama and health reform is the inconvenient fact that the Washington Times' founder "" Sun Myung Moon "" has a long record of collaborating with violent fascists in Nazi-style slaughters of countless thousands of innocent people for their perceived political beliefs.
While bemoaning imaginary Obama-organized "death panels," the Washington Times and its founder have worked hand in glove with very real "death squads." The collaboration has been central to Moon's ability to expand the reach of his Unification Church and his own personal power.