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By Paul Hill

HOUSTON - The Lone Star Iconoclast, a weekly newspaper in Crawford, Texas (declared hometown of George W. Bush) endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president. The editors endorsed Kerry on Sept. 29 citing problems with the Bush administration as follows: "His initiatives to disable the Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding terrorism and Iraq." The paper also noted their differences with the Bush agenda's "denial of stem cell research, shortchanging veterans' entitlements, cutting school programs and grants, dictating what our children learn through a thought-controlling 'test' from Washington rather than allowing local school boards and parents to decide how young people should be taught, ignoring the environment, and creating extraneous language in the Patriot Act that removes some of the very freedoms that our founding fathers and generations of soldiers fought so hard to preserve." The newspaper's editors endorsed Bush in 2000.
The paper also expressed concerns about the "vast exportation of jobs to other countries" and the diversion of funds to support small business to large oil and gas concerns such as Halliburton. The paper cites the multi-billion dollar contracts Vice President Cheney's Halliburton has been awarded without any meaningful bid process and calls this "an enormous conflict of interest". The editors point out that Homeland Security has been inadequately funded and the Community Oriented Policing Program (COPS) has been cut by 94 percent. They note that Bush fought against the creation of the 911 Commission and has not yet embraced its recommendations. The editorial declares "The re-election of George W. Bush would be a mandate to continue on our present course of chaos...We need to be moving in the opposite direction."
The Iconoclast was highly critical of Bush's plan to privatize Social Security and predict this plan "would put the entire economy in a dramatic tailspin." They note "Privatization is problematic in that it would subject Social Security to the ups, downs, and outright crashes of the Stock Market. It would take millions in brokerage fees and commissions out of the system, and, unless we have assurance that the Ivan Boeskys and Ken Lays of the world will be caught and punished as a deterrent, subject both the Market and the Social Security Fund to fraud and market manipulation, not to mention devastate and ruin multitudes of American families that would find their lives lost to starvation, shame and isolation. They point out that Kerry wants to keep Social Security intact.
Although the paper initially supported the war in Iraq, the editorial indicates they now feel the Bush administration "let us down" and "Instead we were duped into following yet another privileged agenda." The paper states "What has evolved from the virtual go-it alone conquest of Iraq is more gruesome than a stain on a White House intern's dress. America's reputation and influence in the world has diminished, leaving us with brute force as our most persuasive voice...Iraq is now a quagmire: no WMDs, no substantive link between Saddam and Osama, and no workable plan for the withdrawal of our troops." They remind us that we have been asked to go along on "faith", but point out that "blind patriotism can be a dangerous thing and 'spin' will not bring back to life a dead soldier; certainly not a thousand of them."

The newspaper supports Kerry's position on the Iraq war. They note Kerry "believes President Bush rushed into war before the inspectors finished their jobs." The editors explain Kerry voted against the $87 billion for troop funding "because the bill promoted poor policy in Iraq, privileged Halliburton and other corporate friends of the Bush administration to profiteer from the war, and forced debt upon future generations of Americans."

The author can be reached at PHill2@houston.rr.com