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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.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Bushes knew of Straight's brutality but did nothing to stop it

The Bushes knew of Straight's brutality but did nothing to stop it. Instead they continued to take money from Mel Sembler and let him rise to chairman of the finance committee of the national GOP, and appoint him Ambassador to Italy in 2002.

In 1992 while then President George H. W. Bush was campaigning for reelection against Bill Clinton, Tampa Channel 13 News aired a 3-day series on Straight abuses called Straight: Healing or Harming with Kim Keelor reporting. It was a very damaging expose reporting on charges of abuse from Straight centers from all across America. In the segment she asked both President Bush and Ambassador Sembler to comment on the alleged abuses at Straight.

In the first segment Ms. Keelor reported, "We wanted to find out if Mr. Bush knows about Straight's documented abuse and other violations. We sent a sample of cases to the President . Bush's Deputy Press Secretary [Tony Mitchell] said, "...we are not in the position to judge the merits of this program. Based on what we see here, we believe they should be fully investigated..." "

In return for campaign contributions of over $100,000 each President Bush appointed two former Straight presidents to ambassadorships and made a TV commercial for Straight . Joseph Zappala, who did not speak Spanish and had but a high school education, was made ambassador to Spain. Mel Sembler, who answered his Senate questionnaire on languages spoken wrote, "English, fluent," was appointed ambassador to Australia.

In TV 13's second segment Ms. Keelor reported, "We asked both ambassadors about the abuse charges. Zappala didn't respond. Ambassador Sembler didn't answer our questions but did write, "Straight is the most undervalued program in the United States. It is unfortunate that the media has chosen to focus upon unsubstantiated complaints." "

Straight and the Republican White House Drug Czars

Straight's predecessor program was called The Seed. The Seed had been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) under the directorship of Robert DuPont. Besides being director of NIDA Robert DuPont was also the second White House Drug Czar. NIDA stopped funding The Seed after a US Senate Report accused The Seed of using North Korean brainwashing methods on American kids. Dr. DuPont left government service and became a paid consultant for Straight. In fact, he claims that it was his idea that Straight go national. He also claims he was the one who got Nancy Reagan involved in Straight. Today he is on Straight's Advisory Board, under its latest name--the Drug Free America Foundation.

Drug Czar Carlton Turner accompanied Nancy Reagan on her first visit to Straight and endorses the front page of Miller Newton's book Not My Kid with these words: "Not My Kid should be required reading for any parent concerned about their children's future." Miller Newton is Straight's former national clinical director. Turner spoke at a Straight fund raising dinner in May 1982.

Donald Ian Macdonald, Straight's national medical research director, became another Reagan Drug Czar.

Bill Bennett was George Bush I's first Drug Czar. In 1989 Bennett assembled together prominent Americans from all over to help him develop the President's drug budget. Included on that team was Straight founder Mel Sembler, Robert DuPont, Carlton Turner, Joyce Tobias, Mac Vines and a host of others sympathetic to Straight.

Bush I made former Florida governor Bob Martinez his second Drug Czar. In 1992, Tampa's Channel 13 Eye Witness News handed Martinez the minutes from a Straight board of director's meeting which recorded that "John Martinez, former governor of Florida, will work with Straight on our licensing issues." When asked by Channel 13 News whether John Martinez was he, Martinez would make no comment.

Today James MacDonough, drug czar for the state of Florida, sits on the advisory board for Straight (under its third and current name DFAF) along with Jeb Bush, the President's brother, his wife Columba, and Toni Jennings, his lieutenant governor. Governor Jeb Bush has publicly endorsed SAFE, an Orlando treatment program that grew out of Straight-Orlando. George Bush I himself made a TV commercial for Straight right out of the Oval Office in return for contributions to his war chest by key Straight officials.