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November 13, 2005
If You Still Doubt

The fact that they supported, promoted, and encouraged people like this is proof-positive that the Bush Administration is made up of evil people.

Melvin Sembler stepped down earlier this year as Our Man In Rome -- he also served under the first Bush as Ambassador to Australia. Were Monroe's story unique, his STRAIGHT clinics might still be in business. Instead, his creation, which he stubbornly defends, closed under a breathtaking array of institutional abuse claims by 1993, ranging from sexual abuse, beating and stomping to boys called "faggots" for hours while being spat upon -- humiliation so bad that a Pennsylvania judge recently ruled it potentially mitigating of a Death Row sentence for a former STRAIGHT teen who committed a homophobic murder.

The fact that they consider it okey-dokey to make a monster like this an ambassador probably goes a long way to explaining why they don't think torture is wrong.

The story begins in 1976 when Sembler, who'd made his fortune in Florida real estate, founded STRAIGHT from the ashes of The Seed -- an earlier program suspended by the U.S. Senate for tactics reminiscent, said a senator, of Communist POW camps.


The Senate was less impressed than Sembler with The Seed. Senator Sam Ervin, who'd brought down Richard Nixon, killed the program's federal subsidies for funding a method "similar to the highly refined 'brainwashing' techniques employed by the North Koreans."

Today's Axis of Evil. Yesterday's role model.

Fortunately for this guy, he was rich. If you're a Republican and you make political donations, you can do...or get...whatever you want.

But today, Sembler's trail of purchased political friendships has led him through the opulent doors of the $83 million "Mel Sembler Building" in Rome, christened this year with help from a longtime ally in Congress, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-FL). Not the palace where Sembler worked as ambassador, but another of the Eternal City's architectural treasures, built in 1927 and now dedicated as an annex to the U.S. Embassy in a $30 million renovation at taxpayer expense. "Narcissus is now Greek and Roman," said the Washington Post of the monument. No one could remember any other diplomat receiving such honors, not even Benjamin Franklin.

Except the Dipshit-In-Chief, who only-too-clearly has no idea what's going on.

"We don't do that, do we?" George W. Bush reportedly told the congressman, according to Congressman C.W. Bill Young 's (R-Florida) speech during the ceremony. "We don't name buildings for ambassadors where they have served."

"Mr. President," the politician replied, "I introduced the bill and you signed it."

Worst President in history? Unquestionably.

How is it possible to pretend, even to yourself, that you're the President of the United States when you remain so completely and entirely clueless about reality?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:35 AM


Thanks so much for picking up the Sembler/Straight, Inc. story and running it on your site. There are many Straight, Inc. survivors that appreciate it very much!

Posted by: Lesli at November 20, 2005 02:54 PM

Yes, I agree. Thank you for posting the Straight/Sembler story. I think its high time America knew just how corrupt our current leaders are. And justice for Straight Survivors is long overdue. Sembler & Co need to be in prison NOW. It also seems that the Bush Administration not only approves of torture of political prisoners, but also approves of the use of torture to "fix" rebellious teens.

Posted by: Kris at November 20, 2005 09:02 PM

You nailed it with "today's axis of evil". This problem goes way beyond sadistic staffers (read: kids who were put in charge of other kids - at the direction of these dolts) - this cancer has metastisized so deeply, that society's only hope for a complete cure is a radicial excision of the primary tumors - namely the people who inject their attitudes about youth into parents and others who will come to abide and endorse this mistreatment.

Yes, Straight, Inc. is no longer - but it's legacy lives on and has multiplied exponentially.

Thank you for speaking out about this moron.

Posted by: Sara at November 20, 2005 11:44 PM