HOUSTON — The Lone Star Iconoclast, a weekly newspaper in Crawford, Texas (declared hometown of George W. Bush), has endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president. The newspaper’s editors endorsed Bush in 2000.

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 its 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 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, for whom Vice President Cheney worked. The paper cites the multibillion-dollar contracts Halliburton has been awarded without any meaningful bid process and calls this “an enormous conflict of interest.”

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.”

Although the paper initially supported the war in Iraq, it now says that “we were duped into following yet another privileged agenda. … Iraq is now a quagmire: no WMDs, no substantive link between Saddam and Osama, and no workable plan for the withdrawal of our troops.”

The author can be reached at phill2@houston.rr.com.