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No Fundraiser in Athens...The truth About Bill Simon...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

By Bill Simon - Editor

Update About Athens' Chamber of Commerce Event

Last week I reported that the Athens Chamber of Commerce was going to have Ralph Reed as their headliner for $150 a ticket.

And, I reported that Tom Wyatt was the "VP of Government Affairs" for that Chamber and that he gushed over the prospect of having Ralph Reed speak at the event.

Mr. Wyatt sent me an e-mail correcting the record that 1) he did not "gush" over the possibility of Ralph speaking at the fundraiser, 2) he was "Director of Community Development and Government Affairs" and not "VP of Government Affairs", and, 3) the event has been canceled due to a lack of membership interest.

I apologize to Mr. Wyatt for misquoting him and for mis-identifying his role at the Athens Chamber of Commerce.

I am, however, rather surprised that the event got canceled due to "lack of interest." The question we should all ask is: Was it due to the intended speaker (i.e., Ralph Reed) or the price of the admission ticket ($150) that caused the event to have no interest? Hmmm...

The Truth About Bill Simon

There is a rumor going around that I, Bill Simon, dislike and distrust Ralph Reed because I am "anti-Christian." Nothing could be further from the truth, but before I get to the truth about Ralph and I, I will tell you some things that are true about some of my writings in the past.

In the past, some of my rantings have been misdirected at the wrong individuals. It is not "Christians" as a religion that I have been so adamant against…it is anyone who uses their Christianity (or, any religion) to further a political goal. It is those Christians who engage in lying, cheating, stealing (on some occasions, basically acting as a Bible salesman to extract money from those who can least afford letting go of the money), and basically violating so many of The Ten Commandments as to render them completely meaningless when it comes to seeing the results of their actions.

It is those Christians who believe the ends justifies the means in their political agenda that I disagree with so vehemently that I take to writing about my disgust of them. And, I admit that most Christians are NOT like the "political Christians" who wrap themselves in the cloak of the Bible in an attempt to defend their actions as "Godly."

But, I've never been clear enough in whose actions I am disgusted with…and for that, I humbly apologize and I am truly sorry for any statements I have made against those people who truly live a Christian existence. Because, I have many, many friends...close friends who ARE Christians...the ones who are practicing believers in every aspect of their lives that have told me for the longest time that I am not expressing myself correctly. And, I didn't figure it out until recently of the wrongs I have committed by not being clear in who I was mad at.

Well, something finally clicked in my head, and realize exactly where I have erred. It is not "Christians" that I am "anti-", but it is the Christian Coalition (and, similar political action committees, whether they are a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(4)), an organization whose members tend to act neither as "Christians" or as a "coalition", that I am against.

I believe there were good intentions intended in the original incarnation of the Christian Coalition. But, it has devolved into a morass of people who merely use the Bible as a shield and a sword to cover their true intentions, and I believe Ralph Reed is personally to blame for that result.

In 2001, during the state chairman's race, I opposed Ralph's candidacy via the Political Vine, which then only existed as an e-mail tree. At the time, the PV was "reporting" (a term to be taken in the satirical context that the PV existed then in, and how it exists today) the interplay between the different camps of David Shafer vs. Ralph Reed.

At no time did I express an objection (either by me or anyone else who opposed Ralph Reed as state party chairman) that was based on Ralph's previous work as Executive Director of the National Christian Coalition.

However, Ralph Reed (and his slimy sidekick, Tim Phillips) decided to accuse anyone who dared to oppose his candidacy as someone who had to be "anti-people of faith."

Despite the fact that the opposition to Ralph then had everything to do with his dismal record of running winning campaigns, his record of hypocrisy in activities such as lobbying in favor of Channel One, a TV station beamed into Alabama schools that was directly opposed by Eagle Forum and Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, and his inability to deliver mail on time during some of the 2000 elections, Ralph decided that it was okay to play his Christian religion card…and, it was interesting to watch and listen to the sycophants gobble-up his religious rhetoric and take that message as a banner to fly under.

Did Ralph win the state chairman's race because he played his religious card so deftly? Yes, I think so. And, yes, I'll bet people like Sadie Fields and the rest of the Georgia Christian Coalition thought the end justified the means. But, just because those people think it is okay to lie and cheat to achieve success in political races, that doesn't make it right. Or, acceptable.

Let's fast-forward to the current Lt. Governor's race. Notice anything different between now and 2001? I do. The defense rhetoric coming out of the Ralph Reed camp is not that anyone who opposes his candidacy is "anti-people of faith," but that anyone who does is a "liberal." Any publication who dares to report the truth about Ralph is also labeled "liberal."

Hmm...I wonder why he's not using the same religious playing card this time around that worked so well in 2001? Could it be that this is a much bigger race and that crap won't play well in a statewide race?

Could it also be there are many people who once worked for him at Century Strategies who now are working hard against him? Elizabeth Dewberry once worked for Ralph at Century Strategies...she now is the campaign manager for Ralph's opponent, Casey Cagle.

Joel McElhannon once worked for Ralph as well at Century Strategies. He is now working as Casey's general consultant. Are both Elizabeth and Joel against Ralph because they are "liberal" or "anti-Christian?" What about people like Senator Chip Rogers? Senator Chip Pearson? All anti-people of faith, eh?

I kinda doubt it, but I'm sure knuckleheads like Sadie Fields and Judi Quigley think they are. Again, when you are trained in the belief that the ends justifies the means, the truth about people and events doesn't really matter in any way, shape or form. The only thing that matters is the end result.

All of the stories printed about Ralph and Jack Abramoff neglect to mention the obvious about Ralph Reed. I guess because they are only engaged in "reporting" the issues, it is easy to ignore the basic fact about Ralph: Ralph is willing to manipulate and con other Christians into opposing "sinful" businesses, all the while he is getting paid very well to achieve that result. (I wonder how the Christians and pastors who acted on Ralph's information personally feel about such manipulation?)

Now, Ralph likes to claim that he 1) didn't know who was really paying his consulting fees, and 2) he was opposed to the spread of gambling and he did good things in whipping-up the devoted faithful into opposing these casino initiatives.

If this were truly the case, then one has to ask where Ralph was when The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians started work on their new Pearl River Casino near Philadelphia, Mississippi? This was announced in November of 2000 by the Choctaws and was estimated to cost $750-million, and take up to 2 years to complete the first stage or so. It officially opened its doors on October 4, 2002.

Yet, there are no stories that show how Ralph Reed opposed the building of this new casino, nor are there any stories at all mentioning any opposition to this new casino in Mississippi. Hmm...could it be that the reason Ralph didn't oppose this casino was because he was getting paid by the Mississippi Band of Choctaws to oppose any other threats to their expanding casino operations, and Ralph wouldn't oppose this casino because that would hurt the very people he was being hired to protect?

I have two other examples that demonstrate that Ralph only works on projects when it is primarily a financial benefit to him to manipulate the faith of other Christians to be used to achieve certain political outcomes.

The first example is about Ralph opposing the extension of China's most-favored nation status while he was ED of the Christian Coalition, and a year afterwards, when he had left the Christian Coalition, he is suddenly in favor of it. Rather than me go through the whole diatribe, I recommend you read this article from WORLD Magazine, a Christian magazine...and one that could hardly be called "liberal."

I will excerpt the very last quote from the WORLD article because it summarizes exactly who and what type of person Ralph Reed really is: "Meanwhile, the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling's Mr. Grey is one of many angered by Mr. Reed's conduct: 'The money was given to Ralph to protect gambling interests, and Ralph Reed became an agent for gambling...The real story here is that Ralph Reed used social conservatives for his own corporate ends. You don't get much more of a public betrayal than that.'"

The final example I have is Ralph's efforts to get in good with the Jewish community. Not necessarily the Jewish community as a whole, but more to gain necessary trust in order to obtain goodwill to tap into the financial resources when it was time.

The vehicle used by Reed to gain this trust was a project developed by him and Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews ("IFCJ"). The project was called Stand For Israel and its' purpose was to collect money from Evangelical Christians in the United States who wished to support Israel.

Ralph took complete control of the fundraising arm and developed the letters and managed the direct-mail operation that sent letters to Evangelical Christians across the country in order to collect money to send to Israel. Nothing wrong with that at all…except Ralph wasn't doing all of this out of the goodness of his heart or to necessarily help people in Israel. He was doing it because he was being paid to use his influence in the Christian community for Stand for Israel.

According to the disclosures of the IFCJ, Century Strategies was paid $472,498 in 2002 for "project management." In 2003, Century Strategies was again paid for project management services in the amount of $295,775. Based on what I hear, there was a nasty break-up between Stand for Israel and Century Strategies and Reed's services were no longer welcome or wanted in 2004. (Of course, I can predict that Ralph will go get some letter from Rabbi Eckstein or a surrogate that showers him with praise for his activities in Stand for Israel.)

For those of you not following my line of fact presentation, it is simply this: Ralph only does things in politics for his own financial and political benefit. In order to achieve the political and/or business goals of his clients, he will manipulate whomever he can, in whatever way he can, to meet those goals. The man has no shame and no conscience for his behavior. It is all a matter of duck-and-weave whenever his hands are discovered to be full of cookies from the cookie jar of public trust.

I believe that one day down the road, if members of the public relations arm of Al-Quaida show-up at Ralph's door and offer him $100 million to help turn America's hatred of them into a more friendly environment, Ralph would jump at the opportunity. Because, I don't believe Ralph has any qualms in selling/renting/leasing his religion to anyone and everyone who will pay the going rate.

For those of you who support Ralph for whatever cockamamie reasons you've come up with, you will be contributing to the decline of Republican Party in your steadfastness support of a charlatan like Ralph Reed. In case you've been blind to the news coming-out of Washington, D.C. these days, the image of the GOP is not very positive.

We have "Scooter" Libby, Representative "Duke" Cunningham, Representative Tom DeLay, Lobbyist and General Con-Man Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Representative Bob Ney…and, from what I hear, Abramoff is on the verge of completing a deal that will expose even more Representatives like Speaker of The House Dennis Hastert and a mess of others who appear to have accepted bribes for certain legislation to be passed or not passed, and for certain policies to come out of the Department of Interior in favor of one tribe over another. I, for one, will delight in seeing the heads roll because the only way the GOP can regain the trust of the American people is that all of the rot is exposed.

In other news, I am working on another story on my good friend Ralph Reed…one that, I think, will make the case for Ralph willfully violating federal RICO laws. Lots of the e-mails between he and Jack Abramoff demonstrate repeated crossings of state lines (racketeering is the crossing of state lines and is the "R" in RICO) and deliberate influencing of elected members of the state legislatures in Alabama and Texas (the "I" in RICO). Should be a fun read for y'all when I get a week's worth of time-off to work on it. Might even make for a good dovetail into the recent legal actions filed in Texas that accuse Ralph of lobbying in that state without registering as a lobbyist.

In conclusion, I started this discussion with an apology and I will end it with an apology. If you are a true Christian (i.e., one who lives his/her life as a true Christian) and have been offended when I, in the past, have misused the phrase "Christian" or "Evangelical Christians" in a derogatory manner that offended you, I truly am sorry. I know that I have good friends in the Republican Party who are Evangelical Christians who have been quite patient with my outbursts, and I appreciate their friendship. I am not, as Ralph and his merry band of liars claims, "anti-Christian."

If, however, you are what I (and others) term a "political Christian" (e.g., a member of the Christian Coalition or any group which has a political agenda in its form of practicing Christianity…insert Ralph Reed's name, insert Sadie Fields' name…insert Linda Hamrick's name…insert a whole bunch of people's names here as examples), then I offer you NO apology and recommend that you read the following very carefully: As long as you operate in a manner of the "ends justifying the means" type of political action, you and I will forever be permanent enemies. I will call you out by name when you lie about me, about any of my friends…about anyone, whether they be Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent…because, as John Linder said back in 2002, in his race against Bob Barr: "Hyperbole is okay in politics. Lying is not."

One final note (really, then I will shut up)…a few weeks ago, I saw Ralph speak at a weekend of the Coverdell Leadership Institute. I forget what Ralph's topic was about, but I remember him talking about how he loves to read all about President Ronald Reagan and how any new biographical book that hits the shelves, he is quick to go buy it and read it. In a book he had recently read about Reagan he took from it this credo of Reagan's: "You can disagree with someone without being disagreeable." Ralph was trying to communicate to the gathered throng of eager newbie Republican activists that they should all just try to "get along" with each other in the Republican Party and not be so "disagreeable" with one another.

If my disgust of Ralph Reed was truly something on the basis of a disagreement of policy or a Republican plank, then I could see Ralph's point of view. But, my disgust of him is not anything in his Republican jacket…it is his failure to adhere to minimum standards of decency of character and integrity at nearly every turn, whether a personal encounter or what I read in going through all of the e-mails between he and Jack Abramoff and seeing how much he manipulated other Christians to do his bidding. This is not merely a "disagreement" I have with Ralph, any more than the war in Iraq is a "disagreement" between the United States and Iraq.

Ralph can read all of the books on Ronald Reagan he wants…and, use all of the quotes on Reagan he wants. He could even get a face transplant to more look like Reagan…but, he will NEVER have the integrity and character of President Ronald Reagan. Ralph is just too rotten to the core.

Bill Simon - Editor

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