A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Another Of The Pack Of Lies Exposed

I had thought that I had sufficiently and tellingly mocked the so-called War On Christmas here and here. But a new development has arisen which makes it profitable to look at the whole issue again. Before I posted on my blog, I wrote a rebuttal, on another blog, to the well-known litany of all the supposedly horrid things the ACLU and everyone else are doing to Christmas.

I'm a member of the ACLU. They give us a little card to carry so we can say we are all "card carrying" members of the ACLU. If you are too young and were too inattentive in history class to know what that means, don't worry. It was a rather tired joke to begin with, but it still raises a chuckle from those of us who remember America's last home-grown attempt at fascism.

I know something about what the ACLU is and isn't doing, and the ACLU bashing about Christmas has me fed up to here [up to about 5'7" actually]. I'm not going to put up all the lies about everyone else here. I don't want them spread any further. But what I had to say should be sufficiently complete without them:

Anyone can say something is going on by citing and linking to someone else who says something is going on who demostrates it by citing and linking to still someone else who says something is going on.

I dilligently followed every secondary link I could find on Christmas from every primary link you give above. I found basicly the same bulleted assertions repeated over and over and over, in virtually the same words.

In no case whatever did I find any independent evidence that any of the assertions above are true.

No school official was named and quoted directly, no parent was named and quoted directly, no corporate official was named and quoted directly, no local newspaper reports from any of the communities were cited, there was no other source linked to but new and different websites with this same axe to grind and the same unsupported assertions to make. None.

There is no independent evidence that any of this either has happened or is going to happen. None.

I'm not inclined to run all the rest of the assertions down under such conditions, but I can take one of them and very easily test it:

The American Civil Liberties Union is again filing dozens of lawsuits nationwide to have all Christmas displays removed from government property (for violating the so-called "separation of church and state"), even if the public displays are strictly from private citizens or groups.

I went over to the ACLU website. I went to the section on Religious Liberty and I looked at every press release issued by the ACLU about their activities on religious issues for the past two years.

I then went through every legal brief or court decision in the Religion section for the past two years. I looked at every Fact Sheet the ACLU has available on this topic.

Not a single one of these made any reference whatever to Christmas or to lawsuits about Christmas displays. None.

The above quotation is a lie.

And I strongly suspect it is sitting in a pack of lies.

Now another of the pack of lies has been exploded, and the exposure should go on the record in as many places as possible:

On Friday, December 9, on the Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," with Bill O'Reilly and guest Jim Pinkerton, Fox News analyst, it was falsely reported in a segment entitled "More Victories for Christmas," that ...

"In Plano, Texas, a school told students they couldn't wear red and green because they are Christmas colors." [ O'Reilly then added, "That's flat out fascism."--ed.]

Due to the number of e-mails, inquiries and phone calls to Plano ISD regarding students "wearing red and green," Superintendent of Schools Dr. Doug Otto has posted this communication to assure the school community that this rumor is not true.

"The school district does not restrict students or staff from wearing certain color clothes during holiday times or any other school days," noted Dr. Otto, who said that the school district's attorney has requested that Mr. O'Reilly retract the statement.

Dr. Otto said that attorneys have requested of Mr. O'Reilly that, in the future, he ask his fact checkers to do a more thorough job of confirming the facts before he airs them. "It would be our hope that you would engage in fair and balanced reporting of this nationally recognized school district in the future," wrote PISD's attorney.

I presume O'Reilly and Fox will have sense enough not to bring this up again. But a truly responsible news outlet and correspondent would publically correct the error on the air and in the transcript. As of this writing, the O'Reilly transcript has been neither pulled nor annotated explaining that the assertion was in error.

In fact, O'Reilly repeated the lie on the air on December 12. He then kited out the lie about the ACLU on the December 13 and December 14 segments.

By December 15, the last transcript currently posted, O'Reilly had not admitted any error, but he seems to have learned that your lies will be called out if you tell them about specific people or in specific places:

Meanwhile, according to a new poll, 62% of Americans said the use of 'happy holidays' instead of 'merry Christmas' is a change for the worse. Fox News analyst Juan Williams disputed the notion that secularists have declared war. "It's not a fabrication to say that you have a sense of what the 'folks' are feeling. But do you believe there's a reality out there that someone is trying to ban the use of 'Merry Christmas,' or disassociate Jesus from Christmas?" The Factor answered that question with another. "How else would you describe school districts telling children they can't have the Christmas Carol play, that can't have candy canes, they can't have a manger display?"

There is no more telling thing about the people who enjoy the "fair and balanced" side of the news, whether they get it from Fox or from some other blog, than their perfect willingness to simply parrot any assertion which curries their political prejudices without checking it.

It amounts to a trancendent disrespect for fact and an appetite for entertaining lies. That's not exactly what I would call prime preparation for the responsibilities of citizenship. Would you?


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