Wednesday, January 11, 2006
On this day:

Fact-checking A Bama Blog

(Warning...long post ahead. But, it will probably be the only one today, so read on if you dare. All links will open in a new window.)

Whenever I state something as a fact, I always do my best to ensure that it is just that - a fact. I mean...I'm an experienced blogger. I can Google with the best of 'em.

If I mess up, as I certainly will from time to time, then I hope that someone will point it out to me (and everyone else, via the comments section), so that I can correct my error. I prefer that it be done politely, but if not - it's no big deal - I'll make sure to post a correction, anyway.

However, if you accuse me of intentionally misrepresenting someone's position...and you don't do it nicely...and you are wrong because you failed to do your own damned fact-checking...then you can expect that Wrath of Lee P will pick up his tater-shooter and launch a thousand Alabama-sized hailstones at your lazy butt. (Figuratively speaking, of course.) was going along just fine until a few minutes ago. Sam Alito did a superb job at his Senate confirmation hearing, Gov. Riley's State of the State address was acceptable, my team won at trivia, and I've had a few beers. I hate to interrupt my good mood with this kind of unpleasantness, but as Yoda would say, "Done, it must be."

[Shifting to a serious tone.]

Monday, in a comment to this post, I said, factually:
...the NEA continues to advocate a nuclear freeze, stricter regulations on the sale of guns and ammunition, expansive abortion rights, education of illegal aliens at taxpayer expense, and handing over U.S. sovereignty to the International Court of Justice.
Some dude who calls himself "Dude" responded:
Lee, you need to provide some links for your "evidence" so that I can evaluate it. As I understand it, NEA does not have a pro-abortion policy. Rather, they support family planning, which encompasses reproductive freedom (which covers much more than abortion, such as birth control pills).

On the other issues, you are just so wrong. Handing over US sovreignty? Is that what you consider cooperation in the international community? Perhaps you forgot that we set up the Nuremburg trial? And for the nuclear freeze stuff, I hate to tell you but the US has signed a treaty which pledges nuclear disarmament. You might not know this with King George in power, but it is true. Look at Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

I think you're big on rhetoric, but short on substance.
What was he thinking? That I had pulled all of that out of thin air? Puh-leeze. This is a first-class operation I run here. And, I'll have you know that approximately 50% of my regular readers have told me as much. (Full disclosure: I only have one regular reader, and he's a schizophrenic, but I'll take what I can get.)

Nonetheless, I thought that "Dude" deserved the courtesy of a response, so I provided four. Here they are:

Point #1:

I said, "...the NEA continues to advocate...expansive abortion rights."

Here's the evidence you asked for:

NEA resolution I-13 states:

"The NEA supports family planning, including the right to reproductive freedom. The Association urges the government to give high priority to making available all methods of family planning to women and men unable to take advantage of private facilities. The Association also urges the implementation of community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling by trained personnel."

Prior to 1998, the NEA-PAC's questionnaire asked candidates whether they supported "reproductive freedom without government intervention."

In April, 2004, the NEA co-sponsored a pro-choice march (the March for Freedom of Choice) in Washington, D.C. NEA's opened up its D.C. headquarters as a "hospitality center" for marchers.
Point #2:

I said,

"...the NEA continues to advocate...handing over U.S. sovereignty to the International Court of Justice."

I should also have mentioned the International Criminal Court. Actually, that's the one I intended to mention in the first place, but conveniently, the NEA has taken positions on them both.

Here's the evidence you asked for:

NEA resolution I-2 states:

"The National Education Association believes in the concept of the rule of law throughout the world and recognizes that the International Court of Justice is one instrument to resolve international disputes peacefully. The Association urges participation by the United States in deliberations before the court."

NEA resolution I-3 states:

"The National Education Association believes that the International Criminal Court is critically important as an instrument to help end the impunity of human rights violators, provide for the rule of law, and hold accountable those who commit the gravest human rights crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The Association also believes that the United States should ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and recognize and support its authority and jurisdiction."

If the U.S. "recognizes and supports" the "authrority and jurisdiction" of the ICC, that constitutes handing over a part of our sovereignty, no matter how you look at it.

Point #3:

I said, "...the NEA continues to advocate a nuclear freeze..."

Here's the evidence you asked for:

NEA Resolution I-6, originally adopted in 1982 during the height of the Cold War, states:

"The National Education Association believes that nuclear war is not survivable. The proliferation of weapons technology and the sale and distribution of conventional and nuclear weapons increase the possibility of nuclear war.

"The Association also believes the United States and all other nations should adopt a verifiable freeze on the testing, development, production, upgrading, emplacement, sale, distribution, and deployment of nuclear weapons, materials, and all systems designed to deliver nuclear weapons. The Association supports the development of treaties for the cessation of all nuclear weapons testing, providing they contain adequate verification and enforcement provisions. The Association also supports the development of treaties to eliminate the world’s nuclear weapons arsenals."

You are right that the U.S. has signed treaties obligating it to reduce its stockpiles of nuclear weapons. The most recent of these were the START I and START II treaties and the Treaty of Moscow. (Only START II and the Treaty of Moscow were ratified by the U.S. Congress.)

You are wrong to suggest that the U.S. has ever agreed to a nuclear freeze. A "freeze" refers to a cessation of production, testing, and deployment. We have never agreed to that; the last presidential candidate to support it was Walter Mondale in 1984. Nonetheless, it remains on the NEA's agenda.

Allow me to add that Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty merely states that "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."

That is absolutely irrelevant to a "nuclear freeze" as advocated by the NEA. Under the NPT, the U.S. does not "pledge nuclear disarmament," as Dude suggests. It only pledges that it will "pursue negotiations in good faith...on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament." We have done that, and we are continuing to do that. A nuclear freeze is neither plausible nor required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.



I sincerely hope that I have met your high expectations by adequately supporting my "rhetoric" with substance. As for me, I am satisfied that every position I attributed to the NEA is in fact their position.

Again, sorry for the long post. I hope that y'all will agree with me that I am right and "Dude" is wrong, but if not...thanks for reading anyway. I look forward to your comments.