The wingosphere is flipping out over an explosive Elliot Abrams piece in which he lambastes Newt Gingrich for his vituperative assaults on Ronald Reagan back in the '80s. Abrams writes that, while the Reagan administration was battling Congressional Democrats over foreign policy, "Gingrich chose to attack . . . Reagan."
The best examples come from a famous floor statement Gingrich made on March 21, 1986. This was right in the middle of the fight over funding for the Nicaraguan contras; the money had been cut off by Congress in 1985, though Reagan got $100 million for this cause in 1986. Here is Gingrich: “Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing.” Why? This was due partly to “his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”; partly to CIA, State, and Defense, which “have no strategies to defeat the empire.” But of course “the burden of this failure frankly must be placed first on President Reagan.” Our efforts against the Communists in the Third World were “pathetically incompetent,” so those anti-Communist members of Congress who questioned the $100 million Reagan sought for the Nicaraguan “contra” rebels “are fundamentally right.”
And the best part:
Such was Gingrich’s faith in President Reagan that in 1985, he called Reagan’s meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “the most dangerous summit for the West since Adolf Hitler met with Neville Chamberlain in 1938 in Munich.”
The skit coined the concept of "Elk Theories" to describe scientific observations that are not theories but merely minimal accounts.
I've also heard the term "Elk Theories" used to describe hypotheses that mean nothing and prove nothing.
Which, you know, is what Beck's bizarre "six degrees" guilt-by-association "theory" comes down to. One can play this game with anyone. It wouldn't take six degrees to connect Glenn Beck to Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden or Timoth McVeigh, if he wants to play that game. But it wouldn't prove anything, would it?
Except, of course, that Glenn Beck is becoming so detached from reality that his programs are now unintentional comedy skits. And no, Glenn, we're not laughing with you. We're laughing at you.
The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.
However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.
Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as "a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder". His "half-baked theory" directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to "atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering", the site stated.
The film has sparked fierce debate on US Christian websites, with a typical comment dismissing evolution as "a silly theory with a serious lack of evidence to support it despite over a century of trying".
Jeremy Thomas, the Oscar-winning producer of Creation, said he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published.
"That's what we're up against. In 2009. It's amazing," he said.
"The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it's because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they've seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.
"It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There's still a great belief that He made the world in six days. It's quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules.
"Charles Darwin is, I suppose, the hero of the film. But we tried to make the film in a very even-handed way. Darwin wasn't saying 'kill all religion', he never said such a thing, but he is a totem for people."
No wonder conservatives believe liberals lack the courage of their convictions. We prove them right every other day.
I don't want war! All I want is peace...peace...peace...!
A little piece of Poland,
A little piece of France,
A little piece of Austria
And Hungary, perchance!
A little slice of Turkey
And all that that entails,
And then a bit of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales!"
-Mel Brooks, To Be Or Not To Be
I guess the news peg for this is the anniversary of the start of WWII in September 1939, but Pat Buchanan has gone ahead and apologized for Hitler, claiming he sought no empire or wider war with Europe, and had merely benign interests of German unification at heart:
Indeed, why would he want war when, by 1939, he was surrounded by allied, friendly or neutral neighbors, save France. And he had written off Alsace, because reconquering Alsace meant war with France, and that meant war with Britain, whose empire he admired and whom he had always sought as an ally.
As of March 1939, Hitler did not even have a border with Russia. How then could he invade Russia?
Matt Yglesias does quick work of the historical inaccuracies - Hitler invaded Russia as soon as he achieved a border with them by conquering Poland. And this is a decent riposte as well - Buchanan seems to expect a crazy person to also be a rational military strategist, and when he's not, searches for alternative explanation ("Hitler couldn't have wanted war because he didn't have enough planes! So it's Britain's fault!").
But I'll take the less dainty approach. In 1939, in a small town called Averduct on the German-Polish border, practically every member of my family was rounded up by Nazi authorities, herded into a local synagogue, and burned alive inside. This would fall in Buchanan's revisionism as part of the supposedly honest and forthright effort by Hitler to annex Danzig and restore the German homeland (hey, Hitler just wanted some Lebensraum - why not let him annex whatever he decided was part of Germany, right? Don't you want to save lives?). But my dead ancestors didn't live in Danzig (now Gdansk). They had nothing to do with such a conflict. Maybe that was the work of a few bad apple Nazis acting alone. That and the other 6 million incidents.
But the bigger point here to be made is that Pat Buchanan is paid by the allegedly liberal cable news network MSNBC, he has been on it for years, if you add up all his appearances throughout the day he probably spends as much time on the air as anyone outside of the Morning Joe crowd, and that's... OK. Calling Hitler misunderstood is not a firing offense at the liberal cable news network MSNBC.
Good to know.
My favorite comment in the Buchanan thread, by the way:
New Jersey Congressman Frank LoBiondo has apologized for suggesting on a radio talk show that detainees Guantanamo Bay detainees were worse than Adolf Hitler because the Nazi dictator "sort of had a political rationale about what he was doing." ...read on
More stupidity. What would happen if a Democrat made that statement? Will the ADL contact LaBiondo and demand an apology?
...So, like, Senator Rick Santorum, representing the batshit insane people of Pennsylvania, he of the famous "fags-and-dog-fuckers-are-the-same" line (or words to that effect), took to the Senate floor yesterday, and vomited out that Democrats using the filibuster rule to block extreme judicial nominees is "the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.'" Left Blogsylvania naturally exploded, and why not, since Santorum had so recently condemned Robert Byrd for simply invoking policies of Hitler in a debate over the filibuster rules in March...read on
Read the whole piece if you can. Santorum should know better that to get the Rude Pundit annoyed.