They Told Me That You Had Gone Totally Insane

What am I supposed to think when I read stuff like this (hat-tip Mona)? Am I supposed to assume that the good people (*cough*) at Human Events mislabeled a bad Ann Coulter column as having been written by Newt Gingrich? Or am I supposed to think that Gingrich, has totally, utterly lost it? Because I’m thinking the latter:

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the leading captured terrorist from al Qaeda, offered a startling confession. He was almost certainly embellishing what he had done, but still, he told a chilling tale. He spoke unapologetically of the terrorist acts he had committed and those he had wished to commit.
He took responsibility for killing almost 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001. He said he had cut off a reporter’s head, held it in his hand, and had his picture taken with it. And what was the reaction of two United States senators?
They were worried that we had mistreated Khalid Sheik Mohammed in captivity.
They didn’t walk out of the room and say this is a frightening example of how serious our enemies are. They worried that we were dealing incorrectly with the man who had just finished saying how much he wanted to slaughter us.
This is a suicidal inability to come to grips with evil.

It reminds me of something the great historian William Manchester once said of the elites in the years leading up to World War II.
It was the spring of 1939, after the Munich agreement had failed, after Hitler had absorbed the rest of Czechoslovakia, and after it was obvious that all the deals the democracies had made with Nazi Germany — all the appeasement — had failed. As Europe moved toward war, Winston Churchill tried to create a Ministry of Supply in Great Britain for the terrible war he knew was coming.

The public supported him and even the newspapers supported him. But the people Manchester called “the men of Munich” — the elite, those who could not bring themselves to believe that Hitler was evil, that he meant what he said — blocked Churchill at every turn. They would rather risk defeat than admit that they had been wrong.

Today, we have the Men and Women of Munich. Just as before, these are elites who are afraid to face evil, afraid to recognize what our enemies are doing, and afraid to put partisanship aside and put America first so we can join together to defeat those who would destroy us.
The Men and Women of Munich have just scored a victory in Congress. They passed a bill that they have been enthusiastically telling their leftwing allies is designed to end the war in Iraq by crippling the military’s ability to achieve victory.
Think about what that means. They haven’t stood up courageously to vote to cut off funding for the war and take responsibility. No, they have avoided responsibility and sent the President a bill that is designed to fail and leave young Americans in uniform to pay the price.

Okay, so he’s called Democratic Senators “suicidal” and “incapable of coming to grips with evil” for thinking that torture is kind of bad, he’s equated a party that just won an election in a landslide with Neville Chamberlain, and accused them of “designing” legislation specifically to “leave young Americans in uniform to pay the price.” Wow. As Mona said, this stuff is far, far beyond parody.

Impossible Is Nothing

Matt is positively wicked today:

Ramesh Ponnuru reports that Sam Brownback “unveiled his Social Security plan here at the Club for Growth meeting. The plan is heavy on personal accounts and light on benefit cuts.” Can I do a plan that’s heavy on benefit increases but light on tax hikes? Maybe everyone gets a free personal account they can invest in my perpetual motion machine firm.

Ouch. This reminds me of a time in middle school when I was at summer camp (nerd camp, to be precise) and I tried to convince some of my classmates that, in fact, cold fusion is totally impossible. They disagreed because…just because, I guess. Luckily, our teaching assistant happened to be a physics major, and intellectually pwned them to such a degree that they gave up and cowered in defeat. If only such a person could do the same Brownback, Ponnuru, and the like.

Abby Normal

So, I’m reading Will Saletan’s latest piece in Slate, and the first paragraph is the following:

Imagine that killers have invaded your neighborhood. They’re in your house, and you and your neighbors are hiding in the cellar. Your baby starts to cry. If you had to press your hand over the baby’s face till it stopped fighting—if you had to smother it to save everyone else—would you do it?

Well, of course I would! It’s one life against many, what else would you do? Saletan continues:

If you’re normal, you wouldn’t, according to a study published last week in Nature. But if part of your brain were damaged—the ventromedial prefrontal cortex—you would.

Oh. I think I should make an appointment with my neurologist now…anyway, read the rest of the article. It’s great at showing how and why the pace of evolution is toward utilitarianism, and thus all that is good and jolly.

You Keep Citing That Constitution. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

This, in the LA Times op-ed page, is just ridiculous:

In the aftermath of Watergate, President Carter directed Atty. Gen. Griffin Bell to prepare legislation that would make the attorney general an appointed post for a definite term, subject to removal only for cause. Carter’s idea was to keep the attorney general independent of presidential direction to ensure that the Justice Department’s authority would never again be abused for political purposes, as it had been during the ethically troubled Nixon presidency.
Despite Carter’s noble intent, Bell refused. In a little-known memorandum to the president dated April 11, 1977, he explained why. Any law that restricted the president’s power to remove the attorney general — and, by inference, to fire any U.S. attorney — would likely be found unconstitutional. The president, Bell reasoned, is held accountable for the actions of the executive branch in its entirety, including the Justice Department; he must be free to establish policy and define priorities, even in the legal arena. “Because laws are not self-executing, their enforcement obviously cannot be separated from policy considerations,” Bell wrote.

The article goes on to argue that Bell was right and that, thus, Alberto Gonzales had every right to fire whoever he damn pleased. I wonder if Douglas Kmiec, the author of this article, has ever considered the case of the Federal Reserve, whose board members serve “definite term[s] subject to removal only for cause.” It’s a part of the executive branch, too. It works pretty much exactly like Carter’s ideal Justice Department would have worked. And you know what? It’s existed for over 90 years without being ruled unconstitutional. Gah.

I Don’t See Any Method At All, Sir

So, a year after seeking the Republican nomination for president, John McCain instigated seven meetings with the Democratic leadership about switching parties. Why an anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-union, anti-minimum wage, anti-Social Security, anti-separation of church and state Senator had any business in the Democratic party is beyond me, but I would have welcomed him at the time. Now, though, this is useful only as a way to force the Republicans to nominate a less electable candidate – like Newt Gingrich, say (please God). Which is to say, it’s pretty useful.

She’s Gotta Have It

Obviously, the ERA needs to be passed one way or another. But it seems like reintroducing it in the House and Senate is more work than is warranted. After all, the House, Senate, and 35 states have already ratified it. Yes, all this happened three decades ago, but there’s a valid constitutional argument that this shouldn’t matter. It seems to me that getting three states – Florida, Nevada, and Illinois (why the hell hasn’t Illinois ratified the ERA?) seem like the best bets – to ratify it would be significantly easier than starting the whole process over again, especially considering that nowadays you don’t have to be batshit insane to conclude that ERAs mandate marriage equality, meaning that the same sorts of people who voted for the FMA will be likely to view the ERA as its polar opposite. And if everyone who voted for the FMA votes against the ERA then, well, we’re screwed. Comparatively, if the ERA is ratified through the three-state strategy, it will probably be viewed as valid in at least some jurisdictions, even if others reject it. And that’s better than nothing, which is what reintroduction will get us.

Althouse Mad! Althouse Smash!

Wow. Ann Althouse is crazy. So basically: Ann Althouse is this conservative, faux-centrist University of Wisconsin law prof/blogger. She took a cheap shot at Jessica of Feministing for being attractive. Jessica defended herself, and a lot of her fellow bloggers helped. Althouse got extremely upset and went on months-long rants about how “unhinged” the left is for thinking women are more than sex objects.
So, Garance Franke-Ruta – a writer for The American Prospect, among other ventures – is debating Althouse on BloggingHeads, which is like a wonkier and more civil version of Crossfire. Except that it wasn’t more civil this time around. Franke-Ruta – while discussing the liberal blogosphere’s dislike of Althouse – brings up the fight Althouse had with Jessica. Althouse flips out. She is hysterical. She accuses Franke-Ruta of character assassination, threatens to hang up, and breaths fire for minutes about this. It’s truly a sight to behold and, as Ezra says, explains perfectly why liberal bloggers want to have nothing to do with this woman.

Silly Libertarians; Hayek Is For Kids!

Brian Doherty puzzles me:

Hayek is best known for his 1944 book, “The Road to Serfdom,” which demonstrated to those who believed in a benign socialism that government economic control tends inexorably toward political tyranny.

Really, Brian? You actually believe that Hayek “demonstrated” that welfare states lead “inexorably” to totalitarianism, like it’s some kind of empirical law? I mean, this does explain why all of Western Europe is now Stalinist, wait, no, what the hell?