Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Oct 2nd, 2010

Summary: Responding to credible al-Qaida threats, the U.S. State Department is issuing a travel alert urging American citizens to be vigilant if they travel in Europe. Officials have not identified specific targets, but it’s likely terrorists might be considering Mumbai-style “swarm attacks.” … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on October 2, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, U.S. Fearmonger-in-Chief — as though vying for the title of “World’s Greatest Exaggerator” — made the histrionic claim that by fall 2010 “someone’s 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back, and go home on the school bus that night … [with] Mom and Dad … never the wiser.”

Aug 21st, 2009

Summary: Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge claims in a new book that he was pressured by other members of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet to raise the nation’s terror alert level just before the 2004 presidential election. … One-year retrospective: On the 38th day of his campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination as House of Representatives candidate in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman announced the August 22 kick-off of a second walking tour, this time a 50-mile campaign swing from Foley in the east to Paynesville on the western boundary of the Sixth Congressional District. … In line with his campaign focus on national security, he also featured a Newsweek interview with Gen. David Petraeus, in which the former U.S. commander in Iraq explained why vigilance was still needed in Iraq and why Afghanistan in some ways poses an even greater security dilemma for the United States.