Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Oct 31st, 2011


One Year Ago — October 31, 2010

Catholic Hostages Killed in Iraq

Image: Iraqi Chaladean Catholic Christians celebrate
Iraqi Chaladean Catholic Christians celebrate Easter mass at Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church in central Baghdad’s Al-Karrada neighborhood on March 23, 2008. The same church was the site of a four-hour seige on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP — Getty Images file)

One year ago today, I reported that at least 58 Iraqi Catholics died and more than 70 were wounded when police stormed a Baghdad church where gunmen were holding dozens of parishioners hostage, threatening to kill them if al-Qaida-prisoners were not released. Since the war began, Iraq has lost half of its 1.5 million Christians.


Two Years Ago — October 31, 2009

Anger in America

Two years ago today, on October 31, 2009, I reported that Microsoft Network (, promoting its new Bing! search engine, featured a demo search of “angry Americans.” It caught my attention, because history has shown that times of economic uncertainty — as we experienced while bogged down in two wars in the aftermath of 9/11 — can be a fertile breeding ground for extremist ideologies, as we saw in Germany during the Great Depression following a humiliating defeat in World War I.


Three Years Ago — October 31, 2008

The Ground War Has Begun

Write-in ballot ad (Image by Rifleman-Al)

Three years ago today, on October 31, 2008 — the 13th day of my write-in campaign against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District — I reported that I had launched a ground assault, with campaign ads running in 25 newspapers with a combined circulation of approximately 150,000.

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