Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Archive for November, 2009

Nov 20th, 2009

Summary: A suicide bomber killed 16 people and wounded at least 23 others in a busy city square in western Afghanistan, while near the capital Kabul a powerful former warlord and ally of Afghan President Hamid Karzai narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 20, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” on November 18, 2008, dismissed as an “urban legend” reports that she had said on an October 17, 2008 cable show with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that then-Sen. Barack Obama and other members of Congress “may have anti-American views” and that “the news media should do a penetrating exposé … and find out if they’re pro-America or anti-America.”

Nov 19th, 2009

Summary: According to a November 2009 Anti-Defamation League Special Report titled “Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracies,” a wave of anti-government hostility has swept across the United States since the election of Barack Obama as president, creating a climate of fervor and activism with manifestations ranging from incivility in public forums to acts of intimidation and violence. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 19, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), at a November 2008 forum at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, leveled harsh criticism at the GOP, the lack of intellectual curiosity among some Republican members of Congress, the Bush administration’s handling of nearly every aspect of governance, and the conservative radio voices that dictate the GOP agenda.

Nov 18th, 2009

Summary: Like most of the mainstream media complicit in propagating a superficial, sanitized image of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, CNN has taken the bait. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 18, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that Iran praised the Iraqi Cabinet for approving a U.S-Iraq status-of-forces agreement and that Michael Hanna, an analyst at the Century Foundation in New York, said a continuing but finite presence of U.S. troops in Iraq could benefit Iran because it provides “retaliatory options” as Tehran pursues a nuclear program opposed by the West.

Nov 17th, 2009

Summary: Weekly report of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), compiled from U.S. Department of Defense News Releases. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 17, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had offered safe passage and security for the Taliban’s reclusive leader Mullah Omar if he agreed to enter peace talks, but that Taliban militants rejected the offer, saying there would be no negotiations until foreign troops left Afghanistan.

Nov 16th, 2009

Summary: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is making headlines in the British press, where she is touted as “a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who is being hailed as a new and increasingly powerful voice in American politics.” Excerpts from an article by Paul Harris, New York-based correspondent for The Observer and The Guardian, supplemented with annotated critique. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 16, 2008, I reported that racial incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are shattering the postelection illusion of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America. There have been “hundreds” of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.

Nov 15th, 2009

Summary: Iraq’s Sunni Arab vice president, Tareq al-Hashimi, is threatening to veto the country’s election law unless changes are made giving Iraqis living abroad more guaranteed seats in parliament, throwing the January vote into question. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 15, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that Adm. Chris Barrie, former chief of the Australian Defense Force, had said there was no evidence to justify going to war in Iraq in 2003; that two U.S. soldiers had been killed in helicopter crash Iraq; and that a car bomb had killed 10 people and wounded 30 in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

Nov 14th, 2009

Summary: A Rasmussen Reports poll of 1,000 likely Minnesota voters, conducted November 10, 2009, found U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s statewide job approval rating to be 51 percent, with 45 percent disapproving and 4 percent not sure. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 14, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported an Associated Press tally documenting at least 26 deadly bombings in Baghdad in the first half of November 2008, compared with 28 for all of October and 22 in September, with at least 102 people killed in the Iraqi capital in the first half of November 2008, compared with 95 in October and 96 in September.

Nov 13th, 2009

Summary: Morale has fallen among soldiers in Afghanistan, while those in Iraq show much improved mental health amid much lower violence. … There were 133 reported active-duty Army suicides from January 2009 through October 2009, compared with 115 for the same period in 2008. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 13, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that an Iraqi soldier fired automatic weapons at U.S. soldiers at a military base in Mosul, killing two and wounding six before dying in a hail of bullets; bombers struck Baghdad for a third straight day, killing 23 people and wounding scores in a string of attacks in mostly Shiite areas; a suicide bomber driving an oil tanker detonated his explosives outside an Afghan government office in Kandahar, Afghanistan during a provincial council meeting, killing at least six people and wounding 42; Iran test-fired a solid-fuel, high-speed Sajjil long-range surface-to-surface missile with a range of about 1,200 miles; and North Korea announced it would shut the country’s border with the South on Dec. 1, 2008.

Nov 12th, 2009

Summary: U.S. Rep. Steve Israel has called on U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann to apologize for Holocaust imagery displayed at a rally organized by Bachmann at the U.S. Capitol on November 5, 2009 to protest health care reform. … Photos and video from Bachmann’s “House Call on Congress” protest rally. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 12, 2008, Aubrey Immelman reported that since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the pendulum in Mosul, Iraq, had swung several times between stark violence and fragile security and that the future of Mosul hung in the balance. Immelman also reported that Taliban fighters had hijacked trucks carrying Humvees and other supplies for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan.

Nov 11th, 2009

Summary: Video from the 2009 St. Cloud-area Veterans Day Parade. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on November 11, 2008, Aubrey Immelman featured NBC Today’s “American Story with Bob Dotson” from Arlington National Cemetery, where mothers remembered their veteran sons who lost their lives in combat.