Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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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.”

Oct 7th, 2009

Summary: News and analysis on the 8th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban government, destroy al-Qaida, and kill or capture Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the terrorist organization. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the 28th day after losing his 2008 primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman, in line with his focus on national security, examined the differences between presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain with respect to handling the war in Iraq.

Jul 17th, 2009

Three soldiers have been killed in an attack on a U.S. coalition base in Basra, Iraq. … Update: It has been confirmed that the three American soldiers killed in a rocket attack on a U.S. base in Basra were members of the Minnesota National Guard 34th Infantry Division Red Bulls. … Taliban commanders are threatening to execute a captured American soldier unless the U.S. military stops operations in two districts of southeastern Afghanistan. … Update: Taliban releases video showing captured soldier. … Coordinated bombings kill at least 8 and wounding 50 at the Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on the third day of his 2008 campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Aubrey Immelman was interviewed by Tim Pugmire of Minnesota Public Radio, who quoted political analyst Steve Frank of St. Cloud State University as saying Immelman was “a serious candidate.”

Summary: The fallout from a three-day terrorist rampage that killed nearly 200 people in Mumbai threatens to unravel India’s improving ties with Pakistan and prompted the resignation of India’s security minister. … Iraq’s influential Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani reportedly has reservations about a status-of-forces allowing U.S. troops to stay in the country until the end of 2011, but is leaving it up to politicians to decide the value of the security pact.

Nov 29th, 2008

Summary: A rocket attack on a U.N. compound in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone has killed two foreigners and wounded 15. … A suicide bomber struck Shiite worshippers at a mosque run by followers of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, killing at least 12 people, a day after Iraqi lawmakers approved a status-of-forces agreement with the Bush administration. … The Iraqi parliament’s approval of a security pact with the U.S. has propelled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki into a position of strength unsurpassed among Iraqi political leaders since the fall of Saddam Hussein; however, it has also set the stage for a power struggle in the run-up to the 2010 Iraqi elections, which may weaken Maliki’s dominance.

Nov 28th, 2008

Summary: Al-Qaida’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, said in an Internet video the U.S. financial crisis was caused by Washington’s military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and taxpayers were paying the price. … Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has emerged as a nationalist strongman after reaching a status-of-forces agreement with the Bush administration requiring U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011.