Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:05 AM
mgc1961 (1,184 posts)
Fear and loathing in Congress
Last edited Thu Jul 19, 2012, 10:21 AM - Edit history (2)
Political analyst Ron Reagan on Monday slammed Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for claiming the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the United States government.
“If crazy were people, Michele Bachmann would be China,” he told MSBNC host Chris Matthews.
Bachmann claims the U.S. government could be compromised by the Muslim Brotherhood because of Huma Abedin, a deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and wife of former New York congressman Anthony Weiner. Bachmann claims Abedin’s family is tied to the Islamist organization.
Rep. Allen West (R-FL) clarified his earlier claim that members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are communists at a press event with other House GOP conservatives Tuesday afternoon. He said communism is defined broadly as the creation and expansion of a welfare state.
West, a prolific fundraiser, has also recently started raising money by trumpeting his willingness to call House Democrats communists, in an e-mail to supporters: “In response to a question about Marxists in Congress, I called out the Congressional Progressive Caucus for their extreme left-wing positions. I stand by the point of my comments and I need you to stand with me today by making a contribution of $10 or more.”
Some of West’s colleagues nodded along as he spoke on Tuesday, while others appeared somewhat uncomfortable. None offered any pushback when he finished making his point.
A. J. Liebling, a journalist for the New Yorker and one of the featured correspondents in the book Assignment to Hell, interviewed a Nazi doctor in occupied France whose hospital unit had been overrun by a handful of lightly armed FFI (French Resistance) guerrillas. He wrote this about the interview:
I asked him if he thought the war was over, as far as Germany was concerned, and he said yes, the war was lost. "Three million Germans have been killed or wounded to save Europe from Bolshevism," he said, assuming the martyred look which the Germans always used to put on when, as "reasonable men," they discussed the last war with the Americans they took for suckers.*
Bachmann and West are plowing the same furrow as that doctor. Find a seemingly foreign or fearsome entity and use them to scare the bejesus out of people. If people begin to loose their fear of one, Bachmann and West will move on to the next popular target until the desired end is achieved.
As for Mr. Gay's book, which I mentioned in a previous post, I heartily recommend this historical gem. It's filled with stories of military tactics, correspondent competition, the London environs in which they lived, a little dirt on military leaders, some politics, near-death encounters with Axis troops while they were on the beat, etc... All of which are gleaned from newspaper articles, journals, personal letters, and interviews.
Words to wise though, this book is not a cabochon. It's a multi-faceted story which Mr. Gay admirably juggles. The beginning of the book is somewhat edgy and will take a bit of dedication to get through as the author jumps from one journalist to another, creating personal snapshots of each writer's domestic life. Stick with him, though. You'll be richly rewarded for doing so.
I think this passage from page 28 is my favorite:
On the evening of June 6, 1946, the second anniversary of D-Day, A. J. Liebling was at the Palace Bar and Grill, a West Forty-fifth Street watering hole run by a cigar-chomping barkeep name Joe Braun. Liebling loved his saloon chum; Braun spoke Liebling's language, the gritty patois of "side-street New York." The New Yorker writer had come alone to Braun's joint that night, beleaguered by thoughts of Easy Red and Normandy.
Liebling sat on a barstool and drank quietly. After awhile he looked up and asked Braun, "Have you ever seen a deck awash with blood and condensed milk?" Braun didn't say anything and went off to chip ice and serve someone else. Liebling, thinking his friend callous, was irked.
But a few moments later Braun stood in front of Liebling, put his cigar on the bar, and said, "If you seen that, Joe, it will stay with you." Liebling, Cronkite, Rooney, Bigart, and Boyle "seen" much in the Allies' crusade to right a world gone hideously wrong - and it stayed with them.
A decade after the war ended, Liebling wrote that if you leave memories alone, "they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them. In time, they recur in forms so implausible that you must go back and make sure the events they represent were real."
* Gay, Timothy M., Assignment to Hell. pg 278-279. From an interview with Pete Hamill, devotee and editor of the Liebling World War II collection.
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