Steven Luckert and Susan Bachrach:
In the final years of the Weimar Republic, Germany was mired in a grave political and economic crisis that left the society verging on civil war. Street violence by paramilitary organizations on the Left and the Right increased sharply. In the final ten days of the July 1932 parliamentary elections, Prussian authorities reported three hundred acts of politically motivated violence that left twenty-four people dead and almost three hundred injured. In the Nazi campaigns, propaganda and terror were closely linked. In Berlin, Nazi Party leader Joseph Goebbels intentionally provoked Communist and Social Democratic actions by marching SA [Brownshirt] storm troopers into working-class neighborhoods where those parties had strongholds. Then he invoked the heroism of the Nazi "martyrs" who were injured or killed in these battles to garner greater public attention. Nazi newspapers, photographs, films, and later paintings dramatized the exploits of these fighters. The "Horst Wessel Song," bearing the name of the twenty-three-year-old storm trooper and protege of Goebbels who was killed in 1930, became the Nazi hymn. The well-publicized image of the SA-man with a bandaged head, a stirring reminder of his combat against the "Marxists" (along with other portrayals of muscular, oversized storm troopers), became standard in party propaganda. In the first eight months of 1932, the Nazis claimed that seventy "martyrs" had fallen in battle against the enemy. Such heroic depictions -- set against the grim realities of chronic unemployment and underemployment for young people during the Weimar period -- no doubt helped increase membership in the SA units, which expanded in Berlin from 450 men in 1926 to some 32,000 by January 1933.
So, what happens next?
The wingnuts send their goon squads to pick a fight with a pro-reform activist, or a cop, with the cameras rolling at a health reform town hall meeting. Then he falls to the ground. The next day, he shows up, heavily bandaged, on Fox, to scream and cry about how Obama's evil thugs beat him with large heavy objects. And it will play on Fox every hour on the hour for days. Fox will wildly exaggerate and outright lie about what happened, and their fanbase will believe the lies, even though the actual videotape of the event contradicts them.
Beck, Rush and Hannity will step up their calls for the goon squads to get out there and "martyr" themselves.
Just like the 18 guys on 911 martyred themselves, perhaps.
And then the spiral of violence goes crazy.
And every time the health care debate goes badly for the wingnuts, they will "wave the bloody shirt" and roll out their martyr again.
Maybe they'll use Joe the Plumber, their previous fake working-class hero.
Or perhaps they'll burn down the Reichstag. Hey, they're following Mein Kampf in every other detail...?
Remember, you heard it here first!
**UPDATE** -- And here it is!
But take a look at the video of the supposed assault. It enters the scene a bit late -- an SEIU member is already on the ground and appears to be injured, but we can't tell what the cause was. As he's laying there, other SEIU members come to his protection, and one of them pulls down Gladney; both men fall to the pavement. Both quickly get back up. There appears to be little to it. [A section of the video showing the supposed assault is in slow motion.] Indeed, it's readily apparent that Gladney seems completely unhurt. He wanders out to the crowd, chats with the cameraman, flags down a cop, and saunters back to where police decide to handcuff the man who knocked him down. As you can hear, the man protests that he was just keeping Gladney away from his fallen friend. The next day, Gladney is at the press conference in a wheelchair. He claims to be too medicated to speak, so his lawyers and fellow tea partiers do it for him.
Here's some irony: Gladney has no health insurance and his begging for charity to pay for his emeregency room visit.
Hat tip to Sadly, No!
...Another update: apparently the guy lied about not having insurance too -- he actually does have coverage, through his wife. This guy has lied about his brief brush with fame even more than Joe the Plumber or that crazy girl who claimed a black guy carved a "B" in her face. Aren't paid Republican thugs usually better-trained liars than this?