History is repeating: Dennis Glover on the Capitol Hill riot

If something can happen once, it can happen again. This is the oft-ignored first lesson of history. The second lesson is that humans usually forget lesson number one. Watching the attempted coup unfold at the Capitol building, those two lessons kept working through my mind. Never have I felt like I was living so intensely in history. Maybe you did too.

In 1923, after almost a decade of economic suffering caused by the First World War, Germany was hit by an intense economic shock – hyperinflation, which destroyed middle class savings and raised the cost of a simple loaf of bread to several billion marks. Into this turmoil stepped a little known agitator named Adolf Hitler – a man considered an embarrassment to his establishment backers but who had a gift for speaking to the people. On the night of 8 November, in a Munich beer hall, Hitler assembled a ramshackle collection of his followers – angry extremists dismissed as uneducated buffoons, and right-wing establishment figures who thought they could easily control him – and convinced them to take over the Bavarian state government and march on to Berlin to seize power. In a confused, pathetic fiasco, four policemen and 14 others were killed and Hitler slinked away to later be arrested.

At the time it was easy to dismiss this Beer Hall Putsch as a mad failure. And it would have been had authorities responded better. Hitler and his supporters were arrested and charged with high treason, but instead of being given life sentences or executed, were let off. A biased judge sentenced Hitler to just five years in gaol and a modest fine. He served only 10 months in luxurious detention, during which he wrote a book setting out his intention to take power, murder the Jews and revenge Germany’s defeat in 1918 – Mein Kampf. Soon after his release, his party, the Nazi Party, was allowed to re-form, and ten years later took power legally – having accepted the lesson of the failed coup that power had to be sought constitutionally. Within weeks of becoming Reich Chancellor, he arrested and murdered his major opponents and abolished democracy – just as he had first planned to do back in 1923.

By now, you’ve probably figured out where this lesson is heading. Donald Trump’s attempted coup of last week has so many obvious similarities: the ranting leader, the ludicrous-looking followers, the hastily planned insurrection that was countered weakly by the state and could have ended up much worse. If history can ever repeat, it did on 6 January. Will the second half of the story repeat also?

To ensure it doesn’t, democracies everywhere now need to heed the lessons. I believe there are at least four. You can probably think of more.

First, there must be no leniency. Had Hitler faced the full force of the law, he would not have been around to take power when the German state was once again shaken by the Great Depression of 1929. He could not have successfully exploited the crisis from gaol or the grave. Or to put this lesson in the positive: democracy must defend itself without reservations. Calls by some to simply ignore Trump in his last two weeks of office are historically illiterate. History backs the calls for Trump and his followers to be removed, impeached and prosecuted.

Second, the conditions in which extremists flourish must be addressed. As happened in Germany between 1914 and 1933, democracy is most at risk when prolonged periods of inequality and economic discontent are followed by sudden and devastating shocks. In an America in which blue-collar living standards have been declining for decades, creating the discontented army that now worships Trump, how well can democracy negotiate yet another Global Financial Crisis? Those whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the remorseless amoral direction of the economy cannot continue to be ignored. The redistribution of income is no longer a left-wing cause, it is a democratic imperative. So is finding new ways of connecting emotionally with everyday people’s sense of economic and cultural loss. January 6 was surely is the ultimate wake-up call.

Third, read the signs early, because they are everywhere. During the election campaign and after, armed militias appeared openly on the streets, brought their ‘long guns’ into state legislatures, and even threatened to kidnap a state governor – and yet the threat was underplayed. This happened in pre-Nazi Germany too, and the tendency now as then was to ignore it. This behaviour cannot be allowed to be normalised.

And fourth, rid yourself of the idea that it can’t all happen again. If ten years ago someone had told you that an armed mob would take over the Congress on the day it was due to ratify a presidential election and demand that a right-wing populist demagogue be kept in the White House after losing by seven million votes, you wouldn’t have believed it, would you? Last week told us that such things can and do happen. We have now been warned, twice. What might happen next time? As Donald Trump said to his followers on the day of the failed coup attempt, ‘our incredible journey is only just beginning.’  Hitler couldn’t have put it better himself.

Dennis Glover is a Labor speechwriter and novelist. His latest novel is Factory 19, published by Black Inc.

This entry was posted in Democracy, Economics and public policy, History, Political theory, Politics - international. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to History is repeating: Dennis Glover on the Capitol Hill riot

  1. Antonios Sarhanis says:

    Let me count the ways Trump is nothing like Hitler.

    Trump is 74.

    Trump has a converted Jewish daughter.

    Trump has been the least bellicose president I can remember (I’m 41).

    It was not a coup. There were no organs of state being taken over or even remotely interested in supporting the “movement”. It was a ramshackle protest that could have been handled by better security.

    Trump’s primary means of communication was taken away from him by a bunch of corporations in full support of the Trump’s opposing party.

    Trump has no ideology and no organisational talent whatsoever.

    Trump is persona non grata wherever there are levers of power.

    • Jim Kable says:

      Hitler’s step-father was Jewish, I believe – not quite the same thing as a son-in-law+convert daughter I admit…

    • Ping Barney says:

      While I don’t want to excuse the riots at Capitol Hill, +1 to this. Club Troppo I liked your blogs, especially about Covid, but this one is really off. I do commend you on your ability to step back and analyze, but neither is Trump Hitler, not were the mobs “a coup”. I’d encourage you to blog about future expectations though, because I’d be worried about what to come. Trump Jr? AOC? Much more potential for serious concerns.

  2. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Antonios, it seems to me to make more sense to try to figure out what might make most sense in what someone says. Even if Dennis has written the piece to suggest that Trump is like Hitler, he’s obviously drawing an analogy between two phenomena. The analogies are powerful. While I agree with what you’re getting at in a lot of the comments you make, so what. It’s obviously not hard to find many distinctions between the two situations. And there are alarming similarities, similarities that most of us didn’t expect to see in our lifetimes.

  3. Henry Haszler says:

    Let me suggest two ways that Trump may be like Hitler

    1. Unless consigned to an asylum for psychiatric treatment, Trump won’t go away
    2. Trump will continue to attract support from the disappointed white and other voters who made up the 70 million or so votes he got

    I agree that there are many differences between today’s USA and hyperinflation Germany. But for the Trump threat to go away the Republican Party has to make an explicit and significant pivot away from Trump.

  4. Jerry Roberts says:

    One of the differences between 1923 and 2021 is camera technology. The Capitol marchers both outside and inside the great building must be one of the most photographed groups in history. There should be enough video footage to identify the trouble-makers but so far attention is on a magnificent comedian styling himself as a Shaman.

    If I had been in Washington in my native USA I would have joined the crowd for the same reason anybody in my trade would not have missed this event for love or money — to talk to people, moreover to listen and gain insight into what is happening. One reporter who did just that is Jeremy Lee Quinn and I urge everyone before rushing to judgement to watch his long interview with Bret Weinstein on the Dark Horse podcast which is available free of charge. Quinn is on the left and has covered Antifa and BLM protests. He was struck by the common ground among all the groups. They agree on the major issues. They all want prison reform, for example.

    For me the most disappointing aspect of the Trump administration from the early days was the President’s inability to hold a stable team together. Vietnam veteran Alan Zabrosky draws a parallel between Trump and Robert McNamara. Both men came to office with no experience in government. McNamara was from the corporate world and Trump was a property developer. Biden does not lack experience. He does not have the credibility to launch a new deal but it should be possible for the administration to take a few practical measures in public works, public health and education that hold out at least a sliver of hope to the half of the electorate who voted for Trump. Wall Street won’t like it but Bill Clinton and Obama illustrated the futility of sucking up to Wall Street.

    I think the crucifixion of Trump by the high priests of the Congress is unwise. As for hyper-inflation, we are holding our breath. The causes of inflation are one of those areas where economists hold different views.

  5. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    Hitler did not come to power because of hyperinflation. He rose the dissatisfaction with Bruning making the Depression worse because of classical economics. Even Hayek recanted on what he recommended!

    Two similar things though.
    The ‘patriots’ are very similar to the SA except of course much less numerous. They believe conspiracy theories, are not very smart and want to use violence. They have already intimidated a number of republican congressmen and women not to impeach.

    Like Hitler the ‘masterful politicians thought they could easily manipulate Trump

  6. Jerry Roberts says:

    The authoritarian attitude displayed by Dennis Glover is all too common on the Left, so much so that the Left is a greater threat than the Right to civil liberties and hence provides the more dangerous path to fascism. I am a left-of-centre member of the ALP.

    Historians, political scientists and economists will analyse the Hitler years until kingdom come but social science is one dimensional. We look to the arts. My favourite writer on this subject is Alfred Doblin, the doctor turned novelist best known for Berlin Alexanderplatz. An intriguing picture emerges from Corporal Hitler by John Williams. The photograph on the cover shows the courageous dispatch rider with his mates and a dog called Fox who went AWOL from the British lines and became Hitler’s beloved pet.

    Anne and I attended the wonderful Vienna Art and Design exhibition in Melbourne in 2011 when fin-de-ciecle Vienna was already looking like a recent IKEA catalogue. Then we caught the train to Sydney to see the Mad Square exhibition, named after Felix Nussbaum’s 1931 painting when Europe was descending into darkness. Most chilling was the painting of the execution of Spartacist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht

    I don’t doubt that it can all happen again but it is unnecessarily dangerous to bring Hitler into the contemporary scene when we desperately need to find common ground and listen to opposing views. Safer to use more recent parallels such as the break-up of Yugoslavia which Chris Hedges reported for the New York Times. Hedges calls the Democrats (AOC etc) “the boutique Left.” They need to cool down. So does Dennis.

    • Nicholas Gruen says:

      What’s ‘authoritarian’ about Dennis’s piece? Wanting to prosecute people who have committed malicious damage and been part of a mob leading to a handful of deaths to the full extent of the law?

      • Nicholas
        Dennis’s sums his lessons from history as “ First, there must be no leniency” authoritarian seems apt .
        And using a very dubious historical analogy as if it was proven fact to justify treating the US group as if they were really Adolf Hitler , worse than inflammatory.

        • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

          No mate he is not saying Trump is Hitler he is saying there are similarities to Hitler’s time.

          When the people in the USA can intimate politicians to vote as they wished on impeachment your statement does appear silly

    • “unnecessarily dangerous to bring Hitler into the contemporary scene when we desperately need to find common ground and listen to opposing views.”

      So true , revenge and no leniency, can only beget , more revenge and no leniency.

  7. The analogy to the story of Hitlers rise seems a bit of a stretch.

    However about 70 million ( fairly close to 50 percent) voted for Trump so id guess you have to say that Trump is ,in the US a mainstream character . And therefore that the odds of a second incarnation of a Trump-like character with a real chance of winning some future election to become POTUS are significant.

    So id guess much will depend on whether conditions wages for enough of the average American worker can be improved enough that they are no longer attracted to somebody who promises so to speak, to bring the temple crashing down on all the high priests.

  8. Jerry Roberts says:

    Hi Nicholas. I think you and Dennis are throwing petrol on the fire. Chris Hedges calls it gasoline. There do appear to have been two acts of lethal violence in the Capitol. There is video coverage of Ashli Babbitt’s killing but I don’t have the heart to watch it. A fire extinguisher was said to be used in the policeman’s death but I’m not aware if this has been verified. From eye witness accounts and the video I have seen it was a peaceful protest, certainly in comparison with earlier protests in Portland and other cities. One description said the Capitol stroll was tourism as protest. I would love to have been there to see for myself and I would have felt no qualms about entering this “sacred site” of politicians, lobbyists and Beltway insiders.

    Bret and Heather Weinstein are interesting today on their Dark Horse podcast. Bret wants the impeachment to go ahead for the express purpose of banning Trump from running again in 2024 and making the next four years a chaotic battle of Trump versus the rest. He proposes to sugar coat this biter pill with pardons for Trump and for all the participants in the Capitol march and the earlier Antifa and BLM protests — all except those convicted of violent crimes. In other words, he does not want the police State to use this opportunity to stifle legitimate rights to protest. The Hamilton Federalist Paper precedent on magisterial pardon sounds right. It is a paternalistic view that makes sense but seems unlikely to happen. Not much time left.

    I hope you watch the Jeremy Lee Quinn interview, even if it takes hours. I was fascinated because I have reported big protest marches and I was good at estimating crowds in my sports-writing days. Jeremy took me back to the crowd scenes at Perth airport and later in the city outside their hotel when the Springboks arrived to start their Australian tour and local rugby players and supporters outsmarted the anti-apartheid protesters. I was in the thick of it and knew people on both sides. Be cautious with the official stories. The FBI has bad form on Trump. As a left-of-centre sort of bloke it did not occur to me that I would barrack for a casino developer but he is entitled to a fair trial. What he is getting is a kangaroo court.

    • Nicholas Gruen says:

      Thanks Jerry,

      I’m not really arguing Dennis’s book. I am arguing about the seriousness of the situation (though that’s Dennis’s basic message as I read it). We have a President, a President (!!) who has waged a wholesale war on reality and who has simply invented widescale voter fraud having lost an election. (Consistently with a pattern of simply announcing – and perhaps believing – facts he had invented for no other reason that they supported his own rampaging id.) That’s an extremely serious situation and it led fairly directly to the events of the 6th.

      There’s nothing like it in the recent history of any English speaking country.

      It’s not really a left-right matter, or I don’t see it that way. I have no brief for the outrages done in nationwide – indeed global – BLM demonstrations. Most of them were pretty peaceful. Some were not. And it stands to reason that, given their scale, some people behaved in as unhinged a way as anyone on Capitol Hill.

      I happen to think that those things are a fairly typical example of ideological excess of social movements. I wonder what proportion of the left – by which I mean in this context everyone who voted Democrat, would support Antifa or violence for BLM. I’d say a tiny minority. It is sadly NOT the case that only a similar sized minority make excuses for violence on their own side and all kinds of cultural nonsense the left get up to today. It’s quite depressing, and it will do a lot of damage – is doing a lot of damage.

      On the other side of the aisle, some extraordinary proportion of self-identifying Republicans have supported Trump (is it 90%?) and what is it, 45 per cent of them support the rioters? I think that’s terrifying.

  9. Re Hitlers rise to power, he was 34 in 1923, could afford to spend ten years plotting his way to dictator. Trump is 74. Hitler also was viewed by many establishment figures of the day as somebody they could ‘use’ we surely cannot say that Trump is viewed by many of the US establishment as ‘reliable’.

    The analogy to Hitler adds heat but little light.

    As for prosecutions I guess that whoever it was that bashed the head of the guard that died will be prosecuted. The rest of the deaths I think involved protesters who died.
    Magnanimity in victory is both a moral principle and good advice. As for those who incited it from the sidelines not sure how successfully they could be prosecuted and for what (and it all risks creating martyrs and feeding the conspiracy fire).

    BTW the obvious historical aspect of all of this is the simple truth that the American Civil War still echos ,has never quite gone away.

  10. paul frijters says:

    Like Antonios, I find the Hitler analogy a poor one for Trump. The one thing I really do appreciate about Trump and is not appreciated enough in the progressive media is that Trump has not started new foreign wars. You may think that should count for nothing compared to all his tweets, pardons for nasty people, and antagonizing at home, but when I think of the millions who lost their lives in previous wars started by US administrations, that fact counts rather heavily. Was Hitler also promising and delivering ‘no more stupid wars’? Quite the opposite.

    Where I do agree with Dennis is that our times are displaying similar radically violent tendencies as 1920s. The state has become psychologically violent on an unprecedented scale the last 12 months, egged on by populations who are normalising extremist policies. Lots of groups, including environmentalists and anti-islamists, are dreaming openly of draconian solutions to the problem they are interested in with their policies not sounding as crazy as they sounded in 2019. Inequality, that great motor of social tensions, is again at the levels of the 1920s. The trust in the official narratives is collapsing as the state is once again seen as doing the bidding of shadowy financial interests.
    Things are not well at all and even greater violence is the air. Dennis himself calls for no leniency and that “they are everywhere”. Ominous words. No leniency for a group that is everywhere? See my point?

    • Nicholas Gruen says:

      I agree that the fact that Trump has started no new foreign wars is a huge plus. If I believed he was predictably and stably against foreign wars, I’d be prepared to forgive a lot, but his unhingedness from reality, his instinct to always escalate aggression scares the life out of me. (It is also true that once his ego is less involved he seems to be also happy to de-escalate. Like a good negotiator, nothing’s forever – viz ‘Rocketman’ and Lyin’ Ted Cruz. But I’m afraid voting for someone is a prediction of what they might and might not do, and I’m very very wary of what he might do. But at least in assessing his term in office, I agree his not starting a war is a huge plus.

      • yes, I am not a Trump fan either for the reasons you state. He is particularly bad for internal harmony. Hard to like any of the top American politicians though.

        • Nicholas Gruen says:

          Yes, but liking them is a pretty high bar ;)

          I don’t like Hilary Clinton or John McCain, but they are (were) sane, professional, self-interested politicians.

          Biden seems decent as a person. I’ve also thought some of his brief speeches after the election have been very good, as well as pretty low key by American standards.

          But at 77? Sheesh.

          • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

            It is important to remember Biden was only a candidate because Trump was President.

            There are similarities with Reagan.
            too old but a good cabinet

    • Paul “ No leniency for a group that is everywhere? ”
      that’s why it seems far more apt to examine parallels with the Unions problems around 1866 than with Germany’s of 1923 on.

    • Conrad says:

      Many people in Asia liked him too as he was willing to at least try and do something about China (which unfortunately failed as far as I can tell). I think his idea of forcing the EU to pay for their own defense bill was also a good idea. I can see no reason the US has any serious forces in places like Germany at all. Of course, all of these successes are to do with foreign policy, which as far as I can tell is not exactly the biggest public talking point in the US. Even his acolytes didn’t seem to talk about it.

  11. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    There are other similarities just as there are other differences.

    both rode to success via democratic means without ever getting near a majority of the vote. both wanted personal loyalty not to the position.
    both indirectly intimidated legislators.
    both slightly changed attitudes. In 1934 there was the one day boycott of jewish retail stores which ended in humiliation. By 1938 most germans were blaming the jews as fifth columnists and why world war seemed imminent.
    Trump got more than a majority of republican voters to believe in the myth of voter fraud.

  12. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    While I am on a roll let me give another one.

    The Nazis in concert with partisan newspapers managed to get a significant number of Germans to believe the Communists were solely responsible for the violence that occurred there post WW1.

    Fake news anyone

  13. Rafe Champion says:

    There has been an alarming infantilization of political commentary so now the focus has shifted from policies and platforms to the personalities and the “optics” of the leaders, especially conservatives who are unrelentingly caricatured by the left.
    Trump improved his vote among females and some ethnic minorities, refuting charges of sexism and racism. His helped the US to become an energy exporter, free of dependence on unstable overseas sources. His economic policies lifted all boats.
    On the other side, policies that can only wreck the electricity industry with catastrophic domestic effect and much the same in geopolitics https://catallaxyfiles.com/2021/01/16/mark-mills-and-the-reality-of-the-green-new-deal/ .

    • I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

      What a lot of baloney.

      People can vote for a sexist and racist. Simply because women and people of color voted for him does not negate those charges. I am astounded anyone would think it does.
      The energy exporting was simply industry responding to price signals. Why do you think the Saudis started to expand production?

      The green new deal is not part of Biden’s policy platform.

      just on energy have you woken up to the fact that units in coal fired power stations break down every three days or to the fact AEMO is only worried about blackouts because of said units breaking down.

      Have you worked out how SA is a net energy exporter and has the most secure energy supplies also.

  14. John Goss says:

    I agree that a plus for Trump was he didn’t start or escalate any wars. But his instability means there was little prospect that this record would have continued in his second term.
    Interestingly one of John Bolton’s main beefs with Trump was that he cancelled the retalitatory air strike on Iran, because when he found out how many might be killed, he considered it was not a proportionate action.

    You’re getting a bit ageist aren’t you Nick with your comment at 9.27 am. Biden at 77 is not all that much older than you!!

    • Nicholas Gruen says:

      What’s my age got to do with thinking that it’s a pity that the American electorate got to choose between two septuagenarians for president and have an octogenarian and various others close to that status running the house?

  15. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    okay let us examine more similarities. both claimed to be conservatives but were not.
    Neither supported rules based trading systems nor the upholding of institutions. Hitler destroyed them , Trump tried to.

    Both had good economic stories to talk about. Hitler’s was in direct contrast to most of his predecessors although he merely expanded what Von Schleicher did. Trump merely continued the trend under Obama although few ‘conservatives protested about his expanding the deficit at full employment.
    Neither really liked Democracy. Few understand most Germans in the last election until Hitler stopped them voted for parties that wanted to stop democratic elections.
    Trump of course complained without any evidence he lost the election because of fraud and you had wood-ducks such as poor old Rafe who supported this.
    Trump made attempts to upend the democratic election with disasterous consequences.
    Indeed most republican voters believe the Trump lies just as most Germans believed Hitler’s lies

    • Jerry Roberts says:

      There is a parallel with the Hitler years. Daniel Barge calls the Capitol incident the Reichstag Fire of the Big Tech Left. Eric Rasmusen of Indiana University has posted an article today under the title “Remembering the Reichstag Fire.” I have been urging people to watch the Bret Weinstein interview with photo-journalist Jeremy Lee Quinn. Another eye witness was Cat McGuire who has posted an articled headed “I was at the Washington DC Save America Rally.” When eye-witness accounts from sophisticated observers are available we should study them before parroting the Woke Establishment’s official narrative.

      • Nicholas Gruen says:

        Thanks Jerry – I’ve been hoping to read some of that, but you offer no links. I expect I can find it and I plan to read a Pro-Publica article based on the Parler videos. But would you care to give your own potted summary of what those observers offer.

    • Jim KABLE says:

      That’s going a bit far to suggest that MOST Germans believed Hitler’s lies.

      The highest proportion of the vote received by Hitler’s Party was around 42% – but by outlawing various parties he was able to take absolute control of the Reichstag.

      People quickly learnt to remain silent – though not all did so.

      Weighing up the consequences for one’s family is a highly motivating factor in political engagement when the stakes are as high as Hitler was making them – and yet people still stood up and stood out – and suffered!

      Jim KABLE

  16. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    so there is a parallel but you cannot explain it.

    • “The owl of Minerva begins its flight only with the falling of dusk.”
      If you have a look at US history, post 1865 Robert E Lee was stripped of the right to vote but that was about it. Lee of course publicly encouraged southerners to accept their defeat, not try to continue the fight . Trump is unlikely to do that.

      It seems very likely that Trump will be impeached and thus stripped of the right to stand for office.

      So what seems a possible scenario is that the US will continue to simmer with the occasional outbreaks of great violence that seems to have been pretty much the norm there for a very long time.

    • Jerry Roberts says:

      Have a read of the Rasmusen piece, Trampis. He knows more about it than I do. The Capitol incident was what the military call a false flag operation. That is the parallel. The Reichstag Fire was used as an excuse to attack Communists, at first, then all of Hitler’s opponents. The historical allegation is that Brown Shirts accelerated the fire lit by a lone Communist. I think you will find that at least one Antifa heavyweight organiser has been charged for his part in the Capitol tourism project. The Trump people walked into the trap. Classics scholar and Trump supporter Victor Davis-Hanson weeks prior to the Capitol march advised the President to get out of Washington, first to Georgia for the Senate campaign and then around the country on the stump. It was good advice. Now we will see how the people stand up and whether the courts come into the fray in defence of civil liberties.

      • Jerry
        Re :at least one Antifa heavyweight organiser has been charged for his part in the Capitol tourism project.

        A quick search only turns up some fairly fringe reports. Has this story been confirmed by whatever agency has laid the charges ?

      • derrida derider says:

        Lord there are people who STILL are thirsting for that Kool-Aid! Jerry, before posting you should remember the aphorism “better to stay silent and be thought a fool than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”.

        This bit about “some Antifa person has been charged” is just another Trumposphere invention. Antifa is anyway an almost purely imaginary scapegoat on a par with “the Jewish-Bolshevik world conspiracy” – the reality was a tiny handful of old Trots in Seattle who had a brawl with some coppers.

        • Jim KABLE says:

          Thanks DD. I kept thinking to myself – what on earth have I been missing. I now understand “Antifa” is of the same order as McCormack’s handy dismissive: “woke inner-city lefties” – I am still to understand the “woke” (maybe that makes me “unwoke” or “asleep”! I know it is not intended as a compliment. I am neither inner-city nor am I a latte-sipper. Don’t you just love the way labels are slapped around – as gags across the mouths of those with differing points of view (especially if bolstered by facts and reason)!

        • Mind you DD, the US is another planet , the story could even be true.

  17. Jerry Roberts says:

    I think I was listening to Rudy Giuliani. Not exactly a fringe player. We will find out soon enough. Another story that alarmed me was the FBI taking down names of passengers who booed Mitt Romney when he boarded an aircraft for a domestic flight. They were unhappy with Romney failing to support Trump. Awful lot of petrol being thrown around. Won’t need a big spark. I think it needs a strong statement from the courts on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. There are reports of people losing their jobs because they took part in the Trump rally. That needs follow-ups with specific people and employers.

  18. I am and will always be Not Trampis says:

    Like john as said the authorities have not come forward to confirm such an assertion.

    antifa organise electronically so getting proof should not be all that hard.
    They also like to attack violence with violence. Like the Communist’s of Germany between the wars they enjoy it.

    Neither V D-H nor Rudy are very reliable on this at all

    • Jim KABLE says:

      IAAWABNT: Just last night on SBS I watched a documentary on what happened to the Communists in Germany in early 1933 just after Hitler took power – they were the ones attacked with violence and death. There was no enjoyment. You are allowing your glee to overtake you, I fear… Jerry’s “Classics Scholar and Trump Supporter” contention – from above in this thread – seems like a contradiction in possibilities…it would be good to sight the actual proof of this assertion

  19. What a pileup.
    First wildly link Trump and his support base to , Adolf and thus justify treating them like pure evil “ no leniency “ . Then add it’s really a left version of the Reichstag Fire, a convenient excuse for intimidation or even a purge of of people who boo mit Romney etc.

  20. Jerry Roberts says:

    There must be miles of video tape so evidence should not be scarce. The gent has been named. There were 74,222,958 votes counted for Trump. That is the official number. Not all of them need to be in love with the Donald but they preferred him to Joe. That should be a sobering thought to machine political types hoping to purge Trump or Trumpism from the body politic but people are not listening. It is indeed a case of two Americas. At least this drama has stopped people talking about China for a week or two.

  21. From the AFR
    Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell opened the Senate on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT) saying the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol was “fed lies” by the president and others in the deadly riot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s election.

    McConnell’s remarks are his most severe and public rebuke of outgoing President Donald Trump. The Republican leader vowed a “safe and successful” inauguration of Biden on Wednesday at the Capitol, which is under extremely tight security.

    “The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”

  22. murph the surf says:

    Trump is more like Osama Bin Laden than Hitler.
    The disgruntled he inspires are home bred though their actions domestic and not external.
    Glenn Greenwald has great article out today on how the pendulum will probably swing to far in reaction to the Trumpists.

  23. Jerry Roberts says:

    The Trump folks raise two points that sound reasonable, John R. Earlier protests involving Antifa and Black Lives Matter were far more damaging to life, limb and property than the march on the Capitol. Secondly, there was a remarkable vacuum of police in Washington. Cat McGuire is a Greens voter who has been in more protests than she has eaten dinners and she was struck by the absence of police. The Trump people were outsmarted.

    Personally I doubt if it makes much difference whether POTUS is Donald Trump or Donald Duck. D.Duck’s Uncle Scrooge is the problem. Financialised capitalism is choking the country. I think both major parties are too compromised. Trump’s brains trust has a Plan B to raise a new party from the MAGA movement.

    I am quietly confident from interviews I have seen with young Bernie Sanders organisers that a third party, perhaps an American Labour Party, can be pulled together. If so, a suitable front person is Tulsi Gabbard. The cameras like her face. She has brains and a backbone and a touch of common sense that could bring across a swag of Trump people who are baffled by the Woke Left of the modern Democrats. As an old lefty in the Washington protest said to Cat McGuire — the Left had to work awful hard to get me to vote for Trump.

    Meanwhile, thanks for the conversation. The Bureau is pointing a cyclone directly at where I am sitting so I had better get back on the truck and fetch more supplies.

  24. History is a pet obsession for me, all of these attempts to link trump to X feel wrong. Can’t think of any historical analogies that feel convincing full stop

    • paul frijters says:

      Berlusconi is a somewhat polished precursor of Trump. I have also been told that Kaizer Wilhelm was very much like Trump. Louis the XIVth of France also comes to mind (“l’etat c’est moi” could be a Trump tweet, couldn’t it?)

      Its the combination of a combative self-obsessed vain person who alternates between ruthless pragmatism and bold gambles, relying on a retinue of flatterers who clean up and enable. Louis the XIVth (the ‘sun king’) perhaps comes closest. The saying attributed to his grandson, “après nous le déluge” is also particularly apt for the subject of this blog post.

      • Thanks they do seem similar, however I was thinking of Trump as a worldwide phenomena more than as a individual.

      • derrida derider says:

        The Trump Tower as Versailles? Mme de Maintenon as Ivanka? The Mexican wall as “les Pyrenees n’existe point”?

        Na, it doesn’t work.

      • R. N. England says:

        Most people with any interest in history would agree on Louis XIV as the greatest, most successful, and most imitated politician in modern European history. He made France great, starting with a squabbling basket case. Unifying French religion was part of his policy of consolidating his kingdom in an age of tragic religious conflict. His taste dominated the arts of Europe until their decline in the 19th and 20th centuries. His love of dancing shaped the forms of the suites and partitas of Bach. “L’état, c’est moi” is an aphorism of the absolutist political system. In his case, and in that of Frederick the Great, absolutism worked well, but in the hands of lesser people it doesn’t. Louis XIV’s régime was blighted by poverty, but so were they all. He oppressed the people of the low countries, but they oppressed the French whenever they had the opportunity.

        Lumping Louis XIV with the barbaric ignoramus, Trump is the silliest, most ignorant thing I’ve read for a long time.

        • paul frijters says:

          you are being petty and presumptuous about my history knowledge. Other people built the French state for Louis XiV, but he took all the credit whilst being a totally vain blustering chancer, threatening wars, engaging in petty feuds, seeing the state as his personal fiefdom that existed for him and his family.
          Sound familiar?
          Obviously an absolute monarch who was on the throne a long time will be associated with a lot more than a temporary ruler, but in terms of how he behaves and interacts, Trump does indeed remind me very much of an absolute monarch.

          • Jim KABLE says:

            Clearsighted, concise! Direct! A man who knows his subject! (And, Paul, by the way, I relished your co-Murray book Game of Mates! Outstanding!)

  25. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080979/
    Kagemusha the story of a petty thief who because of an amazing physical likeness to a samurai warlord is initially hired as a decoy-body double but when the warlord dies ,he is forced int to trying to actually act like a real warlord.
    The films themes keep coming to me as apt for much of the contemporary western world. Image that comes to mind is:
    A vast, flat as a tack plain full of bright twittering distractions, sound and fury and so little substance, so little high ground .
    Trump seems to me to more a faker con artist than anything else and he had the fakers ability to spot other more, self deluded fakers.

    If the Dems had chosen a younger candidate without Clinton’s baggage Trump would probably not have become POTUS in the first place, and therefore could have continued to strut and fret the stage without any of the demands and compromises involved in really being the commander in chief of the US.

    The analogy to Hitler seems particularly wrong there was absolutely nothing PlayActing about Hitler

  26. paul walter says:

    Echoes many of this writer’s thoughts over the last month…

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