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Will the bombs be the Trumpian Reichstag?

O that Professor Robert Waite were available to offer his psychohistory analysis on the current WH resident as he did on the former resident of a bunker in Berlin. The Reichstag Fire is generally credited as the reason for the sweeping disruptions of German freedoms of personal and public activities, including freedom of the press… under The Reichstag Fire Decree of 1933.

The second reference (above) is from Australia with a 2 March, 2017 dateline. I am not the first to have this thought. Events seem to have progressed since 2017. The party state must protect itself.

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#1 Comment By Alum-Anon On October 27, 2018 @ 6:29 pm

Looking at the content of his posts, is Dick Swart an unwitting Iranian lackey?

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/26/facebook-iran-pages-deleted-fake-divisive-content-us-uk-voters

#2 Comment By Tikhon On October 27, 2018 @ 11:23 pm

“Looking at the content of his posts, is Dick Swart an unwitting Iranian lackey?”

If you knew anything about Waite, you would recognize that his work can tell us a lot about the present moment. Reasonable people can disagree about the details, and the extent to which his approach to historiography can tease open what’s happening now. The link you provided has nothing to do with the post, and your comment is both witless and inflammatory.

#3 Comment By anon On October 28, 2018 @ 12:12 am

Swart is nothing if not authentic!

#4 Comment By Alum-Anon On October 28, 2018 @ 12:23 am

If you knew anything about Waite, you would recognize that his work can tell us a lot about the present moment. Reasonable people can disagree about the details, and the extent to which his approach to historiography can tease open what’s happening now. The link you provided has nothing to do with the post, and your comment is both witless and inflammatory.

A good deal less so than Swart’s incessant inflammatory trolling – and if you can’t recognize that, the joke’s on you.

#5 Comment By Dick Swart On October 28, 2018 @ 1:37 am

Dear alum-anon,

I do make two points in response to your comment above.

1. “Lackey of Iran” however unwitting … I did indeed commend a production of Handel’s opera Xerxes with a setting in modern Iran:

production of Handel’s Xerxes (1738) at the Budapest State Opera was amazing in the setting in today’s Iran replete with a freeway interchange, Xerxes singing in a small plane flying around the stage, hoodies, ipods, breakdances, a tank, walls of air conditioners and the felling of Xerxes’ beloved tree (Platanus orientalis) by a sports car!

This was in a post on July 4th, 2009 http://ephblog.com/2009/07/04/travels-with-rechtal-turgidley-jr/

2. “Trolling”. In the context of my appearances on Ephblog, I don’t consider my posts (764 to date) as trolling. I do not add on to others posts to make my varied observations, I make them as clean starts. I urge those who have something to say, yea, anything to say to become an author of a thought.

#6 Comment By Tikhon On October 28, 2018 @ 9:49 am

“A good deal less so than Swart’s incessant inflammatory trolling – and if you can’t recognize that, the joke’s on you.”

Well golly, Swart was clearly way out of line to draw attention to the nihilistic and unapologetically authoritarian pronouncements of our current chief executive. Trump sees fit to verbally assault the leaders of essentially democratic nations in Europe, while praising the vertical and openly undemocratic power structures of the present-day Russian Federation, North Korea, and Turkey. The shoe fits, and Swart’s reference to Waite’s psychohistory is a fair one.

#7 Comment By Alum-Anon On October 28, 2018 @ 2:54 pm

No. Neither Swart’s reference nor your ravings are reasoned, just, accurate, or fair, and they are deeply insulting to boot.

#8 Comment By fendertweed On October 28, 2018 @ 8:05 pm

@Alum-Anon,

I didn’t realize subtle humor was also one of your skills. This is a good start on some material for your act.

#9 Comment By 89’er On October 29, 2018 @ 11:13 am

When does a factual recitation of the record become ravings?

Apparently 2018.

For the record, fine people do not march with folks chanting “we will not be replaced by Jews.”

It is a shame that we have to remind our leaders to reject such hate.

#10 Comment By Alum-Anon On October 29, 2018 @ 2:49 pm

89’er says:

When does a factual recitation of the record become ravings?

Apparently 2018.

For the record, fine people do not march with folks chanting “we will not be replaced by Jews.”

It is a shame that we have to remind our leaders to reject such hate.

“Factual recitation?” No, you’re just a small little sh*t slinger.

REMINDER:

https://www.myajc.com/rf/image_medium/Pub/p9/MyAJC/2018/02/06/Images/newsEngin.21176103_DSCN0441obama-shopped-3.jpg

#11 Comment By 89’er On October 29, 2018 @ 3:02 pm

Facts are inconvenient things.

And you are a potty mouth.

#12 Comment By Dick Swart On October 29, 2018 @ 3:17 pm

Dear responders,

My post was written as one familiar with propaganda technique and ‘spinning’ opportunities because they have simply occurred, regardless of the facts.

As much as I am glad these comments add to the validity of Ephblog, David’s creation and tribute to his father, I am dismayed were this post to end as another of the vituperative stripe that has occured before.

#13 Comment By Alum-Anon On October 29, 2018 @ 3:48 pm

Well, Dick, perhaps if you took a less mad approach and didn’t try to smear Republicans and/or Trump voters with so many of your posts, this wouldn’t be an issue.

Civility is by no means a one-way street. You cannot blithely throw around comparisons to Hitler and Mussolini to any political figure almost anywhere and expect people not to be deeply insulted.

Both yours and Max Boot’s “reflections” on recent events are one-sided. Neither of you makes reference to the recent spate of deadly ricin mailings to the president and officials at the Pentagon. Neither of you makes indeed any reference at all to last year’s Congressional baseball shooting. Boot couldn’t even find it worthy of mention that the Tree of Life synagogue shooter was far from being a Trump supporter.

Of course not – it would undermine the narrative you are promoting.

#14 Comment By 89’er On October 29, 2018 @ 3:49 pm

Interesting that the only one raving is the one complaining about ravings.

And the one calling others small and little is the one who diminishes himself with personal attacks.

#15 Comment By Dick Swart On October 29, 2018 @ 4:09 pm

More to my comment@12.

I do calls ’em as I sees ’em with ‘public’ figures. That is the price of becoming a ‘public’ figure.

‘Private’ figures are a different matter. ‘Private’ figures include those who post or comment on Ephblog. I would hope for no personal attacks and vituperation between followers of the purple.

‘Public’ figures are a different story. Some readers may agree with my sometimes sharp criticism and comparisons, some may not.

However, criticism of a ‘public’ figure need not be considered as an insult to a ‘private’ participant in these pages.

#16 Comment By Alum-Anon On October 29, 2018 @ 4:40 pm

Dick –

Your original post made a number of obvious comparisons between Hitler and Trump, and you obviously mean that to reflect on those that voted for him. Interesting that you are taking Max Boot’s injunction (“Comparing Trump to Hitler is wrong”) from the essay you posted so obviously to heart.

I do not mind your being critical of Trump. But your comparisons are deliberately inflammatory and extremely insulting, and whenever I have pointed this out I have been routinely personally insulted for having done so. If you are truly interested in promoting a civil discussion, this isn’t the way to go about it.

#17 Comment By 89’er On October 29, 2018 @ 5:29 pm

My two bits: Dick does not need your advice on how to conduct a civil discussion or debate.

#18 Comment By Tikhon On October 29, 2018 @ 6:16 pm

Let me ask you something. How can you not see that the demonizing of immigrant populations–both naturalized and illegal–is something that in living memory only comes from the playbook of fascism? Among other things, Waite was interested in the tropes of Nazism. What was the imaginary world of authoritarianism, and how did it dehumanize its opponents? Non-ethnic Germans were described as a population caught up in various forms of criminality, and as a vector for disease.

For more than a week up to the Pittsburgh massacre. Trump indulged in unhinged and hysterical talk about the ‘caravan’ from Honduras, characterizing it as a foreign invasion and claiming without a shred of evidence that it was rife with ‘gangs’, and ‘terrorists’ from the Middle East. Hosts on the FOX network have embellished this significance of this supposed threat by claiming that the ‘caravan’–again, without a shred of evidence–was rife with individuals who would spread disease among the American population. To spurn the historiographical tools developed by Waites at Williams and by his contemporary Richard Hofstadter, in the name of some pharisaical understanding of ‘civility’ is absurd, especially in view of the clear historical precedents for a rather specific paranoid style of politics.

That Bowers didn’t care for Trump because he was a ‘globalist’ in no way cancels out the fact that he clearly indicated that he was enraged by the ‘caravan’, and by what he perceived as the advocacy on its behalf by the refugee relief organization that was affiliated with the temple. There is simply no question that Trump was the one who started this irresponsible talk about the ‘caravan’: “We have today informed the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that if they allow their citizens, or others, to journey through their borders and up to the United States, with the intention of entering our country illegally, all payments made to them will STOP (END)!” This tweet was, at best, ridiculous, and at worst viciously dishonest. Those countries are not contiguous with any American border, and have no way of dictating subsequent itineraries to their citizens once they exit their borders.

Demonizing the migration as an ‘invasion’–a term that Trump used *before* Bowers went his rampage, and which he shamelessly used *again* today–has consequences. Among other things, it recasts the migrants as enemy combatants, rather than individuals fleeing persecution and bone-crushing poverty. Six days before the massacre, Bowers wrote on his Gab page “I have noticed a change in people saying ‘illegals’ that now say ‘invaders’,” and that “I like this.” As reasonable people, we can certainly discuss the advantages, if not need, of a stricter border policy. But Trump isn’t doing that, and as a result calling out his rhetoric for its blatant wickedness, immorality, and racism is completely justified.

Just to be clear, and to second Dave’s most recent observation: none of what I’ve written suggests that you, or anyone else who else who voted for Trump is party to any of those things. Obviously, the election took place long before the massacre on the recent Sabbath. But what we are witnessing now is not a game, and not a reality show. People’s lives have been tragically affected. As someone in the Williams community whose parents were refugees of WWII, I admit to feeling these issues with particular acuity. It should go without saying that in discussing current immigration policy, and the particular language about immigrants that is currently in vogue, we should also treat with respect the alumni who themselves are immigrants, or who have family outside US borders.

#19 Comment By fendertweed On October 29, 2018 @ 7:42 pm

@89er & @Tikhon,

I agree. The raving is unseemly, to put it mildly.

Someone appears to not not know their Talking Heads discography (“… facts don’t do what you want them to…”).

#20 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On October 29, 2018 @ 7:50 pm

Hmm. I would say that this thread has run its useful course. Unless Dick objects, I am closing it.

#21 Comment By Dick Swart On October 29, 2018 @ 7:53 pm

Dave, exactly right! I was about to myself!

My thanks to tikhon for his insights into the work of Professor Waite.