An Eyewitness Report from the Thwarted Trump Rally

Yves here. Before we get to the eyewitness account, let’s debunk some memes that are voiced way too often about the aborted Trump rally. Reader marym gave some background in comments yesterday on how a large anti-Trump contingent got seats:

The organizing started with students and faculty objecting to hosting the event on the UIC campus. Here’s a link to some of the history. From my comment yesterday: According to the twitter account of @plussone, who is a reliable focal point for reporting on Chicago activism, there was organizing by elected officials, 60+ community groups, student organizers at UIC, and people spontaneously joining the protest. At one point she posted a list of 20 twitter accounts she was following to track the protest.

Chicago activism is more than anti-Rahm and local issues, though there’s plenty of that, usually not with a specific electoral focus, and often mutually supportive across different issues. I don’t know what subset people obtained tickets and protested inside, but there were also thousands outside. If @plussone’s assessment of who participated is accurate, and she does have the pulse of the community, the focus of many of them wouldn’t necessarily have been on who is the D or R candidate, but on the nature of the Trump campaign’s appeal to divisiveness, bigotry, and threats of violence.

And from reader Watt4Bob:

It is incredibly frustrating to see confusion and misinformation being spread on this board as concerns the events in Chicago the other night.

I watched it unfold in real-time on Faux Noise, and I must say it was an incredible experience to hear Faux’s reporter on the ground comment over and over that the crowd was peaceful and well-mannered, all to extended overhead video confirming his experience on the ground.

It was obvious that police were calm and had to put out next to no effort to keep the Trump supporters and protesters separated on opposite sides of the street.

When the few people who did get too close to the opposing sides, caused some tension, they were mostly separated by police and other members of the crowd.

All the while Faux’s live commentator on the ground kept reporting the peacefulness on the scene, Greta Van Susteren kept up a constant stream of comments that went counter to the pictures on the screen, and implored the camera team to find conflict which eventually was accomplished by one camera pulling in very tightly to frame small disturbances as if they represented the situation in general.

We were very lucky that the production team is so enamored of helicopter shots from over head because it resulted in hours of accurate pictures of generally civil behavior on both sides.

Trump supporters were frustrated, but did not go crazy, and the protesters, although they had some rude signs, were well behaved.

By Timothy Page, citizen journalist, PhD candidate in Music Composition, University of Chicago

A dispatch from the thwarted March 11 Trump rally in Chicago:

When I arrived at 5:00 PM, one hour before the scheduled rally, the line was about 4 blocks long with a number of switchbacks. The protesters who had set up camp outside the Pavilion were on the other side of the building behind barricades, and not in my sight.

But it was clear that almost half the people in the line were something other than Trump supporters. Many of them were holding protest signs, many had Bernie buttons, and some were talking amongst themselves in languages other than English. In my field of vision I witnessed no altercations, nor did there appear to be an atmosphere of hostility in either camp, intertwined in the line as they were. I talked to a few groups of people who simply by color of skin and/or style of dress didn’t look like Trumpers, and it turned out some of them were actually on the same errand as I: trying to get an immediate sense of what kind of people would come out to support this man’s candidacy for president, and whether or not the scene as a whole would smack of xenophobic, fascist demagoguery the way it has been portrayed in the media.

I talked to about twenty Trump supporters in all. A few of them were reticent and clearly intimidated by the breadth of the protests going on not far away, not eager to answer any of my questions. But most of them were willing to talk, and gave me answers that ranged from the greatly incoherent to the substantively argued. My questions were as follows:

1) What do you like about Donald Trump?

2) What do you think about the policies he is promoting?

3) Is there anything that you like about what Bernie Sanders says?

All of the respondents were white. Five of them were women. About half of them were in their early- to mid-twenties, the other half were middle-aged. Those whom I was able to ask had come from the Northwest suburbs, places like Arlington Heights.

Nearly all respondents gave some variation on the answers to #1 that we are used to hearing in the media: “I think he’s honest… He’s not afraid to say what he thinks…. He’s not politically correct… He’s not a politician.” Five people emphasized that “He is doing this all by himself, he’s not getting any money from it.” Four said things like “He’s not part of the establishment.”

When I asked the second question, about seven of the respondents deferred to someone else in their group: “My friend here knows more about that…” Three said something to the effect of “I’m trying to learn more.” Of those who cited any policies at all, every single one mentioned immigration and closing up the border. One said that “San Bernadino could become an everyday thing.” Five mentioned wanting to fix the trade deficit. Several said that illegals were taking away jobs from citizens.

To the third question, five people had positive responses: “I think he’s honest, too,” “I think he’s trying to fix the same problems, but just has a different way of doing it.” In a group of three young guys, one said “free college!” before being shoved by his friend who said, “Who do you think is going to pay for it?” A third in this group said “Sanders thinks that climate change is caused by America’s war in the Middle East, so I don’t believe him.” I asked him whether he believed that climate change is a myth created by China to destroy our economy, or that it is a real phenomenon, and he answered, “I don’t really know that much about it, so I’m not sure.”

The only guy who chatted with me at length was in his late twenties, short, thin, and vaguely non-Caucasian looking. He made some fairly coherent libertarian arguments about social benefits keeping people from going to work, and asked if I was a Trump supporter. I answered honestly, describing my agenda, to which he replied, “I hope you tell people that we’re not racist and hostile like they keep saying in the media.” When I told him I was a Sanders supporter, he said, “America isn’t Europe, and shouldn’t try to be.” I asked him if he had ever been there. He said he had lived in Germany for five years, and that “It was impossible to run a business there because the taxes were so high. They live mediocre and we can do better.” He also said, “Now women can’t go anywhere without being harassed, it’s so full of immigrants.”

My sample was small, but all in all these folks seemed like a generally decent if not terribly well-informed bunch, with varying degrees of sophistication.

By the time the line had snaked up to the Pavilion, the rally had been called off, and people were exiting, many in jubilation. It seemed that about half the people who had made it inside were there to crash the party. When I went inside, the venue was still about half full, and there was a big crowd of jubilant protestors in addition to lingering supporters. I witnessed a few very heated exchanges between young male Trump supporters and protesters. People in both camps were restraining their pals who seemed on the verge of coming to blows. Though there were many black people among the protesters, they were a minority, contrary to what some of the AP photos going around would imply. There were large numbers of whites, Latinos, South and East Asians, and Middle-Easterners, both inside and outside the venue, and all of the little scuffles I saw were between white people on both sides. Across the street from the pavilion, there was a big camp of Sanders supporters cheering as disappointed Trump supporters made their way out. Significantly, I didn’t see a single pro-Clinton sign, though there were plenty of “Hillary Sucks Worse than Monica” t-shirts for sale at multiple points around the venue.

Apparently, I had missed the few, more serious scuffles by about fifteen minutes.

I’m not sure I like the fact that at least some protesters had the express intention of actually shutting down the rally, rather than just making their message heard. That any of them resorted to violence or physical intimidation is of course unacceptable. For a sobering and articulate account of the melee from the other side, read this description by a curious onlooker-turned-Trump-supporter:

It is possible to see how this sort of thing might galvanize elements of his base, and it is hard to believe that Trump himself didn’t anticipate some kind of showdown when he scheduled an event at an extremely diverse college campus in the center of Chicago. Inasmuch as the Sanders camp at the event was involved, I hope Sanders himself condemns all acts of violence and physical intimidation.

But it is totally awe-inspiring that the youth of Chicago rose up to deprive Trump of his pulpit for hate-mongering, and the man certainly reaped what he has been sowing. I took the “L” home, packed with a bunch of Bernie supporters who had been at the rally. A super tight band was playing Sly and the Family Stone covers at the Jackson Red Line stop, and I was pretty psyched to be a Chicagoan at this extraordinary political moment.

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  1. Woodrow

    The First Amendment is equal for all or it simply doesn’t exist. I’m no fan of Trump, but his speech, and those who lawfully assembled, should be just as free as mine. What these protesters did was show they don’t believe in equal rights just because they don’t like what someone believes or says, or, that protesters speech is superior to his or mine.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You have just demonstrated that you do not understand what the First Amendment is about. It guarantees that government will not restrict speech. The protestors have as much right to speak as Trump and his fans do. You are pretending that they should be able to have their say and opponents should be silent. There’s no legal basis for that view. The protestors did not interfere with the right to assemble. The Trump people did not want to assemble with opponents present. The right to assemble does not give you the right to have a private club in public. Now Trump did rent a hall, so you can argue he was holding (or trying to hold) a private event, but that takes First Amendment issues totally out of the picture. His inability to keep a private event (if that’s how you want to depict this) to his loyalists is therefore a failure of how he has chosen to organize these events.

      In other words, your “free speech” argument is incoherent. Everyone who assembled had a right to free speech, both the Trump supporters and his opposition. If you read all the accounts, only a small minority hoped the rally might be cancelled, and even they were surprised that it happened.

      1. helmholtz watson

        Fine Yves, but what is your point? Were the protesters there to disrupt Trump’s rally and interfere with his free speech? You seem to be suggesting that every one has the right to assemble and free speech, and that opposing groups have the right to attend such assemblies and protest in an attempt to interfere with the rigth to free speech. Look, I am all for protest but you seem to be arguing for a form of confrontation and anarchy. I have no idea what was going on in Chicago and what the protest movement had in mind but if they were there in attempt to disrupt the assembly and prevent Trump from speaking through constant interruptions I can’t see how that facilities the idea of free speech. If Trump is such an ignoramus and demagoue, there is no need to interrupt him since his own words would define him better than anything the protesters might say.

        As you well know most political rallies are largely staged events with tight crowd control. Who can forget Bush’s public appearance where massive efforts were undertaken to block any sign of the anti-war protests that followed him around. They went so far as to force the protesters in pens miles away from the where the president was appearing. Those tactics were a turning point in my view and understanding of American democracy.

        Again, I am slightly confused about the intent of this post.

        1. art guerrilla

          agree with hemholtz…
          1. think the world of yves and her tireless work, but think you have overstated this a trifle…
          2. am absolutely first in line when it comes to defending free speech…
          3. HOWEVER, IF the protesters intention was to disrupt, shout down and shut down the trump speech/rally, *THAT* is not ‘free speech’, that is harassment and hooliganism that i can say with some confidence you would NOT tolerate were the roles to be reversed…

          IF -say- trump/cruz/clinton/whoever supporters were to flood a public meeting of any small group of progressives, and shut the meeting down by intimidation, shouting down the proceedings, and not allowing the group to conduct their business, i am fairly certain you would rightfully decry that as foul play, if not illegal in some conduct…

          the same consideration is due to a group whether they are rainbow unicorns, or fork-tailed devils…

          1. alex morfesis

            Hw and ag…hold on…gotta get some more tin foil from the pantry…
            Ah…much better…
            Won’t try to speak for the queen bee but maybe you missed a point or two…
            El donaldo does not have boots on the ground…a political event usually has things like certain color wrist bands handed out at controlled locations prior to an event…to make sure the “tickets” are handed out to the initiated…that way “your” people are the ones giving out the telepromter cheers on que…
            Any third rate promoter of any type of event(music, art, sports, politics) knows this…but the donald has taken roger aisles orchestra pit strategum to a new modern extreme…including hoovering all the media attention by cancelation of an event for some make believe kfabe reason…
            Not sure why sec/service is letting drumpf run wild without tighter controls…especially after ted cruz father opened up the lone gunmen door by proclaiming his son should be made president by an act of god…
            This is beginning to feel like 1968 again…(without the rfk thing and mitters almost being accidented a few days later in france to keep his dad from fighting to hard in miami…politics is an evil business…)
            McCarthy and Reagan got the most actual votes from carbon based life forms but were both kept from being the nominee by what we now call superdelegates…
            Nixon had a massive ticker tape parade in Chicago soon after the democratic convention disaster…so drumpf was not in “enemy” territory…it just allowed him to do a roger ailes and avoid any substance…

          2. Kulantan

            The point is that people keep bringing up the First Amendment like it is relevant. Its not. The discussion Woodrow and you want to have is about something other than the First Amendment and the legal concept of free speech; for the purpose of clarity I’ll call it the “duty not to heckle”.

            The duty not to heckle doesn’t have a legal basis. In fact the First Amendment explicitly protects exactly this kind of protest. The protesters were exercising their right to free speech and Trump and the Trumpeters rights were not being infringed by the protesters.

            This makes it clear that, since no rights are being violated, it is a matter of if this is socially acceptable behaviour, whether the protesters are being rude. When the objection to a protest is that it is rude I generally dismiss the objection. Protests are by their nature rude and disruptive. These other Chicago protesters were pretty rude to Rahm. The anti-fascists in Liverpool were pretty rude. The guy who threw a shoe at Bush was really rude. I don’t really get why you’d be upset that people are being just as rude to Trump.

          3. cwaltz

            I think it is interesting that so many are so certain that there intention was to shut down Trump.

            As far as disrupting or shouting down, the protestors have just as much right to protect people like the Black Lives matter activists or the Muslim woman who was silently protesting that was ejected from Trump events.

            It seems to me that some of you seem to think that people should sit quietly by while bullies oppress anyone who opposes Trump’s viewpoint.

            It’s my opinion that it’s scary dangerous that some of you seem to think that the people opposing a bully who has hate mongered is something that should be denounced rather than lauded.

            I also think that “harassment” is when people are ejected from an event because it makes the people attending “uncomfortable” to know who they are demonizing(as was the case with the Muslim woman ejected from his event.)


            Trump is running for President of the country, not some private bully organization. It’s completely ridiculous to suggest that Latinos, AA, Muslims and all the people Trump has demonized that are in this country sit quietly by while he trashes them and seeks to restrict or harm their lives here(just so he can appeal to his backwoods squeal like a pig constituency in peace.)

            1. Lexington

              It’s one thing to stage a protest, which they could easily have done outside the venue. It’s another thing to march into an event being hosted by your opponents and instigate a confrontation with them.

              Where do you think that is going to lead?

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    Estimates say nearly half the people who had tickets were anti-Trump. This is the real reason he cancelled the event. He was going to look like an idiot, the vaunted Mr. “You’re fired” unable to shout down a crowd chanting anti-Trump slogans.

                    And you are clearly spouting off. People were outside the venue. largely standing.

                    You are in clear violation of site rules by commenting when you have not read the post.

              1. tiebie66

                Exactly. Free speech or free censorship? Some think that applying censorship is “free speech”.

            2. bob

              Trump chose not to speak. Full stop.

              This is the only fact that has been verified by everyone, including trump.

          4. legendary bigfoot

            Free speech includes protest or it is not free. Bowdlerized protest is not free speech.

            Getting a strong Phil Ochs “love me I’m a liberal” vibe from this.

        2. timbers

          IMHO the point is, the establishment – weather it is Dem or Republican – will slander and false flag anyone who advocates outside of it’s allowed policies. In Trump’s case, that would be his scathing attacks on trade agreements that have and will transfer wealth from workers to rich gigantic corporations like Fox, MSNBC, CNN, their owners, and other rich gigantic corporations:

          Here is an example of that in action from the post:

          “All the while Faux’s live commentator on the ground kept reporting the peacefulness on the scene, Greta Van Susteren kept up a constant stream of comments that went counter to the pictures on the screen, and implored the camera team to find conflict which eventually was accomplished by one camera pulling in very tightly to frame small disturbances as if they represented the situation in general.
          We were very lucky that the production team is so enamored of helicopter shots from over head because it resulted in hours of accurate pictures of generally civil behavior on both sides.”

        3. Optimader

          I think you are exactly right. Free speech is not about intimidation/ disruption to thwart free speech.
          It seems to me if people are confident a candidate is wtong they should let said candidate talk more not less. The same goes for Bernie and HRC rights to express their opinions.

          The protestors with the intent to shut down the event should have organized their own counter rally. They did disservice to their objective in so far as I suspect they accomplished exactly what Trump wanted considering the venue selection.

          Plenty of valid reasons to not like Trump does not mean he isnt an excellent media manipulator.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            We have to defend the freedom of Foot-in-the Mouth speech.

            Let them, Hillary or Turmp, do it, if they are very good at it.

        4. rexbevans

          I never cease to be amazed at many peoples’ misunderstanding of our first amendment rights. The amendment clearly states that FEDERAL GOVERNMENT shall not restrict freedom of speech and peaceable assembly. In other words, you’re free to stand on a corner and spout off any sort of speech that your heart desires- nonsense or otherwise, so long as you are not in violation of any local ordinance against creating a hazard or blocking public right of way.
          In turn, I am also free to stand right next to you and proclaim that in my opinion you are full of crap. Your first amendment rights offer you no protection whatsoever from being shouted down by a crowd of citizens. Geez, I thought we all learned this in high school civics class.

          1. helmhotz watson

            go try out your theory at you next town meeting. Try shouting down your mayor at a public hearing. And go ahead tell the officer that drags you out the door all about your constitutional theory of free speech.

            And by the way none of us learned anything in high school civics class. It’s the most dumb-downed, nationalistic and misleading version of how things work imaginable. 99% of Americans actually believe they have a constitutional right to vote for president.

              1. helmholtz watson

                Hey Lambert what’s it like going through life in an ignorant stupor?


                Next thing we know you will be telling us how the former President of the ACLU doesn’t know what she is talking about.

                This whole comments thread is dominated by ignorant opinion starting with yours. Many of us here tried to explain this issue to you and others but you believe what you belief so it doesn’t matter.

      2. Carolinian

        In yesterday’s links I linked up a Washington Post story that quoted some of the protestors saying that they had planned to rush the stage as a group and Saturday a WaPo story from the same reporter said they wanted to take the mike from Trump. The story said about a third of the people in the hall were Trump opponents. The story said they were planning to do this non violently although given that Trump is surrounded by Secret Service agents that seems most unlikely.

        So clearly these attendees were indeed trying to deny Trump the ability to speak to his supporters.

        Personally I agree with Atrios who said the protestors should be picketing the news media rather than trying to disrupt Trump rallies. Not only has the MSM fueled Trump’s rise but they are doing their best to create an atmosphere to hysteria and then decrying the same. We can all speculate about who this benefits. Also re the Chicago police: they are controlled by Rahm who is both a supporter of Clinton and Clinton continues to defend him. Their role in this may not be strictly neutral.

        I really find it hard to believe that Sanders supporters–and I did vote for him in the primary–think this sort of thing is a good idea. If Sanders makes it to the general election are they going to deploy squads of supporters to disrupt Trump? Isn’t that creating the chaos they claim to be afraid of? People need to step back and take a deep breath.

          1. optimader

            So you, too, support “The Duty Not To Heckle.”

            I don’t think you mean heckling, Heckling requires a speaker present.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The great thing about commenting on the internet is, once you are able to post it on a site, you get to finish your story.

          It’s never interrupted.

          Real life is a little different. Sometimes, your boss, your spouse, your girl friend, your family or the big, tough guy at the bar, do not let you finish.

      3. Woodrow

        “your “free speech” argument is incoherent.”

        You either have it or you don’t. Period. This was an organized operation, including multi-media communications to interrupt such as much as possible. That’s intent, and in those posts there were explicit instructions on how to subvert someone they don’t agree with. I’m all for protesting, but not for infringing, interfering, or championing shutting out or shutting down someone I don’t agree with. I try and do that at the ballot box, where it should be.

        1. Lambert Strether

          So you support “The Duty Not To Heckle?” (lovely phrase).

          I’m not sure how the protests net out, tactically. But I do think the pearl-clutching over the protesting more than a little overdone. I seem to recall the crowds in the Lincoln-Douglas debates were more than a little rowdy; I don’t think democracy was the weaker for it.

          1. Woodrow

            “The Duty Not To Heckle?” (lovely phrase).

            That appears to be the new catch phrase of the day.

            I’m still not buying it, and I still think it was wrong, even if I think Trump is an asshole.

            It’s fine when it happens to someone else, especially with those you disagree with. It isn’t so great when it happens to you or something you believe in is attacked that it becomes an issue.

            1. Lambert Strether

              What’s morally wrong about it? Assuming for a moment, that you go to a nightclub to hear a comedian. The comedian sucks, so you heckle him. A really good comedian will take that, work with it, and win the exchange. There’s nothing immoral on either side. In fact, it’s a well-known dynamic.

              1. Helmholtz Watson

                Government can always impose reasonable limits on demonstrations to ensure public order, it’s a well established body of law that “trumps” the right to free speech and the reason disruptive protesters are routinely evicted from campaign rallies and other public events. Your arguments are risible and contradicted by the law and practice. If law enforcement deems the protest a threat to public order, said protest is over, plain an simple and courts have upheld such actions in the face of free speech challenges. So there is a level of discretion involved in such decisions which are subject to the specific facts and circumstances. You are dead wrong on your belief and have failed to make a single substantive argument is support of your position. Instead you revert to silly analogies like a comedy club or trite phrases like the “duty not to heckle”.

                Furthermore, as detailed in a recent article on The Intercept it is a criminal offense to protest at any event where the secret service is involved in a protection duty.

                As I have repeatedly said, I am all for protests and have participated in a few myself. All I am interested in is a realistic discussion of the topic and not a bunch of personal opinions.

      4. FluffytheObeseCat

        I agree with Yves on this. Based on the article above, it sounds like most of the protestors were not aiming to shut down his ability to speak. They were however, looking to make it hard for him to run his show unimpeded, as an ego-massage/pep rally.

        A candidate for President is not an entertainer, however, he’s something more than that, and is not quite as free from question as a private citizen engaged in commerce. He’s also much better protected than a regular citizen. Trump has a secret service detail and his own considerable entourage, including security. The protestors’ actions may have breach some of his rights if things had been allowed to unfold as planned, however his first amendment rights were never at issue.

        He’s smart enough to know he’d look like crap on camera if he tried to manage a difficult crowd, so he took his toys and stalked off in huff. That’s the Donald. That’s the way he’s long handled himself, as most New Yorkers know. People who’ve watched this puffed up bum operate for a few decades are not in his court.

        The people who fall for his shtick are frustrated, not from the Tristate area, and frankly, often unpleasant.

        1. helmholtz watson

          “Based on the article above, it sounds like most of the protestors were not aiming to shut down his ability to speak. They were however, looking to make it hard for him to run his show unimpeded, as an ego-massage/pep rally.”

          so in other words, protesters are allowed to show up at any event and disrupt a speaker in the name of free speech! I guess you don’t see the irony.

          1. Kulantan

            Its less ironic than protester not being allowed to show up to any event and protest because of free speech.

            1. helmholtz watson

              dimwit, there are ways to protest and make you presence felt without undermining the legal right of free speech and creating anarchy. Vocal and disruptive protesters are dutifully removed by security in all such situations regardless of political persuasion for exactly this reason. Your arguments are emotional, irrational and idiotic.

              1. Optimader

                What would have been more powerful than a larger and peaceful counter demonstration? MSM that percieve Trump as a threat to their status quo media buy gravy train would have been all over it like a cheap suit.

                Opportunity lost for checkers players at the media impression chess game.

              2. Kulantan

                First up, as always, you don’t have a legal right not to be heckled. Secondly, are you saying you are against all “vocal and disruptive protesters”? That instead of being “vocal and disruptive” protesters should be more well mannered?

              3. Yves Smith Post author

                Repeat after me: there is no free speech or First Amendment issue here! The level of ignorance or worse, deliberate disinformation on display is astonishing.

                You have the right to have the government not interfere with your speech or right to assemble (as long as there no public safety issues). Everyone has that right, so EVERYONE cam make noise.

                1. Helmholtz Watson

                  great, go try out your theory of free speech at Hilary Clinton’s next rally. Shout and yell you heart out when she is speaking and I guarantee you that if you yell loud enough and long enough you will in fact be forcefully led from the premises by some member of law enforcement. And you can ask the officer about your “free speech” rights. There are any number of ordinances they can cite for your removal.

                  Furthermore you don’t necessarily have the right to “assemble”. Again try it out, get a larger group together and see what happens. Without obtaining the proper permit, your group will forced to disperse.

                  1. JTFaraday

                    If Trump wanted law enforcement to remove disruptive protestors from the premises, I don’t think anyone would (particularly) object.**

                    The issue is that his followers can’t wait a few minutes for law enforcement to act, some of them have to get physically– not just verbally– in on the act themselves. Trump condones this.

                    **When he reportedly removed a group of black students who weren’t doing anything just because they were black, that’s another story.

                    This protest/ cancelled rally this past weekend is now coming against a whole background of prior events. No one is reacting to one isolated incident any more.

                    Despite the fact that many don’t like the idea of President Trump, Trump has been given a more than fair hearing. To say the least.

                  2. Lambert Strether

                    Is it something in the water? Yves points out the category error. And in your very first sentence you repeat the error without addressing the issue.

                    This after a multitude of “dimwit”-style ad homs. Merciful heavens!

                  3. cassandra

                    …and what jurisdiction of policing was involved? Was the officer Federal? If not, no violation of the Amendment. The guarantee of the First restricts only the Federal government; doesn’t guarantee blanket immunity from other obstacles.

          2. cwaltz

            This wasn’t “any event” this was a rally for a Presidential campaign.

            If Trump wins he isn’t going to just be President to those who support him. The idea that he should be able to spout nonsense in peace in the name of “free speech” while running to head this country is insane.

            1. helmholtz watson

              so in other words you don’t believe in free speech when you don’t like what is being spoken.

              1. cwaltz

                I believe in the right to say that I disagree out loud with someone running to head this country.

                Dissent is a cornerstone of democracy.

              2. cwaltz

                I guess you’re okay with Trump ejecting a muslim woman who stood quietly in protest when Trump tried fear mongering and was speaking about Muslims being allowed to enter the country?

                I’ll repeat it again- He’s not running to head the KKK, he’s running for President.

                1. Optimader

                  What better demonstration of his suitability, or not, to be POTUS? Are you saying you lack confidence in the US electorate, if so, whats the point at all?

                  1. cwaltz

                    I’m saying that the people he is maligning have as much a right to be heard as Donald Trump.

                    He doesn’t get to suggest Muslims hate us and eject them from his event because it’s uncomfortable for him to actually SEE Muslims who are here in this country.

                    1. optimader

                      Well, depending on who “us” is, some Muslims do hate us,some for good reason and some for very wrong reasons.

                      The way I see it, an entity like should be responding to Trump’s positions, as a matter of fact on all candidates positions, as they effect Muslims — good or bad.

                      I am all for peaceful protest, not disruption/intimidation. Any protestor that directed their behavior against other attendees rather than the guy who wasn’t there are not advocates of free speech. In a lot of ways, I think this loops back to the thread about education yesterday..

                      Incidentally I thought BLM disrupting Sanders rallies was wrong also. Wave your sign , say your piece then STFU and allow other opinions to be heard.

                      W/ regard to the CPD, what I have read here, they behaved admirably. The argument that a candidate should better “better organize an event” , if that is code meaning more security and denial of access, I think is a terrible direction to head re free assembly/free speech.

                      Sadly, we have too much “security” in this country for my tastes a least.

                    2. cwaltz

                      Donald doesn’t say some though.

                      He makes outrageously blanket statements that aren’t grounded in reality.

                      It’s like his commentary that people who immigrate here from Mexico are rapists.

                      It should come as no surprise that if you make patently absurd statements that you will experience pushback. I’d argue you SHOULD experience pushback.

                    3. optimader


                      It should come as no surprise that if you make patently absurd statements that you will experience pushback. I’d argue you SHOULD experience pushback

                      ABSOLUTELY.. you make my point on the rest though.

                      Those in opposition to Trump should be encouraging him to speak more not less, all while peacefully protesting his positions.

                      IMO anyway, a disorganized rabble becomes the low hanging fruit for MSM, rather than what a candidate may or may not have intended to say. This particular circumstance allows the candidate, Trump, to take a moral high ground —I didn’t want anyone to get hurt blah blah blah.

                      As it plays out in the event of a general election campaign, the parallel universe Leni Riefensthal Doppelganger will always want more sound bite content than less to edit into the Candidates own Petard..

                  2. cwaltz

                    They WERE peacefully protesting. As far as I’m aware booing someone, standing quietly in traditional muslim garb or hollering black lives matter is peaceful behavior.

                    All by the way, grounds for getting kicked out of a Trump event.

                2. helmholtz watson

                  No I am not o.k. with ejecting people under such circumstances. I don’t know anything about the muslim woman you are talking about, but if someone stood quietly in protest they should NOT have been ejected. Her actions strike me as the appropriate form of political protest in that context. And the fact that Trump had her ejected reflects very poorly on him which only supports your criticisms of him.

                  1. bob

                    Show me the authority on appropriate forms of political protest, and I’ll show you who’s in charge.

                  2. Kurt Sperry

                    The distinction between what is legally or constitutionally permissible and what is morally correct runs both ways here. I would argue that ejecting peaceful dissenters and boisterous heckling or attempting to take over the stage at a campaign event in order to incite, disrupt it and shut it down are both probably fine constitutionally, but neither are examples of admirable behavior. Just because something is constitutionally permissible doesn’t make it right. Both are examples of behaving like an asshole. Just to be clear, I’m fine with demonstrations of opposition to political speech short of shutting that speech down and silencing it, in the case at hand in Chicago it isn’t clear to me which side of that line the protests intended to be on. If a mob of angry Trump supporters did the exact same thing at a Sanders rally, I’d feel the exact same way. Do unto others…

              3. Yves Smith Post author

                Again, you’ve got the issue all wrong. You don’t even begin to understand the legal issues, because there are none but you are clutching at straws to make this a Big Deal.

                This is, as Lambert points out, basically about manners. You don’t like those of the protestors. Protestors as a general rule offend the people they are protesting against. That’s the point,.

                So you are anti-protest and trying to call that free speech. Bullshit. You are a censor, buddy. Have a look in the mirror.

                1. Beniamino

                  There are always legal issues, Yves. Assault, false imprisonment, disorderly conduct all come to mind, based not so much on the protestors’ conduct during the rally as on their conduct after it had been cancelled.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    Did you read the post? There were only a very few scuffles. The overwhelming majority of the crowd was peaceful. The generally very heavy handed Chicago police didn’t intervene much. Why are you raising straw men as far as this rally is concerned?

                2. helmhotz watson

                  If there are no “legal issues” why are protesters routinely removed for disrupting public speakers. Your failure to address that issue speaks volumes. This has nothing to do with manners.

                  Disorderly conduct arrests are routinely made in order to protect the freedom of speech and assembly and other forms of protected expression under the First Amendment. Again why do you fail to address the legal precedent, although such precedent can cut both ways depending on the specific facts and circumstances.

                  You are an exceptionally smart woman but your arguments are confused in this context.

                  My only point in all this is that it is a more complex and nuanced argument than people seem to realize.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    You continue to miss the basic issue.

                    The meeting of official bodies have pre-set rules, often embodied in local or state statutes, including that of public right to comment. The public does have the right to participate.

                    Trump’s rally was not the meeting of a governmental body. The people who came had the right to be there in a private rented hall. both Trump supporters and Trump opponents. Trump basically erred because he can’t adequately screen who shows up.

                    Trump and his supporters have no more right to have their speech protected than anyone else there. Now Trump did pay for the podium and the right to use the mike, and for anyone to come on stage to take that away from him involves personal safety issues. But people who got seats in that auditorium were perfectly within their rights to make noise. I don’t see why you refuse to understand that. You may deem it to be rude but it is not illegal.

                    1. Helmholtz Watson

                      We are talking past each other at some level. Agreed that Trump erred in not screening attendees. I assumed that was standard practice at almost all political related events.

                      You want to focus on the “meeting of official bodies” and I agree Trump’s rally was not the meeting of a governmental body but again that isn’t relevant to the point I am trying to make. You seem to view this as a basketball game where both sides have the “right to make noise”. It’s not that simple. I have no clue how the protesters intended to behave, but assuming they were planning to be very verbal to the extent that Trump wouldn’t be able to deliver his address, raises a number of legal issues that are unrelated to free speech. As we have seen repeatedly, law officers routinely remove protesters from such events. Why? They are removed under clear-cut legal authority, which in most instances would involve an interpretation of disorderly conduct ordinances and the like. We have seen this for years, have we not? Disruptive protesters are regularly removed from political rallies because law enforcement deems it to be an appropriate response and the courts have upheld such actions even in the context of free speech challenges. The protesters had the right to be there but the right to disrupt a public speaker is not as clear-cut as you want to believe.

                      Lastly this is not a defense of Trump, he says some appalling things and attracts a frightening crowd so I am no supporter of his. As I have tried to make clear his only value in my mind is in sending a message to the establishment that they need to pay more attention to the public interest or this is what they get.

                      Look at this point it’s time to agree to disagree and move on.

          3. bob

            When was trump speaking in Chicago? I heard that he didn’t speak in chicago. This is reality, not some theory lesson. Facts, mister. This isn’t some SJW knitting circle.

            The idea that a billionaire, who has a media circus following him around 24/7, is somehow being denied his free speech rights is an argument without any semblance of sanity or grounding in reality.

            What if…Irony. Be careful with that– you’ll probably shoot your eye out.

            The biggest bit of irony I see here is that the tough talking media darling was scared away by a bunch of what he calls losers.

            1. art guerrilla

              okay, bob, let’s try and be a little more nuanced than IF A THEN NOT B…

              (t)rump is *maybe* a billionaire (he claims his ‘name’/brand alone is worth a billion, etc); and it is certainly true that we have passed from the realm of ‘free speech’ to ‘fee speech’; BUT, that does NOT mean (t)rump still can’t be a victim of efforts to stymie his free speech rights…
              that he may have alternative media options available to him as a celebutard and rich puke that 99% of us don’t have, does NOT negate the idea that he may also have his -and his supporters- free speech rights trammeled….
              and -again- i don’t care if it is eee-vil uber korporations enforcing it upon Occupy activists, OR those self-same activists trying to enforce THEIR (‘like, totally justified’!) free speech restrictions upon eee-vil korporations and their lickspittles; THE PRINCIPLE IS THE SAME…
              i know, i know, we have fallen down the rabbit hole where ‘principles’, ‘ethics’, and ‘morality’ are as quaint as an old musty constitution; but *some* of us still insist we must ALL abide by ethical behavior, regardless of what the debased ‘law’ says…
              that means if i say i am for free speech, i MUST defend the right of my most hated enemy to espouse their most horrible speech, or i am NOT for free speech after all…

              1. cwaltz

                I personally am sad I didn’t get time to make a Chump for Trump sign.

                Many of his supporters are ignorant and their behavior is an indictment of our educational system.

                For example, Trump blames immigrants for a decline in standard of living. However, people like Cesar Chavez were instrumental in organizing labor and improving conditions. But hey, let’s ignore history and just pretend every Mexican who crosses the border is a miscreant intent on raping people.

                Meanwhile the self proclaimed rich guy is a “victim.” Poor Trump HAS TO have his products made overseas. He couldn’t possibly make his products here. After all, if he didn’t make his stuff by exploiting overseas help he might be like those chumps who have to survive on $25,000 a year( you know those people who he’s told to get used to making that much because they have to compete with the Chinese) Heaven forbid, he not make enough profit to have a gold inlaid toilet seat. He’s not like Joe Average. He’s special. Only the little people need to get used to living on less.

              2. bob

                “i know, i know, we have fallen down the rabbit hole”

                You seem deep in there. I’m fine.

                Trump chose not to speak, which is odd, I’ll admit that.

                The length of your so called argument is no match for the facts surrounding the situation.

                Trump chose not to speak.

                “but, let’s navel gaze at what this all means….”

                Let’s not. I don’t see any evidence that there is a problem with billionaire presidential candidates being denied their rights, in any way whatsoever.

                You apparently, do see that problem, and want to remain ‘fair’ and ‘ethical’. Go right ahead, sucker.

      5. RW Tucker

        I’m seeing this exact appeal to the law all over the place with regard to this rally.

        As Helmholtz Watson is saying, the suggestion here is that two factions can disturb each other’s rallies as long as the government doesn’t get involved.

        At what point is it appropriate for the police to get involved? Should they referee fistfights in the street? Are we really trusting the Chicago PD, or other major PDs, to police this correctly?

        Instead of appealing to the law and trusting the police departments to handle this correctly, which we know they inevitably will not, I think we should appeal to having cooler heads and making sure they prevail. Which means nobody should have their rallies disturbed through implicit threats of violence, no matter how minor.

        Unfortunately, Trump supporters are probably about to show up at Bernie rallies to do the same thing. Something new is happening in this election cycle and I don’t like it.

        1. helmholtz watson

          precisely, these people are arguing for chaos and violence because they don’t like what is being said. Protest is fine and healthy but there are ways of doing it without everyone trying to interrupt everyone else’s rally.

          and yes I agree, this is heading in dangerous direction. There are effective ways to protest that don’t involve direct confrontation and interruptions.

          1. YankeeFrank

            No one is condoning violence here, and its apparent that violence was not a factor in this instance, despite Faux News’s attempts to depict it that way. Its Trump’s right to speak, and its the audience’s right to boo and hiss at him if they don’t like what he’s saying. That’s free speech. Anything else, like what you describe happening at W’s rallies in ’04, is stifling free speech. These protesters didn’t shut down anything. Trump simply realized it wouldn’t be a great photo op to have his “winning” lines get booed on national television. He’s happy to violently bully protesters when they are a tiny minority at his rallies, but when they show up in substantial numbers he cowers and hides, just like any other pathetic bully. Free speech in action. You might wish for more “civility”, but if you knew anything about our history as a nation, you’d know that our democracy has rarely been polite and civil. In fact, faux civility has for decades now been used as a cudgel to shut down any expression of outrage at what is being done to us. The time for faux civility is over. And before you claim otherwise, there is a difference between rejection of civility and violence. Sticks and stones…

            1. helholtz watson

              yes yankee frank, this whole comments thread is based on conjecture about what would have happened had the event taken place and that includes your comment. We simply don’t know how the protesters would have behaved and hence what might have played out.

      6. Bernie Fan

        Yves, you are absolutely correct. And I’m surprised at how many comments here are so quick to dismiss peaceful yet confrontational protest tactics. Any vibrant democracy should have a rough-and-tumble political culture that involves regular people passionate about the issues, not stage-managed PR campaigns.

        Personally, I’m much more concerned about the authoritarian control of “politics” by party elites, donors, limited free speech zones, etc. than a handful of rowdy young people. After all, rowdy, disorderly people brought us women’s suffrage, the labor movement, the civil rights movement, and so on.

      7. Sammy Maudlin

        Yves, you are 100% correct. Every comment debating whether or not the protestors/Trump had “free speech” rights/had their “free speech” rights interfered with is completely off base.

        There’s no evidence whatsoever that the government interfered with either side’s right to peaceably assemble for the purpose of airing their grievances. That is what the First Amendment protects (generally). It does not ensure private parties the right to express their views without interference from other private parties.

        To the extent that either side’s speech could be construed as “fighting words” or that either group’s speech was for the purpose of inciting unrest or violence the government would then have the right to stop such speech (again, generally).

        To the extent that anyone actually engages in violence to stop anyone else’s speech they they are subject to criminal prosecution.

        To the extent anyone feels that either side was not being considerate of the other’s views, fine. But in no way were anyone’s First Amendment rights challenged in this context.

        1. helholtz watson

          Sammy, you are unfortunately 100% wrong! While the event never came off as planned we do know for certain that law enforcement would have removed any “disruptive” protesters from the scene. Happens all the time at all types of public forums under clear cut statutory authority. And this happens well short of the “violence” standard that you seem to think is the limit on allowable “disruptive” protest.

          Don’t believe me, go try it yourself at some campaign rally or town hall meeting. Start yelling and shouting when someone is speaking publicly at some event and you can ask the officer to explain his legal authority for removing you.

          Furthermore, to the extent that the protesters were highly organized with a pre-mediated plan to assemble it is entirely possible that they were not within their legal rights to be there as an organized group. Permits are routinely required under such circumstances.

          Your arguments are emotional and irrational because Trump has gotten under you skin.

          1. Sammy Maudlin

            With all due respect, my statements are premised upon a basic understanding of the law, not emotion. Yves displayed the same correct understanding.

      8. DanP66

        Have to disagree Yves.

        Seems to me that what the protesters were doing was to intimidate a group attending a speech and to attempt to stifle the speech of a candidate by being so disruptive that he could not be heard. If that is not a direct violation of the first amendment then it certainly violates the spirit of it.

        As a veteran….I may not like what you have to say but I will fight like hell for your right to say it.

        The protesters have, in my mind, proven to be boorish in most cases and thugs in others.

        I have no issue with them standing outside a building, holding signs, chanting, whatever, but to intentionally interfere with a political speech is crossing a line.

        I said the same thing when the cops and others would try to stamp on the Occupy protesters.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You clearly did not read the post. There was no evidence of any threat of any kind by the protestors. Even the arial shots by Fox AFER the rally was canceled showed the crowd to be calm and well behaved. And this was Chicago. The police would have shown up with riot gear if they had anticipated trouble. None of that in evidence either.

          and again, you have NO understanding of the legal issues. This has nothing to do with “free speech” In fact, your desire that the officialdom interfere with the protestors would be a violation of free speech.

          This is competing groups both making their points of view known in public. What happened at that rally is free speech in action. It’s appalling to see that you as a veteran don’t support the rights guaranteed to all citizens of this country.

    2. Jagger

      If those same Chicago tactics were used by all sides all the time, then very quickly, minority political groups would be shut out of the process by whatever majority political group dominates a particular region. It would work just as well in Phoenix as in Chicago. It would certainly keep Bernie out of quite a few states. It is a variation of the tyranny of the majority with organized mass intimidation as the tool of choice to prevent the spread of ideas. It is great when it works for your side but not so great when it works for the other side. And can very easily lead to open violence.

      1. helmholtz watson

        exactly! Protest is fine but the idea that everyone has the right to interfere with free speech by interrupting such free speech using their own right to free speech is a recipe for chaos and violence.

        In any case those suggesting that this is fine would be the first to speak up in outrage if the shoe was on the other foot.

        1. cwaltz

          It’s only a recipe for chaos and violence because that is what Trump has suggested is the solution to dealing with anyone who opposes his viewpoint.

          Some of you might want to carefully consider his words.

          This is a guy who has suggested this against a protestor,

          “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”

          Mind you, now he seems to be shifting to arrest but before he evolved to arrest he was suggesting violence was the solution to shutting down dissent.

          1. RW Tucker

            If the goal is to make him look like an unelectable thug, I don’t think this event really helped.

            2016 Americans are not sympathetic to protesters, especially if they turn violent, which is why his thuggishness is resonating. I should know, I was there in Occupy.

            There’s got to be another way to make sure he’s seen as the dope he is than this ham fisted approach. I’m really not optimistic about this election cycle after what happened in Chicago.

          2. helmholtz watson

            Trump’s language and suggestions in that context are clearly inappropriate but where do we get off thinking that is ok for protesters to walk into any situation and start shouting someone down because we don’t agree with what they are saying?

            If you really believe Trump is a fascist thug let him speak, he will be his own worst enemy.

            1. cwaltz

              If Trump’s language and suggestions are clearly inappropriate than why should society not pushback.

              The remedy for inappropriate behavior is consequences, not sitting quietly by and allowing things to degenerate more and more.

              1. helholtz watson

                cwaltz, we are evidently speaking past each other. By all means pushback. It’s a question of time, place and tactics. Trying to do so at properly permitted rally will only get vocally “disruptive” protesters thrown out under clear cut legal authority. Such tactics can be effective for sure but it’s probably not the best choice.

            2. marym

              The student organizers expected to be escorted out, and hoped to be disciplined enough to do as much as possible to avoid the kind of violence against them that has occurred at other Trump rallies. Trump is the one who decided to curtail his speech by not showing up.

    3. Paul Tioxon

      This is bourgeoisie BS that decries the violence of so-called thugs and outside agitators disrupting your freedoms while you are on the phone calling the cops to report a riot. You can’t wait to see them get beat down by the institutional violence of society, so you don’t have get the blood on your hands, your taxes pay for somebody else duly sworn to shoot, beat and chemically incapacitate anyone that crosses the line of docile subservience and silent obedience. And of course, the lies and distortion against ANY opposition showing up in public, some to voice protest, some to disrupt, some to intimidate and send a message that enough is enough, is portrayed as a brutal assault on Trumps rights to speak without fear or interruption, a violent intimidating presence against the faithful followers of Trump, who should just show up, carefree and soak it all in, a freedom of speech and a freedom of assembly.

      What the”Woodrows” like you do not get is that plenty of people are going to show up to disrupt and intimidate and shut down a rally that is the public announcement of plans to enact institutional political oppression. What you do not get is there will be no appeasement of Trump or his followers or his ideas because they are acts of war against the rest of America that is not just like him. His performance art is a punch list of every reactionary right wing plan to destroy one portion after another of most groups that compose the population of America.

      Trump knows that Islam has a strong hatred of America, but he has to look into the problem that David Duke and the KKK represent, because he is not definitively informed. Almost 70 years old, never heard of that KKK thingy!! But wants to be president, yeah, Mr. IN THE LOOP. And the people who support him know America is not great, and he will make it so. That’s great except for the part where tightly wrapped hatred and violence is permitted open expression, first by Trump and then by his validated followers who act out on the finally, Great God Almighty Free At Last, open gate that has imprisoned freedom of speech by the hated “political correctness”.

      So, NO APPEASEMENT of your freedom of speech, your freedom of assembly as long as they openly air plans to decimate me, people who think like me, people who disagree with you. Trump, his followers and anyone else is not free to plan and stage the marching orders for the liquidation of political opposition by mass expulsions, border Berlin Walls of National Security, proscription lists of all of Islam from anywhere in the world coming to America, the smashing of any disagreement by calling it “political correctness” and finally, smashing the individual near you that looks like a trouble maker.

      And the worst part, is that Trump is most admired for not being a politician, saying what he really thinks, without the constraints of freedom of speech killing “political correctness”. What the money grubbing public, the fed up and had it up to here “silent majority”, the people who think they have a monopoly on patriotism and loving America don’t understand, that politicians do understand, is that soon as the public feels the full brunt of the breakdown of the social order they will be reduced to a howling mob wanting to tear apart whatever threat is placed before them.

      Politicians have to sound moderate and calm and poised, because they are seeking offices of power, the positions of state, especially with a rich and powerful US Government, they will be placed with the instruments of power, of a bureaucracy of millions, including security and police powers, a monopoly on violence, that can be unleashed at the command of the appropriate office.

      Politics has to reconcile people in large numbers who are at total odds among themselves, on some issues, and others, completely irreconcilable. The human condition has fabricated social order from an animal state to one that allows millions to get up everyday and cooperate providing for the necessities of life at a minimum, and it seems now, so much more than simple brute survival. That’s politics, and if politicians have to lie to your face to tell you that you have the freedom to say and do what ever you want, in order to prevent you from burning the world down, because you can’t have everything you want, then, that’s what they will do. The larger social order is more important to keep from disintegration than the satisfaction of current desires or the worship of intangible eternal verities. Politicians occupy offices of power that transcend the needs and wants of any particular generation, and to stop malcontents from burning the world down. The people who believe in the power of the state to do good and preserve their healthy, happy existence will not allow the conservative movement to proceed to obtain state power in order to liquidate that same state and all of its institutions that the majority of the people rely upon to live.

      Freedom of speech and Freedom of assembly are the eternal verities appealed to for Trump exclusively as if his national network TV show or publication is not enough exposure. And opposition protesters showing up in numbers drowning out the voice of Trump is just as much a valid display of Democracy, of the will of the majority, as the people showing up to soak in the Trump experience. Trumps supporters rallying together validates them, empowers them. And that is not something that organized political opposition will allow. By overwhelming the Trump rally with numbers equal to or greater than Trump could muster shows that his vision of a Great Again America and what is wrong with America, is not shared in the least bit. Expect more disruptions, more interruptions, more eternal verities to not be respected.

      To only refer to the freedoms of speech, of assembly, decoupled from the political goals to attain power from these “freedom events”, and not expect opposition to show during Trump’s speech or at the rallies, is to expect political appeasement and submission. And that will not stand. Democracy and the struggle for power goes on beyond the ballot box. If speeches are to be given, if rallies are to be held, opposition will be present to allow the comparison of just how many HAVE NO sympathy with Trump or Cruz or anyone else with extremist views. The counter measures of the anti-Trump crowds serves as a warning that he can not just barn storm across America as a conquering hero, presenting himself to adoring crowds. Trump and his followers will have to fight for every inch of political territory, there will be no appeasement, no silent consent. If Trump wants political power, he will have to get it the old fashion way, he will have to actually work for it in the face of organized opposition.

      1. Norb

        It’s time for the people of this country to take back the political power they gave away without a fight. The elite are so emboldened because they have received such little opposition to their world view and plans. Its about time that they start feeling some push-back from their screwed up worldview.

        It about time that protests begin all over this country, letting the wealthy know the easy days are over.

        1. frosty zoom

          unfortunately, the american dream is to become the wealthy. people will not protest against their own dreams, even if their reality is a nightmare.

    4. Lambert Strether

      Trump has “free speech”* to perform his kayfabe. And in Trump’s world, I have no doubt at all that the protesters were part of a spectacle he chose to engineer; in kayfabe, after all, the audience if fully involved, no matter which side they cheer for or revile, and Trump is a master of the form. So do let’s consider that the outcome was a preferred result for Trump.

      The protesters have “free speech” as well, which includes booing, chanting, sign-waving, marching, and so forth.

      All parties exercised their rights. That the exercise of rights can lead to clashes of interests and desired outcomes should not be a novel idea. Apparently, to many on this thread, it is.

      * I don’t accept the framing that there are First Amendment issues at play here. The “Duty Not To Heckle” simply doesn’t exist.

  2. Dan Dennis

    This brutish activity may play well in Chicago, but Trump wasn’t going to win in Chicago anyway. The rest of the country is appalled.

    Trump is not playing the game by the rules. Anyone that does will not create change. Had he been a “look like all the other candidates” type he would been out of the race months ago.

    Trump is a moderate. Those on the right know that but they are looking for another way to find saneness in insane DC. Maybe the left ought to look at it the same way.

    Is 4 years too much to ask so that we get off the corporate, special interest merry go round?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t know what you are smoking.

      1. Trump is not a moderate. Look at his position on immigration for starters.

      2. Most of America is already appalled by Trump calling people liars and stupid or worse if they disagree with him. And he refuses again and again to defend his positions on their merits. That says he can’t support his view, he can only try to bully the other side into silence. And faced with a seriously skeptical audience for a change, he goes and hides.

      3. There’s no evidence that people outside Trump’s echo chamber are appalled. The protestors were well behaved. It was Trump that was apparently unwilling to hold a rally with a large representation of non-fans in the audience. Note that Trump’s sopkespeople tried blaming the cancellation on the police they had no trouble with the crowd and did not send out riot police, which is what you would have expected had they anticipated something untoward. In other words, it looks like the police told Trump that there were a ton of Trump opponents coming to the rally and Trump chickened out.

      4. The high proportion of non-fans reflects how Trump is seen in the US and contrary to your claims, is not a local syndrome. The only local element is that Trump scheduled his rally in a venue that made it easy for his critics to show up, which they did. Most won’t go to that much effort. The majority of Republicans and and even larger majority of Democrats are opposed to his angry and shallow rhetoric and inconsistent statements on policy. And that’s even with the media misrepresenting both the Trump supporters and his nay-sayers as having misbehaved.

      5. There’s no evidence that Trump is not pro special interests despite his pretense of independence. His proposals on carried interest reform are carefully crafted to protect real estate. And given his repeated claim to be a dealmaker, I’d expect him to start cutting deals once he had the nomination cinched, assuming that happens. Then he has something to trade with. He’s already repeatedly shifted positions on issues like health care and the Middle East. If he can’t even be consistent while campaigning, why should you believe anything he says?

      1. Working Class Nero

        1. Trump’s immigration policy is exceptionally moderate; being more open than Canada’s for example. Ironically and in a total self-awareness fail, many anti-Trumpsters are hiring lawyers to see if they can quality under Canada’s VERY tough rules for admission. Seems if you have universal health care you kind of need those borders. Every nation on earth deports illegal immigrants. In any case Trump’s call for a huge wall and 11 million deportations means he has conjured valuable chess pieces out of whole cloth for later negotiations. And just for comparison, Cesar Chavez was 10 times harder on illegals than Trump could ever dream to be.

        2. Trump pushes a tough and aggressive working class pathos that is totally lost on highly educated people who instead typically display their class arrogance by sniveling down their noses and insisting the working class respond to a genteel bourgeois logos instead.

        3. Trump’s move to cancel the rally was pure brilliance. He avoided a brand massacre and replaced it with what was a literal apocalypse, a lifting of the veil, a revelation. Fox News, “conservative” pundits, The Three Cucketeers (Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich) were all forced to make a choice – do they attack Trump and therefore seemingly align themselves with “leftist street thugs” and BLM or do they stand with the thousands of mostly working class Trump supporters? In the end, almost the entire GOP establishment attacked Trump and were therefore seen by by many to be giving moral succor to BLM and the Bernie-people. Trumps numbers have skyrocketed since and Cruz’ have dropped precipitously. People are fleeing the CruzCrew and joining the Trump Train.

        4. Trump laid a trap in Chicago and many, many people fell right into it!

        5. FDR ran on a balance the budget campaign 1932 and on an anti-war one in 1940. No one has any idea what a politician will do once they get into office although at least with Trump we know he is not beholden to the donor class or powerful oligarchs The only thing that is important about shifting Trump’s positions is if they lead to victory. “Just win, baby” is an attitude from the past that many working class people are still very well familiar with.

        1. alex morfesis

          About fdr…if you are going to allow yourself to be spoon fed hate at least make some attempt to live in something close to reality…the economic act of 1933 (march 20) was where fdr asked for a 500 million dollar reduction in the budget…congress only gave him 250 million reduction…only president to spend Less money on a budget then the previous year…

          if you want to hate fdr for being from the oldest private wall street firm and then having the audacity to imagine feeding all the resources to the uber wealthy doesnt really work out too well for a large nation…that is how you think then it is what it is…but at least get your hate straight…

          And as what to expect from el donaldo…unless he is going to get the mayor of atlantic city to make it illegal to take pictures…

          Heez gonna have a lotta splainin to do lucy…

          “Once Trump had made as much money as he could by taking advantage of the bankrutcy laws to reduce his casino debts…he walked away from Atlantic City…
          This is what Trump does to an American City once it no longer suits him…”

          1. Working Class Nero

            Far from hating FDR, I see him as by far the greatest President the US has had for at least 100 years. And he was also an extremely wealthy aristocratic authoritarian. He was immediately called a fascist when he got into office and well into WW2 he was being referred to as a dictator by political opponents He was a huge narcissist, and was insanely over confident. And by sheer strength of will be created to conditions for America’s middle class to grow.

          2. Adam Eran

            IMHO, the game-changing difference FDR experienced was polio. He knew that his health couldn’t be bribed. He couldn’t invoke his status as a plutocrat and walk.

            Death and disease: the ultimate leveler of playing fields.

          1. Working Class Nero

            As a union leader, Cesar Chavez’ main vulnerability when he called a strike was that with a poor country just next door, the employers would seek cheap labor illegal aliens as scabs to break the strikes. Chavez and the United Farm Workers took extreme measures to protect themselves from illegals. For example in 1973:

            With the help of UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, Chavez launched the “Illegals Campaign,” which he believed was nearly as important as the boycott. He criticized President Nixon and the Border Patrol for letting in so many “wets,” as he called them.

            Under the campaign, he turned the UFW into an anti-illegal-immigrant spying organization. Union volunteers became dedicated to finding and identifying undocumented immigrants working on farms — as well as those giving them aid and comfort. The information was turned over to the feds. While doing yoga “standing on his head,” Pawel writes, Chavez gave 19-year-old Liza Hirsch the job of heading up the Illegals Campaign.

            “Hirsch distributed forms printed in triplicate to all union offices and directed staff members to document the presence of illegal immigrants in the fields and report them to the INS,” the books states.

            Chavez believed that the campaign would help his supporters explain to the public why the boycott against grapes and lettuce wasn’t effective: Farmers were hiring illegal workers who didn’t care about the strikes or boycott.
            A favorite line of Chavez’s was, “If we can get the illegals out of California, we will win the strike overnight.”

            The UFW also formed paramilitary units to stop illegals from infiltrating into the US to assist the growers in breaking the strikes and keeping the farm-workers deep in poverty: When caught an illegal alien was treated in a much more severe way than, say, a protester at a Trump rally.

            On February 7, 1979, the New York Times ran a story in which the paper reported that Chavez, during a UFW-led seven-month-long strike outside Yuma, Arizona, five years earlier, had the union establish a “100-mile-long ‘wet line’ of military-style tents to halt the flow of illegal aliens across the border.” What happened? Said the Times of a strike led by Cesar’s cousin Manuel Chavez: “… hundreds of Mexican aliens were brutally beaten by UFW representatives to keep them from crossing the border and taking the jobs of striking melon workers.”

            The sheriff of Yuma County, Travis Yancy, told the Times: “Each tent was manned by five or six of their people who were paid $5 to $7 a day, plus their grub. They’d catch any ‘wet’ coming through and beat the hell out of them.” The UFW workers were, said the Times,“using clubs, chains and five-foot-long flogging whips comprised of intertwined strands of barbed wire.” The paper also reported that Yancy “alleged that the UFW had ‘bombed the houses and burned the cars’ of potential strike-breaking aliens and bribed Mexican officials not to interfere with the ‘wet line.’” To put it mildly, the story of the UFW’s alleged treatment of strikebreakers was leagues beyond what had so angered Bobby Kennedy about the California sheriff’s alleged treatment of UFW workers in 1966.

            Chavez was a true class warrior but the wealthy elites preferred Identity Politics. In 1968 the Ford Foundation created what is today the National Council of La Raza in order to snuff out class struggle (quality of life) and replace it with identity struggle (quantity of co-ethnics). According to Chavez deputy Leroy Chatfield:

            That’s one of the reasons he is so upset about La Raza. The same Mexicans that ten years ago were talking about themselves as Spaniards are coming on real strong these days as Mexicans. Everyone should be proud of what they are, of course, but race is only skin-deep. It’s phony and it comes out of frustration; the La Raza people are not secure. They look upon Cesar as their ‘dumb Mexican’ leader; he’s become their saint. But he doesn’t want any part of it. He said to me just the other day, ‘Can’t they understand that that’s just the way Hitler started?’ A few months ago the Ford Foundation funded a La Raza group and Cesar really told them off. The foundation liked the outfit’s sense of pride or something, and Cesar tried to explain to them what the origin of the word was, that it’s related to Hitler’s concept

            Now we’ve come full circle as anyone who attempts to take up the mantle of Chavez’ class struggle is labelled as “literally Hitler”.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Thanks, WCN.

              The rich had a good time watching the working men from one country struggled with their counterparts from a neighboring country.

              If you are starving, and another starvation victim tries to break in to your house, what is the morally not ambiguous thing to do?

              It’s a trick question and the trap we are in.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Stop making stuff up Proposing to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants is radical, particularly because the local employers are the ones ultimately responsible. If there was no work the foreigners would not be here. But in Alabama, when they tried barring illegal immigrants from working by making it illegal for employers, the farmers could not get replacement workers and crops rotted.

          This was not brilliant. There are hardly any relatively inexpensive large venues. Something like this would have happened anywhere he had rented a hall.

          Trump is foolish. What was probably conceived as a clever brand building exercise has gone to his head. He would not want to be President if he understood the job. An elected office is not even remotely like being a private sector boss.

          1. GRC

            If all employers were required to utilize the E-verify system, then jobs would soon dry up for a lot of illegal immigrants. Some would stay, but many would choose to return to their home country, taking their families with them. It would even be reasonable to pay illegal immigrants what it costs to move back to their home countries.

            Giving amnesty to illegal immigrants before actually demonstrating enforcement of the law will not work. The politicians pulled this trick on America in 1985 and several times since and have never effectively enforced the law. The people will not be fooled again

            The whole story about crops rotting in the fields is a myth brought up to perpetuate pushing down wages in the agricultural field. Farmers can hire an unlimited number of workers on H2-A visas, but they are required to pay a decent wage, provide housing, and pay for travel for the workers. The farmers would rather have illegal immigrants since they can no longer get slaves.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              No, go read the press in Alabama. This is not made up. The peach crop rotted.

              There is a lot of support in Alabama for tough anti-immigration laws, yet the state had to change course in light of the consequences.

      2. helmholtz watson

        I have no idea what Trump really believes, nor do I have any idea how knowledgeable he is on important issues. Furthermore, his pathological narcissism is disturbing so I am no fan of Trump. Yet, he says some things that need to be said and make perfect sense.


        That is reason enough take him seriously.


        That may be naive but the fact that he isn’t genuflecting to earn the favor of Haim Saban and Sheldon Addison is again, reason enough to take him seriously. Don’t under estimate how much this issue has led to the orchestrated campaign to destroy Trump.


        Building a wall isn’t going to happen and I doubt Trump is serious about that in a literal sense but he is speaking out quite forcefully about a very legitimate issue which is reason enough to take him seriously.

        Again I have no idea who the real Trump is but I also don’t care at some level. We already had a sociopath for President, Bill Clinton, so let’s give the narcissist a try. We had a moron and dry drunk for president, George Bush, so let’s give the tea-totaling megalomaniac a try, We had a dimwitted actor for president, Ronald Reagan, so lets’ give the celebrity real estate developer a try. And we had the black Dick Cheney and progressive fraud Barak, the drone killer, Obama for president so lets give the guy who is actually honest about his thoughts a try.

        American politics is a joke and this time is no different. And HRC is the scariest of them all!.

        1. inhibi

          Guys, Trump isn’t moderate or extremist: he says whatever he thinks will improve the BRAND NAME of Trump, and whatever will GET MORE VOTES.

          No one has ANY idea of Trump’s stance on anything, because its entirely fluid. In office, god knows what he would do. No matter though; the establishment will not let Trump becomes a president. I’m pretty sure the electoral college would probably vote against the majority if it so happened that he won the general election.

          As to Yves’ point: the Trump rally really was not shut down by the protesters. It was shut down by Trump because he HATES anything that could potentially ruin his image. He is, after all, only worth whatever the name “Trump” is worth.

          1. FiatZiggurat

            This is THE thing for people to understand about Drumpf!

            It’s clear as day, Idk why so few not only don’t see it, but ironically view him as an honest (as Yves’ interviews amazingly show) non-politician. He is by definition the most fluid/political candidate ever: Who else ever ran on a dictatorial platform of war crimes one day and so easily walked back that radical position the next day?
            He’s a sh!t-floater; he throws shi!t out and gauges response. He doesn’t really care either way; just wants to “win”, which includes having a majority adoring audience, as Chicago shows.
            I can’t understate enough my amazement that – just because he’s crude and blunt – people see Drumpf as apolitical, when he’s really an extreme example of a typical pandering politician.

            The only issue he’s resolute about is the wall and “winning” at trade; he’s gauged those to be the two pillars of “making America great again”.

        2. alex morfesis

          The great wall of america…the chinese have one…why cant we ??

          He will build it…and it will have viewing areas and rest stops and really nice outdoor cafes and yyuuuuge food sales and the tourism will be out of this world…

          The great wall of america…it wont keep mexicans out…but it will bring tourists in…

          1. FiatZiggurat

            If you can walk on the top like China’s Great Wall, undocumented workers will get tourist visas and take a chance on the 35 foot jump! (Drumpf said he’s fluid/flexible and 50 feet was a starting point for negotiations).

            Or, like Obama’s idea, adding a moat with crocodiles. We can make a reality show out of it, where you get a work visa if you get by. Giving the tourists a good show too. So American. So Drumpf. It’s gonna be Yuuuge!

        3. bas

          just to address one of your points:


          yes, and I can see you are shouting too, lol. This is a simplistic jingoistic dog whistle bullshit theme. He employs illegals, or rather his buildings and hotels do. As a matter of fact, there is a scandal about him having Poles working in demolition in NY on Trump Tower being paid half what others were paid and not being provided with any protective gear–they will never collect even thought they won their lawsuit against him.

          Trump is full of crap, and here is some background

        4. Yves Smith Post author

          Earth to base, as I’ve said, the carried interest loophole is already on its way out. Go to any hedge fund or tax conference. There’s no fight any more, the rich guys know its days are numbered.

          Plus I hate to tell you, the fund managers can just structure their deals somewhat differently to achieve pretty much the same result (as in having an actual carried interest, as in borrowing the money, as opposed to what is actually a profits share).

          So contrary to your uninformed view, Trump is not being bold or brave, in fact, he has cynically proposed a variant that protects carried interest for guys like him! And you are dumb enough to fall for it.

          1. RW tucker

            Yves, you’re getting a little upset in this thread and stooping to insults. There’s no commenter who could do that here, why are you?

            1. helmhotz watson

              no worries I can take it. I have total respect for Yves when I disagree with her which is very rare.

            2. farrokh bulsara

              Well, helmholtz and some others have surely tried my patience and I’ve only read the ongoing dialog. Imo, Yves is showing the patience of a saint to keep hammering home the same points ad infinitum.

              1. RW Tucker

                Maybe it’s just me, but diving into your comments section and getting so frustrated that you insult people isn’t becoming of anyone.

          2. helmhotz watson

            and as you know it’s been on its way out for over a decade now but never seems to go away.

            How much longer? And I have no doubt you are right about finding ways around it. That’s what $1200/hour tax lawyers are for. Trust me I have employed plenty of them.

            You read my posts all wrong. I am no fan of Trump but I do think his candidacy has value in the sense of disrupting the establishment. If that causes them to revisit the public interest going forward that is a good thing.

      3. Jim Young

        I agree with Yves as completely as possible.

        Trump must have thought any protesters would have been dealt with much like the Occupy Wall Street protesters are now shut out in NYC. Perhaps he even thought they would be as isolated from the major media as the huge anti GW Bush protest groups were in the lead up to the OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom, quickly revised from Operation Iraqi Liberation or “OIL”) invasion of Iraq.

        Trump also seems to suggest “his people” will pick Bernie supporters as the targeted enemy to concentrate on, though it seems 70% of America are more properly against his hate mongering. If James O’Keefe shows up as a provocateur, it would complete my picture of Trump as a person willing to use extreme disinformation as long as the opposition research dirty tricksters are useful to him. As an old Republican (now no-party affiliation, independent), I quit the party when they used some of the dirtiest tricksters like Roger Stone, whom Trump also used early in his campaign.

      4. optimader

        The protestors were well behaved.
        Reading Timothy Page’s comments as well as the link he provided, well behaved? I’d say not so much.

        The more I think on this the more apparent it becomes that Trump actually made an insightful venue selection to serve his purposes. The undisciplined protests that didn’t even wait for the Candidate to appear sucker punched themselves!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s the second time I read that here (the other one, Working Class Nero’s comment at 9:38AM).

          Is Trump really that great at Chess or Go, and set up a trap for his opponents?

          Is that how he will negotiate? It’s almost Putin-esque…

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          As we said as the outset, there was extensive video evidence from Fox News, repeated aerial shots, and repeated remarks about how well the crowd was behaving.

          You are going to take a single account over extensive documentary evidence that shows otherwise?

          1. optimader

            Your right in that I did not watch any FOX news and my comment is formed by what I read here in the post and embedded link.

            If there were people in the crowd verbally abusing other people in the crowd, I consider unacceptable behavior, I simply don’t like bullies, so maybe we have different standards on that account.

            I have absolutely no problem with the notion of Hecklers, but the speaker wasn’t there so I don’t think it is fair to frame it as “heckling”.

            I do have a problem with verbal abuse and intimidation, if either occurred. If there wasn’t any, then non of this should even be on the radar.

            I do not something over 240 comments, so as a minimum, apparently a fertile subject!

      5. GRC

        Middle class and working class Americans have not had any president or presidential candidate speaking to their concerns for decades. Trump has gained traction because a large chunk of American citizens are tired of 1) ever increasing levels of immigration for the last 40 years, against their will, 2) failure to enforce immigration laws, 3) globalization and outsourcing of jobs, 4) needless wars, and 5) feeling that no one is concerned about their interests.

        The open borders lobby, consisting of cheap labor interests, ethnocentric special interest groups, media elites, Religious interests, refugee resettlement groups, the far left, etc have pushed their mass immigration agenda relentlessly – attacking and labeling anyone who disagreed with their agenda as racist, xenophobic, bigoted, nativist, yada yada yada. The public is tired of such tactics.

        This big chunk of America supporting Trump has real legitimate concerns and are glad someone is finally standing up for them against the mainstream political establishment of both parties.

        Actions like those taken by protesters in Chicago will only strengthen Trumps support. And beware, it could possibly lead to similar actions by Trump supporters at Bernie Sanders rallies.

    2. Lambert Strether

      My personal view is that Trump’s policy positions are unknown and not knowable. Therefore, we can’t know if he’s a “moderate”* or not (and he could be “moderate” about some things and not about others).

      1) Trump occasionally emits sentences that resemble policy proposals. That’s not the same as having serious policies, as Sanders and even Clinton, bless her heart, do. Trump’s proposals are shallow and ever-shifting. There’s no there there.

      2) Trump is a deal-maker. Right now he has no counter-parties, so there are no deal to be made. That will come when he’s in office.

      * “Moderate” is also one of those Beltway categories that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        He has been very consistent about his immigrant wall and getting rid of all of the “illegals”. It will be hard for him to walk that back.

  3. Watt4Bob


    Thanks Yves, thanks Timothy.

    I too am proud of my hometown, and Sly and the Family Stone have always been an antidote to hate.

    1. Sluggeaux

      Sly and the Family Stone were a San Francisco Bay Area band, not a Chicago band. I’m glad that people in Chicago still like their message. “I am Everyday People” resonates today the same way that it did in ’68, when the Chicago Police were clubbing political demonstrators into a bloody pulp and we were just getting started with imperial aggressions in far-away lands.

      Terrific reportage here about the limited views of Trump supporters. They are tired of being lied to (just like the rest of us), but fall into “blame the victim” tropes when it comes to the exploitation of immigrant labor and job loss to globalization. I strongly suspect that the Trump campaign cynically scheduled their rally at a hostile college campus in order for it to be shut down, simply to play into the “victimization” meme of their supporters.

      1. knowbuddhau

        I, too, am a Sly and the Family Stone fan. Got that track on my phone.

        But WADR, I’m not a fan of the ahistorical trope that our imperial aggressions only started sometime after WWII. Mark Twain’s American Anti-Imperialist League was founded June 15, 1898. Going back even further, consider how the West was “won.” See also “Manifest Destiny,” “genocide,” “Doctrine of Discovery.”

        1. Sluggeaux

          You are so correct about American imperialism! Pardon my inarticulate reference to the Vietnam War and the new doctrine of open-ended military adventures.

          In fact, we can thank the two century-old Monroe Doctrine (along with NAFTA) for the current influx of Mexican refugees escaping the chaos sown by the oligarchy propped-up in their country by the U.S. — Who are blamed by Trump supporters for being exploited (with complete impunity) by U.S. employers eager to drive down wages and crush unions.

  4. andyb

    Hmmm. No one is mentioning that many signs point to the protesters being funded by Soros through his chaos puppets; no different than the paid Ferguson rioters or the paid for and bussed in protesters at many other events, or the paid agitators that destroyed the OWS movement. It is amazing to me that forces are aligned to create discord among us so that the real enemies of this country can hide in the shadows.

    1. Jerry

      Why don’t you tell us what those signs of Soros funding are? Also tell us why the protesters would need to be funded in the first place. Home made signs are cheap.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      This is laughable.

      Soros does not do grass roots. Soros is a snob and funds think tanks and political candidates. Go look at Ukraine or Eastern Europe, which is vastly more important to Soros personally than the US (he is credited with having saved universities all over Eastern Europe when the USSR collapsed). Soros very proudly (ugh) describes how virtually everyone in the Ukraine government has gotten grants from his foundation, either personally or close family members.

      I suggest you read the post and the press rather than running conspiracy theories. You Trump fans refuse to believe that the majority of Americans are opposed to what he stands for (Trump doesn’t even have majority support among Republicans) and a bunch of college students who were close by and had the time and motivation to show up made that evident. The fact that he calls out some deserving targets like bad trade deals does not mean his plans (to the extent he has any; he’s bluster over substance) make any sense. And his personal immaturity alone (thin skin, bullying, racist overtones, obvious failure to understand what the job of President is about) is reason to reject him as a candidate.

      1. Skippy

        Chortle…. Trump aficionados are just disenfranchised Ron Paul acolytes… who would have thunkit….

      1. Working Class Nero is openly and proudly taking credit for shutting the rally down. They are using it to raise funds. In the past George Soros, his foundation, and his son Jonathan, all have funded MoveOn. Are they still funding it? The Washington Times says yes but they give no details.

        But if David Duke’s association with the KKK, which he left in 1980, is still an issue then I don’t think it is totally unfair to refer to as a Soros funded operation. At the very least is WAS a Soros-funded operation, whether it still is is not clear

        1. marym

          From the organizers:

          To be transparent, DID donate 700 signs and 1 banner. But the phrases on the signs and banners were not decided on by MoveOn; those were decided on by students. MoveOn also sent out an email to their members informing them of the protest, but advertisement of a protest does not make them the organizers for it. Our student group began organizing this protest and started the FB page on Friday, March 4. MoveOn reached out to our group offering to donate signs and a banner on the night of Wednesday, March 9. And as far as being “paid protesters”, we would have loved to be paid for this but our students gladly did it for free.


        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Stop making stuff up. One more time and you go into moderation.

          MoveOn made clear it has only a minor role in the protest, in fact, readers laughed at how desperate its efforts to take any credit were.

          “In the past” Soros gave some money to MoveOn. This is the best you can do backing up your assertion that there was a connection? Did you miss that MoveOn endorsed Sanders? Soros can’t be happy with that, so please tell me your evidence for the idea that he has influence, much the less control.

          1. Working Class Nero

            Let’s forget about Soros since his name seems to be triggering people. You are clearly an intelligent man BUT you seem to be saying that a supporter of Hillary Clinton would NEVER EVER EVER consider pushing an organization to print her opponent’s signs for a rally that may very well have turned violent?

   printed Bernie signs for this rally. I think it is pretty clear that maybe just maybe they were not doing this to HELP Bernie!

            Once again: printed Bernie signs for this rally that could have turned very violent. No one printed Hillary signs.

            Although in the event there was very little violence, if Trump had gone ahead with the rally, Rahm’s Chicago police department could have stood down (or not) and many protesters could have bumrushed the stage. The US-SS agents guarding Trump would have had to decide whether they open fire Tiananmen Square-style or whether they hold their fire and let Trump get pummeled. In the aftermath, there would have been all these signs on the ground with blood splatters on them. Mostly Trump signs but also several Bernie signs. Amazingly enough not a Hillary sign in sight!!! There was also a Soviet flag being waved just in case anyone missed the point.

            Because of this violence, Trump (if he survived) and Sanders would have been kicked out of the primaries and both Soros-funded candidates, Clinton and Kasich, would have a path to a face-off in the general election.

            In Euromaiden they used fascists and so why not have Chicago’s “muscle” be labeled “Bernie-people” thanks to all those Bernie signs that printed?

            1. Lambert Strether

              No, Soros is not triggering me. You argue with no evidence that Soros is funding this effort. I debunk that, with evidence, by pointing out he gave a large sum of money to Clinton. You are in “Any stick to beat a dog” territory.

              As for the rest of your comment, all I can say is that “I think it is pretty clear that maybe” and “could have turned” and “would have had to” and “there would have been” and “if” and “would have been” and “would have a path” and “why not have” do not have the logical force that you seem to think they have.

              Another weird thing about the general tone of many comments on this thread but exemplified by this one, is that they go out of their way to avoid the evidence of an actual attendee. From the post:

              But it was clear that almost half the people in the line were something other than Trump supporters. Many of them were holding protest signs, many had Bernie buttons, and some were talking amongst themselves in languages other than English. In my field of vision I witnessed no altercations, nor did there appear to be an atmosphere of hostility in either camp, intertwined in the line as they were. I talked to a few groups of people who simply by color of skin and/or style of dress didn’t look like Trumpers, and it turned out some of them were actually on the same errand as I: trying to get an immediate sense of what kind of people would come out to support this man’s candidacy for president, and whether or not the scene as a whole would smack of xenophobic, fascist demagoguery the way it has been portrayed in the media.

              Less hysteria, please.

            2. Yves Smith Post author

              You are really grasping at straws. The idea that a guy like Soros would even care about a particular Trump rally, much the less spend his time and effort on minutae like signs is ridiculous. And the rest of your argument is just as absurd. And to add insult to injury, you condescend to Lambert, who treats you with vastly more patience than you deserve.

            3. flora

              The Club for Growth (nothing to do with Soros) has been running anti-Trump ads in Missouri.

    3. helmholtz watson

      There is no way Soros was behind these protests. I have read 6 books by Soros and he is an incredibly intelligent and decent human being in my view. I have no doubt he opposes Trump but the notion that he is somehow the secret force behind the protesters at Trump’s Chicago rally is absurd!

      1. Rhondda

        Snopes says this is partly true and partly false. Snopes says that Open Society Foundations, which was founded by Soros, does indeed fund groups such as BLM, but Soros himself does not personally oversee ODF’s day-to-day funding activities.

        Snopes’ take seems to me to be a bit of hair splitting. Perhaps it’s less overtly “false” than something like a synecdoche — substituting founder Soros for organization OSF.

        Personally, I don’t like these “pro democracy” NGOs — here or anywhere– because of their association with right wing coups and so-called color revolutions. OpenSociety seems to have been working hand-in-glove with our state dept’s fomentation of a violent right wing coup in Ukraine, so one can understand why Americans who know that would be leery. Makes me leery.

        Claim:   George Soros donated $33 million to fund rioting Ferguson protest groups.


        TRUE: A grantmaking network founded by George Soros provided funding to some groups that engaged in Ferguson-related protest activities.
        FALSE: George Soros gave money to various groups for the express purpose of promoting Ferguson-related protests and riots.

    4. Carolinian

      I put this rumor in comments yesterday just because it seemed interesting and also sourced it to a radio interview with known dirty trickster Roger Stone who worked for Trump early in his campaign. Lambert talked about the Stone/Trump connection several months ago. Guess I assumed everybody knew that.

      However I do think something else Stone said is worth attention–that the alleged conspiracy was also aimed at Sanders because this kind of activity was going to hurt Sanders. This–in my opinion–is true even if all the rest about Soros, Clinton etc is bs. We are in the middle of an election and the way you express protest during an election is by voting. Setting aside all the high minded free speech considerations, even the appearance of one campaign trying to interfere with another is bad politics.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I don’t know if this benefits Trump or Hillary or Sanders, but I think it’s better we get back on debating issues and letting the voters decide.

        More stuff like this will just mean more distractions.

  5. EoinW

    Many Americans are desperate to take back their democracy and bring down the establishment. Trump and Sanders are the only viable options out there. Frankly Trump looks the more likely to succeed, which makes him a better option than Sanders. Maybe the devil is in the details and Sanders looks better on details but what use is that when he cannot get past the Democratic Party’s Super delegates to win the nomination? The fact is, all that matters is that someone beats the establishment.

    What is pathetic is Sander’s people going after Trump. Basically they are saying that it’s their agenda or nothing else. Makes me suspect how authentic their anti-establishment stance really is. Where are these people protesting at Clinton rallies? Thus we have the usual divide and conquer at work. This seems to please many here at NC but that pleasure is moderate compared to the joy on Wall Street and Washington.

    Supporters of anti-establishment candidates should be on the same side. When they are not then they are on the side of the Oligarchs who own America.

    1. Kulantan

      Just because someone is the enemy of your enemy doesn’t mean that they are your friend. If there was a candidate who was promising to deliver put everyone in America in an iron maiden I pretty sure the establishment wouldn’t like them but why should that mean that I like them?

      Supporters of anti-establishment candidates should be on the same side. When they are not then they are on the side of the Oligarchs who own America.

      Right, because “when they are not on the side of X then they are on the side of Y” has played no part in the current calamity. If I’m going to thumb my nose at the establishment then why would I play lesser evilism with the non-establishment candidates?

      1. EoinW

        As Gerald Celente points out: voting for a lesser evil is still voting for evil. I certainly grant you that point. However in all western democracies the only choices are lesser evils or people who will not get elected. The system is so corrupted now. Any anti-establishment candidate is a vote against the system. If that candidate can actually win then one has a slim opportunity to have their vote lead to change. Donald Trump serves a duo purpose. If he wins and isn’t assassinated he will not rule for the sole benefit of of the establishment. We can’t be sure how he’d rule, however even if he was a disaster he’d serve to discredit the whole system. The second purpose has already been accomplished as Trump has already embarrassed the system. This is the first step towards ending the system – something that should be the goal of anyone who wants a real democracy again.

    2. Eduardo Quince

      “What is pathetic is Sander’s people going after Trump. Basically they are saying that it’s their agenda or nothing else.”

      The fact that the “people going after Trump” are Sanders supporters is coincidental. Said people are first and foremost political activists. They happen to support Bernie because he is the candidate that best represents their agenda.

      1. cwaltz


        I’m not saying Donald Trump is a tool because Bernie Sanders is the candidate I support. I’m saying Donald Trump is a tool because I believe Donald Trump is a tool.

        I’ll be saying it if Bernie doesn’t win the primary and drops out too, by the way.

        People can and should vote for him if they want but they should know what they are voting FOR.

  6. Anne

    The only way Trump can continue to campaign on the media’s dime is for his appearances and rallies to continue to create and incite controversy; if there was “nothing to see” I don’t believe we would be seeing any more of his events than we see of any of the other candidates’ events. In the case of his Chicago rally, there’s a reason he chose to hold it where he did: he knew it would draw protestors, and that draws the media.

    I do not believe that any of what Trump is doing has anything to do with a desire to govern or lead; I think the beast that is his ego has simply latched onto this as a means to keep it satisfied, and therein lies the real danger. How far is too far? And at what point does Trump’s conscience simply surrender to his ego completely? I shudder to think what happens then.

    If people really, truly wanted to end the social experiment that is Donald Trump, they would refuse to give him the kind of attention he’s getting. That won’t happen unless the media stops covering him to the extent they are. They’d show a 10-second clip on the nightly news – like they do for all the other candidates – and be done with it. That won’t happen though, because it’s a very lucrative, if sick, symbiotic relationship for Trump and the media.

    As for the rest of the whys and how-could-this-happens that seem to be consuming the media and the GOP establishment, please: enough with the crocodile tears. Right-wing talk radio created this. Right-wing news media created this. The voters created this.

    What is it that Charlie Pierce always says? This is your democracy, America: cherish it.

    1. Lexington

      If people really truly wanted to end the social experiment that is Donald Trump they would stop voting for him in the primaries. The evidence thus far indicates that they are not ready to do so. It is the fact that he is the front-runner in the Republican leadership race and the candidate most likely to win the nomination that makes him newsworthy. He doesn’t need to incite controversy to get media attention.

      What you are suggesting is that the media should impose a blackout on coverage of Trump because you find his views uncongenial. Is that your idea of cherishing democracy?

      1. Anne

        I just love it when people put words in my mouth so they can have the argument they want to have…

        I did not “suggest” a media blackout. What I said, and quite clearly, is right there in my first sentence:

        The only way Trump can continue to campaign on the media’s dime is for his appearances and rallies to continue to create and incite controversy; if there was “nothing to see” I don’t believe we would be seeing any more of his events than we see of any of the other candidates’ events.

        Trump makes his own news; that’s what gets him all the free air time, The blowhard who keeps insisting that Mexico will pay for his most beautiful wall EVER, isn’t paying for media coverage if he doesn’t have to.

        I don’t need the media to impose a blackout on Trump, or anyone/anything else; I can simply just not watch, read or listen as I choose.

    2. EoinW

      That last line captures the problem well. Most westerners still believe in the illusion that they have a working democracy. They do not want to confront the reality that their cherished democracy has been hijacked by criminals. Far better to embrace an old fantasy than to need to challenge such a mafioso gang. A Trump candidacy threatens this illusion. A President Trump blows up this illusion.

      I do not understand why President Trump makes one shudder. Of the remaining contenders he is the only one who would talk to Putin. The rest would continue to confront Russia. Thus Trump is the least likely to start a nuclear war.

      Why haven’t westerners shuddered already? After destroying so many countries what horrors are there left? Why have we not seen enough blood to be done with our political establishment? The poor people of Iraq, Libya and Syria have seen enough. I am continually shocked by western ethics which consider Trump’s crudeness and offending our sensibilities to be a greater crime than an out of control political elite and military murdering people daily.

      1. Helmholtz Watson


        very interesting posts that I have enjoyed reading.

        Although democracy is just one way to structure a state, the concept has reached cult status; unassailable as political dogma. It is, as economist Joseph Schumpeter observed, “a surrogate faith for intellectuals deprived of religion.”

        The founding fathers loathed democracy and the term never appears in the constitution or the declaration of independence. Furthermore, the constitution does not contemplate or specifically allow for citizens to vote for the president. The system was always intended as a form of elite control with a veneer of public legitimacy but hey what’s historical fact when you have dogma to believe in.

        We live in a world of fiction, delusions and myths where most of the citizens are pathetically ignorant and apathetic. Robert Trivers, the legendary biologist and winner of the Crafoord Prize describes the American public as “disturbingly ignorant” in his book The Folly of Fools. I would argue it is even worse that that. It’s like living in an asylum.

    3. reslez

      Yes, all the media needs to do to shut Trump down is treat him the same way they treat Sanders.

      Our analysis shows Bernie Sanders is being ignored by the mainstream media to a shocking degree. If covered at the average rate we’d have seen about 61,500 more stories including Sanders in the last 6 months: 91,094 mentions instead of 29,525. DecisionData (check out the chart of Google searches vs mentions, it is crazy)

  7. tgs

    Apparently, Trump’s rallies are not ‘free speech zones’ at all. From the Intercept: Federal Law Criminalizes Protesting Trump Now That He’s Guarded by the Secret Service:

    As journalist Dahlia Lithwick and First Amendment lawyer Raymond Vasvari observed in 2012, when the federal law on trespass was quietly amended by H.R. 347 — it is a crime, punishable by up to a year in prison, to “knowingly… impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” in locations guarded by the Secret Service, including places where individuals under Secret Service protection are temporarily located — the revised statute made it “easier for the government to criminalize protest.”

    What that means in practice is that campaign rallies for Donald Trump, who was granted Secret Service protection in November, and Hillary Clinton, who will be guarded for life as a former first lady, are the very opposite of free speech zones under federal law. (The restrictions also apply to all appearances by former presidents and first ladies, as well as those of two other candidates, Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson, who are currently protected by the service.)

  8. DanielDeParis


    Here in Paris, there is a culture of demonstration. Call it la Révolution or la Commune.

    No fifth amendment stuff, just a set of mind that allow us to peacefully express their positions and, when necessary, protests can take place, including on the street. It is always organized and, except for agents provocateurs, always peaceful. Andpolice is indeed extremely rough on “Agents provocateurs”, we do NOT use the expression by the way when they chime in (and they often do). That’s an essential part de “notre liberté de manifester” here in Paris.

    I find it sad that some hear would justify for the actions taken in Chicago. IMH(-and-French)O Trump and others should been allowed to peacefully hold his meetings. Full stop.

  9. helmholtz watson

    Trump”s candidacy is more important than people realize. He may be a deeply flawed vehicle for a protest movement but he is nevertheless the embodiment of the disgust, contempt and distrust the public holds for the political system. And in that sense this is a very important development.

    1. Norb

      Its important to guard against the legitimate feelings of contempt and frustration being directed at the wrong target. Politicians are bought and paid for, but where is the anger at the ones doing the buying? Are we to pledge our allegiance and loyalty to the nation and its people or to some loose collection of corporations exercising control over our lives?

      I’m sick and tired of this worn out argument about bad government. Lets demand good government, administered by individuals interested in public service- not some businessman harping once again about if only corporations could be free of restraints, all will be good in the world.

      Corporations are not people and have succeeded in remaining largely unacountable to the society at large.
      From where I stand, this has been a disaster.

      1. Linus Huber

        A protest movement has organization.

        Its organization is not a necessity. A protest movement is a public dissent or manifestation of such dissent, whether organized or not.

  10. Dino Reno

    Anyone else seen the clip of a protester rushing the podium while Trump was speaking? I saw it on RT news.
    It dramatically captured secret service taking the would be assassin down and surrounding Trump to shield him from danger. After the incident, Trump returned to the podium and thanked the crowd for warning him and the police for stopping the attempted assault. Had this happened to any establishment politician, this clip would be in non-stop rotation in the MSM. It showed incredible bravery on Trump’s part and cast the protesters as the real security threat they represent. No wonder the clip is not in circulation. If this had happened to Clinton or Obama, we would be in for the mother of all security crackdowns, with the MSM in full chorus of the need for even more heavy handed tactics. Protesters would be sequestered miles away from the rally site and the media would be put on restricted access. But since this is Trump, who is public enemy number one of the establishment, he’s being cited as the evil doer. Doesn’t take a genius to see what’s wrong with this picture.

    1. Kulantan

      Mate, it made it to the front page of the front page of the new here in Australia, there was hardly a media blackout.

      Second thing is that Trump is now claiming that the protester has links to ISIS despite the evidence to the contrary in a ridiculous effort to scaremonger.

      Sure the establishment don’t like Trump being in politics (I mean they were fine with him before that) but just because someone is the enemy of your enemy doesn’t make them your friend.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Given the many credible threats of physical violence that Obama faces (far beyond the norm for US Presidents) the high security that surrounds him is probably legitimate. Clinton likewise, has a disproportionate, aggressive anti-fan club. The analog you are looking for is Bush. Together with his eminence gris, Cheney, he took security to anti-Democratic new levels, with his “free speech zones” and the like.

      “But since this is Trump, who is public enemy number one of the establishment, he’s being cited as the evil doer.”

      Your words are eternal on the Internetz. Which is a great thing, IMNSHO. The next time one of you “independent patriots” starts in about the vile histrionics of campus PC types, I can cut & paste this bit of cloth-rending, tooth-gnashing emoting into my rebuttal.

      Trump is not looking out for the little guy. He is a freak-a-delic narcissist who takes pleasure in hurting the weak. If you look to him for salvation, you are going to end up like Anna in “Frozen”……….. dying on the floor as he walks out on you.

      1. myshkin

        “He is a freak-a-delic narcissist who takes pleasure in hurting the weak. If you look to him for salvation, you are going to end up like Anna in “Frozen”……….. dying on the floor as he walks out on you.”

        -that pretty much nails my impression of the donald

  11. bob

    Only in America. Trump was made by the media. Trump has been paid by the media, and trump pays the media.

    But, they’re his enemy, and his 1st amendment right to free speech, was *almost* threatened by a bunch of college kids. Losers, in Trump’s language.

    The travails of a billionaire- protected by the chicago police and the secret service. He *almost* had to hear something he didn’t say. Luckily, his jet was ready.

    Que Horror.

  12. Eureka Springs

    I need more evidence of Trump inciting violence. The few times I have read of instances where he ultimately is accused of said incitement… the story mirrors the LA Times article in today’s links.

    “Guess what happened?” Trump said as he criticized an allegedly violent heckler. “Our people started swinging back.”

    Trump repeatedly returned to that theme, talking about violence or threats of it at his events as both overhyped and, at the same time, justified.

    “Sometimes we talk a little bit tough,” he said. “When I see somebody out swinging his fists, I say, ‘Get ’em the hell out of here.’ We’re a little rough.”

    Journalists “hate to hear that,” he said. “‘Why did you act so viciously toward that young person that was really protesting?’ See he wasn’t protesting. He was swinging. He was vicious. And you know what? They took him out. That was OK that day.”

    Trump did not specify which incident he was referring to, but he appeared to be talking about an assault in the audience during his rally Wednesday in Fayetteville, N.C. Police were ejecting a black protester, whom multiple videos show to have been loud but nonviolent, when a 78-year-old white man, John McGraw of Linden, N.C., hit the protester in the face.

    McGraw, who was arrested the next day on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct, told “Inside Edition” on his way out of the rally: “Next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”

    I see no evidence of Trump inciting violence here. “Get them out of here” is what he always says for a persons safety. That is the most important thing one could ask in that type of moment. I see some Trump supporters inciting violence but not Trump himself. Supporters who are often rabidly anti-immigration with a bigoted slant to be sure.

    While I personally am anti-immigration across the board because I think 320 million is more than enough human beings on American soil. Trump beats the hell out of Sanders/Clinton immigration plans.

    And I say this as one who will vote Green… on this issue they will be against my own interests as well.

    1. bas


      After his supporters beat up a Black Lives Matter protester on video, Donald Trump suggested that they may have done the right thing. Trump was asked to weigh in on his supporters’ actions on Fox & Friends Sunday morning. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing.”

      The protester, a black man, reportedly started chanting Black Lives Matter at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday. In a video captured by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond, rally attendees swarm around the man, kicking and punching him as he curls up on the ground.
      Reports of Trump supporters launching violent and racist attacks have become fairly commonplace. Another recent rally took a dark turn when attendees shoved and spat on on immigration advocates. The following week, Trump supporters were filmed dragging and kicking an immigration activist while others yelled “U-S-A! U-S-A!”

      After a slew of these highly publicized incidents, Trump’s campaign began corralling media this week and refused to allow reporters into the crowd at rallies.

    2. cwaltz

      Well apparently a judge found his security guard guilty of provoking a conflict and this particular judge said,

      “What’s more, through the conduct of their agents, defendants [Trump, the Trump for President Campaign and the Trump Organization as well as Schiller] have cast a ‘chilling pall’ over the plaintiffs’ fundamental rights to freely assemble and be heard,” Tapia concluded.

  13. nat scientist

    I keep on waiting for the Trump Zeppelin to repeat its landing again in New Jersey or Orson Wells’s voice to say it wasn’t really that the little green men have really landed, but until then I’ll work for CondomNation of the Make America Hate Again Campaign go boom
    and dream Medium Cool like Haskell Wexler: Party like its the 1968 Republican Convention Chicago police time, and then the dream will be over. Imagine there’s no Trump, it’s easy if can, No group to hate on, a mixed gender-hood of mankind.
    And a good Pi day to all the inner math types.

  14. TedWa

    They interviewed the guy behind the protests at the Trump rallies and he is a known “shut it down” advocate for local and obviously national candidates. True, he a Sanders supporter, but as he said, he had posted another “shut it down” memo on facebook and those that are on the guys side, from EITHER party showed up. He didn’t instigate the shut down with only Bernie supporters, ALL were invited. The ones that showed up are loyal to this guys views and that is his mo for organizing. So stop saying it was all Bernie supporters, it wasn’t. There could have been Rubio and Cruz supporters and even HRC supporters.

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps Bernie needs to say it’s not Bernie supporters. He’s running against Clinton, not Trump. Incidents like the one on Friday may end up giving us another President Clinton. What a win.

      1. cwaltz

        Bernie doesn’t have to do anything other than what he did which was say that Donald Trump should take a look at what he’s saying if he doesn’t want this kind of stuff to happen.

        It’s delusional to suggest Latinos, Muslims and other people are going to sit quietly by while Donald Trump says ridiculous things that spark anger at their particular interest. It’s absurd to suggest Muslim Americans should sit quietly while Trump espouses comments like “Muslims hate us” or “Mexicans are rapists.” Seriously.

        1. Carolinian

          Those people are entitled to protest all they want but as I said upstream if you want to influence the election you do so by voting and indeed Muslim voters were apparently a key factor in Sanders’ surprise Michigan win. But if you think this tactic is a winner with the broader electorate I believe that is incorrect Sanders goals should be to win over Trump voters rather than antagonize them. A rerun of the sixties with fiery youth storming the barricades of the white working class is likely to get us what it got us in the sixties: Nixon and four more years of Vietnam. What I’m saying is that tactically this disruption tactic is not just wrong, it’s a mistake.

          1. optimader

            Exactly right.. Win a battle/loose a war . I was going to mention up-thread but didn’t bother, for younger readers, the out of control Chicago DNC convention protests sealed the election of RNixon, or at least the extent of the unprecedented landslide victory. Worth mentioning it.
            Interestingly, Nixon’s victory then slid into a resignation due to lingering, unsettled pre-election criminal activity.

            Sound familiar?


            So if it comes down to HRC vs Trump, I think more than the traditional historical attention to shore up electoral college votes will be paid to the consideration of the VPOTUS nomination. Maybe I am coloring this w/ my sometimes overly cynical intuition about the later impeachment of either of those two candidates?

            1. cwaltz

              And yet you admit Sanders WON a battle because of his inclusion of Muslims. Why in the world would it make sense to alienate them by wagging his finger at them for standing up for themselves.

              I almost wonder if you understand the Sanders campaign. It isn’t meant to be about Bernie, it’s meant to be about the people in this country(which happens to include Muslims, Latinos, AAs, etc, etc.) Asking Berne to condemn people for sticking up for themselves isn’t going to happen, nor should it.

              1. optimader

                I almost wonder if you understand the Sanders campaign.

                I very well may not, but I was referring to the SDS/Yippies in Chicago during the 1968 DNConvention, not Sanders campaign
                ….A rerun of the sixties with fiery youth storming the barricades of the white working class is likely to get us what it got us in the sixties: Nixon and four more years of Vietnam…..

                They achieved their local objective of creating turmoil in Chicago during the Convention, but serving what larger strategy? Ensuring the election of RNixon??

                No one knows what the alternate history would have been, but there was the prospect of a failed war being wound up quicker, and HKissinger not having the opportunity to set himself up to cast a loooooog shadow over US foreign policy going forward.

          2. J Bookly

            Carolinian, thank you for speaking up for the pro-Bernie Sanders viewpoint. Getting Bernie nominated is both more difficult and more important than registering outrage at Trump. If in November it’s Bernie vs Trump, I believe Bernie will win. If instead it is Clinton vs Trump, I believe Trump will win.

            1. Carolinian

              I believe you may be right. At any rate it would be a much better choice put before the public. Clinton versus Trump means the candidate people don’t like could win just because she isn’t Trump.

    2. EoinW

      I cannot help but see brown shirts when I here talk of shutting down political rallies. Political views cease to matter when people feel they are entitled to shout down those with opposing views. The whole point of democracy is presenting different ideas for society – even politically incorrect ones – and letting the electorate choose what they want.

      We’ve been so long without any real choices in our democracies that we’re shocked when alternate views suddenly pop up. The ones we like, we embrace. The ones that offend us, we shout down.

      1. reslez

        Well that’s interesting because I can’t help but see brown shirts when I see thousands of people at a rally applauding and cheering when the man at the podium calls everyone of a specific ethnic group rapists and criminals. If you expect to be able to attend rallies like that and not be heckled to your face you live in some sort of Nerf world fantasy land. Hate speech should have those kinds of consequences for people who engage in it. What you are basically saying is that Trump’s targeted victims should shut up and accept what he is dishing out.

        1. EoinW

          Every action has a natural reaction? Fair enough. But why would anyone offended by such hate speech want to attend such a rally – except to disrupt it? I did not say Trump’s targeted victims should shut up. But you are saying they should shut Trump up. They can talk all they like, educate others to their heart’s content. But they’re attending a Trump rally is not to educate, it is to disrupt. Even better, they can vote against Trump in an election – if they can legally vote.

          Let’s be honest here, the Liberal/Left ordained itself the sole authority on morality a long time ago. On all cultural issues one toes the line. Those who do not are branded hateful bigots and silenced. This isn’t about anything except making an example of Trump. Drive him back into his box before other politically incorrect people are inspired to also express their opinions publicly. The fact Trump has garnered so much support is evidence of how many Americans feel they cannot express themselves freely. Keeping them silent for decades has not changed their opinions. Their resentment at being silenced in a “free” society has simply grown.

          A perfect example of the loose ethics of the Left is the Hate Speech issue. We have hate crimes in Canada too. If one denies the Holocaust they are guilty of such a crime. But one can support wars endlessly and this is never a crime no matter how many Muslims are murdered.

          Personally I couldn’t care less about Trump. I do care about the hypocrisy that rules our Sodom & Gomorrah society. What I’m more disturbed by is how easily average people fall for the Culture War bs. The establishment getting the lower classes to fight over narratives that ceased to effect our standard of living decades ago. Divide and Conquer. I regret to reach the conclusion that the Left would happily take Clinton or any other establishment psychopath over Trump any day. The Left sudders at the idea of losing just a single battle in the Culture War.

  15. PQS

    Agree with Yves’ original reply on this. And to those who say Trump has a FA right to go on and on uninterrupted, I only submit that we’ve all heard his schtick, repeatedly and endlessly, for the past six months or more. And when challenged on his racist positions and hateful language, he’s doubled down. Those who would be victims to his proposals certainly have a right to challenge him and change the minds of others who might support him – or to point out to his supporters that his positions have real consequences in the lives of others. And it is my impression that it is those indefensible positions that most protesters are challenging. Certainly not his ideas about trade or taxes – haven’t seen any “Brooks Brothers” rioters challenge Trump so far for being “too liberal”.

    And yes, I would welcome his people, as long as they keep their hands to themselves, at any public Democratic campaign event. I feel confident either Democratic candidate could answer their taunts.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It appears to be the case that Trump (and other candidates) is just repeating himself.

      I wonder about that, then, I realized that they asked many similar questions (your job, national security, inequality) at each debate, I guess, every state is entitled to have these questions answered, as they applied to their cases. Michigan wanted to talk about, even though they already talked about jobs in S. Carolina, for example.

  16. allis

    Many years ago, in the Fifties, possibly the Sixties, there was an op-ed piece (I think by Anthony Lewis). He noted that when he criticized the Left, he received letters explaining to him why he was wrong. When he criticized the Right, letters were sent to his editor trying to get him fired. Yes, I know, that was years ago.

  17. bas

    It makes me feel good to be a native Chicagoan. The Illinois Nazis were protested and heckled too. no difference, here, IMO, except that Trump is running for POTUS, way more reason to get up off our duffs and open our mouths in protest.

    Hmm, much more ad hominem here than I have ever seen today, and that person dominating the conversation. And MY comments are under moderation?

  18. kevinearick


    As a male worker-bee with a few brain cells and decades of experience with the crapification machine, I find Trump amusing, because I never lived under the particular brand of tyranny practiced in NY City, but I did live in Rochester. Having lived in Burlington, I don’t find Bernie amusing. In any case, reacting to the personification of habits bred across thousands of years in DNA is a waste of time.

    If Trump started talking about eliminating the mortgage deduction, oscillating with trade agreements, that I would find interesting. The counterweight ‘ruling class’ is going to reorganize, and whether Trump is in it or not is up to Trump, which is why he is in the race to nowhere. I never met a politician that could actually do anything, other than put a can of tuna out for the cats.

    Between the stupidity that is the Internet of Things, instead of people, and the stupidity in real life, something has to go, at least temporarily, so this will be the last piece for a while. March is a lion…and labor only requires anonymous cash to maintain the counterweight.

    Essentially, communism and fascism oscillate, with the oscillation of capitalism and socialism as the mechanism. Silicon Valley, all advertising all the time, just increased its efficiency, further accelerating the replacement of savings and investment, individual participation, with empire lifestyles and social compliance, State law and order. By adding arbitrary layers to the Internet with constant surveillance feedback, privacy is eliminated to slot people into psychographic attribute silos, virtual distance control of the same natural wealth extraction process for arbitrary RE control positive feedback loop. Now, you can yell at a machine instead of the perceived opponent’s politician.

    Instead of putting green leaves on the roof, the global economy extracts oil, digs up resources in Canada and Australia, and ships them to China, which makes solar panels for shipment to the US, with Wall Street printing money with mortgage insurance as collateral, part of what will be a long chain of natural resource extraction for the sake of continued RE control, warehousing inflation, and turning forests into deserts – physically, intellectually and spiritually.

    Nothing new in empireville, gossip as History. The CBs are free-wheeling because they aren’t connected to anything that does work. It’s the time asymmetry thing, itself a misnomer.

    For Empire Calculus : The Disposable Human & Schroedinger’s Cat,


  19. Jim

    It may be worthwhile to take a step back for a moment and begin to discuss/analyze/understand the types of emotions which have now been released, their political consequences and whether these emotions can or should be controlled.

    We appear to be in a political/cultural environment where largely suppressed feelings of hatred and envy are being mobilized by all political camps.

    This is a politics of resentment (often quite legitimate) and a corollary mobilization of rage by political organizations across the political spectrum.

    When such rage becomes hate, as we are now beginning to see, we may be witnessing the operations of different types of ideology, each of which wants to preserve this rage, in what it considers the appropriate containers.

    But have these different political camps thought through their respective politics of rage. It seems that if left unchecked these emotions eventually end in war/civil war or extermination.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You suspect maybe that secret meeting on an offshore island recently was to plan to people to release these types of emotions?

      That we are doing here and now what they have planned all along?

  20. jawbone

    Apologies to all those I haven’t had time to read or follow links from. I got about a third of the way through and now must deal with real life.

    I appreciated the on-the-ground first person narratives of what some attendees could see, the summaries of some conversations. But, I still have no idea whether the videoed “violence” was planned or provoked in some way…or what. Were they “near altercations” or were there actual fisticuffs? In the videos repeated on TV news, it seemed the guys were being held back by others from their groups.

    Anyway, what I do know is that the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) is hell bent on focusing the public’s attention of these “altercations” and are using the same instances over and over and over. By using tight shots*, they tend to make them look not only worse than they were, but also seemed to be indicating there many more of these interactions between Trump supporters and whoever else was involved.

    Could the TPTB have had a hand in setting off these interactions, with the intent of making the public fearful of Trump supporters? I can’t know that. All I can know is how the MCM is playing this.

    We know the Republican Party bosses desperately want to puncture the Trump balloon. I think they’ve found a way.

    Tuesday’s voting will be instructive.

    Sorry if this is repetitious of anyone’s postings.

    *I kept being reminded of how the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue in Firdos Square was manipulated by the MCM. Eventually NPR reported it pay-ops 101.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Tomorrow will be super.

      We find out if life is not a fairy tale as we continue to play out our parts in this tragedy because we are not that exceptional at all, or we see the end of anther dynasty (for a little while anyway).

      If the former case prevails, the Victor’s History will be written that ‘civilization continued for many more decades, as humans progressed toward a better future.”

  21. NoOne

    Wow, looks like some people need to look up histrionics in the dictionary.
    Brown Shirts and Nazis and Bears, oh my!

    Only 7 1/2 months till election day. I think I’ll chill out and come back in November.

  22. JTFaraday

    I haven’t thought too much about this but it’s possible that there is a distinction to be made between disrupting an assembly and our ideas of protest due to the enclosed nature of the venue. In street protests, it is at least marginally more possible to remove yourself from the melee should one erupt.

    The line is “don’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre” for a reason. That said, this situation wouldn’t be analogous to “yelling fire” if Trump’s attendees understood that people who disagree with his (by now well established) core message have a right to respond without being met by physical resistance. In other words, they should EXPECT this. (Rival sports fans meet under such conditions all the time).

    But the candidate himself has stated he won’t tolerate verbal dissent, unlike wussy Bernie Sanders, and he condones physical resistance to shut down dissent.

    If Trump were President today he would be pissing all over the First Amendment.

  23. Dr. George W. Oprisko

    As usual Kim Kunstler gets it right……………..

    Enter Trump, perhaps the worst figure possible to call bullshit on this vast matrix of dishonesty, with his ugly cohort of “poorly-educated” white yahoo supporters. Why? Because the well-educated non-yahoos of both parties are too cowardly and too corrupt — too busy making money off the war racketeers and the medical racketeers, and the Wall Street racketeers, and the campus racketeers — to take on some of the central lies of our times, which Trump manages to do in the crudest possible ways.

    What the politicians and the media and the cringing, pandering intellectuals of this country aren’t figuring is what happens when the political crisis of the moment is amped up by the financial and economic train wreck that is certain to come before the fall elections. The nation has already gone mad with the internal contradictions of its own beliefs. The next step will be when it literally goes to war with itself.

    And they can’t stand the heat………………………


  24. Elliot

    Thanks for your clarity and patience, Yves & Lambert. Though when helmholtz started name-calling, (“dimwit”) I rather thought he’d get called on it.

    Funny how suddenly there are Trump apologists protecting the Donald here.

    From an across-the country view, nobody I know likes or respects or is saying they will vote for Trump, and nobody I have spoken to was upset that protesters wanted to shout him down. Cowards turn tail, as Trump did. He seems to have been well aware of what the optics would be of the hall booing him. “Trump resoundingly Booed in speech” isn’t what he wants printed.

  25. Michael Murphy

    The obvious point to be made is that if Trump had arrived, along with the thousands of supporters who were on their way when the event was cancelled, the entire arena would have erupted into a melee of shouting and fistfights as riled up protesters stormed the stage. Apparently some people have no understanding of how fights and riots begin. The police would have been inadequate to eject the people who came to disrupt, and lots of them would have been hurt along with the people who came to hear Trump peacefully.

    On one level, that would have served to discourage future protests at least for people who don’t want a fight. It also would tend to winnow Trump’s crowds into a self-selected group willing to fight. Amped up private security, police presence and volunteers would (may still) become a fixture at Trump rallies.

    This all would of course be spun by the msm and establishment of both parties as proof Trump’s people are violent facists, even though it was his opponents using fascist tactics. So Trump made the obvious decision to cancel, while the media zeroed in for 2-3 hours on the lawless behavior and intimidation. So Trump won on many fronts and knocked his rivals out as mealy-mouthed, weak-kneed supporters of people who will be perceived by the American electorate as spoiled children and profane violent thugs.

    Game, set, match.

    Now, if this style of organized disruption becomes a Clinton tactic to drive wedge between Trump and Bernie’s former supporters after Bernie endorses Hillary, that might work somewhat. But then, maybe not.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, there is no evidence to support your assertion. There would have been aggression at the announcement that the rally was cancelled if the crowd was primed to go volatile. The police did not see any potential for violence, given that they had no one in riot gear there. They are better judges of this than you are.

      Trump cancelled the rally, apparently because he did not want clips of having more boos than applause come from the audience.

      1. frosty zoom

        trump cancelled the rally because he knew it would be better publicity than the rally itself.

      2. Michael Murphy

        The evidence for my assertion is that every disruptor at every previous Trump speech has been ejected by the crowds and by the police. It would have been no different had Trump arrived this time, except that instead of taking a few swings and cooperating because massively outnumbered, the protest crowd may have been transferred into a riot given their larger numbers. That’s why Trump advised his people not to go and cancelled the event which was the responsible decision. There were still lots of scuffles. Perhaps there were even a few good encounters. Trump’s presence would have made the difference from lots of arguments/isolated scuffles to violent clashes as pushing and shoving led to fights, as people tried to go up to the podium when charged with all that energy and tension. Wishful thinking notwithstanding.

        What did end up happening was the better route.

        1. Lambert Strether

          “The evidence for my assertion is that…”

          No, you’re making a second assertion and presenting it as evidence.

          Again, long on verbiage, short on links. Try for more value-add.

  26. Linus Huber

    Well, all comments basically reflect sympathy for or antipathy against Trump. People forget that Trump is simply a phenomena or symptom of the present time which includes the defense of many unresolved issues and the abhorrent extent of moral hazard, cronyism and corruption by the political elite. It may be true that any form of government will corrupt itself given sufficient time. Thomas Jefferson was probably referring to this problem when he stated “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Actually the vote for Trump is simply the vote against the present establishment and as harder the establishment tries to fight Trump in order to maintain or extend their own wellbeing and power, as more the populace realizes that it simply acts for there self-interest and not for the wellbeing of the population.

    As far as the specific meeting is concerned the aspect of freedom of association has not been addressed. Trump organized this meeting and kind of owns it or has the right to decide who has access to it. Someone acquiring a ticket simply to disturb the host is hardly a reasonable proposition but buying the ticket under false pretense as one usually attends a performance in order to hear what the host has to deliver.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Hmm. So apparently “The Duty Not To Heckle” leads to a doctrine of “buying a ticket under false pretences.”

      Both doctrines are novel, to say the least. Admitting only for the sake of the argument that political events and entertainment events are equivalent — and indeed, given Trump’s kayfabe artistry, they may well be in this instance! — are you really saying that I can’t buy a ticket to the Yankees vs the Red Sox with the expressed intention of booing either team? Even if I don’t mention this to the ticket seller?

      1. Linus Huber

        Are you really saying that Trump’s speech and for that matter any political rally is supposed to be a match between two opposing parties? If that is the purpose of those type of meetings, Trump will invite Hillary or any other opponent for an exchange on stage. But that is not the purpose of this meeting format applied in this case but simply Trump’s way of explaining his brand and opinion to those interested. Those people whose whole purpose is to simply try to disturb the functioning of such a presentation by indirectly imposing their unsolicited will and resulting in a forced loss on all those that came for the purpose the meeting was set up for, have definitely not my support, whether it is a rally by Hillary, Bernie, Cruz or as in this case Trump.

        To treat unequal situations equal is probably one of the most common fallacies.

      1. Lambert Strether

        No doubt. But your task is to address the fallibility of this particular judge. From the article:

        Without ruling on the underlying claims, a New York judge has already ruled that Schiller, whose title is director of security, “provoked” the incident, according to court papers reviewed by Yahoo News. Dictor said his clients are actively seeking evidence they believe will prove a broader point: that the Republican frontrunner has authorized his security personnel to routinely use force in dealing with political protests, as shown by the recent blow-ups at campaign rallies.

        1. Michael Murphy

          Force is used to remove EVERY disruptor from EVERY rally anywhere. First things first. “Protesters” protest. They picket, they make their presence known. They don’t interfere with the person speaking, or scream endlessly so that the speaker can’t speak. That is the behavior of people who think they are entitled to disrupt and not get punched in the face.

          The people in the immediate vicinity of the person screaming are assaulted with loud screaming and discomfited at the behavior. They may be with family and if there’s shoving going on you’re going to defend your sister/wife etc.

          Sometimes there is pushing and shoving and the disruptor gets physical. A peaceful protester would not be smack dab in the crowd but in a protester area where the event could go on without causing violence. It’s the protesters/disruptors causing these scenes and trying to yell over the whole speech.

          When someone tries doing this at an establishment candidate rally, whether Hillary, McCain, etc., they are dragged out via FORCE by police, and if the immediately adjacent members of the crowd push/shove, it’s a non-story. No media.

          The police remove people from Bernie rallies, Clinton rallies. Of course, Trump supporters don’t crash the rallies of other candidates, it is usually people even further left like when pro-Palestine people in a Bernie rally audience shouted over him and he had to threaten them with the police and shouted “SHUT UP.” Trump on the other hand doesn’t get flummoxed and no one has been seriously hurt thus far. With 20-30k in attendance. When the disruptors are violence. I watched a video of a disruptor biting at people.

          I have followed Trump’s rallies closely and 90% of the time he instructs the police to be gentle and sometimes he says leave them alone they don’t have much voice. Only in instances where the protester is violent or in one case when there was the threat of protesters throwing fruit/objects at Trump did he ever say to his crowds he has their back if they have to defend themselves or interfere with violence.

          It’s a real risk if you attend a Trump rally that someone is planted there by an organization paying them/covering their bail money and legal fees to cause a disruption, and if one of Trump’s peaceful rally attendees gets involved in a scuffle, it is not unreasonable for Trump to back them up. A lot of these people can’t afford the costs of suits/criminal charges that are brought from the political motivation of sheriffs, judges and other social climbers. I have no doubt Trump will win this suit. He has a knack for beating bad suits.

        2. Michael Murphy

          From your article:

          “A series of ugly clashes at Trump campaign events over the past week have received widespread condemnation, and a defiant offer from the candidate himself to pay to defend a supporter who punched a protester who was being led away by security officers.”

          That’s a lie. Trump said looking into the situation since its a possibly senile 78 year old, probably poor, who gave a half hearted elbow at the punk giving everyone the finger. Never offered to pay to defend the guy so far, so you’re trafficking stories with lies you haven’t fact checked.

          The lawsuit you mentioned has nothing to do with rallies. It was on a sidewalk in front of Trump Tower with security fighting over signs in the sidewalk… Let the judge rule as he will, got nothing to do with the topic of the article we’re discussing.

          To wit,
          “Alan Garten, executive vice president and general counsel of the Trump Organization, called the lawsuit “baseless” and said the recent clashes at Trump campaign rallies were “irrelevant” because they took place after the incident.

          As for the alleged assault, he said Schiller was acting in self-defense after Galicia “attacked him from behind” and “physically grabbed him” — possibly going for his gun — while Schiller was trying to peacefully re-enter the Trump headquarters.

          “I’ve yet to see any evidence these individuals suffered any damages,” Garten added. “I’d love to know how they suffered.”

          1. Lambert Strether

            You write:

            That’s a lie. Trump said looking into the situation since its a possibly senile 78 year old, probably poor, who gave a half hearted elbow at the punk giving everyone the finger. Never offered to pay to defend the guy so far, so you’re trafficking stories with lies you haven’t fact checked.

            Colorful language aside, you’re wrong:

            When asked Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he might pay for the elderly man’s legal fees if needed, Trump said: “I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes.”

            Are we entitled to equate that with offering to pay legal fees? Yes, since Trump has made an equivalent and unequivocal offer in the past:

            Trump had promised his supporters that he would pay the legal fees of those who fight back against protesters, saying at a February rally: “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them. Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell out of them. I promise you, I will pay for their legal fees.”

            Pro tip: “Lie” is a charged word. Throwing it out there with no supporting evidence isn’t best practice, and is a time sink for moderators.

  27. Michael Murphy

    Suppose Trump showed up and the disruptors had to be thrown out. How would that have gone? If people were hurt? Fistfights are common to politics all around the world. If you show up at an opponent’s political event it is a recipe for violence. If the blame is always to be pinned to the crowd of the person holding the event and not of the disruptors, then I guess Trump supporters should just go to Hillary events and not allow her to campaign. Bernie events too. Whoever can win the fistfights can decide who gets to campaign! This is the logical conclusion of Yves/Lambert’s position. Fortunately Trump supporters are not violent even when provoked, except in rare instances. (The never ending lament about the single instance(!) 78 year old wannabe cowboy giving a light elbow to the vulgar middle finger flashing disruptor.) I’m not aware of any other examples of clear cut instigation of violence from Trump’s side, despite their numbers. I have seen violent protestors though including a gentleman trying to bite those taking his sign.

  28. Michael Murphy

    Also, by Yves/Lambert’s position, rival sports fans or concert-goers can get tickets just to shut down opposing bands or teams, and it’s all free speech. Give me a break!

    1. Lambert Strether

      So you think political candidacy is a form of entertainment? Interesting.

      Adding: The issue of what the protesters did or did not do is orthogonal to free speech, if by that is meant a First Amendment issue.

      1. Michael Murphy

        I would say that in America it is a form of advertising more than entertainment. Perhaps for advertising to remain viable in our age of free media, it has to have some entertainment behind it.

        During crucial periods of political change like now, politics is a narrow way of avoiding violence. Politics is hopefully getting change without people getting hurt. If people feel they can shut down the opposing side by swarming their gatherings with flash mob tactics, then we move in the Wiemar direction. I think a the left is so used to PC that they think they’ll always win the violence gamble: the left can do it scott free, if the right does it, the federal troops are called in…

        Granted, Hitler did come to power partly via the ballot and institutional rules. But that hardly refutes rules and ballot as such, and it hardly justifies pre-emptive use of lawlessness to shut down anyone you CLAIM is the next Hitler. That would be pretty much everyone.

  29. Lambert Strether

    The Lincoln-Douglas debates and crowd behavior:

    Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 2.26.23 AM

    My view is that the “Duty Not to Heckle” crowd should stop clutching their pearls and grow a pair. There’s nothing that happened at the Trump event in Chicago that’s out of the mainstream of American politics.

    That said, I believe that one of the survey indexes for Trump support is a feeling of not being heard, of being silenced, and of Trump at last speaking up. And I don’t think that feeling is wrong, at all; see the Case-Deaton study. And so I see why the spectacle at UIC might resonate with some Trump voters. But because I understand the feeling doesn’t mean that I accept the “free speech” argument that’s being made.
    It’s ludicrous.

    UPDATE Notice how Lincoln had a snappy comeback to his heckler? That’s how the pros work, not by whinging.

    1. Michael Murphy

      My view is that you’ve used the phrase clutching pearls for all its worth an more, maybe you’re in arrears. And you’re comparing apples to oranges. We currently aren’t in a political climate that accepts fist fighting. Trump could quite easily win the fist fighting battle while losing the greater war. The media would pounce and the government would protect the violent disruptors while condemning Trump’s people as thugs.

      I think what you’re banking on is the State-sanctioned asymmetrical use of violence that the left has embraced and counted on. When they engage in violence (against someone like Trump, not someone they control like Hillary/Bush), it’s fine and dandy. If the right fights back, it’s abuse of civil rights and the federal government comes in.

      As much as you all are enjoying indulging your fantasies of socialist bravado and derring-do, which is forgivable, at some point you’ll have to make the jump to Trump once Bernie endorses Hillary. Or you’ll sit this one out.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Don’t tell me what I have to do. We don’t accept assignments.

        Nice way to pluck “fist-fighting” out of the Lincoln quote and erase everything else. That’s simply dishonest.

        Sorry “pearl clutching” hit a nerve. Perhaps I should devise an alternative trope. “Grow a pair” works for you?

    2. Michael Murphy

      Also, you’re dealing with people in Chicago and elsewhere who have no lives, no prospects, and engage in violence all the time. Look at the UE rate, the murder rate there.

      Lincoln probably didn’t expect his hecklers to rush the stage to tackle him. He was assassinated eventually, but he managed to get through the political campaign you describe with all this raucous protest without facing violence. So you’re offering more than you’re really willing to pay. If Trump people knocked anyone around who got violent T A RALLY, you’d all be clutching your own pearls and calling for federal action, so knock off the pose of being okay with a return of 19th century levels of violence, no one’s buying it. You’d be calling them brownshirts immediately.

      1. Lambert Strether

        “Also, you’re dealing with people in Chicago and elsewhere who have no lives, no prospects, and engage in violence all the time. Look at the UE rate, the murder rate there.”

        You’re working extra hard not to read the post, aren’t you? The people who attended the rally, on all sides — as I presume you meant — were nothing like that.

    3. Linus Huber

      Your reference to Lincoln-Douglas DEBATE makes the point very clear. You, dear Mr. Lambert, confuse debates with organized rallies that simply serve the purpose of presentation.

      1. Kulantan

        Here is an extract about Lincoln dealing with a heckler (not a debate):

        During the hectic tour of New England after Cooper Union, he may have been grateful for interruptions that allowed him to collect his thoughts and to make his points in a fresh and responsive manner. He often asked his listeners to “jaw back” to him as they did back in Illinois, where Mr. Lincoln learned to be tough with hecklers. He told one such man in Chicago in 1858: “You don’t know what you are talking about, my friend. I am quite willing to answer any gentleman in the crowd who asks an intelligent question.”75 Historian Michael Burlingame wrote that in 1858: “When ‘an unusually impertinent and persistent’ heckler interrupted him, Lincoln wearily replied: ‘Look here, my friend, you are only making a fool of yourself by exposing yourself to the ridicule which I have thus far succeeded in bringing upon you every time you have interrupted me. You ought to know that men whose business it is to speak in public, make it a part of their business to have something always ready for just such fellows as you are. You see you stand no show against a man who has met, a hundred times, just such flings as you seem to fancy are original with yourself, so you may as well, to use a popular expression, ‘dry up’ at once.’” On another occasion in 1858 when supporters sought to remove a heckler, Lincoln restrained them: “No, don’t throw him out. Let him stay and maybe he’ll learn something.”

        And here is the heart of Australian democracy at its best. The whole point of being given the floor is so the parliamentarian can present uninterrupted, but the violations of those rules have yet to bring anarchy and disaster to us here down under.

        Bonus clip of Bush enjoying some Aussie parliamentary proceedings.

  30. Fiver

    I’ve read a number of accounts (including the one linked by the author of this piece) and most of the comments, and irrespective of the veracity of any particular version, I confess I’m surprised at how many people think deliberately disrupting an opponent’s speaking event is basically OK. I am especially perplexed in light of how high feelings are running in some quarters already, the evident fact there are so many loose pins around, armed or not, and the also-evident fact that Trump has had cause to fear for his life once it became clear TPTB had so openly turned on him. And now, the seeds of fear have been sown as well re safety for future Sanders events. I don’t think it makes for smart politics or smart citizenship.

    1. Lambert Strether

      There are several issues all intermized:

      1) Is there a free speech issue? No.

      2) Is it smart politics? Depends for whom (and the Sanders campaign is not the same as self-organized Sanders supporters).

      3) Is there a morality issue? That too, depends. This reminds me a lot (though I know that politics is not like a family any more than government is like a household) of the classic issue on Thanksgiving: Do you allow your Crazy Uncle Fred to spew noxious garbage hold forth at the dinner table, or do you call him out?

      1. Fiver

        I find it a tad ironic that I am more ‘radical’ in terms of both my assessment of the dangers posed by the multiple crises at hand and what, realistically, has by necessity to happen if we are to successfully secure a safe passage to the future than the great majority here at NC (or anywhere else, for that matter) – yet apparently am not ‘radical’ enough, or ‘savy’ enough, or ‘tribal’ enough to buy into the notion that deliberately up-ending someone else’s gathering is just ‘democracy’ in action, that so long as something is ‘legal’ it’s OK (and the fact is identical actions have been found ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ depending critically upon the context) and fundamentally, since ‘those guys’ are assholes we are no longer bound by normal civility.

        Writing elsewhere prior to the election in Canada last October I was pointing South and advising Clinton was very weak and Sanders could give her a real run – I pointed that out here as well re Clinton especially, also, months ago, that the Trump phenomenon was much more important than just a punching bag for comedians. Well, it appears TPTB finally got that message – except the closing of the ranks was/is so obvious and so vitriolic it has all but martyred Trump in the eyes of his Trumpets.

        My honest opinion is that we are so thoroughly screwed by what modernity has wrought only some unimaginable miracle is going to prevent a collective descent into the inferno, and that the likelihood of major violence looms large down the road – so thank you, but I prefer to hang on to those few bits of civility – eg, simple, common courtesy – while we can. Really, it all goes back to not giving sanction to something one would not want to be on the other end of should the situation be reversed.

    2. Kulantan

      I confess I’m surprised at how many people think deliberately disrupting an opponent’s speaking event is basically OK

      Honestly, I’m surprised at the number of people who are here saying that people shouldn’t protest if it causes disruption to their whoever/whatever they are protesting against. I mean the difference between this and this fellow throwing money at Sepp Blatter is scale. Sure, it disrupts Sepp’s press conference, but that isn’t reason enough decry the actions of the money thrower. I’d get if people were disagreeing with the protesters on ideas (and not insisting that they were violating rights and setting a dangerous precedent), but the objections have been all about style and not substance.

  31. Watt4Bob

    In a certain way, political correctness can be understood to entail an effort to be courteous to others.

    And this courtesy, way back, was probably rooted in the fact that rudeness might result in physical injury.

    In that light, political correctness isn’t an unfortunate encumbrance to “free speech” as is loudly trumpeted by Trump, and long thought by the sort of folks who follow him.

    Since hardly anybody will agree that courtesy is a bad thing, the term “political correctness” was invented to side-step the issue.

    Actually “political correctness” is a pejorative, used to resist the notion that we all owe one another “common courtesy”.

    As a nation, we should be embarrassed to admit that for many of us, showing one another respect, is considered an onerous burden.

    What Im getting at, is that on one hand, we have a presidential candidate who refutes any obligation to treat each other with common courtesy in order to court the support of a people who for most of our county’s history, felt free to loudly voice any of dozens of ill-considered prejudices.

    On the other hand, we have people who apparently believe courtesy includes allowing unfettered bigotry and ignorance to be nurtured in the name of democracy and free speech rights.

    The former people long for a past where things were our country was “great” and you were “free” to use any, and every kind of epithet, even in public conversation.

    The latter are people my Mom used to describe as;

    Couldn’t say shit if they had a mouth full.”

    Trump is encouraging barbarous behavior, and the anti-hecklers are insisting we must give him room to do this because they mis-interpret his free speech rights as granting some sort of immunity from being publicly challenged.

    IMHO, it doesn’t matter whether the government puts you in a “free speech zone” far from the disgusting action, or you put yourself there by the mistaken belief that the people you oppose have a right not to be challenged because they have “free speech” rights that must be respected.

    Free speech from the corral, whether self-imposed, or enforced by the government, is not free speech at all.

    So, if you stand by, and worse, insist that others remain silent while Trump piles kindling around our house and hands out matches with his name, and our country’s flag on the cover, don’t act surprised when our house is in flames.

    Those people who showed up to challenge Trump in Chicago, and the Trump supporters who maintained self-composure in the face of that challenge, are evidence that our country might still be able to self-correct politically, and you should be joyful that those people put out the effort.

    Common courtesy, the kind we show each other in everyday life is not a burden, and its strictures do not extend to folks publicly threatening to burn our house down if they don’t get their way.

  32. Effem

    So if every time you make a blog post I proceed to launch so many comments at you that it makes the page unloadable for others, that’s pro-free speech?

    Not in my book. I have the right to make a post of my own that refutes yours, but I do not feel I have the right to keep yours from being read.

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