Free Speech

Then-Candidate Trump's Speech at Rally Wasn't Constitutionally Unprotected "Incitement" of Violence Against Protesters

So a Sixth Circuit panel just held, and it also concluded that the statements weren't actionable under Kentucky law.


From Judge David McKeague's opinion in today's Nwanguma v. Trump decision, joined by Richard Allen Griffin:

Plaintiffs participated in a Trump for President campaign rally in Louisville in March 2016 … with the purpose of protesting. Perceived to be disruptive, they were unceremoniously ushered out after then-candidate Donald J. Trump said, "Get 'em out of here." Plaintiffs were pushed and shoved by members of the audience as they made their exit and now seek damages from Trump alleging his actions amounted to "inciting to riot," a misdemeanor under Kentucky law [and therefore civilly actionable under Kentucky law -EV].

The district court denied Trump's motion to dismiss the claim but certified its order for immediate interlocutory appeal. The court identified a two-part question for review: whether plaintiffs have stated a valid claim under Kentucky law and, if so, whether the First Amendment immunizes Trump from punishment under state law. We answer "no" to the first part, because plaintiffs' allegations do not satisfy the required elements of "incitement to riot." As to the second part, we hold "yes," Trump's speech enjoys First Amendment protection, because he did not specifically advocate imminent lawless action. The district court's denial of Trump's motion to dismiss the claim must therefore be reversed….

Here were the plaintiffs' factual allegations:

On March 1, 2016, a campaign rally was conducted at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville. The rally was organized by defendant Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. …. During the rally, then- presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, a resident of New York, spoke for approximately 35 minutes. Plaintiffs in this action, Kashiya Nwanguma, Molly Shah and Henry Brousseau, all residents of Kentucky, attended the rally with the intention of peacefully protesting. Protesters' actions during Mr. Trump's address precipitated directions from Trump on five different occasions to "get 'em out of here." In response, members of the audience assaulted, pushed and shoved plaintiffs, and Brousseau was punched in the stomach. Defendants Matthew Heimbach and Alvin Bamberger, Ohio residents and Trump supporters, were in the audience during the rally. They participated in the assaults on plaintiffs….

The majority concluded that Trump's statements, even as alleged, weren't criminal (and therefore civilly actionable) under Kentucky law:

[Plaintiffs allege] that defendant Trump incited a riot, a misdemeanor under the Kentucky Penal Code, Ky. Rev. Stat. § 525.040, actionable in damages under Ky. Rev. Stat. § 446.070. "A person is guilty of inciting to riot when he incites or urges five (5) or more persons to create or engage in a riot." Ky. Rev. Stat. § 525.040(1). "Riot," in relevant part, is defined as "a public disturbance involving an assemblage of five (5) or more persons which by tumultuous and violent conduct creates grave danger of damage or injury to property or persons …." Ky. Rev. Stat. § 525.010(5).

These statutory definitions implicate five elements: (1) incitement (2) of five or more persons (3) to engage in a public disturbance (4) involving tumultuous and violent conduct (5) creating grave danger of personal injury or property damage. The district court reasoned that the allegation that Trump directed his supporters to "get 'em out of here" satisfied the first two elements. Inasmuch as Trump's directive was nonspecific, it could plausibly have been directed to five or more persons. Insofar as "incites" appears in the statute alongside "urges," Trump's repeated express directive to "get 'em out of here" amounts to the requisite urging to action. Yet, as the district court recognized, where, as here, "incitement" is used in a criminal law, it refers to "[t]he act of persuading another to commit a crime." Here, of course, the crime Trump allegedly incited is a riot, which, by statutory definition, implicates the latter three elements. Hence, without incitement to riot, specifically, there is no "incitement."

The district court's analysis of the latter three elements, however, is decidedly thin. The court characterized the factual allegations of the complaint as describing "a chaotic and violent scene in which a crowd of people turned on three individuals, and those individuals were injured as a result." This, the district court held, is sufficient. The court correctly held that it was not necessary that a riot have actually ensued. Still, it stopped short of identifying what allegations supported a plausible finding that Trump, by words or actions, incited tumultuous and violent conduct posing grave danger of personal injury. In fact, the plausibility of such a finding is directly negated by plaintiffs' own allegation that Trump's "get 'em out of here" statement was closely followed by his admonition, "Don't hurt 'em." Defendants argue these words cannot possibly be interpreted as advocating a riot or the use of any violence….

Focusing on the former statement, the district court held that it "implicitly" encouraged the use of violence. Yet, even if "get 'em out of here," standing alone, might be reasonably construed as implicitly encouraging unwanted physical touching, the charge here is "inciting to riot." The notion that Trump's direction to remove a handful of disruptive protesters from among hundreds or thousands in attendance could be deemed to implicitly incite a riot is simply not plausible—especially where any implication of incitement to riotous violence is explicitly negated by the accompanying words, "don't hurt 'em." If words have meaning, the admonition "don't hurt 'em" cannot be reasonably construed as an urging to "hurt 'em." …

Accordingly, we hold that plaintiffs' allegations fail to make out a valid incitement-to- riot claim under Kentucky law….

And the majority also concluded that "any doubt about this [statutory] conclusion is wholly dispelled by consideration of the constitutional protection Trump's speech enjoys under the First Amendment":

In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the Court recognized "the principle that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action." "The Brandenburg test precludes speech from being sanctioned as incitement to riot unless (1) the speech explicitly or implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action, the speaker intends that his speech will result in the use of violence or lawless action, and the imminent use of violence or lawless action is the likely result of his speech."

Under the Brandenburg test, only speech that explicitly or implicitly encourages the imminent use of violence or lawless action is outside the protection of the First Amendment…. [And post-Brandenburg precedents make clear] that, even if plaintiffs' allegations could be deemed to make out a plausible claim for incitement to riot under Kentucky law, the First Amendment would not permit prosecution of the claim.

For instance, in Bible Believers v. Wayne Cty., Mich. (6th Cir. 2015) (en banc), our court, sitting en banc, recently addressed offensive and grossly intolerant speech of self-described Christian evangelists preaching hate and denigration of Islam to a crowd of Muslims at the Arab International Festival in Dearborn, Michigan. The court held the speech did not amount to incitement to riot under the Brandenburg test, despite the obviously explosive context, because it did not include "a single word" that could be perceived as encouraging, explicitly or implicitly, violence or lawlessness. The same can be said of Trump's speech in this case: not a single word encouraged violence or lawlessness, explicitly or implicitly. Moreover, the Bible Believers court observed that "[t]he hostile reaction of a crowd does not transform protected speech into incitement." Even though the Bible Believers' speech actually triggered a predictably violent reaction, it was their speech that the court scrutinized. And their speech was held to be protected, despite its blatantly offensive and even provocative nature and despite the crowd's reaction. It follows that if Trump's speech is protected—because it, like that of the Bible Believers, did not include a single word encouraging violence—then the fact that audience members reacted by using force does not transform Trump's protected speech into unprotected speech. The reaction of listeners does not alter the otherwise protected nature of speech.

Nor is "the mere tendency of speech to encourage unlawful acts … sufficient reason for banning it." What is required, to forfeit constitutional protection, is incitement speech that "specifically advocate[s]" for listeners to take unlawful action. Id. (citing Hess v. Indiana (1973)). Trump's words may arguably have had a tendency to encourage unlawful use of force, but they did not specifically advocate for listeners to take unlawful action and are therefore protected. As the Bible Believers court further observed, "[i]t is not an easy task to find that speech rises to such a dangerous level that it can be deemed incitement to riot." The words alleged in this case, much less offensive than those of the Bible Believers, are not up to the task demanded by Brandenburg.

The district court considered our Bible Believers ruling and authorities cited in it and reached a different conclusion: "Based on the allegations of the complaint, which the Court must accept as true, Trump's statement at least 'implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action.'" But the district court did not identify "a single word" in Trump's speech that could be perceived as encouraging violence or lawlessness, thereby ignoring the fundamental teaching of Bible Believers. Instead, the district court conclusorily stated, "it is plausible that Trump's direction to 'get 'em out of here' advocated the use of force." Finding little support for the first Brandenburg factor—specific advocacy of violence—the court ostensibly placed heavy reliance on the allegations addressed to the latter two Brandenburg factors. That is, the court relied on plaintiffs' allegations that Trump intended violence to occur and knew that his words were likely to result in violence.

This very approach was rejected in Hess v. Indiana (1973), where the [U.S. Supreme] Court reversed the judgment of the Indiana Supreme Court. The Court noted in Hess that the state court had placed primary reliance on evidence that the speaker's statement was intended to incite further lawless action and was likely to produce such action. This was not enough. The Hess Court focused on the words, on the language, that comprised the subject speech, i.e., the first Brandenburg factor.

"It hardly needs repeating," the Court repeated, "that the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech forbid the States to punish the use of words or language not within narrowly limited classes of speech." And in applying this wisdom, the Court likewise tied its conclusion to the words of the subject speech: "And since there was no evidence or rational inference from the import of the language, that his words were intended to produce, and likely to produce, imminent disorder, those words could not be punished by the State on the ground that they had 'a tendency to lead to violence.'"

In other words, Hess teaches that the speaker's intent to encourage violence (second factor) and the tendency of his statement to result in violence (third factor) are not enough to forfeit First Amendment protection unless the words used specifically advocated the use of violence, whether explicitly or implicitly (first factor). Here, too, the district court, like the Indiana Supreme Court in Hess, placed too much weight on the second and third Brandenburg factors while slighting the key role of the first. Yet, it is undisputed that the speech plaintiffs would punish under Kentucky law must meet all three factors to avoid First Amendment free speech protection….

[I]n addition to the content and form of the words, we are obliged to consider … the content, form, and context of the speech: "what was said, where it was said, and how it was said." … [W]hat is here alleged to constitute incitement to riot is just a few words, "get 'em out of here," repeated several times. The words were said at a campaign rally by the main speaker in response to disturbances caused by protesters. The words were self-evidently said in order to quell the disturbances by removing the protesters. The words were directed to unidentified listeners in the Convention Center, among whom most were Trump supporters who were not sympathetic with the protesters. In the ears of some supporters, Trump's words may have had a tendency to elicit a physical response, in the event a disruptive protester refused to leave, but they did not specifically advocate such a response. As to how the offensive words were said, we know, most relevantly, by plaintiffs' own allegations, that the words were accompanied by the admonition, "don't hurt 'em." That this undercuts the alleged violence-inciting sense of Trump's words can hardly be denied….

In fact, Trump's admonition not to harm is analogous to the circumstance considered in Bible Believers as neutralizing the inciting tendency of words that were even more offensive in nature and delivered in an even more volatile context:

"The only references to violence or lawlessness on the part of the Bible Believers were messages such as, 'Islam is a Religion of Blood and Murder,' 'Turn or Burn,' and 'Your prophet is a pedophile.' These messages, however offensive, do not advocate for, encourage, condone, or even embrace imminent violence or lawlessness. Although it might be inferred that the Bible Believers' speech was intended to anger their target audience, the record is devoid of any indication that they intended imminent lawlessness to ensue. Quite to the contrary, the Bible Believers contacted Wayne County prior to their visit, requesting that the [Wayne County Sheriff's Office] keep the public at bay so that the Bible Believers could 'engage in their peaceful expression.'"

Thus, again, in Bible Believers, we see the court examining the words used by the speaker. Upon examining the words, the court found first, that they did not specifically advocate violence; and second, that any inference that might have been drawn from the offensive and violence-inciting tendency of the words' content and context was negated by other circumstances. The same result obtains here. Just as the Bible Believers took reasonable measures to ensure peaceful communication of their ideas and prevent violence, Trump's speech itself included express disavowal and discouragement of violence….

Accordingly, our review of the content, form, and context of Trump's alleged words as a whole … reveals that his speech does not come within one of the "narrowly limited classes of speech" that do not enjoy First Amendment protection.

Judge Helene White concurred on the statutory issue: "Although the majority opinion elides salient details of Trump's speech that make this a closer case for me than for the majority and overemphasizes the legal significance of the "don't hurt 'em" statement, I nevertheless concur in the reversal because I agree that the allegations are insufficient to constitute incitement to riot under Kentucky Revised Statutes § 525.040." She therefore concluded that there was no need to reach the constitutional issue.

NEXT: Saved by the Militia

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  1. The boorish, bigoted, and backward have rights, too.

    1. Which is such a fortunate thing for you.

      1. Indeed. I sincerely wonder if RALK is a moby. Can a normal person really be that self-unaware?

        1. RALK?
          Royal Arse Licker & Kisser?

    2. And they got their day in court and, justly, lost.

      Those boorish, backwards, bigoted dolts had their rights respected.

      1. The peaceful protesters were the boorish dolts?

        That’s the kind of thinking by which an ostensible adult can wind up living in South Carolina.

        1. Anti Trump protestors have been anything but peaceful.

        2. I would love to hear the dumb reverands take on protestors rights to disrupt speeches in private venues.

          1. the dumb reverands take on protestors rights

            That’s a good little illiterate conservative demonstrating the value of his opinion.

        3. Regardless of how peaceful they were, yes, they were boorish dolts. The fact that their behavior is protected by the First Amendment does not miraculously make them less boorish.

          1. I question that the heckler’s veto actually is protected by the First Amendment.

    3. Yes the boorish bigoted and backward protesters who show up for the purpose of inciting violence have rights

  2. The dark cloud of fascism is always descending upon Republicans but it turns out to be composed of progressives and Democrats.

    Video Sting Exposes Democrats’ Effort to Incite Violence at Trump Rallies

    O’Keefe’s video investigation reveals that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are involved in bird-dogging and other provocative tactics through a web of consultants led by Robert Creamer, a veteran Chicago activist and convicted felon…

    Foval – who praises Creamer as “diabolical” – explains how “bird-dogging” works: how they plan confrontations in advance, choose particular individuals to provoke, and maximize media coverage.

    In another video, Foval admits that his organization is responsible for an incident in Asheville, North Carolina in September, where an elderly woman was allegedly assaulted outside a Trump rally.

    In that incident, the 69-year-old woman, wearing an oxygen tank, heckled a visually impaired 73-year-old Trump supporter, then pursued him. She claimed he then punched her in the jaw, though she had no visible injury; his attorney claims she touched him on the shoulder first, and then fell to the ground as he turned around. Foval explains that the woman had been “trained” as a part of his operation.

    1. O’Keefe.

      Automatically dishonest.

      1. stellar argument using logic and persuasive reasoning…

        1. Are you familiar with O’Keefe’s career?

          He’s a habitual liar, and he has the record to prove it.

          Based on his record it is highly logical to think that this is just another lie.

          But since he said something bad about Hillary Clinton you can never be persuaded.

          1. So you’re saying that the videos are fake computer-generated imagery? Or are you just parroting the same incredibly dishonest ad hominem that the mainstream media used to dismiss this wrongdoing perpetrated by the intended beneficiaries of their 24/7 propaganda?

            1. To be fair… Bernard has never watched an actual video. He just regurgitates what lefty outlets tell him.

            2. You don’t have to use a computer to create fake videos, M.L. O’Keefe has a long history of editing his videos in highly deceptive ways.

              Dishonest ad hominem? He’s lost in court a couple of times over it. You can believe it all you want, and probably do, because you seem to be the sort of gullible fool who backs Trump.

              1. So you have watched his videos, bernard?

              2. Does he do cuts in the middle of sentences, to construct sentences the subject never actually uttered? Moore does that, you know.

                Your problem is that o’Keefe just does normal journalistic practices against people you like.

                1. Moore is bad. That does not make O’Keefe good.

              3. Does he eliminate things like “Plaintiff said” before a sound bite to imply a case summary was a personal belief?

                That kind of deceptive edit?

                1. Bob, didn’t you just ding me (rightfully) for a tu quoque a week ago?

                  O’Keefe edits out the question, edits out important concessions. Who can forget his origin story, editing out the whole original part of that lady’s speech that said ‘this is not how I feel anymore, let me show you how my moral journey went’ and just put forth her describing her old views as her new ones!

                  Dude doesn’t care about the truth; he’s a propagandist lying character assassin, and if he’s never published again, that’ll be too soon.

                  One difference between him and Moore (who I allow is also dishonest and a propagandist) is that Moore attacks politicians and public figures. O’Keefe will try and destroy anyone, from congresswomen to random case-workers.

                  1. Oh, I understand the complaints about O’Keefe, but so far as I can tell, they just put him in the same company as, say, 60 minutes or Frontline, and a step above Moore.

                    He mostly gets in trouble because he’s applying standard muckraker tactics to the “wrong” targets.

                    1. As usual, nothing but dishonest ad hominem from liars.

                      I would like someone to explain in detail the hypothetical video edits that they think were done here, which justify dismissing the basic apparent revelations of this footage.

                      While you’re at it, you can explain why, if there’s nothing to this, these individuals were immediately fired.

                  2. “Bob, didn’t you just ding me (rightfully) for a tu quoque a week ago?”

                    Bernard is acting like O’Keefe is some kind of special case. He is not. He just uses the left’s tactics, as Harris just showed.

                    “O’Keefe edits out the question, edits out important concessions.”

                    He is no better or worse than US senators and every news program in town.

                    “this is not how I feel anymore”

                    How come only liberals can grow? Conservatives can be attacked for decade old statements or acts. Remember Romney and the haircut he supposedly gave some gay in prep school?

                    1. Same thing as I did with Trump re: normalization. Abide by your own standards – they are pretty good ones!

                      O’Keefe didn’t attack that lady for her past acts, he made it sound like she was still in that mindset. That’s a level of proudly deceitful crap used to destroy a nonpublic figure that’s really beyond low.
                      And I think you know that’s not acceptable or normal behavior, since your counterargument was to attempt to reframe what he did into something more normal.

                    2. So you think that the videos are essentially a fabrication, and the basic apparent revelations are not true and never happened?

                      I don’t believe you.

                    3. “nonpublic figure ”

                      She was a public official.

                    4. Yeah, so she’ll have a hard time claiming defamation. Doesn’t mean she has the infrastructure to handle that kind lying character assassination as might a Congresswoman or the President or a national spokesman. Legal ain’t the same as moral. And O’Keefe isn’t even always legal.

                      ML – having viewed the linked videos, I think they show nothing wrong, except for some scary framing. Seizing the moral high ground by showing the other side are violent and angry is protesting 101.

                    5. Ok, so now you’ve pulled a 180 and accept the fundamental content of the videos, but just claim there’s nothing wrong with paying protesters to go around the country harassing Americans who are exercising their constitutional rights, for the purpose of inciting violence and creating a false narrative in the media about Trump supporters (and paying their legal and medical bills for any fights).

                      Ok. I think I actually prefer Arthur Kirkland’s frothing in-your-face bigotry to your inane ramblings.

                    6. Ah. So you thought I was ad-homing O’Keefe in order to argue the videos were wrong.

                      Let me clear that up: I just think O’Keefe sucks separate from any tape thing.

                      I hadn’t clicked on the links until to day.

      2. LOL, I expected that from you.

        The dark cloud of fascism is always descending upon Republicans but it always turns out to be composed of progressives and Democrats.

        Dem Operative Who Oversaw Trump Rally Agitators Visited White House 342 Times

        A key operative in a Democratic scheme to send agitators to cause unrest at Donald Trump’s rallies has visited the White House 342 times since 2009, White House records show.

        Robert Creamer, who acted as a middle man between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and “protesters” who tried ? and succeeded ? to provoke violence at Trump rallies met with President Obama 47 times, according to White House records. Creamer’s last visit was in June 2016.

      3. So you’re saying that the videos are fake computer-generated imagery? Or are you just parroting the same incredibly dishonest ad hominem that the mainstream media used to dismiss this wrongdoing perpetrated by the intended beneficiaries of their 24/7 propaganda?

        1. No need for CG. Editing and voiceover is sufficient if you’re dishonest enough.

          1. Many media reporting and most documentaries also use voice overs and editing… See Micheal Moore, fracknation, etc.

            Can you have an honest argument for once sarcastro?

            1. To clarify for sarcastro since I guess he failed basic logic like he did physics…

              Your post is implying…

              Dishonesty people can create false narratives with voiceovers and editing.

              Okeefe uses both.

              Therefore okeefe is dishonest.

              1. The key is ‘if you are dishonest enough.

                A scalpel can heal or harm. Most people can handle one and I won’t bat an eye. There are some who cannot be trusted, though.

                O’Keefe (and arguably Moore), by similar logic, cannot be trusted with edited footage.

                1. He always posts the whole videos as well.

                  O’Keefe is no different than CNN or MSNBC.

                  You just don’t like him. Fair enough.

                  1. He always posts the whole videos as well.

                    Is there a whole video of the video on the link Kevin is so enthusiastically sharing?

                  2. “He always posts the whole videos as well.

                    O’Keefe is no different than CNN or MSNBC.”

                    You just contradicted yourself there.

              2. okeefe generally provides the entire unedited video

                1. Arguing that posting O’Keefe’s propaganda is okay because your believe the national news is even more evil is more or less virtue signaling, no?

          2. IIUC you are comparing O’Keefe to ABC, NBC, CBS, FAXNews, CNN,

      4. Bernard, I love when you are so public in your ignorance. Kudos for the honesty.

        1. Fuck you, Jesse.

          Do you ever have anything to say, or do you just like to throw out obnoxious insults?

          Wait. I know the answer.

          1. Do you have anything to say that is not an insult or a vapid paean to logical fallacy?

            That answer too is clear.

          2. Fuck you. Jesse, he wears his ignorance as a badge

          3. “Do you ever have anything to say, or do you just like to throw out obnoxious insults?”

            Look in the mirror.

  3. Correct legal decision.

    I guess only a lynching would have satisfied the legal requirement for criminal activity.

    Although it was in Kentucky…

    1. “Although it was in Kentucky…”

      Gee, THAT’S not bigoted . . .

      1. ape hates people from the South

        He has made several bigoted comments about people from Tenn. and Miss. Combines the two state names.

        I think they collectively have different views than he does so are ignorant.

        1. Kentucky is a backward, unaccomplished state in almost every way. It willfully refrains from being an advanced, successful, modern state.

          1. Kentucky is the apex of American civilization, without Bourbon we would be much diminished.

            1. Kentucky is a stain and drain on our nation. I hope it improves.

          2. Just another example of the bigotry and intolerance of a progressive

    2. No, not really. If Trump had actually told them to do something illegal, that would have satisfied the legal requirements, too.

      But, just asking them to do what bouncers routinely legally do? Not remotely criminal.

  4. “plaintiffs’ own allegation that Trump’s “get ’em out of here” statement was closely followed by his admonition, “Don’t hurt ’em.”

    Monster! Telling people not to hurt other people.

  5. Ok, but what happened to Heimbach and Bamberger, who actually assaulted the plaintiffs?

      1. Probably, from Trumpists.

        They’re white supremacist assholes, so that’s likely.

        1. You’re such a cute bigot.

          1. Once again, fuck you.

        2. I have to agree with JesseAz. You’re such a cute bigot, makes one wonder if you are white, a supremacist, and an asshole projecting your own proclivities onto others.

          1. Nah, I’ve met people like him who were perfectly serious. Never underestimate the range of human thought.

            1. I never underestimate although I do have a very low opinion of Progressives and Progressivism along with their Marxist tovarisch, Communism and Socialism.

    1. Did they actually assault the plaintiffs or did the plaintiffs just allege that they were assaulted? Presumption of innocence, once a liberal virtue…

      Video Sting Exposes Democrats’ Effort to Incite Violence at Trump Rallies


      In another video, Foval admits that his organization is responsible for an incident in Asheville, North Carolina in September, where an elderly woman was allegedly assaulted outside a Trump rally.

      In that incident, the 69-year-old woman, wearing an oxygen tank, heckled a visually impaired 73-year-old Trump supporter, then pursued him. She claimed he then punched her in the jaw, though she had no visible injury; his attorney claims she touched him on the shoulder first, and then fell to the ground as he turned around. The national media covered her claims widely, while largely ignoring his. Foval explains that the woman had been “trained” as a part of his operation.

      1. How many times are you going to post this?

        By the way, the pair sued Trump – pardon me while I chuckle – because they claim they acted on his authority. Bamberger says he “relied on Trump’s reputation and expertise in doing the things alleged.”

        Hilarious. These guys are as stupid as they are vile.

        1. Would you prefer the examples of actual lefty violence at trump speeches… Like say a certain British national?

        2. Stupid and vile tend to go together. But it’s not contagious: If stupid and vile people attend a political rally, (And they do any rally larger than a few people.) it does not establish that the rally organizers or other attendees are stupid and/or vile.

          Trump said to remove the hecklers, but don’t hurt them. This idiot pair claim that authorized them to hurt them. Nope, sorry, that’s all on them.

    2. Heimbach was convicted of assault. then released on the condition he attend anger management classes, and later brought up for parole violation after assaulting somebody else.

      I can’t find any evidence that Bamberger was convicted of anything. He has since sued the President, I guess in an attempt to recoup legal expenses.

  6. Is “Them’s fightin’ words!” defense completely dead with respect to the first amendment? I thought part of the outcome of the Bible Believers case was to incite to riot, you had to incite “your” guys to riot, not say outrageous things that make others riot in anger against you. Their anger is their problem.

    1. How is “get them out of here” fighting words?

      1. Trump’s an innocent, right?

        Here you go

        1. He certainly was in the case the essay was about.

        2. So bernard11 is referencing a Snopes review of a cartoon? ROTFLMAO!!!

  7. The continuing meltdown from bernard and apedad lol

    1. Eh, Kevin prints some deceitful stuff, they get mad, you make fun of them for caring.

      It’s a normal day on the Internet.

      [The deceit is pretending it’s dishonest or lets violent yahoos off the hook if someone is provoking them verbally and they get violent.

      That’s on the violent guy, not on the protester.]

      1. Although it appears that the majority of the violence derives from the so-called protesters, usually Progressives.

        1. You’d better get your story straight – is it Kevin’s ‘Dems are inciting violence’ or is it ‘Dems are the violent ones?’

          The sample size is too small for good statistics, but you shouldn’t miss the videos of cowardly sucker-punches and the like as protesters are getting sent away (and of conservatives taking some hilariously badly acted dives)

          IMO this was the MLK tactic of ‘put yourself in a position wherein the other side behaves badly upon you.’ And the Trump folks complied.

          But! Here is where it gets good for your narrative – then it didn’t bear electoral fruit, and with the crumbling of that protestor narrative came a rejection of nonviolent civil disobedience.
          And now in the post-Trump era I am troubled by how much I see on the left about punching Nazis being good…and that all Trump voters are Nazis.
          And then the mutual melees between Antifa violent young yahoos and and alt-right/neo-Nazi violent young yahoos. Small subsets in the grand scheme, but a lot more than once there were.

          Helluva time to be alive.

          1. “is it Kevin’s ‘Dems are inciting violence’ or is it ‘Dems are the violent ones?”


            1. I admire your commitment to believing all bad things about liberals at all times, but initiating violence is mutually exclusive with inciting it.

              1. Back when I was in elementary school, I was plagued by a bully. His typical tactic was to wait until a teacher was about to walk around the corner, and slug you. They’d come into view just when you hit them back.

                This is the sort of thing we’re discussing here: Utilizing violence to incite it. Then arranging for your confederates to document the retaliation, but not your original attack. That’s what Creamer discussed doing: Arranging to start a fight, and having your own people there to witness the other guy “starting” it.

                1. OK, given your story, I do see how it could be both in some limited scenarios.

                  But I don’t think it analogizes here, for at least two reasons.
                  First, the cameras are always present, and not just the media’s cameras but the ever-present smartphones. This isn’t some well-controlled setting; I don’t think that’s a very good evil plan you’ve come up with.
                  Second, the supposedly sinister video isn’t counseling violence. So if the link does indeed uncover a nefarious plot by the DNC, why is the bad part the part you have to speculate about?

                  So where we are now is you yourself have discarded the evidence at bar. Under your scenario, the O’Keefe video proves nothing; the real proof is in weaving together anecdotes yourself.

  8. and threats against the political right have escalated as the establishment media amp up its hate rhetoric against President Trump and his supporters.
    The morning after Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd compared media critics to racist segregationists and singled out Fox News as one of America’s biggest problems, a man in a “mentally agitated state,” and apparently upset over an officer involved shooting, intentionally crashed his vehicle into the studios of FOX 4 in Dallas, Texas.

    Besides Todd, many in the media, especially at far-left CNN have “othered” Fox News and presented the network as a unique danger to America.

    CNN’s Brian Stelter has gone so far as to spread conspiracy theories about Fox News controlling President Trump.

    Hours after the far-left Washington Post published Joe Scarborough’s September 11 op-ed claiming Trump is a bigger danger to America than the 9/11 terrorists, a mass shooting threat was made against a group of Trump supporters meeting at the president’s hotel in Washington DC.

    1. Did you know that every time someone uses dodgy stats to claim the right is under violent siege by the left, there’s an incidence or threat of mass violence against some liberal institution or other?!

      That kind of anecdotal correlation to claim causation is the real conspiratorial thinking. We’re a big, violent country. You’ll find proof for whatever you look for.

      1. I couldn’t care less. The mainstream left and media completely and totally embrace the logic of these sorts of connections, so who am I to tell them they’re wrong? Might as well just show them the facts.

        1. ‘I’m posting lies and sophistry but I don’t care because liberals are bad and probably to the same thing.’

          Wow, you are broken by partisanship.

          1. No, it’s not lies and sophistry by any stretch of the imagination. The rhetoric described above is grotesquely irresponsible and should be called out. If Trump is worse than Hitler and Osama Bin Laden, then shouldn’t a patriotic citizen take up arms against him? That’s precisely what James Hodgkinson and others have bought into straight from MSM propaganda.

            My concession was that you’re right to say there are valid criticisms against drawing a strict causal connection, but that’s quite irrelevant at this point and the quote above didn’t do that anyway. Moreover, sometimes in order to speak to those who disagree with you, it’s perfectly valid to assume their own premises for the sake of argument. In this case, Breitbart’s counterparts take these premises to a much more extreme degree than Breitbart does here.

            1. You admit the logic is flawed, and yet you persist because of the uncited sins of ‘the mainstream left.’

              You cannot control the bad things other people do. You can, however, hold yourself to some sort of standard of truth. Instead, you seem to be embracing spite as your favored mien and your own integrity bedamned.

              And then you make excused, so I know you know it’s wrong.
              I know you realize that drawing repeated spurious correlations implies causation.
              And I know you understand that taking your opposition’s fallacies is something you need to say you’re doing, not a refuge for when you get called out on your BS.

              I try not to assume bad faith, but in this case it looks a lot like backpeddaling from some bad demagoguery you posted, using empty partisan swipes to try and cover your failure.

              You used to be in for the intellectual sparring. Now I see that from you sometimes (your legal analyses when you post them remain a pleasure to read and contend with), but much of the time you’re engaged in this using of anger at the left to justify posting stuff that justify more anger at the left…rage-cyclling.

              1. No – if the logic had drawn a strict causal connection, then there would be valid criticisms. But they didn’t do that explicitly. Anyway, that actually holds true for any claim of causality down to the philosophical level, so it’s a matter of degrees.

                So, I don’t think any excuses are needed here. The rhetoric is irresponsible. We see irresponsible rhetoric on both sides, although there is some difference to having it appear in “mainstream” media.

                I responded to your reply on a much broader level. Namely, there is nothing wrong with a highlighting a concern that mainstream conversations display a great sensitivity to – the connection between irresponsible false rhetoric and political violence – even if you think the level of concern is unjustified.

                I am glad you like my legal analyses. You’re correct that when it comes to politics, there is plenty of cause for righteous, justified anger, in my opinion.

    2. Separate thought:
      It’s no conspiracy that Trump’s tweets follow Fox pretty exclusively. And if his tweets are actually what he’s thinking, it’s not a crazy connection.

      Though IMO it looks more like Trump is getting managed by his staff and not actually leading much. Which may be the only thing worse than having Trump be President. I hope we have a thread on that soon.

  9. The under-reporting of acts of violence by the deranged left against Republicans and conservatives is one of the critical propaganda functions of the mainstream media. There was another one today, in California, with a switch blade knife against a Republican candidate. The MM won’t mention it.

    It’s called the propaganda of silence, and it is disproportionately effective because it creates in the public mind a fictitious narrative as to who are the “usual” victims of politically motivated anger and also which end of the political spectrum is racing towards being totalitarian in thought and action.

    1. Is this your theory, or something from Brietbart or Alex Jones?

      Before spouting off wild-eyed propaganda theories like “the MM won’t mention it”, you might want to check what the mainstream media have, in fact, reported.

      I imagine CBS qualifies as “mainstream media”? Published September 12, 2018, 1:32 PM, prior to your post.

      How about USA Today? That’s pretty mainstream, right? Published 9:33 a.m. ET Sept. 12, 2018, prior to your post.

      It’s also reported by Fox (I assume no one is surprised about that one), UPI, and major California newspapers like the LA Times, the SacBee, San Jose Mercury News.

      Also spotted a mention of it on (dated 09/11/18 05:50 PM EDT, once again well before your post)

      Another fine reminder that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

      (also, how does one create links that Reason doesn’t reject for being over 50 characters long?)

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