In a very persuasively argued piece, Robert Reich asks if “The events at Berkeley Wednesday night” may have been part of a Donald Trump plot, a false flag operation – by Milos Yiannopoulos, of Breitbart News, and Steve Bannon – to control American universities.
As Reich explains, “The events at Berkeley Wednesday night have been a boon to Milos Yiannopoulos, of Breitbart News, and to Steve Bannon, formerly head of Breitbart News and now Trump’s consigliere.”
As you may know, on Wednesday night, February 1, Berkeley gave Yiannopoulos a major forum to spout his racist and misogynistic vitriol. But police had to cancel the talk because about 150 masked agitators threw Molotov cocktails, smashed windows where Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak, and threw rocks and fireworks at the police – delivering made-for-TV images of a riot.
Reich raises “the possibility that Yiannopoulos and Brietbart were in cahoots with the agitators, in order to lay the groundwork for a Trump crackdown on universities and their federal funding.”
We all saw Trump’s threat, issued, as usual, via twitter:
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Reich writes that,
“Thursday night on CNN, I said ‘I wouldn’t bet against” that possibility. Almost immediately an indignant article appeared in Breitbart News, misleadingly headlined “Robert Reich Lies, Claims Breitbart News Organized Berkeley Riots.’”
Considering all the facts, Reich says he still wouldn’t bet against the likelihood of such a scheme given “this very conspiratorial administration,” and it is frighteningly in line with totalitarian schemes of the past, where seeming lack of control gives the totalitarian regime a much-needed excuse to exert – or rather – impose control.
There is another interesting detail to be noted here: remember when Donald Trump took his cue from Bill O’Reilly in threatening to invade Chicago? The Washington Post points out that just before Trump issued his threat, Fox News’ Todd Starnes had called on him to do just that:
Perhaps the president had started his morning by tuning in to Fox News. Shortly before Trump sent his tweet, commentator Todd Starnes had said that “President Trump should immediately issue an executive order blocking Berkeley students from receiving any federal funding. Same goes for any other public university that wants to silence conservative voices. Free speech for all or no federal money, not a single taxpayer penny, period.”
The only argument against such a plot is that if plot it is, Trump actually pulled it off. But even the catastrophically incompetent will occasionally get something right.
Conservatives have taken full advantage of the riot, of course, claiming you “can’t make this stuff up” but if Reich is correct, you can. You can even stage it.