Trump University looks and quacks like a duck

May 29, 2016

I’ve reviewed a copy of the 2010 Trump University Playbook and it certainly looks like a scam to me. The principle objective identified in the 172-page playbook is to classify the attendees into 1 of 4 categories based on the amount of liquid assets they have at their disposal. The categories are set forth on page 36.

1. Greater than $35 K;
2. Between $20 K and $30 K;
3. Greater than $10 K; and
4. Greater than $2 K.

The target group is the 1st category, which they call the Gold Elite Group.

With one important exception, the rest of the playbook is a detailed how-to manual regarding procedures like scheduling conferences, setting up conference rooms and submitting bills seeking reimbursement for expenses.

The exception is a recommended set of strategies to employ in convincing people in the Gold Elite Group to signup for advanced conferences where the strictly hush-hush mystical goodies will be revealed to the worthy initiates.

Yes, indeed, you would be correct if you guessed that the advanced level conferences cost lots of money. From $1,500 to the super special $35,000 conference where Trump himself will disclose the mystical goodies.

Speaker subject matter is tightly controlled. For example, the playbook warns them to use only the approved course materials and illustrative slide shows when lecturing to the students. No variation is permitted and anecdotal stories are prohibited without prior approval. The absence of room to move suggests that no special expertise is required to give a lecture.

My suspicions deepened when I reviewed carefully scripted responses in the playbook to frequently asked questions. No variation from the scripted responses was permitted. If a student asked a question that was not on the list, the playbook recommended segues to steer the student to a scripted answer. I got the impression that a pleasant voice, a smiling face and an ability to read slides were the only prerequisites to be a speaker.

Guidelines are provided for dealing with disruptive students, reporters and inquisitive attorney generals.

Separating a student from his or her money appears to have been the prime directive.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . .


Trump is unqualified to be president

March 31, 2016

Donald Trump is unqualified to be our next president because he acts like a thug, does not know how our system of government works and he lacks the proper temperament to govern in the best interests of everyone. Thuggery and poor temperament cannot be fixed because that is who he is. He admires those ‘qualities’ in himself and he is unlikely to change. While lack of knowledge can be fixed by learning, given sufficient time and commitment, he has not demonstrated that he realizes he is ignorant about anything. A president who respects no one except himself and who relies on intimidation to get what he wants is not suited to govern democratically in the best interests of the many as opposed to the few.

He has been conducting a war against people who protest at his public appearances by calling them bad people, ordering security personnel to evict them and offering to pay the legal fees of anyone who assaults them. He has invoked his right to freedom of speech to justify excluding and assaulting protesters. He mistakenly believes that the Freedom of Speech Clause in the First Amendment protects his right to speak to his supporters, but it does not protect people who disagree with him. He has it backwards. The Freedom of Speech Clause protects people who disagree with the government and the Freedom of Assembly Clause protects them when they assemble in a public place to express their dissent. Instead, he abuses the First Amendment to eliminate dissent rather than protect it. This is what dictators do. They criminalize dissent and govern from the top down by proclamation. People who disagree are imprisoned or killed.

Next, let’s take a look at the Corey Lewandowski case. He is Trump’s campaign director who was charged recently with battery for grabbing a reporter and pulling her away from Trump while she was questioning him. Wikipedia provides a summary of the incident.

On March 8, 2016, Michelle Fields, a reporter for Breitbart News, alleged she was yanked out of the way and bruised by Lewandowski while attempting to pose a question to candidate Donald Trump while he was exiting a room in the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida following a press conference. Ben Terris of the Washington Post identified Lewandowski as the man who yanked her.[24][25][26] The Trump campaign denied the allegations, as did Lewandowski on his Twitter feed, wherein he denied ever having touched her.

On March 29, 2016, Lewandowski was charged with one count of simple battery by the Jupiter Police Department for the March 8 incident. A court date was set for May 4, 2016, after Lewandowski surrendered himself to the authorities. He released a statement maintaining his innocence. The Jupiter Police also released closed-circuit video of the incident taken by an overhead camera at the Trump National Golf Club resort.

Battery, which is defined as an ‘unpermitted touching,’ is a misdemeanor crime. The touching must be the result of an intentional act, as opposed to an unconscious, inadvertent, or accidental act. A video shows Fields suddenly being yanked backward and she has bruises on her arm caused by the person who grabbed her. Although we cannot see the hand and arm of the person who yanked her backward, Lewandowski was right behind her in a position where he could have grabbed her arm or, at a minimum, was in position to have seen who did. No one else appears to have been close enough to have grabbed her, however, and she has identified Lewandowski as the person who grabbed her. Ben Terris, a reporter for the Washington Post, has independently confirmed the identification. This evidence certainly is sufficient to establish probable cause (reasonable grounds) to believe that Lewandowski committed a battery.

At first Lewandowski denied that he touched Fields. Recently, however, he conceded that might have inadvertently touched her. He and Trump have denied knowing her. Curiously, both have accused her of being ‘crazy.’ Neither has explained how they would know that if they had no idea who she was. Trump attacked Fields yesterday for reporting such an ‘insignificant’ matter to the police and suggested that she should have been charged for harassing him. This is intolerable victim-shaming, a form of witness intimidation that potentially could be the subject of a new criminal charge.

This is not how we handle criminal cases in this country. A defendant who has been charged with a crime can admit or deny guilt. If he were to deny guilt, the matter would be scheduled for trial. He would be released and the case would be dismissed, if the jury finds him not guilty. The matter would proceed to sentencing if the jury finds him guilty.

Trump is trampling Lewandowski’s right to due process of law while putting the victim on trial. This stunt will likely backfire by alienating women voters, a result he can ill afford since 70% of women surveyed in a recent poll said they would not vote for Trump.

Trump aggravated the situation yesterday when he told MSNBC’s Chris Mathews that he believes women who have abortions should be sentenced to prison, if abortion were to be legalized. He changed his mind later in the day after he was criticized by Ted Cruz and John Kasich. He now agrees with them. If the SCOTUS were to overrule Roe v. Wade, they would punish the person who performed the abortion, but not the woman, whom they would regard as a victim.

In conclusion, We want a president who is knowledgeable about the issues of the day and not given to shooting from the hip. Electing Donald Trump would be a disaster.


Trump and Cruz want police to patrol Muslim neighborhoods

March 23, 2016

Trump and Cruz are demonstrating that they are unqualified to lead our country. Patrolling Muslim neighborhoods, assuming there are any, would only intimidate and infuriate Muslims.

Trump wants to torture Muslims for information.

They are really talking about establishing an American version of the Nazi Gestapo and that’s insane.

The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and they are the front line against ISIS. They need our assistance to do it and we need their cooperation to assist them. The big problem in Brussels is the absence of communication between Muslims and law enforcement. That’s why law enforcement could not find Salah Abdeslam, even though he never left Brussels. Caught between ISIS killers on one side and suspicious hostile police on the other and unable to communicate with them because they do not speak the language, they kept quiet.

That barrier must be broken to have any chance to prevail against ISIS. Terrorizing Muslims with Gestapo tactics will only help ISIS to recruit more jihadists.

Trump and Cruz need to shut-up and stop helping ISIS.


Trump soils himself meeting with WaPo Editorial Board

March 22, 2016

A transcript of Donald Trump’s meeting with The Washington Post editorial board

Read and Weep, Groan or Guffaw: Your Choice.

Like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist

Here it is. What you have been waiting for.

Trump Unplugged.

Seriously, you have to read it to believe it.

Meanwhile, pray for Brussels

My Momma didn’t tell me

There’d be days like this.


Goofy Donald strikes again

March 17, 2016

Goofy Donald wants everyone to know that he don’t need no stinkin’ foreign policy advisors. He said,

I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.

Well, I guess that settles it. Young Frankenstein comes to mind. Specifically, whose brain did I put in?

At least he knows how to strike a golf ball.

Rick and Morty say so.

Hi, I’m Mister Meeseeks. Look at me. Ooooh, Yeah. Can do. I have to fulfill my purpose so I can go away.

Say good-bye Donald. You’ve passed your sell-by date.


Trump: We need the rich in order to make our country great again

March 16, 2016

Earth to clueless Trump voters. Your billionaire candidate believes in cronyism and the discredited trickle-down theory. He dropped the populism mask last night when he said, “We need the rich in order to make our country great again.”

After 35 years experience with tax cuts for the rich, we have a $19 trillion federal deficit. Nothing trickled down. With the exception of the wealthiest 1%, everyone in this country is worse off financially today than they were in 1980.

If you have any doubts about the efficacy of tax cuts for the rich, just look at the dramatic failures in Michigan, Kansas and Louisiana.

Donald Trump intends to double-down on this failed economic policy. According to recent estimates, his economic plan will increase our deficit by another $10 trillion.

Congratulations Trump voters. You’ve been played by a serial liar, fascist, racist, xenophobic, misogynist rich guy who is laughing at you, all the way to the bank.


Donald Trump intentionally setup Chicago chaos

March 12, 2016

Donal Trump scheduled a rally last night in downtown Chicago at the University of Illinois Chicago, a location easily accessible by Trump protesters. He cancelled the rally shortly before it was scheduled to begin and later claimed that he did so at the request of the Chicago Police Department.

CNN reports,

Mr. Trump just arrived in Chicago, and after meeting with law enforcement, has determined that for the safety of all of the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight’s rally will be postponed to another date,” the Trump campaign said in a statement. “Thank you very much for your attendance and please go in peace.

Bullshit!

Chicago Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante contradicted that claim. He told CNN that the Trump campaign didn’t consult with authorities before calling the event off.

The decision to cancel the rally was announced by someone representing the Trump campaign after the auditorium was filled to capacity. Five sections of the auditorium were reseved for protesters. According to some estimates, the protesters in the auditorium outnumbered Trump’s supporters. Anticipation turned into concern and eventually into dread as name-calling turned into pushing and shoving punctuated by an occasional punch.

There were remarkably few injuries, non serious, as police gradually cleared the auditorium and kept order outside.

When questioned after the rally, Trump blamed the protesters for the disturbances at previous rallies, including St.Louis earlier in the day. He insisted that the protesters in every instance started trouble by punching peaceful supporters. Zero evidence supports his claim.

Trump is causing the violence. He craves it. By scheduling the rally in downtown Chicago, he assured that large numbers of protesters would be present. I doubt he ever intended to show-up. I imagine that he’s disappointed no one was killed.

Trump supporters take heed: He set a trap and baited it with his own supporters.

The man is crazy and extremely dangerous. Human lives mean nothing to him.


Trump courts disaster by appealing to hate and prejudice

March 11, 2016

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, assaulted Michelle Fields, a reporter for Breitbart News, when she attempted to ask Donald Trump if he supported affirmative action.

Politico published a transcript of a conversation between Michelle Fields and Ben Terris, a reporter for the Washington Post who witnessed the assault.

The incident occurred after a Donald Trump press conference on Super Tuesday as he walked by on his way out of the room.

Din of people talking, clanking of glasses, snippets of conversation, reporters telling one another to ‘move up a little’, greeting each other, saying ‘good to see you’ saying ‘OK good quote then’, then clearly action picks up as cameras start clicking.

Fields: “Mr. Trump, you went after the late Scalia for affirmative action, do you — are you still against affirmative action?”

Voice (allegedly Corey Lewandowski): “Excuse me, thank you.”

A few moments later (noise of the room can be heard)…

Terris: “You OK?”

Fields: “Holy sh*t.”

Terris: “Yea he just threw you down.”

Fields: “I can’t believe he just did that that was so hard. Was that Corey?”

Terris: “Yeah, like, what threat were you?”

Fields: “That was insane. You should have felt how hard he grabbed me. That’s insane. I’ve never had anyone do that to me from a campaign.”

Terris: “Can I put that in my story?”

Fields: “Yeah, go for it — that was really awful. That’s so unprofessional.”

Terris: “He really just almost threw you down on the ground.”

Fields: “He literally went like this and was grabbing me down. “I don’t even want to do what he just did to me. Oh my God, that really spooked me that someone would do that.”

Terris: “What threat were you?”

Fields: “Nothing. I was asking about affirmative action.”

Terris: “And he probably knows you, right?”

Fields: “Yeah, I don’t understand. That looks horrible. You’re going after a Breitbart reporter, the people who are nicest to you?”

Terris: “I know, I’m going to put it in my story.”

The two stop talking. Din/noise of people talking, glasses clinking continue through end of the recording.

After the story appeared in print, Lewandowski denied that he roughed her up and suggested that she made up the story in a “desperate bid for attention.”

Lewandowski’s thuggish behavior, his denial that he assaulted her, and his disparaging false allegation about her mark him as a deeply stupid, unduly aggressive, out of control liar and misogynist. I say ‘deeply stupid’ because Fields is a reporter for Breitbart News, a notorious right wing rag with no respect for the truth that functions as a cheerleader for conservative causes.

This incident is one of several troubling confrontations at Donald Trump events. Yesterday, for example, a 78-year-old white man sucker-punched a young black male at a campaign speech as police were escorting the young man out of the building. After the incident, he proudly admitted that he punched the young man and added that he would kill him if he saw him at another event.

We are witnessing an American fascist’s attempt to follow in Adolph Hitler’s footsteps and it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed at one of his rallies.

Do not look for other Republicans to criticize Trump. Eventually, they will all fall in line and support him because that is what Republicans do. For example, Ben Carson endorsed Trump this morning even though Trump had previously accused him of being a pathological child molester.


Donald Trump is a symptom of a fatal disease afflicting the GOP

March 4, 2016

The Republican Party has a major problem and it is not Donald Trump. He is a symptom of the problem. His successful candidacy to date is telling. The problem is rampant racism and xenophobia. Trump has been demonizing Mexicans, Muslims and immigrants in his campaign speeches and favorably retweeting comments by neo-Nazis. Although he disavowed an endorsement last week by David Duke, a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Clan (KKK), he did not disavow an endorsement by the organization. Instead, he claimed that he did not know anything about it and would have to do some research before deciding what to do about the endorsement.

Trump’s derogatory comments elicit thundering cheers rather than boos. This feature of his campaign speeches reminds me of Adolph Hitler who rose to power in Germany in the early 1930s by demonizing Jews and minorities. The formula is simple. Blame the nation’s troubles on a minority group and promise to solve the problem by rooting out its cause. Hitler rounded up 6 million Jews, confined them in concentration camps, and externinated them in gas chambers. Trump has promised to round up 11 million illegal Mexican immigrants and deport them.

Encouraged by Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, the Republicans embraced southern racist democrats outraged by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights act of 1965 and the SCOTUS decision in Brown v. Board of Education to desegregate public schools. Over time the racists morphed into the Tea Party and took over the Republican Party. Then they commenced a great cleansing of the party by requiring Republican candidates to sign a loyalty oath adhering to Republican principles opposing abortion and same sex marriage.

Today’s Republican Party represents right wing extremist views and we see those views expressed enthusiastically at every Trump campaign appearance. This is frightening.

Mitt Romney spoke out against Trump yesterday afternoon urging Republicans not to support him. He warned Republicans to vote for other Republican candidates. Unfortunately, that suggestion would only treat the symptom, not the disease.


Donald Trump can’t change the libel laws

February 27, 2016

Donald Trump can’t change the libel laws because they are based on the First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Background

Every person has a duty to refrain from uttering false statements about others. Libel is a defamatory written statement while slander is a defamatory oral statement. Under common law a person could sue another person for defamation of character if the oral or written statement was false, negligently made and it caused financial injury.

Public officials and Public Figures

In New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), the SCOTUS modified the common law rule to require public officials to prove that a false statement about them was uttered or published with ‘actual malice.’ That is, that the person or news organization knowingly or recklessly uttered or published the false statement and the statement caused financial injury. Actual malice is more difficult to prove. The SCOTUS decided to make it more difficult for public officials to prove up a case for defamation in order to protect the media’s right to free speech and free press in service to the public’s right to know what their public officials are doing. The Court reasoned that the easier to prove negligence standard unnecessarily restricted the flow of information in a competitive environment to be the first to break a story.

Congress cannot pass a law that restores the negligence standard because the actual malice standard is based on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Only the SCOTUS can change the law and it has shown no inclination to do so since it decided New York Times in 1964.

In fact, in Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130 (1967), the SCOTUS extended the actual malice test to public figures.

Conclusion

Donald Trump is a public figure who hopes to become a public official. He can attempt to intimidate journalists from reporting about him by threatening to sue them for statements he dislikes, but he will be wasting his time and making a fool out of himself. Heightened media scrutiny comes with the territory when you are running for president. The reporters and the organizations they work for know the rules.

He needs to stop whining and deal with it.


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