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“Trump Is Still Making Money Off His Defunct University”: Despite Rampart Fraud, It Appears Business Is Boomin

Donald Trump may be facing three separate lawsuits over his now-defunct university, but he’s still raking in money from the enterprise.

According to his 2016 personal financial disclosure form, filed with the Federal Election Commission, Trump made $13,239 in the last year from the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC, the company formally known as Trump University LLC. In an earlier disclosure which he filed last summer when his presidential campaign was beginning, Trump reported earning $11,819 from the company, which held live seminars about earning money from real estate and online courses providing a path to riches.

It’s unclear why or how Trump made money from a business that has been defunct since 2011 and facing litigation since 2013. Alan Garten, executive vice president and general counsel of the Trump Organization, has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

Trump is staring down three lawsuits which allege rampant fraud in his educational endeavor. Students claimed that they put money down to learn the tricks of the real estate trade from Donald Trump only to end up with cardboard cutouts of his figure.

One, a class-action suit in San Diego, has been delayed until November 28, which is after the presidential election. There will be a hearing for a second class action suit in San Diego on July 22. Finally a state fraud case, brought down by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, will also likely only go to trial after the election now.

On Tuesday, a four-judge panel in New York agreed to let Trump’s lawyers argue their case with the Court of Appeals, hoping to challenge a ruling that let Schneiderman progress with the case this year. Cases brought to this highest court in New York take a long time to resolve, likely stretching this suit beyond the timeframe of the presidential contest.

Even as Trump managed to dodge bullets—avoiding appearances on the witness stand during a crazy election year—Schneiderman has made it clear that he intends to pursue Trump vigorously.

“I am very pleased the judge has indicated her intention to move as expeditiously as possible to trial, as thousands of Mr. Trump’s alleged victims have been waiting years for relief from his fraud,” Schneiderman said in a previous statement provided to The Daily Beast. “As we will prove in court, Donald Trump and his sham for-profit college defrauded thousands of students out of millions of dollars.”

And it’s still lining Trump’s pockets, apparently.

Overall, Trump said that his revenue grew by $190 million over the past 17 months, and that he had $557 million in earned income. Ironically, the personal financial disclosure indicates that Trump has investments in a number of companies he has publicly railed against at his rallies, including Ford Motor Co. and Apple Inc., which he wanted to boycott.

There are also a series of new LLC’s with names of foreign cities—likely for new international hotel projects—in places like Saudi Arabia, from whom Trump wanted to halt oil purchases. Not to mention that whole suggestion he made that the country was responsible for 9/11.

“Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi — take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents,” Trump said in February.

Trump has still not released his tax returns which could address more questions about his personal finances. But as he marches towards the nomination, it appears that business is boomin’.

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, May 19, 2016

May 20, 2016 Posted by | 9-11, Donald Trump, Fraud, Trump University | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump Keeps Insulting Our 9/11 Dead”: Twisting The History Of A Sacred Day Shows Why He’s Unfit To Be President

Because Donald Trump has to destroy everything in his path, why not the true history 9/11? Trump would have us revise and edit our historical memory of 9/11, turning it from a unifying narrative of heroism, tragedy, and war and recast it to serve the political ends of a man unworthy of the presidency.

Let’s be specific, because history matters. Here is Trump’s claim, which he’s been obsessively defending for weeks now:

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

Trump’s Big Lie, as every fact checker from across the political spectrum has verified, is both simple and egregious: “thousands and thousands.” On the most-recorded day of our age, no record exists of “thousands and thousands” because it would have been a story of immediate, devastating consequences not only for the Muslims involved, but for this nation. It would have blown back immediately both on Muslims and on President Bush and Mayor Giuliani, who had called on Americans to refrain from assigning collective guilt.

Did any American Muslim celebrate 9/11? I’m sure some did. There are assholes in every walk of life, and in a metro area with 10 million people and a nation of 350 million, I’d be shocked if a couple of idiots didn’t act out. But it’s not a defense of Muslim extremism to stand for the truth of history.

Despite being called out on this lie repeatedly, Team Trump has produced nothing whatsoever to back up the “thousands and thousands” claim. Instead, they’ve produced a handful of anecdotes, secondhand news stories and hazy memories of what might have been a trivial number of Muslims celebrating the attacks.

They’ve failed—of course—to produce video, photos, news stories, police reports, eyewitnesses, or any other evidence for Trump’s “thousands and thousands” claim, and they never will. And when cornered with the facts, Trump’s talk-radio and online cheerleaders allege that a massive media conspiracy is keeping all the documentary evidence supporting the claim under wraps.

So why is this different from any other part of the Trumpendammerung cycle of outrageous statements, tornadoes of lies, and shoot-from-the-lip populism? Because we owe history, and the dead of that terrible September day something better.

We should tell the true stories of that day to honor the memory and sacrifice of those who perished on 9/11 and in the long wars since. We should remember the real events, not transform them into post-hoc, politically expedient exaggerations meant to amplify Donald Trump’s bravado.

The deaths of thousands at the hands of 19 Islamic radicals dispatched by Osama Bin Laden created an inflection point in our history, leading to tragedies and victories, losses and triumphs, in what is becoming a generation of war. We should tell the honest, painful stories of 9/11 because it dishonors the memory of heroes to invent a phony cast of villains when the actual terrorists were terrible enough to tear open this nation’s heart.

Trump is trying to write himself into a heroic narrative at the cost of truth, and of the memories of the real heroes who perished that day. While Trump sat staring at his television and imagining Muslims celebrating, better men and women than he will ever be died in Lower Manhattan.

They were heroes like Terry Hatton of FDNY Rescue Company 1, who charged in to the Towers without a moment’s hesitation, never knowing his wife was pregnant with their daughter. They were men of faith like Father Mychal Judge, who spent his last moments comforting the doomed as the Towers fell around them, praying “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!”

They were immigrants to this country like Rick Rescorla—people who fought our wars, embraced our values more deeply than many born here, and died as heroes trying to save his charges in the Towers. They were men like Tom Burnett, whose last whispered conversation to his wife from Flight 93 was, “I know we’re going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it.”

They were stockbrokers, secretaries, office techs, lawyers, waiters, firefighters, cops, and EMTs with stories of heroism and grace. They were Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and everything in between.

The families they left behind deserve a truthful recounting of their end and of that day.

I should know by now that arguing with diehard Trump supporters is largely futile but, if any of you are reading this, I pray you’ll take this issue seriously.

Two equally grim prospects can explain your behavior. The first that you know Trump’s claim is untrue, but enjoy living in his Reality Distortion Field simply to tweak mainstream America and the news media. You’ve become inhabitants of a funhouse-mirror version of the liberal culture and media you mock: insular, aggressively contrarian, obsessed with narrative over fact and anger over history.

The second is that you want it to be true so badly that you’ll invent an imagined outrage rather than focus on the actual, terrible problem of Islamic radicalism (as we saw this week in California) because that fight is harder, more complex and more painful than the hokey nostrums of Trump’s “plan” to fight ISIS. (“Take duh oil! Bomb da shit outta dem!” “Muslim database!”)

Playing out Donald Trump’s lies doesn’t mean you’re fighting some political correct media trope about Muslims or that you’re teaching the press a lesson. It doesn’t mean you’re confronting radical Islam. It doesn’t mean you’re bravely revealing a media cover-up. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to teach the Republican establishment a lesson.

All it means is you’re part of the profoundly recursive Trump dynamic; he feeds your fears, prejudices, and atavistic desires for revenge against your catalog of demons, be they Muslims, Mexicans, or Republicans who fail to kneel before the Donald. You feed his monstrous, boundless ego and like the master con artist he is, he shovels you a fresh line of easily-digested outrage and boob-bait rhetoric.

Embracing the thoroughly discredited claims of a serial liar and proven fabulist over on this history of 9/11 isn’t some bold rebellion or principled stand. It’s an insult to the dead.

 

By: Rick Wilson, The Daily Beast, December 6, 2015

December 7, 2015 Posted by | 9-11, American History, Donald Trump | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Fomenting Racism To Convince Racists That He’s Their Guy”: Why The Media Struggles To Deal With Donald Trump’s Race-Baiting

As you’ve probably heard by now, Donald Trump had quite a weekend. First he claimed on Saturday that “I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as [the World Trade Center] was coming down.” Confronted with the fact that this is completely false, Trump insisted on Sunday, “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations…that tells you something.”

Then on Sunday he (or someone from his campaign) tweeted out a graphic with phony statistics purporting to show how murderous black people are (and illustrated with a picture of a young black man with a bandana over his face, pointing a gun sideways, gangster-style).

Both of these happenings are receiving plenty of attention in the media today. The problem is that the media doesn’t know how to handle this kind of blatant race-baiting from a leading politician.

And just to be clear, it is race-baiting, and nothing else. In neither case is there even the remotest connection to some kind of legitimate policy question. When Trump says falsely that thousands of people in Jersey City (which has a large Muslim population) were celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center, he isn’t making an argument about Syrian refugees. He’s simply saying that you should hate and fear Muslim Americans. When he tries to convince people that most white murder victims are killed by black thugs (again, false), he isn’t arguing for some policy approach. He’s just trying to foment racism and convince racists that he’s their guy.

So how do the media deal with this? One thing they don’t do is call it by its name. The first approach is to report on it as just another campaign controversy (“Trump takes heat for tweet about black murder rates“). That kind of story sticks to the who-what-where-when approach: Trump tweeted this, he was criticized for it, here’s how it was inaccurate, here’s Trump’s response. Any value judgments that appear will be spoken by Trump’s critics (though not his primary opponents, who for the most part are dancing around any criticism of what Trump said).

The second approach the media takes is to address Trump’s comments through fact-checking, something we have gotten pretty good at. Interestingly enough, fact-checking as a formal genre of journalism can be traced to another campaign that prominently featured Republican race-baiting, the 1988 election. In the wake of that election, many news outlets felt they had been manipulated by George H.W. Bush’s campaign into not only focusing on distracting issues that had little or nothing to do with the presidency, but also into becoming a conduit for ugly attacks with little basis in fact. Over the following few years, many decided to institutionalize fact-checks, at first for television ads in particular, and later for all kinds of claims made in politics. Eventually sites like Politifact and FactCheck.org were created, and major news organizations like this one devoted staff solely to fact-checking.

In the process, journalists acquired both an understanding of how to separate the accurate from the inaccurate from the subjective, and a language to talk about different kinds of claims. While there’s plenty of slippage — you still see claims that have been proven false referred to as “controversial” or “questionable” — the existence of the fact-checking enterprise has allowed reporters to be clearer with their audiences about what is and isn’t true.

So if you want a fact-check of Trump’s claims, you’ll have no trouble finding it (here’s the Post’s). What you’ll have to look harder for is reporting that puts what Trump said in a context that goes much deeper than the campaign controversy of the week.

To be clear, I’m not arguing that there’s a simple template reporters should follow, one that will allow them to easily separate the merely “controversial” from the clearly racist (though wherever the line is, passing on phony statistics about murderous black people from neo-Nazis is definitely on the other side of it). But they wouldn’t violate any reasonable conception of objectivity by making the nature of Trump’s arguments clear.

When David Duke nearly won the governorship of Louisiana in 1991, it was reported in the national media as a story about racism, with a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan garnering a majority of the white vote as he lost a runoff election. Few in the media hesitated to call Duke a racist, in large part because even at the time he was perceived as representing yesterday’s racism, antiquated for its explicitness (even if Duke did try to clean up his views for the campaign).

Trump represents one face of today’s racism (though not by any means the only face). It simultaneously insists that Muslims can be good Americans, and accuses them of hating America and says their places of worship ought to be kept under government surveillance. It says that some Mexican-Americans are good people, and says most of them are rapists and drug dealers. It says “I think I’ll win the African-American vote” and then tries to convince voters that black people are murdering white people everywhere. In every case, Trump proclaims that he’s no racist while tapping into longstanding racist stereotypes and narratives of the alleged threat posed by minorities to white people.

Since I can’t read minds, I don’t know whether Donald Trump is a racist deep in his heart. But he is without question making himself into the racist’s candidate for president. And that’s a subject the media needs to explore in more depth.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, November 23, 2015

November 25, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fearmongering, Muslims, Racism | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Trump Speaks The Truth”: The Donald Has The Better Of Jeb Bush In Their Spat Over 9/11

Here at the Country Mart, on the edge of Brentwood and Santa Monica, politics is not on the menu. The Sunday talk shows are no big thing. Imagine, people are not that excited about Hillary Clinton’s upcoming date with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Benghazi committee.

This is Hillaryland, a rare state with two Democratic women senators. But one flare from the presidential primary season has made its way west: Donald Trump said something simple and true, which needed to be said. I never thought I’d say it, but thanks for clearing the air on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Trump.

The failing presidential contender Jeb Bush has made this absurd statement his signature as a candidate: “My brother kept us safe.” No, President George W. Bush did not do that. Trump only pointed out that almost 3,000 died on that day and the World Trade Center towers fell. That’s the record of a day that broke the nation’s heart.

It happened on President Bush’s watch, while he was ignoring his CIA August intelligence briefings that a plot involving planes was in the air, so to speak. Most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan nor Iraq. We stayed friends with the desert kingdom for some reason; the Bushes were chummy with Prince Bandar. Bush fell down on the job, to say the least.

We are still paying dearly for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The fearsome Islamic State group is not keeping us safe, little brother. President Barack Obama had to own that grim truth, keeping more troops than planned in the warring Middle East neighborhood. Much of Syria has been destroyed, like a contemporary Carthage.

“My brother kept us safe” shows a tragic chorus of Bush blind loyalty at work again. Jeb Bush has clearly not learned any lessons from the past, asking the same family crowd of foreign policy advisors to help him, including that shrewd player and hawk, Paul Wolfowitz.

It’s his birthright, his inheritance. Jeb is very proud of being a Bush team player.

Finally, as a matter of finesse, “my brother” sounds like he’s running for home room president. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy always referred in public to his late brother, John F. Kennedy, as President Kennedy. That has more dignity, not the Bush strong suit.

Trump spoke the plain truth. It’s refreshing. Let’s have more of it from Republicans running for president.

 

By: Jamie Stiehm, Washington Whispers, U. S. News and World Report, October 19, 2015

October 23, 2015 Posted by | 9-11, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who’s Soft On Terror Now?

By the time U.S. Navy SEALs shot Osama bin Laden dead in his Pakistan hideaway, he was already becoming a historical anachronism. During his 10 years of running and hiding, events had passed him by. In the end, he appeared more David Koresh than Hitler or Napoleon — a religious zealot imprisoned by his own homicidal delusions, and little more.

“I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America,” bin Laden once said. Like most fanatics, however, he failed to grasp the resilience of our democracy. America had largely recovered from the terrible strategic blunders that fear and outrage over the 9/11 atrocity had driven it to.

Al-Qaida’s hope was to lure the United States into Afghanistan, where they imagined it would destroy itself like the Soviet Union. That the neoconservative cabal inside the Bush administration would use the attack to justify invading Iraq provided an unanticipated propaganda boost.

The U.S., bin Laden told a CNN interviewer in 1997, “wants to occupy our countries, steal our resources, impose agents on us to rule us and then wants us to agree to this … If we refuse to do so, it says we are terrorists.”

But images of Abu Ghraib faded as Iraq’s fratricidal strife yielded to steadfast military and diplomatic effort; America’s intention to leave Iraq became clear. Recent political tumult across the Arab world has owed nothing to bin Laden’s fever dream of a restored Islamic empire.

Writing from Benghazi, Libya, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen celebrated the liberation of “the captive Arab mind.”

“Bin Laden’s rose-tinged caliphate was the solace of the disenfranchised, the disempowered and the desperate,” Cohen added. “A young guy with a job, a vote and prospects does not need virgins in paradise.”

None of which should diminish our satisfaction at bin Laden’s death. I happened to be watching the Phillies-Mets game Sunday night when spontaneous cheers of “USA, USA!” broke out as fans got the news on their cellphones. For once, ESPN delivered a non-sports headline at the bottom of the screen.

My brother the Mets fan called the next day to express his feelings. Thirteen people from our New Jersey hometown, he reminded me, died on 9/11. I didn’t know any of them personally, but he knew several victims. Nothing can bring the victims back or erase their loved ones’ pain. Avenging those deaths, however, brought exactly what President Obama said it did: justice.

Bin Laden could have surrendered. Instead, he took the easy way out. Good riddance to him.

Everybody’s got their own way of remembering. Me, I get out my “Concert for New York” DVD and watch the Who turn Madison Square Garden upside down with a thunderous rendition of “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” — maybe the most powerful rock anthem ever written — for an audience of uniformed New York cops, firefighters and EMTs.

Announcing themselves honored to be invited, the English band played in front of a huge projection of the U.S. flag, the Union Jack and the World Trade Center. I can’t watch it dry-eyed. Everybody in the crowd looks like my cousin or somebody I grew up with.

No doubt you’ve got your own 9/11 memories. The question is: What to do with those thoughts and emotions now? Will the feelings of unity — those cheering fans in Philadelphia were Democrats and Republicans alike — bring about a lessening of partisan political anger?

President George W. Bush was quick to offer congratulations. Even Dick Cheney was gracious for once. It was Cheney’s classless accusation that President Obama was risking national security by dropping the “Global War on Terror” trope that set the tone for strident rejection of his legitimacy.

Soft on terror? Obama not only accomplished what the previous administration hadn’t done in eight years of trying, he’d put his presidency on the line. Had the SEALs’ mission in Pakistan failed like President Carter’s 1980 attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran, the recriminations would never have ended. Instead, it revealed Obama as one tough, shrewd cookie.

“For most Americans,” writes the New Yorker’s George Packer, “the killing of Osama bin Laden is the equivalent of a long-form birth certificate in establishing Barack Obama’s bona fides as commander-in-chief.”

Realistically, however, not much has changed except American self-confidence. The truth is that the nation panicked somewhat after 9/11. Anxious to find an opponent worthy of their own revolutionary romanticism, Bush administration neoconservatives turned Osama bin Laden into a virtual Hitler to suit their own Churchillian fantasies.

“Islamofascism” they called it. Enraged and distraught, many Americans bought it. Except that bin Laden’s deluded followers posed no military threat to the integrity of the United States or any Western nation. At worst they were capable of theatrical acts of mass murder like the 9/11 attacks.

And that was sufficient evil indeed.

By: Gene Lyons, Salon War Room, May 4, 2011

May 5, 2011 Posted by | 911, Democracy, Foreign Policy, Ground Zero, Homeland Security, Muslims, National Security, Neo-Cons, Politics, President Obama, Terrorism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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