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Monday, May 2, 2016

My Blog Hits 500,000 Views!









In the fall of 2009 I went from clearly dying of heart disease (atrial fibrillation) to near perfect health.  The reason for this dramatic shift was the heart transplant I received on Monday, November 23, 2009, just days before Thanksgiving, an event I’ve written much about (see “Related Posts” below).



It is a startling change to go from planning one’s death to planning one’s life, and as part of that process I hit on the idea of starting a blog.  My joke at the time was that that beginning a blog is “required by law whenever one experiences a life-altering event.”  Since I’m a lawyer some people thought I was serious.


My blog’s first pitiful post was dated Thursday, December 17th of that year and was quite short.  It did, however, contain this pithy comment: “The whole experience has been like science fiction.”

From the very beginning I was determined not to make my blog posts full of idle chitchat about my day or the meals I ate, etc.  Instead they quickly evolved into mini-essays on many topics, reflecting not only the incidents and interests of my life (some funny and others terrifying), but my philosophies, views on politics or sports, or, since I’ve been a teacher all my adult life, instructions on everything from how to write a “payment in full check” to “how to play craps Las Vegas style.”  My years as a gay activist fueled many posts on that topic and on how people should deal with homosexuals, and my more recent activities in the atheist community plus the writing of my atheist thriller (“Imaginary Friend”) led to lectures on religion and nonreligion.  Finally, my retirement years have allowed me to go back to the theater, and since 2004, when I left full-time teaching at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, I’ve been in over 20 shows, either acting or directing.  The photo below was taken just recently outside Little Theatre Off Broadway in Grove City, a suburb of Columbus, where I'm appearing with my husband, David Vargo, in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”  As usual, he steals the show when the plot forces his character, a slave named Hysterium into drag, and my character, Senex, a dirty old man, chases him around the stage.





I was very pleased that my blog, though starting small, picked up a following, and through the years I’ve written posts celebrating various anniversaries and explaining which posts are the most popular (sexual ones usually, and the ones helping people out of legal difficulties) and determining who appears to constitute my readership.  The blog has been visited by people living in 202 countries, a fact that floors me.  Through both comments appended to the various posts and emails, I’ve been able to correspond with strangers all over the world, an amazing experience showing that in the 21st century we are all living very closely together indeed. 





Many have been pleased that an explanation of legal issues (foreclosure on their home or questions about disputes) has helped them work their way through some legal mess.  The greatest thrill comes from seeing that someone living in small town in America or a country that I only vaguely recognize, has spent considerable time on the blog reading posts having to do with “How To Tell If You Are Gay,” “How Many Gays Are There In the World,” “How To Come Out,” and “How To Deal With Homophobia.”  I picture some young gay or lesbian teen, terrified but determined, trying to find guidance in a situation that may well be very dangerous.  One reader wrote me that his father had announced he would kill him if he found out his son was gay, and asked me what I’d do in his shoes.  He had less than a year left to live at home, and I advised him to be very careful not to let his father learn the truth until he was safely away, and—in any event—to have an escape plan already mapped out if trouble arose suddenly.


[Note misspelling of "faggot"]



Brunei Darussalem
Just as April of this year ended and May began this blog reached a new record: 500,000 pageviews.   A “pageview” occurs when a visitor to the blog first logs on and sees a screen that contains a “page,” which can be scanned down to reveal between three and four blog posts; if the visitor moves on to another “page” another “pageview” occurs.  Most visitors read just one post (hence one “pageview”), but many do delve deeper into the blog and some become heavy readers.  I can’t tell who is reading the blog, but I can tell if the same IP address returns again and again, and when that reader switches from page to page.  On rare occasions a reader, either from admiration or intense disgust, has visited every page of the blog—this has been the case not only with visitors from the various United States, but also ones from the U.K., Tunisia, Australia, Korea, and Brunei Darussalam (a country on the island of Borneo), among others.


In the beginning I was able to track the number of visitors to my blog, but when the number exceeded 50,000 it became too expense to check on this, and I am limited to statistics for the last 50,000 visitors.  However, from various sources it is possible to say with some certainty that the number of visitors is roughly half the number of pageviews, so that would make it a quarter of a million people to date.


Many thanks to all of you who have visited my blog.  It has been very rewarding to write these posts, and I hope they have been worth reading.  What a true pleasure for me at the end of every evening to open up my blog and to realize that it’s been read that very day all over the world!  To track the readers on the day you’re looking at this post, click on “View My Stats” near the top left of each page (just under “StatCounter”), and then wait until a new page loads.  It will display some statistics from the day; from the column on left click on “Recent Visitor Activity.”  That will lead to a complete breakdown of all the visitors to the blog for the past week and more.


[Click to Enlarge]


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Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html

"About That Heart Transplant," January 24, 2010; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/01/about-that-heart-transplant.html

"The Purring Heart," November 23, 2010; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/11/purring-heart.html

"Today My Blog Had Its 300,000th Hit, For Which I Am So Grateful," October 31, 2014; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/10/today-my-blog-had-its-300000th-hit-for.html

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Favorite Silly Poems and Rhymes




Introducing Clayton to Spiderman 


When my son Clayton was a little boy I taught him some of the silly verses that have stayed with me all my life, and that still amuse me at odd moments.  Here’s one:


Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Gee, I wish he’d go away!




And here’s another with a very clever rhyme at the end:



Shake and shake the ketchup bottle
First none’ll come and then
A lot’ll




So, instead of a heavy tome on politics or social issues, I thought I’d devote a blog post to giving you some of my favorite items along these same lines. 


I trust you know this riddle and its famous solution:

As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives,
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits:
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were there going to St. Ives?




Before you get all tangled in an algorithm trying to do the multiple multiplications, be warned that the question has a trick, and therefore results in a simple answer.  See if you can solve it, and if not just google https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_I_was_going_to_St_Ives for the solution.


Some of these brainworms have a vulgar side.  This one I saw scribbled on the wall of a toilet stall, and it fixed itself forever in my brain:

I was done before I started
I came to shit but only farted



Another favorite poem:


The pig, if I am not mistaken,
Supplies us sausage, ham and bacon,
Let others say his heart is big--
I call it stupid of the pig.

Ogden Nash







Ogden also had this advice on how to make your party a success:








Mark Twain concocted one of the greatest brainworms of all time.  He originally called it “A Literary Nightmare,” but these days it’s much better known by the jingle that causes all the trouble in the very short story: “Punch, Brothers, Punch.”  You can have it read to you in thirteen funny minutes at http://50nug.com/punch-brothers-punch-by-mark-twain/, but be warned that the rhyme in the story will cause you problems for days.






Since I was eleven years old I’ve been a major fan of the works of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, who created classic comic operettas in Victorian England [for my blog post on point see “A Fanatic’s Tale (This Isn’t Pretty)”; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/04/fanatics-tale-this-isnt-pretty.html].  Gilbert, who wrote the words for Sullivan’s music, began his career writing silly poems, and I’ll close this post with the most famous of these.  I was at a play last year when I was pleased to see one of the characters, a fisherman, enter singing the same song appearing in the poem.


The Yarn of the 'Nancy Bell'

by W.S. Gilbert

'Twas on the shores that round our coast
From Deal to Ramsgate span,
That I found alone on a piece of stone
An elderly naval man.

His hair was weedy, his beard was long,
And weedy and long was he,
And I heard this wight on the shore recite,
In a singular minor key:

"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."

And he shook his fists and he tore his hair,
Till I really felt afraid,
For I couldn't help thinking the man had been drinking,
And so I simply said:

"O, elderly man, it's little I know
Of the duties of men of the sea,
But I'll eat my hand if I understand
How you can possibly be

"At once a cook, and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."

Then he gave a hitch to his trousers, which
Is a trick all seamen larn,
And having got rid of a thumping quid,
He spun this painful yarn:

"'Twas in the good ship Nancy Bell
That we sailed to the Indian sea,
And there on a reef we come to grief,
Which has often occurred to me.

"And pretty nigh all o' the crew was drowned
(There was seventy-seven o' soul),
And only ten of the Nancy's men
Said 'Here!' to the muster-roll.

"There was me and the cook and the captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig
And the bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig.

"For a month we'd neither wittles nor drink,
Till a-hungry we did feel,
So we drawed a lot, and accordin' shot
The captain for our meal.

"The next lot fell to the Nancy's mate,
And a delicate dish he made;
Then our appetite with the midshipmite
We seven survivors stayed.

"And then we murdered the bo'sun tight,
And he much resembled pig,
Then we wittled free, did the cook and me,
On the crew of the captain's gig.

"Then only the cook and me was left,
And the delicate question, 'Which
Of us two goes to the kettle?' arose
And we argued it out as sich.

"For I loved that cook as a brother, I did,
And the cook he worshipped me;
But we'd both be blowed if we'd either be stowed
In the other chap's hold, you see.

"'I'll be eat if you dines off me,' says Tom,
'Yes, that,' says I, 'you'll be,' --
'I'm boiled if I die, my friend,' quoth I,
And 'Exactly so,' quoth he.

"Says he, 'Dear James, to murder me
Were a foolish thing to do,
For don't you see that you can't cook me,
While I can -- and will -- cook you!'

"So he boils the water, and takes the salt
And the pepper in portions true
(Which he never forgot) and some chopped shalot,
And some sage and parsley too.

"'Come here,' says he, with a proper pride,
Which his smiling features tell,
' 'Twill soothing be if I let you see,
How extremely nice you'll smell.'

"And he stirred it round and round and round,
And he sniffed at the foaming froth;
When I ups with his heels, and smothers his squeals
In the scum of the boiling broth.

"And I eat that cook in a week or less,
And -- as I eating be
The last of his chops, why, I almost drops,
For a wessel in sight I see!

"And I never grin, and I never smile,
And I never larf nor play,
But I sit and croak, and a single joke
I have -- which is to say:

"Oh, I am a cook and a captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig!"

The Young William S. Gilbert
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Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;
http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html
“A Fanatic’s Tale (This Isn’t Pretty),” April 11, 2010; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/04/fanatics-tale-this-isnt-pretty.html]. 
 “The Best of My Library,” August 27, 2010; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/08/best-of-my-library.html 
 “Doug’s Favorite Jokes,” November 13, 2010; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/11/dougs-favorite-jokes.html
“Five Movies I Watch Again and Again,” March 20, 2011; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2011/03/five-movies-i-watch-again-and-again.html






Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Singing and Dancing in Sondheim’s Roman Farce with My Husband (Again)







As explained before on this blog, in 1961 I joined the Navy just out of high school and spent a year aboard ship [see “Douglas Whaley, Deckhand,” http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/12/douglas-whaley-deckhand.html], before being transferred to the island of Bermuda (!) for my final year of active duty  [see “My Year in Bermuda,” February 9, 2010, http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-year-in-bermuda.html].  I’ve always been interested in Broadway musicals, and while in Bermuda I first heard the score of the original cast album of the new show “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (hereafter “FTH”—typing that all out over and over is a chore).  This slapstick farce of a musical has a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (first effort at writing both).  It is melodic, very funny, and was a major hit, running for three years on Broadway (and much revived since—in 1996 I saw the wonderful production that starred Nathan Lane as Pseudolus, the conniving slave who manages to trick every other character in the show at some point).



But when I was 19 and listening to the original cast album in Bermuda I decided my favorite song was the amusing (and beautifully rhymed) duet for the Roman patrician Senex and his son, Hero, both of whom are attracted to the same young woman, realize this startling fact, and then contemplate whether it could be true that she returns both of their affections.  The song is called “Impossible” and ends with the father and son, much upset by this, concluding:

The situation’s fraught!
Fraughter than I thought!
With horrible, impossible, possibilities!

I laughed out loud at “fraughter,” and for the first time admired the cleverness of Stephen Sondheim.  I’ve been his fan ever since.

[Senex Thinks He Gets the Girl (Sidney Friend)]


What never occurred to me was that when I was an old man I would be on the stage singing that very song, playing the role of Senex (who also gets to perform the lead part in the show stopper number, “Everybody Ought To Have a Maid”).  [The photos are from rehearsals.]  



["Maid" Song: Glenn Garcia, David Vargo, Christopher Storer, and me]

Not only that, it would have also surprised the young me that with me on that stage would be my very own husband, the extremely talented David Vargo, having a great time as Hysterium, the “Slave In Chief” to Senex!  It’s our second musical together.  Last year we also were in Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” 


David and the wonderful Christopher Storer (Pseudolus)

And once again we’re performing with the terrific people at Little Theatre Off Broadway in Grove City, Ohio (a suburb on the south side of Columbus).  There is a large cast, a wonderful director and musical director, a dedicated crew, and an elaborate set and colorful costumes.  The whole thing is very funny.  Come see FTH and be prepared to laugh steadily for two hours at our antics in ancient Rome!


[A British Production of FTH]

Here is the contact information:




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Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html

“Douglas Whaley, Deckhand,” December 22, 2010; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/12/douglas-whaley-deckhand.html

“My Year in Bermuda,” February 9, 2010; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-year-in-bermuda.html

“My Husband, the Actor,” May 31, 2014; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-husband-actor_31.html

“Douglas Whaley, Actor,” August 14, 2010; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/08/douglas-whaley-actor.html

Thursday, March 31, 2016

North Carolina Forbids LGBT Protection, Romer v. Evans, and the Future





By 1992 a number of cities in the State of Colorado (notably Denver and Boulder) had enacted ordinances that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation.  This was at a time when gay rights was only just beginning to gain acceptance in the populace at large, and the backlash in Colorado to these ordinances was swift.  In 1992 the voters passed an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that stated:

No Protected Status Based on Homosexual, Lesbian or Bisexual Orientation. Neither the State of Colorado, through any of its branches or departments, nor any of its agencies, political subdivisions, municipalities or school districts, shall enact, adopt or enforce any statute, regulation, ordinance or policy whereby homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships shall constitute or otherwise be the basis of or entitle any person or class of persons to have or claim any minority status, quota preferences, protected status or claim of discrimination. This Section of the Constitution shall be in all respects self-executing.

Justice Anthony Kennedy
The amendment was promptly challenged in court and the issue finally settled by the United States Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision entitled Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996).  The Court, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy (who has written the opinion in all of the Supreme Court’s major decisions upholding the rights of gay citizens, most recently last year’s opinion granting homosexuals the right to marry), struck down the Colorado Constitutional Amendment as violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Kennedy stated that there must be a “rational basis” for denying any class of people their rights, which is particularly true when stripping them of rights they had already gained.  [There was dissent by Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Clarence Thomas and the then Chief Justice William Rehnquist.]


Now along comes the State of North Carolina and does the same thing.  How did they think this was going to play out in the courts?  Or, for that matter, in the court of public opinion, where threats are being made to pull tournaments out of North Carolina by the NFL and the NBA, major corporations are condemning the action, and businesses say they will withdraw their riches from the state?

[Click to enlarge]





The reason the state acted was that a number of municipalities in North Carolina had passed ordinances forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation.  However Charlotte, the largest city in the state, didn’t enact one until February 22nd of this year, and Charlotte’s ordinance added to the usual list a protection against discrimination based on sexual identity in the use of public restrooms (thus allowing a transgender person to use the bathroom he/she identified with even though it was not the biological sex of birth). 



Many citizens were outraged at idea of “men in women’s bathrooms” and this “bathroom panic” was the leading reason North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory promised immediate legislative action.  The North Carolina Legislature backed him up in a special session by quickly passing House Bill 2, which did a number of things: forbade the use of public single-sex bathrooms in the state from being used except by someone whose birth certificate was identical to the sex assigned to the bathroom, wiped out all protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation in municipal ordinances, and forbade municipalities from enacting minimum wage laws or other employee protections at variance with the state law on point.  The new law can be found at http://ncleg.net/Sessions/2015E2/Bills/House/PDF/H2v4.pdf, and it’s a dilly to read.


Of course the legislators were aware of Romer v. Evans, so the new law striking down local ordinances doesn’t mention gay rights at all.  Instead it simply declares that uniformity in discrimination laws is an important matter for the state so that any ordinances that give greater protection than state law currently does are annulled.  Ah—you see?—it’s not that gays shouldn’t be protected, it’s that if that’s going to be done it has to be done on a state level.  Alas, North Carolina, like most states, has no state law protecting gays from discrimination.


Now what?  Well there was an immediate lawsuit filed by a group of liberal organizations [the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Equality North Carolina, etc.] challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 2, and Romer is the 500 lb sledgehammer for this  attack. 


Will the suit succeed?  Oh, yes.  It will.


How can I be so sure?  Well, the current makeup of the Court is four liberals, three conservatives, and Justice Kennedy (the swing vote).  Scalia’s death knocked out a sure conservative vote, and the new president will have to replace him.  Obama is already trying to do this, but unlikely to succeed.  If, as seems probable, Hilary Clinton is the new president, a liberal will be added to the Court, and House Bill 2 will be a forgotten failure.  But even if the new president is Ted Cruz the same result will obtain: Kennedy and the four liberals will cite to his opinion in Romer and the four conservatives will futilely file their homophobic dissents.


What is the justice in all this?  Well, let’s start with LGB (minus the T) people.  It’s getting harder and harder to make any sort of argument that its all right to fire people, deny them service, refuse to sell or rent them homes, etc. simply because they are gay or lesbian.  The new issue is whether religious freedom allows such actions, and that one has still to be settled.  But that religious argument is an exception to general protection, not a reason for the sort of blanket denial that North Carolina has just decreed. 


[Click to enlarge]



As for transsexuals and transgender people—human beings whose gender identity is at odds with their biology—that is a new battle, now being contested throughout the country.  Trans people have compelling stories, stories that the general public is just now hearing, stories that can break the heart of any caring person.  This gender confusion frequently starts at birth.  One mother recalls her three year old “son” who happily told her “I’m a girl, Mama.”  Dealing with the trick nature has played here is hard enough without laws making it into a nightmare.


As for the bathroom panic thing, relax, America.  Incidents of trans people sexually misbehaving in public bathrooms are nonexistent.  What some people are really afraid of is STRAIGHT men taking advantage of a law like Charlotte’s to disguise themselves as a woman and cause mayhem in a female bathroom.  I suspect the chances of that too are small—how many men who are truly straight could convincingly dress up as a woman and then believe themselves sexy to women they'd proposition in a restroom?  In any event, the potential problem isn’t with trans people, but with straights misbehaving, so, what the hell, make that a crime.





Another difficulty with House Bill 2 is that none of us carry our birth certificates with us into bathrooms.  Who is going to police this law?  And, as trans people have been gleefully pointing out on Facebook and elsewhere, Governor McCrory (who is up for an interesting reelection contest this year) is going to have to make his wife share public bathrooms the following “birth certificate women”:






And the Governor gets to pee next to this "birth certificate man":




North Carolina has made a fool of itself in its panicked adoption of this embarrassing new law, and will pay the penalty in lost lawsuits, lost business, and lost reputation, while wearing a black stain as a bastion for bigotry.


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Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html

“How To Cure Homophobia,” July 30, 2016; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2015/07/how-to-cure-homophobia.html

“How To Change Gay People Into Straight People,” September 20, 2010; 
http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-to-change-gay-people-into-straight.html

“A Homophobic Organization Throws in the Towel: Goodbye to Exodus International,” June 21, 2013; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-homophobic-organization-throws-in.html

“Disowning Your Gay Children,” October 9, 2013, http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/10/disowning-your-gay-children.html

“Are Gays Really Just 1.6% of the U.S. Population?” July 26, 2014; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/07/are-gays-really-just-16-of-us-population.html

 “Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality and Gay Marriage?” June 29, 2014; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2014/06/does-bible-condemn-homosexuality-and.html

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Trump University: A Fraudster for President?





I am currently rewriting my textbook on Consumer Law (with a frightening deadline of April 1, which, alas, sounds like an April Fool’s joke to someone currently as far behind on this project as I am), and in my notes are various things about the three lawsuits brought against Donald Trump and his “Trump University.”  This so-called “university” took money from trusting people in return for promising to teach them how to make a fortune, as The Donald did, in selling real estate.  Instead the university gave them a free lecture about obvious things, then asked them to invest a large amount in their education to reach the next level, where they learned more obvious things before asking them to invest a final whopping wad of money to top off their new career.  Their funds gone, they “graduated,” but then were dropped (even though much impressive mentoring had been earnestly promised).





Oh, but it all sounded wonderful in the beginning!  Trump made a two minute promotional video [you can view it in the National Review article entitled “Yes, Trump University Was a Massive Scam” at http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/432010/trump-university-scam], touting the virtues of attending his university and learning from the instructors he “hand-picked” himself.  This was a lie, as he subsequently testified in a deposition in which he said he had no control over the school or its selection of instructors.  Donald has also said that he had a “charitable motive” in starting his school: by golly that selfless motive was simply to help others learn what he did to become a success!

Instead the school fleeced thousands of people, gathering in $40 million dollars, $5 million of which went into Donald’s pocket.





Trump’s victims were lower class and middle class Americans (teachers, retired police officers, veterans, many of them elderly), and the major requirement to get into the school was to have a credit card in their pocket (which was checked at the door, at which point attendees were advised to call the credit card company and attempt to get the maximum amount raised).  The basic plan for this “get rich quick” venture was first to have these people come to a free 90 minute lecture (some 700 of these were held across the country), and once they were there to tell them that they couldn’t really learn what they needed to know in so short a period.  Instead, to get to that pie-in-the-sky goal, they must pay $1,495 to attend a wonderful three-day workshop to learn how to really become a successful real estate investor.  But Trump instructors (who were chosen primarily for their expertise in salesmanship and not their experience in real estate finance) had an elaborate “playbook” which actually used phrases like “set the hook” in describing how to move people attending the three-day event on to the next level, which was a “mentoring program” costing between $9,995 and $34,995!  The “playbook,” which had elaborate rules on things like how to keep the media from surreptitiously recording the proceedings, also contained the following advice: “If a district attorney arrives on the scene, contact the appropriate media spokesperson immediately.”




Supposedly the Trump people would help graduates by connecting them up with hard money lenders so they could buy real estate and then sell it at a profit to others, but—what a surprise!—that never happened.  Instead the last things the proud grads received was a form to fill out announcing they were satisfied with the program (with instructors standing over their shoulders), and then they were whisked out the door, patted on the back, wished good luck.  When they tried to apply the lessons learned (and for which they’d maxed out those credit cards and/or drained their savings accounts) they couldn’t find any lenders who would loan them startup money.  Many graduates ended up in bankruptcy, lost their homes, or even became homeless.




Things began to go downhill for Trump’s scheme (which operated from 2005 to 2010) when the State of New York made the school stop pretending to be a “university,” which is a term defined by New York law in a way that TU couldn’t pretend to meet.  The name was then changed to “The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative,” which is vague but sounds damned impressive.

Lawsuits were filed.  There are two class action lawsuits in California, plus a suit by the New York Attorney General in New York (which represents 5000 claimants so far).  In one of these suits, which the judge recently allowed to go forward, Trump is accused of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act [RICO], a federal statute condemning interstate deceptive practices acts.  Hmm.  Trump as a “racketeer”?  The other suits merely allege common law fraud (the civil action for lying).




Trump, furious at being accused of fraud and worse, hates being sued, knows that the best defense is to go on offense, so he struck back.  He filed an ethical complaint against the New York Attorney General, contending the AG’s suit was tainted by a campaign donation, but that allegation was investigated and dismissed last August.  Trump University then filed a $1 million defamation suit against one of the class action plaintiffs, only to have that backfire.  The plaintiff was Tarla Makaeff who'd paid $37,000 to TU and then publicized her resulting anger on social media.  Trump University lost the lawsuit in federal court last April and was ordered by the judge to pay $798,774.24 in attorneys fees and costs.  When TU appealed, arguing that Makaeff had filled out a form stating she was “satisfied” with the course, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment below, with the comment in the photo below. 




In all three lawsuits, one of which will go to trial during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump has unsuccessfully tried to get himself excused from liability using the argument that he really had nothing to do with Trump University (other than allowing attendees at the seminars to have their pictures taken with a cutout of him).  But since that didn’t work he’s still a defendant, and American voters will be treated to watching him on the witness stand as he battles allegations that he fleeced thousands of innocent people, many of whom are the very sort of voters he’s was hoping to appeal to come November.

But here’s the sad thing.  The people who attended this pretend “university” truly idolized Donald Trump.  They wanted to be his apprentice, learn from him, share his success.  In his video urging them to sign up, that’s just what he promised.  But it isn’t what Donald Trump ever really intended.  Oh, no.  All along Donald Trump just wanted to take their money and add it to his already bloated bank account, giving them nothing in return.

And he might get away with it.  Two of his victims Boyce Chait (84) and his wife Evelyn (80) tried in vain to get a refund of their $34,995 membership fee when they realized that in the end what they paid for was “worth nothing.  When it came to the nitty-gritty, there was nothing there.”  Nonetheless, faced with a choice between Trump and Hillary, they say they’d still vote for Trump because they’re proud members of the Tea Party.


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Related Posts:

“A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-guide-to-best-of-my-blog.html

“A President Born in Canada? Cruz, Lawrence Tribe, Natural Born Citizen, and the Law,” January 23, 2016; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2016/01/a-president-born-in-canada-cruz.html

“Why I Love Bernie Sanders’ Ideas, But Hope He Won’t Be the Nominee,” October 20, 2015; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2015/10/why-i-love-bernie-sanders-ideas-but.html

“Go, Ben, Go: Why I Want Ben Carson To Win the Republican Nomination,” November 30, 2015; http://douglaswhaley.blogspot.com/2015/11/go-ben-go-why-i-want-ben-carson-to-win.html#uds-search-results