THE ART OF THE DOUBLE STANDARD

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WAKE-UP CALL WITH DONNIE WAHLBERG: THE ART OF THE DOUBLE STANDARD

SOURCE By  / Culture / Featured / January 29, 2016

My thoughts on BET, the Oscars and The Donald — and the reason that being colorblind in this country makes you blind to the experience of people of color. Note: If you don’t read all of this, don’t bother to comment.

Let me be clear before I start: I am a proud, Irish-Catholic white kid, with a last name that sounds Jewish, a Boston accent and a Boston Public Schools education.

Sound liberal enough? Actually, I’m a Republican — a political party that has a more diverse field of contenders than either the Democrats or the Oscars. Go figure.

But, while I may have been a big fan of “The Apprentice,” the former star of that TV show will not be the recipient of my vote for president.

Because, above all else, I’m an American. And if we truly want to be a country where the color of someone’s skin doesn’t matter, then we must first be willing to acknowledge that the experiences of people of a different skin color — and the wounds that may lie beneath that skin — really do matter. And that to be colorblind in this country is to be blind to the experiences of people of color.

Which leads us to this:

“… Well, what do we do with BET, Black Entertainment? Right?” Donald Trump said, referring to Stacey Dash’s response to the #OscarsSoWhite issue — she called for an end to BET in a recent interview with Fox News. “The whites don’t get any nominations,” Trump continued. “… I never even thought of it from that standpoint.”

(Let’s ignore the fact that BET is actually owned by Viacom for a moment — which only makes Ms. Dash and Mr. Trump’s comments all the more absurd.)

So Fox News plays divide and conquer versus #OscarsSoWhite, then Donald Trump weighs in with this incredibly ignorant response about BET, but none of the people that loathe him for his anti-Mexican/Syrian/Muslim/Female policies, make much of a fuss about it? He gets a free pass? How the hell does that happen?

The answer may say as much about us, as it does about Mr. Trump.

Sure, candidate Trump is so blatantly ignorant toward seemingly everyone who isn’t a white male, that it may have caused many to miss exactly what his words implied (if he even remembers saying them)More likely, it was America’s own collective obliviousness to subtle racism itself that caused so many to overlook the ignorance of what he said. How else can you explain how immune we have become to television news networks’ (both liberal and conservative) use of divide and conquer? Are we not aware that it, too, is a form of subtle racism? We see it daily, like when an African American (Will Smith) says something the media deems controversial (“I’m boycotting the Oscars”), then a news network immediately finds another African American (Stacey Dash), to discredit that point of view (“Let’s eliminate BET and Black History Month”). It’s actually not that subtle when you are aware of it. I highly doubt that Stacey Dash will call for an elimination of the other 11 months of the year as a response to Donald Trump boycotting a presidential debate, if anyone even bothers to ask her opinion this time.

I digress.

Look, nobody should be surprised that Mr. Trump showed a complete lack of awareness, understanding or compassion when responding to Dash’s comments regarding BET. It is, however, surprising that everyone else seems to have missed what he really implied. Which is, that he thinks BET is guilty of a double standard. But to suggest that, only reveals that he never considered why black people would want to create a TV network to showcase and honor the entertainers that their community identifies with, or why there would be a need for a network like BET in the first place.

The BET network was not created as some means to discredit white artists, actors, films or musicians. It was created after years of broadcast television failing to have a proportionate number of shows that properly showcased black entertainment. It was a network created by, and created for, black people looking for more programming that they could identify with. The name of the network didn’t mean, “Hey, white people, keep channel surfing because you are not getting any awards here at BET.” No, that type of behavior has historically been perpetrated by awards shows like the Oscars. Hence #OscarsSoWhite. You can debate whether Will Smith’s choice to boycott is wrong or not, but you cannot debate the lack of diversity at, or the track record of, the Oscars. Nor can you seriously use the BET Awards as proof of some sort of black “double standard.” Which Donald Trump tried to do by saying:

The whites don’t get any nominations …

That jab is an incredibly lame defense. It’s also an inaccurate one. White people are, in fact, nominated for BET Awards. Yet not only have I heard that inaccurate sentiment echoed numerous times on social media, but for decades I’ve also heard, “If we had White Entertainment TV, we’d all be called racists.” 

Newsflash: We white people don’t need “White Entertainment TV.” We already had White Entertainment TV. We’ve had it since the very moment that TV was invented — it’s simply called TV!

Seriously, is the idea of black people having their own network actually divisive? Certainly not. Especially when you consider that BET rose to popularity at a time when MTV was often cited for not playing music videos made by black artists. That’s right. MTV’s programmers were frequently accused of discrimination in the early 1980s because of their reluctance to play black music videos. Relegating the few black artists they did play to late night, or after hours, airing of their videos. MTV hid behind the excuse that, “we only play rock ‘n’ roll.” (Rock ‘n’ roll — which was created by black artists, then taken over by white artists, I might add.) Black artists eventually made their way onto MTV, thus generating billions of dollars for the network. But, according to Rolling Stone magazine, the playlist only expanded after CBS Records (now Sony) President Walter Yetnikoff pressured them by threatening to pull their roster of white artists from MTV if they would not air Michael Jackson’s videos on the network. Ironically, not only did BET then have to play second fiddle to MTV for the right to exclusively air those Michael Jackson videos — airing them only after MTV’s exclusive right to air them first ended — but now BET is owned by the same corporation that owns MTV.

I wonder if Donald Trump has ever thought of MTV from “that standpoint“?

Not likely. Nor is it likely that anyone else, crying foul against BET, has either. Because if they had, they would realize that they are the ones who are actually guilty of a double standard. They are also the ones failing to grasp the simple concept that pro-black does not mean anti-white. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they hold other TV networks to the standard they want to hold BET to?

Does the Logo network, being pro-gay, mean it is anti-straight? No, it’s just pro-gay.

Does the Lifetime network, being pro-female, mean that it is anti-male? No, it’s just pro-female.

Does The Do It Yourself (DIY) network, being pro-do it yourself, mean that they are anti-hire a contractor? No, they just teach you how to save a little money and do it yourself.

So, why the issue with BET?

Simple: It’s a double standard. A white double standard that is based on race. And to discredit BET for reasons of race, is to discredit the black experience in this country. Because if a race of people, after being oppressed for 400 years, are not allowed to have one major TV network, out of about 500 channels, without some of us white people thinking it’s a problem, then we really have not grown that much as a country.

You know, the country that Donald Trump claims to want to make “great again”?

Great slogan. Just try remembering that America has not always been great to all people.

Yes, we have a black president. Yes, Oprah has almost as many billions as Donald Trump, himself. Yes, Ben Carson has given him a good scare in the Republican presidential polls. And yes, this country has come a really long way in a really short period of time. But there are still people out there trying to recover from centuries of the systemic dismantling of their identity at the hands of our ancestors. There are still many people, of different races, faiths, orientations and genders, struggling to find their place in our society. BET was created to be one of the voices for that struggle. If you start to think of them from “that standpoint,” then you may actually begin to realize that it is not only OK for BET to celebrate black culture, but it is also a vital part of the healing process of this country.

This commentary is not intended to inform African Americans of what they already know. They have experienced what it means to be black in America for hundreds of years, and no white person, no matter how close to it, can claim that experience as his or her own. (Sorry, Rachel Dolezal, that means you, too).

What it is intended to do, instead, is to suggest that we take a look at ourselves, and hold a mirror up to our own community, and point out some of our own hypocrisies. However uncomfortable that may be.

For the record, I don’t think the Academy intentionally snubbed black artists’ work this year. Though I can’t help but suspect that a few of its white members could have made a better effort to see “Straight Outta Compton” — which should be nominated. And somehow, I suspect many of the white folks, upset about the Smiths boycotting the Oscars, will be a lot less troubled by Mr. Trump ditching out on something as vital to this country as a debate to become the next PRESIDENT. Simply because he is mad at a woman. Seriously?

How’s that for the art of the double standard?

PLAGIARISM: Marco Rubio STEALS President Obama’s Speech, Any New Ideas?

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SOURCE by KINSLEY RYAN

Marco Rubio, in his land of make-believe where people can’t remember what happened 8 years ago, claims he can run the country, however his staff can’t even write original speeches! Rubio is being accused of plagiarism after his speech last night in Iowa. It started off really well until he had to use his own words and no longer pick from an old speech by President Obama.

Rubio gave his victory speech last night, his victory of coming in THIRD place behind both Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. His speech began:

‘So this is the moment they said would never happen. For months, for months they told us we had no chance. For months they told us because we offer too much optimism in a time of anger, we had no chance. For months they told us because we didn’t have the right endorsements or the right political connections, we had no chance. They told me that we have no chance because my hair wasn’t gray enough and my boots were too high.’

This opening is almost word for word Obama’s victory speech he gave at Iowa caucus from 2008, which he WON, the similarities are astounding.

Obama’s speech began with:

‘They said this day would never come. They said our sights were set too high. They said this country was too divided, too disillusioned to ever come together around a common purpose. But on this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn’t do.’

As with every knock-off, Rubio’s speech was not nearly as powerful and inspiring as Obama’s. The President’s glorious speech stomps all over Rubio’s substandard attempt at stealing the glory. It is apparent Rubio has never had to live in the real world where people aren’t allowed to steal intellectual property from others; a world where people can’t just plagiarize and get by with bulls****ting.

The Republican party is big on trying to make the Democratic party look bad, and spreading lies about President Obama. There will not be a time when Rubio will publicly admit taking Obama’s speech and attempting to make it his own. Obama’s speech writer tweeted in regards to Rubio’s speech, “He could’ve at least thanked Obama for his opening line.”

Obama wowed the crowd with his powerful speech, appealing to people of all ages. Rubio was hoping to do the same piggy-backing off of Obama’s work. Rubio may aspire to be Obama and lead in his footsteps, but Rubio will never be anything like Obama. He is lacking the wow factor, his speeches have no power, and he often fades into the background. How can Rubio lead a country when he can’t even lead his own speeches?

Watch the knock-off of Obama’s speech below:

TRUMP LIES: New Pro-Veterans Website Directs All Donations To Trump’s Personal Foundation

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New Pro-Veterans Website Directs All Donations To Trump’s Personal Foundation

Rather than going directly to veterans groups, 100% of online donations on Trump’s pro-veterans site will go directly to Trump’s personal foundation.

After ducking the final Republican presidential debate heading into next week’s Iowa caucuses, GOP front-runner Donald Trump announced that he would hold his own pro-veterans event during the debate to raise money for veterans. Trump even set up a special website to solicit donations to help veterans.

“Honor their valor,” the website, donaldtrumpforvets.com, states. “Donate now to help our Veterans.”

 

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The website, which is nothing more than a single page with stock photosand a credit card donation form, claims that “100% of your donations will go directly to Veterans needs.”

There’s only one problem: 100% of the money raised on the site goes directly to Donald Trump’s personal non-profit foundation, according to a disclosure listed at the bottom of the page.

“The Donald J Trump Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization,” the disclosure reads. “An email confirmation with a summary of your donation will be sent to the email address provided above.”

SOURCE


STOCK-PHOTO

Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Trolls Trump: ‘I Bailed You Out Twice’

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‘GOOGLE IT’: Donald Trump promotes conspiracy theory, fake photo of Megyn Kelly and Saudi prince

 

A Saudi prince may have just beaten Donald Trump at a game of Twitter trolling.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Twitter that he’s bailed the billionaire out twice — and suggested the GOP presidential frontrunner might need his help a third time.

The exchange was initiated by Trump, who had retweeted a badly Photoshopped image showing the prince with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, calling him a co-owner of the network:

The reply from Bin Talal:


The prince’s tweet included news stories showing that he bought Trump’s yacht in 1991, which had been turned over to creditors when he was $900 million in debt, according to Buzzfeed.

He also included a link to a story showing that he was part of the group that bought New York City’s Plaza Hotel from Trump in 1995. As part of the deal, bin Talal paid off Trump’s debt on the hotel in what the New York Times said was “a defeat for the real estate developer.”

Trump’s tweet also claimed bin Talal is “co-owner” of Fox News. While the prince is an investor in News Corp, his stake is worth 1 percent, according to CNN.

Trump and bin Talal also tangled on Twitter last month.

After the candidate’s incendiary call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, bin Talal urged him to quit the race:


Trump responded:


Note to our readers: Donald Trump is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynistbirther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

(h/t Mediaite)

 

SOURCE

Who Said It: Donald Trump or Mr. Burns?

Christians Cringe at Donald Trump’s Sexy Past

PLAYBOY
Trump’s numbers with Evangelicals are up—but not all of them are singing his praises.

Evangelical Christians, at the moment, are totally enamored with a candidate who has profited off strip clubs, cheated on his wife, and appeared on the cover of the nation’s pre-eminent porn magazine.

And to top it off, Jerry Falwell Jr.—the heir of the Moral Majority mantle—just endorsed him.

There’s plenty of explanations for conservative Christians’ Trump-lovin’ ways, and recent polling shows he’s these voters’ favorite (a new NBC poll shows him with the most support of white Evangelical Republican voters, 37 percent).

But this trend has many Evangelical leaders irate, perplexed, and hankering for some below-the-belt attacks on Trump. The time for policy analysis is over, they say—now it’s about to get Biblical, Falwell be damned.

Minutes after The Washington Post broke news of the Liberty University president’s endorsement, Russell Moore, a powerful Southern Baptist leader, subtweeted Falwell with a link to the Southern Baptist Convention’s 1998 “Resolution on Moral Character of Public Officials.”

“[W]e urge all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity and the highest character,” the statement reads.

Some Evangelical leaders hope Trump’s moral character will get a little more attention in the coming days. When it comes to the mogul, there’s a ton of material to work with—and attacks like these have worked before. Allegations of sexual harassment tanked Herman Cain’s insurgent-style campaign, and a scurrilous (and untrue) whisper campaign about an affair likely played a role in John McCain’s loss to George W. Bush in 2000. The fact that Ronald Reagan got divorced even once gave many conservative primary voters pause when he first telegraphed his presidential ambitions. And to this day, most Republican presidential contenders act like caucus-goers are voting for the winner of a Bible verse memorization contest.

trump-the-sinnerSo far, Trump’s top foes have largely steered clear of attacking him based on his sexcapades and scandals. Even while he and Rubio lob birther-esque attacks at Ted Cruz for being born in Canada, Trump has evaded any hard-hitting criticism for his multiple marriages, casino ownership, and appearance on the cover of Playboy magazine.

A series of tweets from Sen. Ben Sasse, a freshman Republican from Nebraska, may suggest that the days of giving Trump a pass over his New York-values personal life are over.

“You brag abt many affairs w/ married women,” the senator tweeted on Jan. 24, addressing Trump. “Have you repented? To harmed children & spouses? Do you think it matters?”

In The Art of the Deal, Trump boasted about bedding other men’s wives.

“If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller,” he wrote.

Republican voters have forgiven a host of candidates for marital lapses. The process of sin, forgiveness, and redemption is an integral part of conservative Christian faith. Remember George W. Bush’s D.U.I.? Neither do Evangelical Christians—because he repented in a way they found authentic and sincere. But Trump has given zero indication that he’s sorry about his homewrecking ways. In fact, quite the contrary. The fact that at every stump speech, Trump boasts about a book wherein he boasts about sleeping with married women is—well, it’s the kind of thing that history suggests would give Iowa Republicans pause.

But, for whatever reason, Trump’s critics and questioners—Sasse exempted—have largely given him a pass on this. And many social conservatives are over it.

PLAYBOYThe fact that Trump-branded casinos have strip clubs is particularly troubling to some, including Penny Nance, who heads Concerned Women for America.

“I think respect for women is very important, and the idea that he profited from strippers and from exploiting women we find very disturbing,” she said.

In August of 2013, the struggling Trump Taj Mahal casino became the first casino in Atlantic City, N.J., to have an in-house strip club. Trump no longer operates that casino himself, but 2014 bankruptcy filings reported by The Wall Street Journal showed he held a 5 percent stake in the stock of the company that manages it, Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc.

“The seedy underworld of strip joints and sex trafficking and prostitution are often connected, and the idea that Donald profited from the exploitation of women directly is very discouraging to me,” said Nance. “It’s a serious issue. I’m not kidding.”

And Jeff Kubler, who heads the Oregon chapter of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said Trump’s appearance on the March 1990 cover of Playboy—next to a model wearing only his tuxedo jacket—should cause him problems with Evangelical Christian voters.

“Obviously he wasn’t exhibiting,” Kubler said. “He was just on there as a businessman—he must have done an interview or something—but that he did such a thing—it’s something I wouldn’t have done.”

“There are a number of candidates who have really strong Christian testimonies, and I don’t think Donald Trump really has one,” he added.

TRUMPThere may be a reason Evangelicals aren’t up in arms about his appearance on the cover of a magazine famous for nude pics.

“I would hope that many of them wouldn’t know a thing like that, except secondhand,” said Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring USA.

“Why wouldn’t it come up in a debate, come up as a news item, and let him be called to task for it with 20 million people watching,” Hanna continued, of Trump’s infidelities. “It gets at the very matter of character, of sin, of forgiveness. A mature conservative Evangelical Christian should not hold confessed sin against someone, but unconfessed sin should be a problem—a theological problem. And unadmitted sin is sort of a step beyond unconfessed sin, isn’t it?”

Trump has even indicated that he thinks the fact that he cheated on his first wife, Ivanka, is fair game for his opponents. But so far, none have bitten. And that has some social conservatives—including John Stemberger, who heads the Florida Family Policy Council—irked.

“The great Bible says many many times, ‘Do not be deceived,’ over and over again, Old and New Testament,” Stemberger said. “And he’s deceiving us.”

SOURCE

Oprah Winfrey: Ego/Affluenza

EGOTISTIC-TRUMPEgotism

 is the drive to maintain and enhance favorable views of oneself, and generally features an inflated opinion of one’s personal features and importance. It often includes intellectual, physical, social and other overestimations.

The egotist has an overwhelming sense of the centrality of the ‘Me’, that is to say of their personal qualities. Egotism means placing oneself at the core of one’s world with no concern for others, including those “loved” or considered as “close,” in any other terms except those subjectively set by the egotist.

Characteristics

Egotism is closely related to “loving one’s self” or narcissism – indeed some would say “by egotism we may envisage a kind of socialized narcissism”.[3] Egotists have a strong tendency to talk about themselves in a self-promoting fashion, and they may well be arrogant and boastful with a grandiose sense of their own importance.[4]Their inability to recognise the accomplishments of others[5] leaves them profoundly self-promoting; while sensitivity to criticism may lead on the egotist’s part to narcissistic rage at a sense of insult.[6]

Egotism differs from both altruism – or acting to gain fewer values than are being given– and from egoism, the unremitting pursuit of one’s own self-interest. Various forms of “empirical egoism” can be consistent with egotism, but do not necessitate having an inflated sense of self.[7]

Development

In developmental terms, two rather different trajectories can be distinguished with respect to egotism – the one individual, the other cultural.

With respect to the developing individual, a movement takes place from egocentricity to sociality during the process of growing up. It is normal for an infant to have an inflated – almost a majestic – sense of egotism. The over-evaluation of one’s own ego regularly appears in childish forms of love – in large part because the baby is to himself everything, omnipotent to the best of their own knowledge.

Optimal development allows a gradual reconciliation to a more realistic view of one’s own place in the world – a lessening of the egotistical swollen head. Less adequate adjustment may later lead to what has been called defensive egotism, serving to overcompensate for the fragility of the underlying concept of self. Robin Skynner however considered that in the main growing up leads to a state where “your ego is still there, but it’s taking its proper limited place among all the other egos”.

However, alongside such a positive trajectory of diminishing individual egotism, a rather different arc of development can be noted in cultural terms, linked to what has been seen as the increasing infantilism of (post)modern society. Whereas in the nineteenth century egotism was still widely regarded as a traditional vice – for Nathaniel Hawthorne egotism was a sort of diseased self-contemplation – Romanticism had already set in motion a countervailing current, what Richard Eldridgedescribed as a kind of “cultural egotism, substituting the individual imagination for vanishing social tradition”. The romantic idea of the self-creating individual – of a self-authorizing, artistic egotism – then took on broader social dimensions in the following century. Keats might still attack Wordsworth for the regressive nature of his retreat into the egotistical sublime; but by the close of the twentieth century egotism had been naturalized much more widely by the Me generation into the Culture of Narcissism.

In the 21st century, romantic egotism has been seen as feeding into techno-capitalism in two complementary ways: on the one hand, through the self-centred consumer, focused on their own self-fashioning through brand ‘identity’; on the other through the equally egotistical voices of ‘authentic’ protest, as they rage against the machine, only to produce new commodity forms that serve to fuel the system for further consumption.

Sex

There is a question mark over the relationship between sex and egotism. The claim has been made that love can transform the egotist, giving him or her a new sense of humility in relation to others.

But at the same time, it is very apparent that egotism can readily show itself in sexual ways, and indeed arguably one’s whole sexuality may function in the service of egotistical needs.

Etymology

The term egotism is derived from the Greek (“εγώ”) and subsequently its Latinised ego (ego), meaning “self” or “I,” and -ism, used to denote a system of belief. As such, the term is etymologically similar to egoism.

Cultural examples

  • A. A. Milne has been praised for his clear-eyed vision of the ruthless, open, unashamed egotism of the young child.

Affluenza

Affluenza,

portmanteau of affluence and influenza, is a term used by critics of consumerism. It is thought to have been first used in 1954 but it gained legs as a concept with a 1997 PBS documentary of the same name and the subsequent book, Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic (2001, revised in 2005, 2014). These works define affluenza as “a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debtanxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.” The term “affluenza” has also been used to refer to an inability to understand the consequences of one’s actions because of financial privilege, notably in the case of Ethan Couch

Theory

In 2007, British psychologist Oliver James asserted that there was a correlation between the increasing nature of affluenza and the resulting increase in material inequality: the more unequal a society, the greater the unhappiness of its citizens. Referring to Vance Packard‘s thesis The Hidden Persuaders on the manipulativemethods used by the advertising industry, James related the stimulation of artificial needs to the rise in affluenza. To highlight the spread of affluenza in societies with varied levels of inequality, James interviewed people in several cities including SydneySingaporeAucklandMoscowShanghaiCopenhagen and New York.

In 2008 James wrote that higher rates of mental disorders were the consequence of excessive wealth-seeking in consumerist nations. In a graph created from multiple data sources, James plotted “Prevalence of any emotional distress” and “Income inequality,” attempting to show that English-speaking nations have nearly twice as much emotional distress as mainland Europe and Japan: 21.6 percent vs 11.5 percent. James defined affluenza as “placing a high value on money, possessions, appearances (physical and social) and fame”, which was the rationale behind the increasing mental illness in English-speaking societies. He explained the greater incidence of affluenza as the result of ‘selfish capitalism’, the market liberal political governance found in English-speaking nations as compared to the less selfish capitalism pursued in mainland Europe. James asserted that societies can remove the negative consumerist effects by pursuing real needs over perceived wants, and by defining themselves as having value independent of their material possessions.

In Australia

Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss‘s book, Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough, poses the question: “If the economy has been doing so well, why are we not becoming happier?” They argue that affluenza causes overconsumption, “luxury fever,” consumer debt, overwork, waste, and harm to the environment. These pressures lead to “psychological disorders, alienation and distress,” causing people to “self-medicate with mood-altering drugs and excessive alcohol consumption.”

They note that a number of Australians have reacted by “downshifting” — they decided to “reduce their incomes and place family, friends and contentment above money in determining their life goals.” Their critique leads them to identify the need for an “alternative political philosophy,” and the book concludes with a “political manifesto for wellbeing.”

Notable incidents

In December 2013, State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced a North Texas teenager, Ethan Couch, to 10 years’ probation for driving under the influence and killing four pedestrians and injuring 11 after his attorneys successfully argued that the teen suffered from affluenza and needed rehabilitation, and not prison. The lawyers had argued that Couch was unable to understand the consequences of his actions because of his financial privilege. The defendant had been witnessed on surveillance video stealing beer from a store, driving with seven passengers in a Ford F-350 stolen from his father, and speeding (70 miles per hour (110 km/h) in a 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) zone). Couch was also driving while under the influence of alcohol (with a blood alcohol content of 0.24%, three times the legal limit for an adult in Texas) and the tranquilizer Valium. At a February 5, 2014, hearing, Eric Boyles — whose wife and daughter were killed in the crash — said, “Had he not had money to have the defense there, to also have the experts testify, and also offer to pay for the treatment, I think the results would have been different.”

SOURCE

Big Baby Trump Chickens Out: Megyn Kelly’s really biased against me.

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Donald Trump is skipping Thursday’s GOP debate and going to war with the Fox News Channel.

Instead of attending the debate, “We’ll have an event here in Iowa, with potentially another network, to raise money for wounded warriors,” campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said. “And Fox will go from probably having 24 million viewers to about 2 million.”

The fracas escalated quickly on Tuesday, but was the culmination of months of tension between the GOP frontrunner and the Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

At the end of the day, Fox said Trump “is still welcome” at the debate “and will be treated fairly,” but the network also slammed Trump for “viciously” attacking Kelly and accused Lewandowski of threatening her.

In a statement, a Fox News spokesperson said Lewandowski told a Fox executive last Saturday that Kelly had a “rough couple of days after that last debate” and he “would hate to have her go through that again.”

“Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so,” Fox said. “We can’t give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees.”

Lewandowski did not immediately respond to that allegation.

Trump’s apparent decision changes the dynamic for Thursday’s event, which is the last GOP debate before the all-important Iowa caucuses.

Without Trump, Ted Cruz will take center stage. Cruz also challenged Trump to go mano a mano.

Other television networks may jump at the opportunity to televise a Trump event while the debate is taking place on Fox. No details about Trump’s plans were immediately available, however.

“Let’s see how much money Fox is going to make on the debate without me, okay?” Trump said at an evening news conference. He asserted that the ratings will sink if he’s not there.

In a followup statement later in the evening, Trump’s campaign said Trump “knows when to walk away.”

“Roger Ailes and Fox News think they can toy with him, but Mr. Trump doesn’t play games,” the campaign said. Ailes is the chairman of Fox News.

So now the network and the candidate are at loggerheads. Political observers are flabbergasted — as they have been throughout his campaign. Meanwhile, Trump supporters at a rally in Iowa sounded amused and intrigued by the news.

Some analysts said Trump is using his tiff with Kelly as an excuse to skip the debate. This theory postulates that he doesn’t want to go head to head with Cruz just a few days before the caucuses.

Cruz jabbed Trump about the decision, remarking, “If she asks him mean questions, his hair might stand on end.”

Kelly memorably challenged Trump during Fox’s first debate back in August and will be back in one of the moderator chairs on Thursday.

For several days, Trump has been saying she is biased and shouldn’t be allowed to moderate.

Fox rejects that. On Monday the network said Trump is just “fearful” of the TV host.

The disagreement came to a head on Tuesday afternoon. Around 1 p.m. Trump polled his fans on Twitter, asking, “Should I do the GOP debate?”

The poll suggested a real reluctance to attend, perhaps because Trump, as the frontrunner, arguably has the most to lose on Thursday night. The respondents were evenly split, with about half saying he should skip it.

In an Instagram video that coincided with his poll, Trump said, “Megyn Kelly’s really biased against me. She knows that, I know that, everybody knows that. Do you really think she can be fair at a debate?”

Fox interpreted his video as a serious escalation in an ongoing war of words.

An hour later, a network spokesperson issued a tongue-in-cheek statement imagining Trump conducting Twitter polls in the Oval Office.

“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings,” the statement said.

The intended message to Trump was clear: “Grow up.”

When Trump read the statement, he shot back with a tweet, calling it a “pathetic attempt by Fox News to try and build up ratings for the #GOPDebate.”

He added, “Without me they’d have no ratings!”

At 6 p.m., Fox announced the lineup for Thursday’s debate, with Trump at center stage. At a press conference 20 minutes later, Trump said he “probably” wouldn’t show up. Then his campaign manager said he “definitely” wouldn’t.

One thing is for sure: Kelly will be there.

In a separate statement on Tuesday afternoon, Ailes said the “entire network stands behind Kelly” and that she “will absolutely be on the debate stage on Thursday night.”

Kelly addressed the controversy on her prime time show.

“Trump is used to controlling things,” she remarked. “He doesn’t get to control the media.”

She signed off on Tuesday by commenting that “not everyone is showing up” to the debate, but “we hope you will.”

Dylan Byers, MJ Lee and Maeve Reston contributed reporting from Iowa.

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NEW York Attorney General Sues Donald Trump for Defrauding Consumers Out Of $40 Million With Sham “University”

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A.G. Schneiderman Sues Donald Trump, Trump University & Michael Sexton For Defrauding Consumers Out Of $40 Million With Sham “University”

Trump Appeared In Ads That Falsely Claimed Trump University Would Use His “Handpicked Experts” To Teach Get Rich Real Estate Techniques, Bilking Students Out Of Thousands Of Dollars

A.G. Schneiderman: “No Matter How Rich Or Popular You Are, No One Has Right To Scam Hard Working New Yorkers; Anyone Who Does Will Be Held Accountable”

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that he has filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, The Trump Entrepreneur Institute — formerly named Trump University LLC (“Trump University”), and Michael Sexton, former President of Trump University for engaging in persistent fraudulent, illegal and deceptive conduct in connection with the operation of Trump University.

Between 2005 through 2011, Trump University operated as an unlicensed educational institute that promised to teach Donald Trump’s real estate investing techniques to consumers nationwide but instead misled consumers into paying for a series of expensive courses that did not deliver on their promises.

“More than 5,000 people across the country who paid Donald Trump $40 million to teach them his hard sell tactics got a hard lesson in bait-and-switch,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Mr. Trump used his celebrity status and personally appeared in commercials making false promises to convince people to spend tens of thousands of dollars they couldn’t afford for lessons they never got. No one, no matter how rich or popular they are, has a right to scam hard working New Yorkers. Anyone who does should expect to be held accountable.”

The petition filed in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan by Attorney General Schneiderman details the advertisements run by Trump University in major newspapers across the country and the direct mail solicitations sent to entice consumers to attend a free workshop. These ads prominently displayed Donald Trump’s photograph and signature, or were styled as letters written by Trump himself. The advertisements were replete with false claims, including claims that consumers would learn “from Donald Trump’s handpicked instructor a systematic method for investing in real estate that anyone can use.” Other ads promised “my handpicked instructors will share my techniques” or “learn from my hand-picked expert” and “just copy exactly what I’ve done and get rich.”

An investigation by Attorney General Schneiderman revealed that Donald Trump did not handpick even a single instructor at these seminars and had little or no role in developing any of the Trump University curricula, or seminar content. The investigation also revealed that officials used the name “Trump University” even though they lacked the charter necessary under New York law to call themselves a University. They were also unlicensed under New York State Education Law, evading an array of legal protections designed to protect New Yorkers from fraud.

Even though Trump University was notified by the New York State Education Department (“NYSED”) as early as 2005 that these practices violated New York law, Trump University did not change its name until May 2010 and never received a license to operate in the state. As a result, many students believed they were attending a University, when they were not. This misconception was reinforced by Trump University’s use of a University-like seal on much of its material and awarding diploma-like Certificates of Completion bearing Donald Trump’s signature.

Despite Trump University’s advertised claims, consumers attending free seminars did not learn Donald Trump’s real estate techniques. Instead, Trump University’s instructors made multiple misrepresentations to convince consumers to sign up for a $1,495 three-day seminar. These misrepresentations included false claims about the three-day seminars such as:

  • consumers would learn “everything [they] need[ed] to know” to become successful real estate investors;
  • consumers would quickly recoup their investment by doing real estate deals, with some instructors claiming that consumers would earn tens of thousands of dollars within thirty days;
  • instructors were “handpicked” by Donald Trump;
  • consumers would be taught Donald Trump’s very own real estate strategies and techniques;
  • consumers would receive access to private sources of financing (“hard money lenders”); and
  • the three-day seminar would include a year-long “Apprenticeship Support” program.

Instructors also insinuated Donald Trump himself would appear at the three-day seminar.

In reality, many of the promises made at the free seminars went unfulfilled. Despite claims to the contrary, consumers who paid for and attended the three-day seminars were not taught everything they needed to know about real estate investing. For example, consumers did not receive substantive instruction on how to raise money from hard money lenders or receive an extensive “apprenticeship support” program. Instead of providing the sustained support promised by Trump University’s instructors, consumers were provided a list of lenders from a commercially available magazine. Instead of a personal appearance from Donald Trump as some consumers were led to expect, some participants got their photographs taken with a life-size photo of Mr. Trump.

Instead of providing all of the promised services, instructors used the three-day seminars to pitch consumers an expensive Trump Elite mentorship programs costing $10,000 to $35,000. Trump University promised that the mentorships provided one-on-one training during which students would have personal assistance until they executed their first real estate deal and recouped the cost of the program. While consumers were encouraged to call their credit card companies during breaks, to increase their credit limits to have access to funds to do real estate deals, the real reason Trump University asked consumers to request higher credit limits was so they could use the credit to pay for the expensive Elite programs.

Many consumers who made the costly investments did not receive the individual mentor attention promised. After an initial three-day session, many mentors failed to return phone calls or emails and provided little to no follow-up assistance. Despite diligent efforts, many consumers were unable to conclude even a single real estate deal and were left worse off than they had been before enrolling in the Trump University programs. Some consumers faced thousands of dollars of debt due to the expensive cost of the Elite Programs. Many felt they had been victims of an elaborate scam.

Trump University also committed violations of federal consumer protection law. Federal law provides a three business-day right of cancellation for the type of purchases at issue here, but Trump University repeatedly failed to honor consumers’ timely requests to cancel.

The lawsuit seeks full restitution for the more than 5,000 consumers nationwide who were defrauded of over $40 million in the scheme, disgorgement of profits, as well as costs and penalties and injunctive relief prohibiting these types of illegal practices going forward.

Consumers with complaints against Trump University should file a complaint with the OAG. Complaint forms are available here.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Tristan C. Snell and Melvin L. Goldberg, under the supervision of the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection’s Deputy Bureau Chief, Laura J. Levine; Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Karla G. Sanchez.

August 25th 2013

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