Trumpster University Learning Lab

Trumpster University Learning Lab

When a List of Trump’s Disqualifications was published two weeks ago, six confidants, all male, three Trump voters and three Clinton voters of Bernie descent, cried foul—Stop! The election’s over! Get a life! Move on! —revealing by their unease not only the many demands on their time, but also, perhaps, an uncomfortable secret, something buried and best forgotten. What could it be?

Then, a former student called claiming that I was channeling Elie Wiesel by compiling a damning record, bearing witness, and protecting history’s power to teach. Yes, I guess so—thanks for the great compliment. I’m arranging for an autopsy too!

Another former student sent a comment that was a self-inquisition, a poem, and a learning exercise, all in one. He thinks I’m setting up a learning lab for self-directed learners. He’s right. I think of my list, with its numbers and lines, as an opportunity to question oneself about one’s vote. It’s a learning tool for Trump Voters. I also think of the list as an instrument for taking a picture of ourselves as Americans, a national “selfie,” a portrait of ourselves on election day.

Dogmatic certainty has always been man’s curse, as Socrates taught. I wanted to see if the wall Trump had built in his cult could be cracked. Could a person who voted for Donald Trump be guided to change his mind? Could the Trump voter by self-study be expected to attain the recent enlightenment of Glenn Beck?

Puzzling Stumper

I had gotten this idea—of a platform for self-directed learning in the form of a list—by stumbling upon a shocking fact: the Trump voter would vote for Trump even in the face of considerable contrary evidence. Trump himself had tipped me off:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Donald J. Trump, Sioux City, Iowa, January 24, 2016

If Trump is right, and so far he has been, I should be able to keep a record and make a list of the many disqualifying things Trump has done in life, and his biographers and analysts have confirmed. That would make for a portrait of the dismal disqualifications the Trump voter knew about him on election day when he voted for him anyway. I could number these reproofs, put a short line beside each, invite the willing learner to check the ones he knew of and star the ones he found most disqualifying. Two weeks later, in this blog, I could ask the Trump Voter if he’d changed his mind. My hypothesis would be: No, he hadn’t, and wouldn’t, not even if the cows came in and the chickens came home to roost.

To set up and test the hypothesis properly, I would have to deal with the possibility that my list was too short, that a change of heart could occur at some point “X” on a list of additional disqualifications. That forced me to state the hypothetical proposition this way:

The Trump Voter in the 2016th Presidential election would continue to refuse to change his vote  even if the number of disqualifications known on election day  increased from 63 to a number approaching infinity.

Learning Lab for December 4, 2016

Goal: To determine the number of items on a list of disqualifications the participant would have to have prior knowledge of before deciding not to vote for Donald Trump.

Instructions to Trump Voters

Although insufficient to influence your vote, identify by number the statements on Will’s List of 63 you find most shocking and potentially disqualifying. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
After reading Will’s list of 63, choose “A” or “B”
A. Still a Trump voter. _____
B. No longer a Trump Voter. _____

3. If your answer is A., “still a Trump Voter,” choose “A” or “B” after viewing Keith Olbermann’s video detailing 176 reasons not to vote for Trump:
A. Still a Trump voter. _____
B. No longer a Trump Voter. _____

4. If your answer is A., “still a Trump voter,” choose “A” or “B.” after reading Will’s back-up set of additional disqualifications:

* * * * *
Will’s Additional List of Trump Disqualifications 

64. Harassed Megan Kelly of FOX News to the point of fearing for her life, getting death threats, hiring personal security and, forcing a Fox executive to intervene on her behalf to tell the Trump Campaign to knock it off. _____

65. Prosecuted for multiple instances of discrimination against African Americans in rental units, in housing financed partially with public funds. Settled the lawsuits out of court. _____

66. Prosecuted for defrauding students of Trump University at sites across the country, and settling the lawsuit out of court following his election for $25 million dollars. Five thousand defrauded students are eligible for compensation in the case. _____

67. Repeatedly tweeted strong disfavor with Alec Baldwin for his comedic portrayal of Trump in SNL skits. _____

68. Appointed man with a public record of racism as Attorney General. ____

69. Refused to place Trump businesses into a blind trust, out of the reach of himself and his family, to avoid conflict of interest situations during the term of his Presidency.

* * * * *

Check one:
A. Still a Trump voter. _____
B. No longer a Trump Voter. _____

5. Extra credit: What’s your guess as to the “hidden secret” Will intuits in the first paragraph of this blog entry?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Instructions to Voters Who Didn’t Vote for Trump

After reading Will’s 69 Trump Disqualifications, what number did you reach before deciding that Trump was unqualified to be President? Number: _____ Why is that?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Identify by number the ones on Will’s list of disqualifications that you found most egregious: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Extra credit: What’s your guess as to the “hidden secret” Will intuits in the first paragraph of this blog entry?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

No Response Needed or Requested

It is not necessary to submit your worksheets and answers to me, for reasons I’ll write about in the next blog, and also because this exercise goes by the name of “self-directed learning.” Under that umbrella, the aims, objectives, learning methods, discoveries, judgments, and learning outcomes are yours, and of no business of mine, unless you want help and request feedback. Self-directed Learning is something the learner does. I’m a guide and helper, not an instructor.

It would be wonderful to receive responses in the “comment” section communicating your thoughts in whatever detail you would like to offer them. Scroll down to the “leave a comment” section at the bottom of the blog entry. I will respond. Others might too.

We’d all probably like to know if the puzzling stumper is real, and the hypothesis true. Has anyone changed their mind? Would anyone like to go back, if they could, and change their vote?

An ironic idea occurs to me. If there are Trumpeteers out there who are feeling buyer’s remorse, push the “Like” button! I receive only a couple of likes a year on my blogs. That’s because—I tell myself—my stuff is too serious and grave to like. Who in their right mind would want to admit liking dark thoughts? But who knows, maybe the work is unlikeable for better reasons!

Whatever. Let’s assume that “Like” on this occasion means: Yes, I have changed my mind!

As to the surmise of “a hidden secret,” I will reveal my answer two blogs from now, not next time. Guesses from readers as to what it could be are certainly welcome in the meantime.

Hope you learned something! See you at the next learning lab.

This is the second in a series of essays on the 2016 election.

Will Callender, Jr. ©

December 4, 2016

Author of Abdication: God Steps Down for Good

List of Trump’s Disqualifications

List of Trump’s Disqualifications

Introduction

A list is presented of 63 incidents, quotes, and revelations that singly and collectively disqualify Donald J. Trump to be President of the United States of America. All of this was widely known on election day. The reader, for review purposes, may wish to check the ones he knew about, and star the ones judged most disqualifying

Mr. Trump

  1. Said he would build a 2000 mile wall along the Mexican border and make the Mexican government pay for it. _____
  2. Stereotyped Mexican immigrants as “drug-runners, criminals, and rapists.” _____
  3. Promised to deport “all illegal immigrants” (around eleven million.) Said he will deport “criminal aliens” first. Now says that three million deportations is the likely target. _____
  4. Accused an American judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel, a native of Indiana, and presiding judge in a fraud case against Trump University, of prejudice because he was Mexican. ____
  5. Mr. Trump called Pope Francis “disgraceful” for saying “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” _____
  6. Arranged for the Trump Foundation to make in 2013 a $25,000. donation to the re-election campaign of Pam Bondi, the Florida Attorney General, four days after an announcement that her office was considering joining a New York state probe of Trump University. This donation was in apparent violation of rules surrounding political activities by charities. Bondi had personally requested the donation of Trump. Bondi subsequently declined to join the New York investigation after the donation was made. _____
  7. Used $258,000 from the Trump Foundation, whose purpose is charity, to settle his legal problems. _____
  8.  Discovered to have paid less than $10,000 dollars over seven years to charities he had promised millions.
  9. Declined to make public his federal tax returns, although he had promised to do so at the start of the campaign: “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely.” _____
  10. Admitted that he had rarely, if ever, paid federal income taxes. Claimed not paying taxes showed he’s “smart.” _____
  11. Bankrupted casinos, leaving contractors unpaid, and losing investors’ money, while making millions himself. _____
  12. Took four deferments from military service during the Vietnam War. _____
  13. Disputed the heroism of Senator John McCain for surviving captivity in a North Vietnam prisoner of war camp where he was incarcerated for over six years after his plane had been shot down over North Vietnam. _____
  14. Stated repeatedly that he opposed the invasion of Iraq when the facts show otherwise. _____
  15. Impugned the integrity of Gold Star parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son Army Captain Humayun Khan had been killed in Iraq in 2004. Suggested that Mrs. Kahn had not spoken at the Democratic National convention, as had her husband, because of constraints placed upon women by Islam, and assured her that her son wouldn’t have died if he, Trump, had been President at the time. _____
  16. Equated his sacrifices as a real estate developer and businessman to active duty military in war zones, and to military families like the Khans. _____
  17. Promised to bring back waterboarding “and much worse” in interrogating terrorists, even though this would be an international crime and make him a war criminal. Promised to keep the prison at Guantánamo open and to make use of it. _____
  18. Said in regard to fighting terrorists, ” . . . you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.” _____
  19. Claimed to know more than the “generals” on ISIS, and called the current generals “a disaster.” _____
  20. Reported that he saw “thousands of Muslims in New Jersey” celebrating the demolition of the Twin Towers. No such event occurred. _____
  21. Mocked a journalist suffering from a congenital joint condition (by flailing his arms and moving his head uncontrollably) in response to an inquiry about the fictional Muslim celebration in New Jersey. ______
  22. Proposed a “total and complete shutdown” of the country’s borders to Muslims in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack. _____
  23. Called for surveillance of mosques as part of a national law enforcement effort to prevent terrorism. _____
  24. Threatened to set aside libel laws so that publications that criticize him can be sued, a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of the press. _____
  25. Destabilized seventy years of United States foreign policy toward Europe by questioning whether the U.S. would defend its NATO allies when he is President. _____
  26. Denied that climate change is real and a problem. Called climate change a “hoax.” Attributed the hoax to China. _____
  27. Made friends with, gave interviews, and has taken counsel from Alex Jones, “a volcanic Austin radio and web-streaming host who broadcasts from a semi-secret location dubbed “The Central Texas Command Center and the Heart of the Resistance.”” Jones has been described as the “conspiracy theorist extraordinaire.”
  28. Praised Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, as a strong leader, superior to the American President, and assured the world that Russia wouldn’t invade Crimea, when in fact it already had invaded. _____
  29. Appointed Paul Manafort as second campaign manager, a political consultant in the election of Viktor Yanukovych, Putin’s favored candidate for President of the Ukraine. Yanukovych, after election and a subsequent rebellion against his rule, absconded to Russia in disgrace. _____
  30. Requested that Russia, a foreign government, interfere in the election, by breaking into his opponent’s computers to find and produce missing emails. _____
  31. Refused to accept intelligence briefings he had received identifying the Russian government as the probable source of emails and records hacked from the Democratic National Convention. _____
  32. Dismissed suggestion that Russia would interfere in the American election as troves of hacked emails attributed to that source were furnished to the press by Julian Assange and Wikileaks. _____
  33. Destabilized nuclear policy by recommending that the United States no longer automatically defend Japan and South Korea, and that those countries be allowed to “get nuclear weapons.” In reference to a possible nuclear confrontation between North Korea and Japan, he said: “If they do, they do. Good luck, enjoy yourself, folks.” Doesn’t know what the “nuclear triad” means. _____
  34. Demeaned women by calling them names—pig, fat, slob, ugly, and more. Allowed his daughter to be referred to as “a piece of ass.” _____
  35. Posted a series of angry, early morning “tweets” following the first debate on Alica Machado, a Miss Universe contestant he had fat-shamed, including a tweet that asked: “Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?” Ms. Clinton had brought up Machado’s name in the debate as an example of Trump’s attitudes toward and treatment of women. No such sex tape existed. Clinton had not gotten Machado citizenship.
  36. Said about women in a 2005 video: “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” When Billy Bush responds “Whatever you want?” Trump responds ”Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” Twelve women subsequently come forward to charge him with “groping” and unwanted advances such as the ones he confessed to in the tape. Two beauty show contestants charge him with invading their privacy by intentionally entering dress changing area to see them naked. _____
  37. Claimed for eight years that President Obama was not born in the United States, was ineligible to be President, and therefore was illegitimate. He led the so-called “Birther” movement, and then, when cornered in his lie, blamed the birther movement on his opponent. _____
  38. Claimed his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was a criminal and should be “locked up.” Promised in a debate to investigate her after his election and put her in jail. Unconstitutional means (ordering “his” Attorney General to investigate) would be employed. Also called her a “bigot,” “devil,” “sick,” “monster,” “crooked,” “liar,” “low stamina,”“most flawed candidate ever,” “founder of ISIS,” “nasty woman, “enabler of sexual assault,” and questioned her religion. Published an advertisement featuring dollar bills around Clinton’s face, with the Star of David imprinted with the words “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” The Star of David image had been taken from a far right, anti-semitic website. _____
  39. Suggested to a crowd at a rally that a “second amendment remedy” might be necessary to stop his opponent from appointing Supreme Court judges if elected. _____
  40. Lied routinely throughout campaign. Doubled down on lie whenever confronted by critics, even in the presence of irrefutable proof to the contrary. Never apologized to actual people he had offended and whose families he had hurt. _____
  41. Showed himself incapable in debate preparation, staying on message, and avoiding diversions and gaffs. Lacked self-control and sustained discipline with the result that opponent was able to deliberatively and repeatedly bait him into bouts of anger, diversion, and insult. _____
  42. Associated himself and his campaign with known nativists, bigots, racists, misogynists, climate deniers, xenophobes, and conspiracy theorists, known collectively as the “alt-right.”
  43. Hired Steve Bannon, CEO of Breitbart News, as Campaign Chairman. The Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, and other white supremacists subsequently endorsed his candidacy with enthusiasm. _____
  44. Refused to dissociate his campaign from white supremacist groups, when asked, until forced to do so by public pressure and the press. _____
  45. Invited United Kingdom Independence Party (UNIP) leader Nigel Farage, the mastermind of BREXIT, to speak at a campaign rally in Mississippi, thus suggesting an interest in an international white supremacist movement. _____
  46. Promulgated conspiracy theories repeatedly: of Obama’s birth; of Cruz’s father’s association with Lee Harvey Oswald; of Clinton and Obama roles in founding ISIS; of  Muslim celebrants in New Jersey, of the circumstances of Machado’s citizenship, and more. _____
  47. Assumed mantle of “Law and Order Candidate” in response to instances of unarmed black people being killed by police, and of the killing of police officers by a black sniper in Dallas. _____
  48. Stereotyped African-American communities, by regularly saying “Our African-American communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before, ever, ever, ever. . . ., you get shot walking down the street.” Two Hundred and fifty years of slavery, disenfranchisement, terror, work gangs, Jim Crow, segregation, and massive male imprisonment are overlooked, as are the many thriving neighborhoods of color in the nation today. _____
  49. Promoted the often tried, legally-dubious, and failed “stop and frisk” procedure as his main plan for reducing crime in cities with a significant African-American presence. _____
  50. Described as incapable of mental concentration and listening for as long as fifteen minutes by Tony Schwartz, the co-author who wrote The Art of the Deal for Trump. Schwartz described Trump as a “sociopath,” self-absorbed, and a non-reader. _____
  51.  Schwartz further opined: ”I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization. _____
  52. Insisted repeatedly, with no evidence, that the “system is rigged” and that “the election is rigged.” _____
  53. Refused to confirm that he would concede the election to his opponent if she won.
  54. Demonstrated over and over again a lack of knowledge of United States and world history and of the Constitution of the United States. _____
  55. Demonstrated a profound ignorance of foreign policy, and of existing treaties, international relations, global problems, current issues, and policy options. _____
  56. Demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the roles, responsibilities, relationships and limitations of the three branches of government. _____
  57. Has never participated in public service on any level of government. _____
  58. Promised to the nation a plethora of dramatic actions and desirable outcomes, accomplished fast and quick, many on “Day 1,” but provided few details and no plans. Congress’s role was not mentioned. _____
  59. Opined that “he alone” could solve nation’s problems, and that “I will be your voice.” Does not appear to understand the functions of Congress or the rights and responsibilities of a citizen in a democracy. _____
  60. Has been widely understood to be offering to the public an anti-democratic,“strong man,” “dictatorial” and “authoritarian” type of leadership. _____
  61. Has been widely reported to be self-absorbed and uninterested in the lives of others. Has been charged with sociopathic maladies, an absence of empathy, a quickness to take offense, to flash to anger, to go into rage, and experience an irresistible need to take revenge on perceived enemies, including random critics. Shows signs of unpredictability and instability. _____
  62. Has been judged by clinical psychologists, from a distance and through the examination of videos, to fit all of the diagnostic indicators of a classic narcissistic personality. _____
  63. Has been described as two-dimensional by a Novelist of Presidential Elections Thomas Mallon, because his interiority, his internal dialogue, is so opaque, nixing him as a possible narrator for the novel, requiring the use of Hillary instead! As witnessed at the Al Smith Dinner, Mr. Trump is bad at humor and rarely, if ever, laughs. Despite enormous success and wealth, he often speaks of himself as a victim. _____

Concluding Note

This has been a long, exceedingly painful list to construct, and it must be even more difficult to read and consider. It could be longer; other relevant facts are more than abundant. Take a look for example at Keith Olbermann’s rant on the same topic in The Closer, for GQ, “176 Reasons Donald Trump Shouldn’t Be President.”

On September 8, 2016 Donald J. Trump, according to The Associated Press, received 61,820,845 popular votes, translating to 290 electoral college votes, making him the 45th President of the United States of America. His opponent Hillary Clinton received 63,390,669 popular votes, 1,569,824 more than Trump, but translating into only 232 votes, with Michigan still undecided. The magic number of electoral votes for election is 270, which Mr. Trump has exceeded.

This is the first of a series of essays on the 2016 election.

Will Callender, Jr. ©

November 20, 2016

Author of Abdication: God Steps Down for Good