A Very Stable Genius

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A Very Stable Genius

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:44 am

From the uber mainstream (and subscription only) Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/f83b20e4-8e6 ... 3b945e78cf

Donald Trump is leading a double life. In the west, most foreign policy experts see him as reckless, unpredictable and self-defeating. But though many in Asia dislike him as much as the Europeans do, they see him as a more substantial figure. I have just spent a week in Beijing talking to officials and intellectuals, many of whom are awed by his skill as a strategist and tactician.

One of the people I met was the former vice-foreign minister He Yafei. He shot to global prominence in 2009 when he delivered a finger-wagging lecture to President Barack Obama at the Copenhagen climate conference before blowing up hopes of a deal. He is somewhat less belligerent where Mr Trump is concerned. He worries that strategic competition has become the new normal and says that “trade wars are just the tip of the iceberg”.

Few Chinese think that Mr Trump’s primary concern is to rebalance the bilateral trade deficit. If it were, they say, he would have aligned with the EU, Japan and Canada against China rather than scooping up America’s allies in his tariff dragnet. They think the US president’s goal is nothing less than remaking the global order.

They think Mr Trump feels he is presiding over the relative decline of his great nation. It is not that the current order does not benefit the US. The problem is that it benefits others more in relative terms. To make things worse the US is investing billions of dollars and a fair amount of blood in supporting the very alliances and international institutions that are constraining America and facilitating China’s rise.

In Chinese eyes, Mr Trump’s response is a form of “creative destruction”. He is systematically destroying the existing institutions — from the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement to Nato and the Iran nuclear deal — as a first step towards renegotiating the world order on terms more favourable to Washington.

Once the order is destroyed, the Chinese elite believes, Mr Trump will move to stage two: renegotiating America’s relationship with other powers. Because the US is still the most powerful country in the world, it will be able to negotiate with other countries from a position of strength if it deals with them one at a time rather than through multilateral institutions that empower the weak at the expense of the strong.

My interlocutors say that Mr Trump is the US first president for more than 40 years to bash China on three fronts simultaneously: trade, military and ideology. They describe him as a master tactician, focusing on one issue at a time, and extracting as many concessions as he can. They speak of the skilful way Mr Trump has treated President Xi Jinping. “Look at how he handled North Korea,” one says. “He got Xi Jinping to agree to UN sanctions [half a dozen] times, creating an economic stranglehold on the country. China almost turned North Korea into a sworn enemy of the country.” But they also see him as a strategist, willing to declare a truce in each area when there are no more concessions to be had, and then start again with a new front.

For the Chinese, even Mr Trump’s sycophantic press conference with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, in Helsinki had a strategic purpose. They see it as Henry Kissinger in reverse. In 1972, the US nudged China off the Soviet axis in order to put pressure on its real rival, the Soviet Union. Today Mr Trump is reaching out to Russia in order to isolate China.

In the short term, China is talking tough in response to Mr Trump’s trade assault. At the same time they are trying to develop a multiplayer front against him by reaching out to the EU, Japan and South Korea. But many Chinese experts are quietly calling for a rethink of the longer-term strategy. They want to prepare the ground for a new grand bargain with the US based on Chinese retrenchment. Many feel that Mr Xi has over-reached and worry that it was a mistake simultaneously to antagonise the US economically and militarily in the South China Sea.

Instead, they advocate economic concessions and a pullback from the aggressive tactics that have characterised China’s recent foreign policy. They call for a Chinese variant of “splendid isolationism”, relying on growing the domestic market rather than disrupting other countries’ economies by exporting industrial surpluses.

So which is the real Mr Trump? The reckless reactionary destroying critical alliances, or the “stable genius” who is pressuring China? The answer seems to depend on where you ask the question. Things look different from Beijing than from Brussels.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Turdacious » Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:06 am

He is either Michael, or some combination of Sonny and Fredo. Anyone who says they know which one he is is guessing.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:09 pm

I view Trump in a very negative light. However, there have been some things that have impressed me thus far, not least of which was his commitment to actually doing the things he said he would do while campaigning. That, in of itself, is remarkable.

One of the things I do like is what I would call his strategy of tension, in that he pressurizes the environment he wants to shape. Perhaps it is a tactic that has worked for him in business.

Governments across the world have become accustomed to taking advantage of the US, and we have let them, based on the fundamental view that promoting stability and trade agreements would serve our interests in the long run. And it did, for a very long time. However, we have come to a turning point, where entities like China and the EU have begun to view us as a reliable patsy trapped in a web of our own weaving. Trump has certainly shaken them up, and made countries offer concessions that they wouldn't have considered under Obama; North Korea being perhaps the most obvious example.

To the extent that he has injected an element of pressure and unpredictability into international relations, thus far, it seems to have merit.

"I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretences. It doesn't necessarily mean that he knows this, or that he is considering any great alternative. It could just be an accident." - Henry Kissinger
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:03 pm

Exhibit A from today: "President Trump announced Wednesday that he has secured major trade concessions from European Union officials as part of an effort to head off a trade war between the U.S. and the E.U."

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07 ... riffs.html
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by JimZipCode » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:17 am

Fat Cat wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:09 pm
Trump has certainly shaken them up, and made countries offer concessions that they wouldn't have considered under Obama; North Korea being perhaps the most obvious example.
What concessions did North Korea make?
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:23 am

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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:50 pm

It's likely the Chinese struggle as much to understand our politics as much as we do theirs, and are assigning unnecessary complexity to something that's not that complicated.

I have just spent a week in Beijing talking to officials and intellectuals, many of whom are awed by his skill as a strategist and tactician.

We do this a lot too. Recall the early news reports of 12 dimensional chess that fell apart as soon as people in the room with him started talking en masse to the press. "The Washington Post spoke with 17 current and former senior administration officials present for these meetings..."
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:36 pm

Grandpa's Spells wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:50 pm
It's likely the Chinese struggle as much to understand our politics as much as we do theirs, and are assigning unnecessary complexity to something that's not that complicated.

I have just spent a week in Beijing talking to officials and intellectuals, many of whom are awed by his skill as a strategist and tactician.

We do this a lot too. Recall the early news reports of 12 dimensional chess that fell apart as soon as people in the room with him started talking en masse to the press. "The Washington Post spoke with 17 current and former senior administration officials present for these meetings..."
I think it's a veritable certainty. However, I'm not on either end of the hyperbola of modern American politics and therefor I am not compelled to either revile or fawn over Trump. I think we're witnessing an unusual moment and it has more nuance than either side would like to admit.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Yes I Have Balls » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:43 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:23 am
FWIW, beginning to dismantle its main launch facility:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/worl ... ities.html

https://www.38north.org/2018/07/sohae072318/
The New York Times article you linked is for "dismantling a missile-engine test site..." not a launch facility. North Korea launches many of their testing "nuke" rockets from mobile launchers.

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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:48 pm

Yes I Have Balls wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:43 pm
Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:23 am
FWIW, beginning to dismantle its main launch facility:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/worl ... ities.html

https://www.38north.org/2018/07/sohae072318/
The New York Times article you linked is for "dismantling a missile-engine test site..." not a launch facility. North Korea launches many of their testing "nuke" rockets from mobile launchers.
Ah ah ah, you didn't read my links carefully. [-X

Sohae Satellite Launching Station (North Korea’s main satellite launch facility since 2012) indicates that the North has begun dismantling key facilities. Most notably, these include the rail-mounted processing building—where space launch vehicles are prepared before moving them to the launch pad—and the nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles. Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence building measure on the part of North Korea.

But to engage you further, is this not a desirable outcome? It's not the end of the story to be sure, but it's hard to argue that this is not a result of Trump's engagement with DPRK.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by JimZipCode » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:14 am

Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:23 am
FWIW, beginning to dismantle its main launch facility:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/worl ... ities.html

https://www.38north.org/2018/07/sohae072318/
Thanks for the links. I haven't read them yet; but this made me think of something else.

The great baseball writer and analyst Bill James wrote something over 20 years ago, he said that effective managers "change the needs" of their team. The idea is something like, if you have a young team, and one manager is really good at developing young talent; then after a few years you may have a mature team that's capable of taking the next step. A different manager might be good at coaching veteran talent and getting them to compete at a championship level. The first guy "changed the needs" of the team. If you switch to the second manager, you might get a World Series title or two out of it. But after a few years of him, you may have an old team that's no longer able to compete. The second guy has also "changed the needs" of the team; but now your best fit might be a third guy, maybe a hard-ass disciplinarian to shake up the complacent team. Or maybe it's time to blow it up completely, get some young players and start the cycle over again with a manager like the first guy.

I'm sure I'm oversimplifying the point that James was trying to make, but maybe this is clear enough.

So in our case: the previous guy, Obama, maybe we can agree that he had something like a "Utopian" approach to world affairs. The previous guy in some ways was not dissimilar: W saw America as the world's policeman, at least in some ways. Without conceding that Trump is anything remotely like a genius, we can imagine that Trump's approach, coming to the world with a selfish-seeming "what's in it for us?" attitude, can shake things up and be a real change-of-pace to the rest of the world.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by syaigh » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:51 am

JimZipCode wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:14 am
Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:23 am
FWIW, beginning to dismantle its main launch facility:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/worl ... ities.html

https://www.38north.org/2018/07/sohae072318/
Thanks for the links. I haven't read them yet; but this made me think of something else.

The great baseball writer and analyst Bill James wrote something over 20 years ago, he said that effective managers "change the needs" of their team. The idea is something like, if you have a young team, and one manager is really good at developing young talent; then after a few years you may have a mature team that's capable of taking the next step. A different manager might be good at coaching veteran talent and getting them to compete at a championship level. The first guy "changed the needs" of the team. If you switch to the second manager, you might get a World Series title or two out of it. But after a few years of him, you may have an old team that's no longer able to compete. The second guy has also "changed the needs" of the team; but now your best fit might be a third guy, maybe a hard-ass disciplinarian to shake up the complacent team. Or maybe it's time to blow it up completely, get some young players and start the cycle over again with a manager like the first guy.

I'm sure I'm oversimplifying the point that James was trying to make, but maybe this is clear enough.

So in our case: the previous guy, Obama, maybe we can agree that he had something like a "Utopian" approach to world affairs. The previous guy in some ways was not dissimilar: W saw America as the world's policeman, at least in some ways. Without conceding that Trump is anything remotely like a genius, we can imagine that Trump's approach, coming to the world with a selfish-seeming "what's in it for us?" attitude, can shake things up and be a real change-of-pace to the rest of the world.
Sure but what are we left with? No medical autonomy for women. No equal rights for people who don't fit into traditional gender or religious roles. And a borderline Theocratic nationalistic fascist government. You're kidding yourself if you don't think a lot of this immigration enforcement is not based on a lot of people's personal prejudices. Yeah the system's broken, but it wasn't things that Obama wasn't trying to fix. And I think a lot of this Prosperity is still coasting off of Obama's policies and I won't be surprised if it all comes to a crashing horrific end. I honestly don't think Trump is very smart. I don't think he knows what he's doing. I think he is shaking things up and asking a lot of questions which is probably good for the world, but we're all going to pay dearly for this if some order of some kind isn't restored and if someone doesn't start paying attention to what America is actually supposed to be.

Id love it if he turned out to be a productive president, but he'll do anything to please his ignorant prejudiced base. Including completely undermine the Constitution. And I just don't think that's what a good president does. I don't care how much money he makes 5% of the US.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by JimZipCode » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:22 am

syaigh wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:51 am
No medical autonomy for women. No equal rights for people who don't fit into traditional gender or religious roles. And a borderline Theocratic nationalistic fascist government.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Fat Cat » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:34 am

JimZipCode wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:14 am
Thanks for the links. I haven't read them yet; but this made me think of something else.

The great baseball writer and analyst Bill James wrote something over 20 years ago, he said that effective managers "change the needs" of their team. The idea is something like, if you have a young team, and one manager is really good at developing young talent; then after a few years you may have a mature team that's capable of taking the next step. A different manager might be good at coaching veteran talent and getting them to compete at a championship level. The first guy "changed the needs" of the team. If you switch to the second manager, you might get a World Series title or two out of it. But after a few years of him, you may have an old team that's no longer able to compete. The second guy has also "changed the needs" of the team; but now your best fit might be a third guy, maybe a hard-ass disciplinarian to shake up the complacent team. Or maybe it's time to blow it up completely, get some young players and start the cycle over again with a manager like the first guy.
I can dig it. That's adaptive management, it's one of the strengths of a democracy.
JimZipCode wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:14 am
Without conceding that Trump is anything remotely like a genius, we can imagine that Trump's approach, coming to the world with a selfish-seeming "what's in it for us?" attitude, can shake things up and be a real change-of-pace to the rest of the world.
My thread title was naked sarcasm but that's the question I am asking.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Fat Cat » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:39 am

syaigh wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:51 am
JimZipCode wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:14 am

Thanks for the links. I haven't read them yet; but this made me think of something else.

The great baseball writer and analyst Bill James wrote something over 20 years ago, he said that effective managers "change the needs" of their team. The idea is something like, if you have a young team, and one manager is really good at developing young talent; then after a few years you may have a mature team that's capable of taking the next step. A different manager might be good at coaching veteran talent and getting them to compete at a championship level. The first guy "changed the needs" of the team. If you switch to the second manager, you might get a World Series title or two out of it. But after a few years of him, you may have an old team that's no longer able to compete. The second guy has also "changed the needs" of the team; but now your best fit might be a third guy, maybe a hard-ass disciplinarian to shake up the complacent team. Or maybe it's time to blow it up completely, get some young players and start the cycle over again with a manager like the first guy.

I'm sure I'm oversimplifying the point that James was trying to make, but maybe this is clear enough.

So in our case: the previous guy, Obama, maybe we can agree that he had something like a "Utopian" approach to world affairs. The previous guy in some ways was not dissimilar: W saw America as the world's policeman, at least in some ways. Without conceding that Trump is anything remotely like a genius, we can imagine that Trump's approach, coming to the world with a selfish-seeming "what's in it for us?" attitude, can shake things up and be a real change-of-pace to the rest of the world.
Sure but what are we left with? No medical autonomy for women. No equal rights for people who don't fit into traditional gender or religious roles. And a borderline Theocratic nationalistic fascist government. You're kidding yourself if you don't think a lot of this immigration enforcement is not based on a lot of people's personal prejudices. Yeah the system's broken, but it wasn't things that Obama wasn't trying to fix. And I think a lot of this Prosperity is still coasting off of Obama's policies and I won't be surprised if it all comes to a crashing horrific end. I honestly don't think Trump is very smart. I don't think he knows what he's doing. I think he is shaking things up and asking a lot of questions which is probably good for the world, but we're all going to pay dearly for this if some order of some kind isn't restored and if someone doesn't start paying attention to what America is actually supposed to be.

Id love it if he turned out to be a productive president, but he'll do anything to please his ignorant prejudiced base. Including completely undermine the Constitution. And I just don't think that's what a good president does. I don't care how much money he makes 5% of the US.
I think you raise a very good point about whether or not the current strength of the economy isn't coasting off of Obama's policies
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by nafod » Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:24 pm

One thought I’ve had is that a system like our government and economy and everything else has become essentially unknowable in causes and effects due to its complexity. Expand the system out to the globe, and holy shit. War leads to immigration leads to unrest leads to reemergence of racism leads to...Small changes here can ripple through with side effects over there. Everything connects, and in ways too complex to understand. We just fool ourselves that we think we can understand it.

The danger is that when you think it is understandable, you think you just need a smarter guy to Run It All. If it is not purring along, your guy must be stupid.

But thinking you can control something that really you can’t can lead to some bad decisions. You end up manipulating the symptoms until something blows up. The mortgage loan crisis. WWI and WWII. The upcoming student loan crisis.

The belief that it is understandable and controllable is dangerous, in short.

Zero doubt in my mind that Trump is vastly ignorant of the universe and only lives to satisfy his narrow appetites, but he is likely a deserved jolt to the system that thought it understood itself. Good time for a reset.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Gene » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:06 pm

Yes I Have Balls wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:43 pm
The New York Times article you linked is for "dismantling a missile-engine test site..." not a launch facility. North Korea launches many of their testing "nuke" rockets from mobile launchers.
Means that they're halting new engine development. It's a small concession.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Bram » Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:06 am

I think of Occam's Razor when it comes to Trump.

Is a guy who's declared bankruptcy 6 times, has a history of racism and sexism and being a fucking creeper, ran a shady as fuck "University" that targeted single-parents, etc. etc. a colossal fucking idiot and slime-ball?

Or is he some sort of genius?

Hahahahahah, I mean come on. What would the most likely option be?
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by nafod » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:31 pm

Bram wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 5:06 am
I think of Occam's Razor when it comes to Trump.

Is a guy who's declared bankruptcy 6 times, has a history of racism and sexism and being a fucking creeper, ran a shady as fuck "University" that targeted single-parents, etc. etc...some sort of genius?
After each bankruptcy he got people to lend him more money. Women lined up to get groped. Any on-line "university" of that ilk is bullshit designed to separate marks from their money.

I don't like what he was successful at, but he was damned successful at it, which says more about the rest of humanity than it does about him, frankly.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Turdacious » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:01 pm

Universities of every ilk are bullshit designed to separate marks from their money.

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And lets not forget about the extra slimy SallieMae, who has fucked over more teenagers than Ron Jeremy.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by nafod » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:13 pm

Turdacious wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:01 pm
Universities of every ilk are bullshit designed to separate marks from their money.
True, but a diploma from MIT still 'trumps' a certificate from Trump University.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Turdacious » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:53 pm

nafod wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:13 pm
Turdacious wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:01 pm
Universities of every ilk are bullshit designed to separate marks from their money.
True, but a diploma from MIT still 'trumps' a certificate from Trump University.
MIT's one of the most prestigious universities in the US. A degree from MIT opens doors that degrees from most universities don't (largely because it's so hard to get in).

Let's go more realistic-- compare it to a four year general ed degree from PSU. In state costs (using the 2015-6 year) would run $143,032.

For those who want to maximize their odds of getting grabbed by the pussy, there's Sparty-- with a four year cost of $113,712 for in state tuition.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:49 pm

It's interesting but not surprising how many criminals Trump has hired. I'm familiar with the crooks in my industry and they tend to flock together, because... they're criminals. Normal people won't work with or for them under normal circumstances.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by JimZipCode » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:35 pm

Turdacious wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:01 pm
Universities of every ilk are bullshit designed to separate marks from their money.

Image


That's nice about the new cars, though.
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Re: A Very Stable Genius

Post by Gene » Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:38 pm

nafod wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:13 pm
Turdacious wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:01 pm
Universities of every ilk are bullshit designed to separate marks from their money.
True, but a diploma from MIT still 'trumps' a certificate from Trump University.
What did Governor Wolf ever do with his PhD, Nafod? He has a PhD in Political Science from MIT. His thesis was in "Critical Elections". I've read parts of it, it's very turgid. According to his political legend he went back to his Daddy's business to drive a forklift. He managed a Tru-Value Hardware store. After building up his family business he sold it to an investment group.

If Dr. Wolf taught any college courses or wrote a book he's been bashful about mentioning it. What was the point of all of that work?


There were lawsuits filed against the Trump University. Trump agreed to pay $25,000,000 to settle the lawsuits.

Were the courses useful? Some people like what they learned apparently. Others felt ripped off.


Damn shame that this accreditation business has been so diluted over time. Too much money spent on sports and lifestyle dorms. Too many left wing ideologues at the top too.
Last edited by Gene on Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This space for let

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