By Jim Hightower on October 18, 2013

From day one, some of the students who paid a bundle to enroll in "Trump University" should've known they were being taken. They had been promised that The Donald himself would be at their seminars, and that they would have the exquisite privilege of getting their pictures taken with the Magnificent, Orange-Haired Ego of Narcissistic Hucksterism. Instead, they got to pose with a cardboard cutout of him.

That was a flashing-neon clue that Trump U is nothing but a cardboard university. In fact, a few years ago, Trump's private, for-profit institution was told by education officials in New York and Maryland that it is an "illegal educational institution," ineligible to use the term "university" in its name. So, since 2010, it has borne the rather pedantic, anti-academic moniker of Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.

By whatever name, this Trumped up outfit is such an educational fraud that it has produced a cross-country string of consumer complaints, reprimands from state regulators, a California lawsuit by ripped-off students, a charge by New York's attorney general that the venture bilks customers with sham courses that amount to bait-and-switch fraud – and a D-minus grade from the Better Business Bureau. D-minus! What kind of "university" is that? One that intentionally preys on vulnerable people in order to pocket profits, especially when so many people are desperate to get back in the workforce. "I thought that Trump University was a real institution," said one seeker.

Come on – The Donald himself isn't real. One of his ads for TU promised that students could, "Just copy exactly what I've done and get rich." Sure – just inherit a real estate fortune, squander it, then get big banks to forgive the debt you owe for failed projects and loan more to you. Then get your own TV show. Ridiculously easy!

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Photo: Flickr user Miles Gehm, creative commons licensed.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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