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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post In Defense of Sebastian Gorka
Created by John Eipper on 02/13/17 4:42 AM

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In Defense of Sebastian Gorka (Timothy Brown, USA, 02/13/17 4:42 am)

I would like to have the permission of Clyde McMorrow and Istvan Simon to put them in direct touch with the directors of the educational and research institutions that have swallowed Sebastian Gorka's lies.  I gather from their absolute certainty, based on their in-depth investigations and documentation, that in reality Mr. Gorka is a fraud and does not have a PhD or any other advanced degree and is, in fact, a charlatan with nearly zero professional qualification, no PhD, not even a Masters Degree, in fact, not a qualified professional of any kind and certainly not qualified for any faculty positions or professional abilities or even connections in any way with any professional institution.

Since, as they have documented, he committed fraud every time he filled out an employment questionnaire about his professional qualifications or, even more importantly, an application for a security clearance, I would like to put them in touch with so they can inform of their discoveries that Gorka has totally hoodwinked them into accepting him as a qualified lecturer or faculty member, such as the Marine Corps University, National Defense University, NATO Defense University, Joint Special Operations College, Institute for World Politics (three of which I've lectured at), and the Rand Corporation.  They all need to know that, in fact, Gorka has completely hoodwinked them, not to mention the Department of Defense, with lies and fabrications into accepting his falsified credentials. These institutions need to know what my WAIS colleagues have discovered, documented and fully confirmed that he's a complete fraud.

I can, if they wish, even put these distinguished educational and professional institutions in direct touch so they can provide them with the incontrovertible and fully documented evidence they have in hand, and are willing to swear under oath that everything they have discovered is absolutely true, so they can investigate and confirm that Gorka has committed all these unprofessional and illegal things.

JE comments:  Let's take a breath here.  Even if we discount Gorka's 9mm-in-the-carry-on charge as a "simple mistake," his cocksure attitude and bullying interview tactics deserve further scrutiny.  We are not talking about a mere pundit, or a member of the "chattering classes" Gorka dismisses with such derision, but rather someone who can shape national policy.  So what about the flaunted PhD?  Why did he leave Harvard under unclear circumstances?  At the very least, it's undeniable that he changes jobs a lot.

Tim, have you met Gorka?  At least one other citizen of WAISworld has, and I hope will send a post on the subject.

I'm bracing for a 9mm clip or two of Gorka wrath once he discovers what we're saying on WAIS.


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  • More on Sebastian Gorka's CV (Clyde McMorrow, USA 02/14/17 6:38 AM)
    I think Tim Brown (13 February) took my review of Sebastian Gorka's resume a little stronger than I intended it. Before Gorka joined the Trump Administration I had never heard of him. I've never met or even seen him. I have no idea what the Marine Corps University, the National Defense University, NATO Defense University, Joint Special Operations Operations College or the Institute for World Politics are or do. I do not have any incontrovertible and fully documented evidence. My point is I don't have any evidence at all. I just took Gorka's biog and did an Internet search and was unable to get corroborating statements.

    To set the record straight, I don't care about Sebastian Gorka. Maybe Tim has better access to information than I and can locate a copy of Mr. Gorka's dissertation (that's how all this started). If so, I would be pleased to read through it as a way of understanding the author's thinking. I did the same thing for the Neocons when they showed up.


    As far as resume inflation, I know it happens and I don't have any problem with it. Here in Silicon Valley, it is the practice to write a new resume for every job opportunity so that it contains the keywords from the job listing. Here, a resume doesn't so much describe one's past as presents a road map for their future. This may be true in Washington DC as well.


    The gun charge doesn't bother me. Gorka had a plausible explanation for it being in his carry-on that was enough to satisfy a so-called judge (to use the administration's term for the judiciary). I do wonder about why anyone would think that they need to carry a 9mm pistol but, hey, I am from California. We hear that inner-city crime is reaching record levels on the East coast so maybe packing a gat is common there.


    JE comments: Aren't handguns verboten in the District of Columbia?  Granted, Reagan National Airport is in Virginia.  But guns aren't welcome in any airport.


    I have another Gorka post from Tim Brown in my inbox; stay tuned.  If Mr/Dr G is reading this, he'll be happy to know that my copy of Defeating Jihad showed up last night.  It has nice large print, so my middle-aged eyes are pleased.

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    • Looking for Gorka's Dissertation (Henry Levin, USA 02/14/17 1:27 PM)
      If Sebastian Gorka's PhD dissertation was completed at an accredited US institution, it should be available in the archive of doctoral dissertations (used to be at University of Michigan), and a copy can be ordered for scrutiny. My guess is that UK has a similar arrangement.

      JE comments: I checked the website of what used to be UMI (University Microfilms International), ProQuest.  Nothing from Sebastian Gorka, but I did find a several dissertations from Basque guys named Gorka.  (It's the Euskera version of George.)  For kicks, I checked Eipper, and I'm third in the results.  The first?  Why that would be Sebastian Eipper at the University of Freiburg.  Uncanny.  Cousin Sebastian's topic?  Strychninsensitive Glyzin-Rezeptoren in der Menschlichen Amygdala und NMDA-Rezeptoren im Menschlichen Kortex.  It sounds very STEMy and rather scary, something about strychnine and the brain.


      http://dissexpress.umi.com/dxweb/search.html


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      • Gorka's Dissertation Found! (Luciano Dondero, Italy 02/15/17 2:19 AM)
        This is the document WAIS has been looking for:

        Gorka, Sebestyén L. v. (2007). "Content and End-State-based Alteration in the Practice of Political Violence since the End of the Cold War: the difference between the terrorism of the Cold War and the terrorism of al Qaeda: the rise of the 'transcendental terrorist'"


        (PDF). Corvinus University of Budapest


        JE comments: Thank you, Luciano! I also received the following from John Heelan:


        "WAIsers might find useful the following Summary of Sebestyén L. v. Gorka's PhD dissertation, 'Content and End-State-based Alteration in the Practice of Political Violence since the End of the Cold War' that I discovered in the library file of Corvinus University (Budapest) Doctoral School of Political Science."


        http://phd.lib.uni-corvinus.hu/314/2/gorka_sebestyen_ten.pdf



        It seems that Dr Gorka defended his PhD dissertation in 2008.


        Finally, this reprimand came in from Ed Jajko:


        "The tenor of this clearly tendentious discussion of Sebastian Gorka is unworthy of WAIS.



        "Aspersions seem to have been cast on institutions that WAISers are
        unfamiliar with. My brother Walter Jajko, Brig. Gen. USAF (ret.) and
        long-time civil servant at the highest levels of US military
        intelligence in the Pentagon, lies buried at Arlington these past two
        years. He spent the last decade or so of his life as professor of
        military strategy in the Institute of World Politics in Washington,
        DC, a private graduate-level school. At IWP, he taught private
        individuals, government employees, and staff of various embassies,
        according to an extraordinarily difficult syllabus he worked on for many
        months. The IWP is a top-level institution for the training of
        professionals in defense, intelligence, and related fields."


        JE again:  Gorka himself makes a career of casting aspersions, but WAIS shouldn't sink to that level.  My apologies for questioning his credentials.  A perusal of the dissertation summary (link above) suggests that it is a prescriptive document--i.e., it gives a proposal for wiping out what Dr G calls the "irrational terrorist."  I'm not a political scientist, but aren't "how-to" Poli Sci dissertations frowned upon in the Academy?  I hope we'll learn more from one of WAISdom's several professionals in the field.


        Finally, Leo Goldberger (next) has sent an informative comment on "Comparative PhDs" in the US/Canada vis à vis Europe.


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      • European vs US PhDs (Leo Goldberger, USA 02/15/17 4:46 AM)
        Unlike the ease with which one can verify the recipients of a PhD degree from a US university, it seems much more difficult to gain that sort of information from the outside world, with some exceptions, of course. In the case of the UK and the University of London (which Sebastian Gorka claims to have attended), my Internet queries found no record of his receiving a PhD from there.  From the University of Budapest, where he also claims to have studied (political science and economics), I found it quite difficult to get any information, let alone a verification. Even using his Hungarian name, Gorka Sebestyen Lukacs, my search of the U of Budapest records for their doctoral graduates, failed to produce any results.  [Gorka's degree is from Corvinus U; see Luciano Dondero's post from earlier today--JE.]

        It may well be that the the overly common "doctor's" degree--as awarded in countries like Hungary, Italy and Germany, if not also in many other countries--might perhaps be the reason for not keeping track of its vast number of recipients.  On that score, let me point to my own experience in Denmark, where my own US "PhD" degree was quite obviously not highly regarded.  It seems to have been downgraded as not being the equivalent of the highest degree obtainable in the Danish system, namely the "Dr.Phil" degree, which in their view required a substantially more extensive, if not more scholarly, publication (actually a book) than the more common, often rather skimpy PhD dissertation (depending on the particular university, of course).  Thus rather than being addressed as "Dr." when I gave an invited lecture at the U of Copenhagen, I was introduced, not as "Dr." but always as "PhD Goldberger."


        JE comments:  For the record, Corvinus U gives evidence of Gorka's PhD dissertation and defense.  Leo Goldberger brings up the fascinating subject of advanced degrees across national and cultural boundaries.  In Spanish-speaking countries, "Doctor" also applies to lawyers, which is not the custom in the Anglophone world.  Usage is usage, but the US norm goes against the semantics of the degree itself:  Juris Doctor.  What is the case in Continental Europe?

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        • European vs American PhDs; Prof. RV Jones (Timothy Ashby, Spain 02/16/17 3:03 PM)

          In my experience in the UK, the PhD degree is still highly regarded. I (and other PhD holders) are usually addressed as "Doctor," but I have found that academics with PhDs are addressed as "doctor" until they reach an exalted professorship, after which they are called "Professor."


          Rosemary's late father, RV Jones http://www.nytimes.com/1997/12/19/us/r-v-jones-science-trickster-who-foiled-nazis-dies-at-86.html received his doctorate in physics from Oxford at age 23, and during the War when he was Churchill's "Boy Wizard."  He was addressed as "Dr. Jones" (the PM called him "My Dear Jones" in his personal correspondence). After RV was appointed to the Chair of Natural Philosophy at Aberdeen University, he was invariably addressed as "Professor Jones," leading me to think that a professors title is somewhat loftier than a mere PhD.


          By the way, I found that my MBA degree from Edinburgh University was more onerous than my PhD from the University of Southern California (we were required to write theses and pass stringent exams every quarter to remain in the program), while my JD education was the most enjoyable of all my higher educational experiences, probably because I was relaxed and more interested in the learning than in sweating it out for class ranking to get a law firm job (although, to my surprise I graduated cum laude).


          JE comments:  What a fascinating life, that of Prof. RV Jones.  To earn a PhD by the tender age of 23 is an extraordinary achievement in itself.  All WAISers should read the NYT note above, published upon Prof. Jones's death in 1997.


          Tim:  Does Rosemary still have the correspondence between her father and Churchill?



          The "Prof/Dr" dichotomy goes both ways.  At some US institutions (Adrian being one of them), "Professor" is a euphemism for a colleague who has not earned the PhD.  We used the same honorific with our beloved founder, Ronald Hilton.

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          • Churchill's Correspondence with R. V. Jones (Timothy Ashby, Spain 02/17/17 8:45 AM)
            John E asked if Rosemary still has correspondence between her father and Churchill. Most of RV Jones's papers are on loan to the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge University (an irony considering the fact that Professor Jones was always an ardent Oxford man).

            Rosemary's brother has a few letters exchanged between their father and WSC, however others were apparently stolen when they were being catalogued some years ago and offered for sale at a respected Dover Street antiquarian bookshop. After I discovered this last year, I launched an investigation into the provenance of these letters, leading to a shady character in Somerset who claimed that he found them inside a suitcase of old books at a jumble sale (what British WAISers will recognise as the equivalent of "falling off the back of a lorry")! These letters (which I have copies of and are quite moving insofar as Churchill thanking Jones for his extraordinary service during the War) are currently in legal limbo, and our hope is that they will be returned to the Churchill Archives.


            We are the the process of re-publishing Dr Jones's Most Secret War https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/133389/most-secret-war/ as a Kindle edition and a new soft cover version later this year, with a launch event at the Carlton Club. A close friend, retired number 2 at MI-6, has offered to invite former CIA Director Jim Woolsey (a friend and admirer of Professor Jones), and we had dinner last week with Churchill scholar Lord Alan Watson, author of Churchill's Legacy Two Speeches to Save the World http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/churchills-legacy-9781408880210/ who will also attend and make some remarks.


            I would like to invite all WAIS members to be my guests at the re-launch and shall keep you posted on the date.


            JE comments: Hope to be there! Should the launch coincide with my summer break, I may be able to make the trip. It would be thrilling for this provincial Yankee to step inside the Carlton Club.


            I'm curious about the provenance of "fell of the back of a truck/lorry" as a euphemism for theft. Does it exist in other languages? I Googled "se cayó de un camión" for Spanish, and all I came up with were literal examples of unfortunate people who, indeed, had fallen off a truck.

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          • Collecting Dr Jones's Tin Foil (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 02/17/17 1:33 PM)
            Finally I know who the genius was who invented the fake bombers using the shredded tin foil--Dr R. V. Jones. (See Tim Ashby, 16 February.)

            After an air raid, we kids in Italy used to go out to see the damage and to collect the shredded tin foil. At that time we were collecting all available metal to give to the authorities in order to "win the war."


            Already due to the needs of the war, all the metal fences had been replaced, and in my house the kitchen metal utensils had been reduced to the minimum.


            JE comments: Recycling the matériel of death: John Heelan was also a lad during the war, but on the other side. John: did youngsters in the UK collect scrap metal from the German bombing raids?

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            • Recycling War Materiel in UK (John Heelan, UK 02/18/17 5:54 AM)
              JE asked on 18 February: "Recycling the matériel of death: John Heelan was also a lad during the war, but on the other side [from Eugenio Battaglia in Italy]. John: did youngsters in the UK collect scrap metal from the German bombing raids?"

              Perhaps Eugenio Battaglia's "tin foil" was in fact the product known as "Window" that Allied (and German?) aircraft used to confuse radar detection? As to metal collection--yes. I recall the iron railings surrounding my grandparent's house disappearing one day, "gone to the war." We lived on the the run-up to a factory making aircraft engines that attracted the Luftwaffe like bees to a honeypot--we kids used steel ball-bearing races for toys, skimming them along gutters to make them spark. Every morning, following the nightly air-raid (I have written about this before on WAIS), we kids would go into the streets searching for "shrapnel"--misshaped pieces of bombs and anti-aircraft shells used in the previous night's raid--that we kids would swap among ourselves. I still recall burning my fingers picking up still hot shrapnel!


              Eventually swapping shrapnel pieces was overtaken by our swapping "American comics" that arrived in the UK with US troops; the usual exchange rate was 6 thin UK comics (Beano, Dandy, Hotspur, etc.) for 1 much larger American comic. They were my first literary introduction to the world of US superheroes like Superman, Batman and Dan Dare.


              Much less salubrious than metal collection, "pig bins" were placed the end of each street in which the residents were encouraged to deposit their waste food "to feed pigs as part of the national 'War effort.'" One of my hated morning chores as a kid was to deposit our famiiy's food waste in those horribly smelling bins. Much more salubrious was the government allocation of small parcels of land--"allotments"--on which residents could grow their own fruit, vegetables and sometimes rear livestock like rabbits and chickens, to eke out the UK's dwindling supplies of food imports caused by losses to U-boats in the War of the Atlantic.


              Many "allotment societies" are still survive 70 years later, although many modern partners think they are just a male excuse to escape household chores--the "Man in a Shed" syndrome.


              JE comments: Man in a Shed--is that the UK equivalent of the Man Cave?  I'd like to know more about Beano--was he a British superhero?  The name doesn't sound very heroic to American ears.

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              • The Beano: UK Comic Icon (Paul Preston, UK 02/19/17 1:52 PM)

                The Beano wasn't a person. It was the name of the comic whose greatest characters were Dennis the Menace and his dog Gnasher, Minnie the Minx, the Bash Street Kids and Lord Snooty (an early version of David Cameron). All kids who behaved as children were not supposed to in those more repressive days.  The Beano's sister comic was The Dandy, whose emblematic figure was Desperate Dan whose favourite meal was cow pie which involved an entire cow. There was also Korky the Cat who could have been the model for the US cartoon series Top Cat that owed so much to Sergeant Bilko.


                JE comments:  How can I have made it this far without having heard of The Beano?  Launched in 1938, it's the longest-running British weekly comic, recently publishing its 3500th issue.  Wikipedia tells us much, except for how the name came into being.

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              • US Homefront Rationing and Recycling (Henry Levin, USA 02/20/17 4:33 AM)

                I still have some ration books from WWII for meat, coffee, sugar, oil, and so on. I remember our running out of heating oil as a child on one freezing winter day. The Mayor of our town of 1,500 came to our house with a policeman to put a measuring stick in the tank to ensure our integrity before authorizing to fill the tank for a two-bedroom house with 7 freezing inhabitants.


                I also remember the "fat can" (an expression that was often used in a different context) on the counter that we would pour the oils and other residual fats into to be collected with the flattened tin cans and cardboard. Talking of cardboard, we had to put that in the windows at night to block out any light that we were using when there were sirens of alarm for tests of the air raid system. The wardens would be pretty unkind of they saw even a pinpoint of light coming from a house.


                Anyway, I am sure that there are other stories of life in the US during this period. My dad was a very proud American with his grandfather fighting for the Union in the American Civil War. He bought so many bonds that his five children (at the time, a sixth came later) were paraded through the little town in a Jeep with a victory sign. We also had a Victory Garden for plants. Our car was mounted on cinder blocks for the duration of the war. We either walked or took the occasional bus.



                We had close relatives in the UK and knew the deprivations that they experienced while they thought that their American cousins were hardly inconvenienced. We didn't feel inconvenienced because we were at war, but we did have a change in lifestyle.


                JE comments:  Can anyone tell us if the blackout was nationwide in the US, or only coastal?  My parents lived in Delaware during the war, and Hank Levin was in New Jersey.  The beaches in both states are still dotted with grim concrete towers, from which sentries watched for German submarines and invasion parties.


                http://shorebread.com/2013/01/24/the-watch-towers-that-line-the-de-coast-signs-of-world-war-ii/


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          • Dr/Mr/Ms/Professor Usage: Yale, Stanford, Middle East (Edward Jajko, USA 02/18/17 4:21 AM)
            My first professional library position was at Yale University (July 1970-22 December 1982). At Yale, only medical doctors are addressed as "doctor." The normal form of address for all faculty members, regardless of rank, prestige, or whatever, is "Mr," "Mrs," and I assume "Ms" (which for this librarian has its own meaning). Thus I dealt on a regular basis with Mr. Franz Rosenthal, Mr. Judah Goldin, Mr. Geoffrey Hartman, and Mr. Jaroslav Pelikan, all of great scholarly fame and prestige and now all unfortunately departed from this vale of tears, and many others.

            At Stanford, where I worked in the Hoover Institution from January 1983-end August 2002, the custom is to call holders of the doctorate, whatever the discipline (other than those who have the JD degree), "doctor." Those who have professorial appointments may be called "professor." In both institutions I was careful to correct people who called me "doctor," since I never completed my degree, and absolutely corrected people who called me "professor," since at Yale and Stanford both the members of the professoriate and the administration would not have looked kindly on an employee who was seen as arrogating to himself the privilege of the title.


            In Egypt and other Arab countries, "doctor" has been Arabicized for both meanings, academic and medical, with the word "duktoor," fem. "duktoorah." A dentist is "duktoor as-sinaan," doctor of the teeth. In the mid-20th century, Zaki Mubarak, d. 1952, a scholar of Arabic and Islamic literature, was renowned for having earned three doctorates and was widely known as "al-dakaatirah," The Doctors. He was in fact on the way to earning a fourth when he was fatally injured in a car accident.


            In 2000 I needed some medical treatment when I was visiting East Jerusalem, and received it at a Palestinian hospital. I was intrigued by the fact that the nurses addressed the physician by the medieval-sounding title "hakeem" rather than "doctor." On second thought I realized that both terms mean "learned person." But the usage remained piquant.


            JE comments: My memory of Dartmouth in the 1980s was that you called all teachers "Professor," although first names were also common.  Backwoods informality?


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            • Stanford on a First-Name Basis (Henry Levin, USA 02/18/17 7:54 AM)

              I taught at Stanford for 31 years, and was always called Hank by most colleagues and many of the doctoral students. Even neighborhood children in my residential area on campus called me Hank.


              JE comments:  Ever-increasing familiarity is the universal rule, with names as well as dress.  Gentlemen used to never go out in the street without hats and neckties.  Whenever I'm in an airport with Mom, she reminisces about the Good Old Days of dressing up to fly.  Now sneakers, flip-flops, shorts, and/or sweatpants are the norm.


              Let's do a refresher on Prof. Hilton's dress code, 1964:


              "Gentlemen will wear jackets and ties at all formal classes and seminar
              meetings; during weekends and after normal working hours sport shirts
              are permitted.  Overcoats and umbrellas should be left in the closet
              downstairs in the front hall of Bolivar House, or in the closet in
              Alvarado House."


              https://waisworld.org/go.jsp?id=02a&objectType=post&o=83286&objectTypeId=71911&topicId=7509


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              • Attending Italian University in the 1970s (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 02/18/17 3:53 PM)
                In Italy the dress code in universities is not formal, even if it has recovered from past vulgar excesses of 1968. The teachers are called professors.

                When in 1972 I decided to attend the university (History), I had already been a captain for several years on Amoco tankers. I decided to follow my wife's advice: "If you are always reading history books, why don't you attend the university?"


                I did but I could attend only during my vacations from the sea. But on my first day, I almost considered the experience to be worthless.


                I entered the lecture hall for a course titled "History of Political Parties." It was a required course for the degree. Later I found out that it was a brainwashing of the crudest Marxism/Leninism of the time.


                The hall was full, and a guy with an "eskimo" (the red brigade uniform) started to talk. After a while a student shouted: "Speak (of course using the tu) loudly; I can't hear a f-ing thing," and the poor guy obeyed. He was professor Faina, secretly a leader of the famous criminal Red Brigades.


                At the examination, as I was unable to attend class all year, I had to present a discussion of three books. Fortunately for me, the books were on Feminism, a fairly innocuous topic. I did my presentation, and then it was the turn of a female student. She too had not attended and was asked to speak on the books, but she had not read any of them.


                Good old Faina asked if she was a feminist. She confirmed and received my same grade of 30, the maximum except for 30 cum laude, but hers was a political 30.


                Happily, not all professors were like that, especially the older ones. Some were extremely good, but always politically correct. I survived because I was an old guy, almost 40, and my title Comandante was impressive. Furthermore, some of my professors were also fair. One of them, a teacher of American history, an ex-partisan and ex-editor of the Torino edition of the communist newspaper Unità, asked me to become his assistant but I preferred to remain at sea. Moreover, unless I became politically correct it would have been impossible for me to get a professorship--and can you see me being political correct?


                JE comments:  Well, done, Comandante!  I didn't know that Eugenio Battaglia was what we call a non-traditional (older) student.  We have several of them in WAISworld, most of whom had begun their adulthood in military service.  Robert Gibbs and Tim Brown come to mind.  I have great admiration for those who complete their studies despite grown-up responsibilities.  Me?  I've been in school my entire life...and am still waiting to grow up.  (!)

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            • First-Name Informality at US, Spanish Universities (Enrique Torner, USA 02/20/17 3:48 AM)
              At my college (Minnesota State U), except for my colleagues and administration assistants, who call me by my first name, everybody else calls me either doctor or professor. Only rarely will a student address me by Mr, or, even more rarely, by my first name.

              In Spain they are much more formal, and, if you have a doctorate, everybody will address you as doctor. Also, what in the US we call college professor, in Spain is called "catedrático." A university president, in Spanish, is a "rector," not "presidente," as many Spanish students tend to say incorrectly. University colleges, as in the College of Arts and Humanities, are called "Facultades," as in "Facultad de Letras."


              JE comments: "Facultad" is one of the most common false cognates among Anglophone students of Spanish. (The correct collective term for teachers is "profesorado" or "cuerpo docente.")  There are many other faux amis in the education world:  colegio is an elementary school not a college; lectura is a reading not a lecture, while conferencia is a lecture and not a conference.  Notas are grades not notes, which are apuntes.  (Granted, the art of taking notes has largely been lost.  Enrique:  do you find, as I do, that many of your students sit in class without a notebook in front of them, to write down your every word of wisdom?)


              On a similar note (apunte?), Enrique, do you allow your students to use the informal pronoun , or insist on Usted?  I follow the usage at Dartmouth, which is informal, but I have a colleague who requires students to address her as Usted.


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        • JD and LLB Degrees (David Duggan, USA 02/16/17 3:20 PM)

          Earlier, law schools--typically affiliated with a major university--gave LLBs or "Bachelor of Law" degrees (commonly when a BA was not required for matriculation in law school). In 1902, per Wikipedia, the University of Chicago began to give out JDs, but there was resistance at the Eastern Big Three (Harvard-Yale-Columbia) because of the stigma attached because the JD was associated with some of the "night schools" (commonly proprietary schools not affiliated with a "major university") to make their graduates sound more impressive.


          Eventually most of the major law schools gave out JDs, and I have been unable to find any holdout.


          JE comments:  I think WAIS addressed this question some years ago, but didn't Oxford and Cambridge originally reject the PhD or DPhil as a Germanic parvenu degree?  If so, there is a parallel here with the JD/LLB in the United States--the more prestigious institutions granted a lower-ranking degree.  (Not that German Universities weren't prestigious, but they were...German.)

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          • BCL Degree, Oxford (Tom Hashimoto, UK 02/20/17 3:08 AM)
            I would like to add BCL (Oxon) to David Duggan's list of JD and LLB (16 February). The Bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford is a taught master's programme, equivalent to an LLM elsewhere. So, it says "Bachelor" but in fact it is a Master's programme, and it says "Civil Law" but it is a "Common Law" programme.

            Allegedly, it is called "civil" law as opposed to Church/Canon Law. At Oxford, the highest degree (in terms of the order to be presented at the official ceremonies) is Doctor of Divinity, and so, I assume that by contrasting with Canon Law, BCL came under the control of the Department of Law rather than the School of Theology.


            MJur (Magister Juris) is another taught master's programme at Oxford, but it is for students who completed a civil law degree prior to admission. It is an equivalent of MSc/MA, which paves the way to MPhil/DPhil.


            Yes, yes, MPhil/DPhil is another strange degree at Oxford. MPhil is considered as a research degree (as opposed to a taught degree), or mini DPhil. Those who successfully completed an MPhil may proceed to a DPhil, and if they do so, they become the second-year equivalent in DPhil. Those who do not have MPhil (like myself) enter the programme as PRS (Provisional Research Student) before we go through the Transfer of Status exam and become DPhil candidates. Typically, 1-2 years after the ToS, all DPhil candidates have to go through the Confirmation of Status exam, at which we must present roughly half of the written thesis/dissertation.


            JE comments:  Tom, could you tell us about the Oxford distinction between a research and a taught degree?  For the former, does this mean you do not attend actual classes or seminars?

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          • MA vs DPhil at Oxford (Robert Gibbs, USA 02/20/17 3:20 AM)
            My time at Oxford was the late 1960s, when the UK as well as the university were going through some major social changes.

            With all the DPhils being called Doctor, the common lament at the high table seemed to be:


            "Doctor? Doctor? Who are all these Doctors? Why can't they be MAs and gentlemen like the rest of us?"


            As an aside, most of my lecturers and tutors were MAs and wrote great books and accomplished great things but... no PhD/DPhil. One of them was something along the lines of BA Oxon, Failed or Incomplete!


            JE comments: The US "incomplete" equivalent is the ABD (All but Dissertation) degree, which isn't really a degree.  I'm curious about the "failed" part.  In brief, is it common or easy to flunk out of Oxford?  US universities are obsessed with "retention," keeping you in school.  Tim Ashby wrote last week about the Edinburgh MBA program, and how they weeded students out every semester.  What is the culture at Oxford/Oxbridge?

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    • Handgun Laws in DC, Chicago (David Duggan, USA 02/16/17 4:54 AM)
      To address John E's question of February 14th, the original gun rights case, Heller v. DC (2008), stemmed from the blanket prohibition on owning a firearm in the District. Because DC is governed solely by federal law, it took another two years before McDonald v. Chicago extended the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms to the states through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.

      Heller invalidated a DC ordinance forbidding individual ownership of firearms. McDonald did likewise to a Chicago ordinance. In 2011, the Illinois legislature was required by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to create a state-wide concealed carry law (i.e., taking the matter out of local control), which was done by the close of the legislative session in 2012. Shortly after the 2010 McDonald decision I was in City Hall to pay my water bill and asked a police officer where I could apply for my gun permit now that the Supremes had ruled once again against the City's position. He simply walked away.


      I applied for my state-issued Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card (it works wonders when you want to get access to a Chicago high-rise building). No comment on my concealed-carry permit. The 7th Circuit recently invalidated a Chicago ordinance which effectively banned any gun-shops or ranges within the City. I can hardly wait, as now I have to drive for 20 miles to find a range where I can practice the manly art of self-defense.


      JE comments:  Womanly art, too--right, David?  The meme below needs a refresher course on superlatives, but you get the idea.


      With Chicago's murder rate and the present national landscape, handguns must be flying off the shelves in that city.


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  • Sebastian Gorka, Again (Timothy Brown, USA 02/14/17 10:48 AM)
    In response to John E's question, no, I've never personally met Mr (Dr?) Gorka. But I have lectured at JFSOC, Stanford and the IWP.

    Concerning the latter, during my years as faculty at Stanford (via Hoover), UNR and SNC, I was also a Director of the "ten figure corporation" that at the time owned IWP's buildings. I was also an invited speaker and participated in international conferences in Washington, DC (WPA), The Hague (NIIS), Paris (CIAV/AVT), UNAM (Mexico), the Bush Center in Texas and a (particularly scary) meeting in San Antonio of the ten (as I remember) largest law firms in the US on the legal and political aspects of NAFTA, plus a few dozen other events from San Francisco to Washington and Managua. In each case, it was my understanding the prior to inviting me they, in one way or another, checked on my credentials for the simple reason that to my knowledge not one of them would have let me speak had they not been satisfied that I was qualified. (You'll notice that Prof. Hilton checked around before asking me to join WAIS.)


    So, while I personally have no knowledge of whether or not Gorka was similarly checked out, he would not have been authorized to take positions that gave him apparently serious influence within major governmental and/or academic institutions that are serious participants in the national security processes of the US and dozens of other countries, if he were not qualified.


    I have no problem whatsoever with what my fellow WAISers think, say or opine about anyone else, from Trump to Carter, Gorka to Clinton. In fact, being able to read and consider the arguments of my fellow members of WAS is very valuable. But accusing anyone of committing fraud and/or falsifying such things as applications for security clearances without being able to document your accusation is irresponsible. By all means, continue to call people you disagree with, or simply don't like, names. But, asserting they have actually committed crimes without having any supporting evidence demeans not just the object of ones dis-affections, but undermines the image of WAIS itself, and by doing so, also undermines the reputations of its members.


    Put another way, WAIS should be a serious forum within which we can can exchange ideas and information, not just a place where we can attack those with which we disagree or, worse yet, engage in competitive name-calling.


    JE comments:  Point well taken, Tim, but can anyone help us find Gorka's dissertation?  Henry Levin (next) gives us some suggestions.


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