Daily Bread for 4.27.17 – 2017

Good morning.

Whitewater’s Thursday will be rainy with a high of forty-eight. Sunrise is 5:52 AM and sunset 7:51 PM, for 13h 58m 59s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.3% of its visible disk illuminated. Today is the one hundred seventieth day.Days since Trump’s election, with 11.9.16 as the first day.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets today at 5:30 PM.

Ulysses S. Grant is born this day in 1822. On this day in 1963, Dave Brubeck performs at Beloit College.

Recommended for reading in full —

Jacob Carpenter reports that a Milwaukee County Inmate’s dehydration death came after litany of errors, policy violations, ex-2nd-in-command says: “A litany of egregious errors and policy violations preceded the dehydration death of Milwaukee County Jail inmate Terrill Thomas, the jail’s former second-in-command testified Wednesday…. [Former deputy inspector Kevin] Nyklewicz, who has since retired from the sheriff’s office, said jail staff failed on numerous fronts. A lieutenant violated policy by ordering the shutoff of Thomas’ water and failing to document it. Officers never contacted a psychiatric social worker after Thomas stripped off his clothes and shouted incoherently for days. Shift supervisors never intervened after daily required checks of inmates like Thomas in solitary confinement. “I can’t believe that someone would walk through there and not see or not question anything,” Nyklewicz said. Nyklewicz’s testimony followed questioning of other witnesses about another problem in the case: the failure to preserve surveillance video. Jail staff only recovered video showing the second half of Thomas’ weeklong stint on the solitary confinement wing. The missing portion would have shown who shut off Thomas’ water — though other jail staff members have identified who they believe gave the order and who carried it out.”

Charles Lane observes that Trump has set out to protect lumber workers. Instead, he’s helping lobbyists: “Thus did the president renew a trade dispute that has raged intermittently ever since 1982, when the U.S. softwood-lumber industry complained to the Reagan administration about increasing Canadian imports of this key home-building input. Whatever else this struggle has achieved, it has kept a small army of trade associations and law firms fully employed in the nation’s capital. Fighting Canadian lumber “dumping” is the raison d’être of the U.S. Lumber Coalition, founded in 1985 and headquartered — where else? — on K Street. Meanwhile, Canada’s wood products industry has its own Washington legal representatives, retained to draft contentious memorandums for the bureaucrats who adjudicate such matters at the Commerce Department. The average American’s stake in all of this — or the average Canadian’s, for that matter — is considerably less clear than the Trump administration’s rhetoric would imply.”

Jesse Drucker describes Bribe Cases, a Jared Kushner Partner and Potential Conflicts: “For much of the roughly $50 million in down payments [to purchase New York apartment buildings], Mr. Kushner turned to an undisclosed overseas partner. Public records and shell companies shield the investor’s identity. But, it turns out, the money came from a member of Israel’s Steinmetz family, which built a fortune as one of the world’s leading diamond traders. A Kushner Companies spokeswoman and several Steinmetz representatives say Raz Steinmetz, 53, was behind the deals. His uncle, and the family’s most prominent figure, is the billionaire Beny Steinmetz, who is under scrutiny by law enforcement authorities in four countries. In the United States, federal prosecutors are investigating whether representatives of his firm bribed government officials in Guinea to secure a multibillion dollar mining concession. In Israel, Mr. Steinmetz was detained in December and questioned in a bribery and money laundering investigation. In Switzerland and Guinea, prosecutors have conducted similar inquiries.”

Professor Andrew Reynolds, Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, describes Trump’s self-proclaimed terrorism expert’s likely fraudulent credentials:

“[Sebastian Gorka’s] dissertation is online and includes the ‘evaluations’ of three referees who each presented a page of generalized comments – completely at odds with the detailed substantive and methodological evaluations that I’ve seen at every Ph.D defence I’ve been on over the last twenty years.

Two of the three referees did not even have a Ph.D. One was the US Defense Attaché at the American Embassy in Budapest at the time, while the other was employed at the UK’s Defence Academy and just had a BA from Manchester University awarded in 1969. This ‘neutral’ examiner had published a book in Hungary with Gorka three years previously. While graduate students sometimes collaborate with their advisors the independent external examiners must have no nepotistic ties with the candidate. More important, a basic principle of assessing educational achievement is that your examiners have at least the degree level of the degree they are awarding. Undergraduates do not award Ph.Ds. In Gorka’s case the only examiner who lists a doctorate was György Schöpflin – an extreme right wing Hungarian Member of the European Parliament who recently advocated putting pigs heads on a fence on the Hungarian border to keep out Muslims. I have been told that Schöpflin was a family friend. Both Schöpflin and Gorka’s father[s] fled from Budapest to London in the 1950s and both moved in exile right-wing nationalist circles.

If that is true, we are left in sum with a degree that was awarded in absence – on the basis of a dissertation without basic political science methodological underpinnings – and apparently from an examining committee of two of Gorka’s diplomat friends, with only BA degrees; along with an old family friend, Schöpflin.

In sum, Gorka’s Ph.D is about as legitimate as if he had been awarded it by Trump University. Facts matter, but so does the gathering, synthesizing and creation of knowledge that is what we call ‘education.’ If you fake a Ph.D you are faking your credentials. He delivers provable untruths to the American public but is believed by many because he presents himself as an esteemed scholar of Islam. Gorka would never have got away with such hutzpah in the UK. Experience and scholarship work in harness to produce answers to questions. When you have neither experience nor training you are likely to not merely get the answers wrong, but not even have an inkling of which questions to ask.”

Sometimes a lion’s had enough:

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