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January 2018

The College Board Still Can’t See Europe Straight Its standards for the AP European History exam omit vital concepts such as liberty and individual endeavor. By David Randall

David Randall is the director of communications for the National Association of Scholars.

The College Board doesn’t take criticism well. The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has twice called out the College Board for writing progressive propaganda and calling it a standard for an Advanced Placement test — first when we criticized its AP United States History test in 2014, and then when we criticized its AP European History test in 2016 (in a report called “The Disappearing Continent”). Each time, the College Board pretended it had made no mistakes — and then did a shabby job of fixing its errors, in hopes that its critics would go away.

The College Board has a standard procedure in place, which it’s been using to respond to our criticism of the Advanced Placement European History (APEH) standards. First it says nothing is wrong with its exam. Then it silently makes superficial changes — and says the exam is now, as it always has been, perfect. When we find that the exam is still grossly flawed, it repeats that nothing is wrong with its exam. Then, if the public is still asking questions, it makes further silent and superficial changes.

Every silent change the College Board make is an admission of how badly it presents history. Moreover, the board’s surreptitiousness about admitting error — its refusal to acknowledge that it made changes in the first place — confirms that it is not engaged in good-faith efforts at reform.

Frederick M. Hess and Grant Addison have written at NRO to defend the College Board’s most recent silent revision, this time of its APEH standards. Hess and Addison address a few of the criticisms I made in my December 2017 article “Churchill In, Columbus Still Out,” but not my most serious criticisms of the structural flaws of the College Board’s APEH standards.

Above all, the College Board still omits liberty in its outline of AP European History. The very words liberty and freedom are still almost completely absent from its standards, and so is the long struggle for liberty that defines European history. You’ll never learn from the College Board that Michel de Montaigne argued for tolerance, that John Milton championed freedom of speech, or that English lawyers and judges built English liberty upon the common law.

The College Board still omits the entire history of modern Europe’s unique development of the architecture of modern knowledge — every intellectual discipline we use to think about the world, from astronomy to geology in the natural sciences, and from art history to sociology in the humanities and social sciences. You’ll never learn from the College Board that Jean-François Champollion deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics, that Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace pioneered computer science, or that Gregor Mendel discovered modern genetics.

The College Board still omits chance and individual endeavor, telling students that European history is all inevitable social and economic development, which leads inexorably to a secular, well-governed welfare state. If you want to know about the Age of Discovery and Conquest, the College Board will tell you about the compass, the quadrant, and the lateen rig — but not the names of Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, or Francisco Pizarro. If you want to know why Europeans don’t all just settle down to follow directives from bureaucrats in Brussels, the College Board won’t give you a clue.

ISIS Sets Its Sights on Gaza by Bassam Tawil

ISIS is making it clear that it now has its eyes set on the Gaza Strip. By calling on Palestinians to rebel against Hamas, ISIS is hoping to facilitate its mission of infiltrating the Gaza Strip.

Ongoing attempts by ISIS to infiltrate the Palestinian area should worry not only Palestinians, but Israel and Egypt as well.

If ISIS manages to get a toehold in the Gaza Strip, they will be that much closer to Israel’s doorstep, with their jihadis minutes from Israeli towns and cities. For the Egyptians, this means that one day they will have to fight ISIS not only in the Sinai, but also inside the Gaza Strip. The biggest losers, once again: the Palestinians.

There is nothing more delightful than watching two Islamic terror groups fight each other to the death. For several years now, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and ISIS in Sinai have been cooperating with each other, especially in smuggling weapons and terrorists over the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. It was a win-win: Hamas supplied ISIS with terrorists; ISIS supplied Hamas with weapons that were smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

It appears, however, that the honeymoon between the two terror groups is over.

Last week, ISIS published a video documenting the execution of one of its men after he was found guilty of smuggling weapons to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The execution of Musa Abu Zmat, a former Hamas terrorist who fled the Gaza Strip to join ISIS, took place in Sinai.

In the video, the ISIS terrorists accuse Abu Zmat of being an “apostate” for smuggling weapons to Hamas’s armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, in Gaza. They also accuse Abu Zmat of smuggling dozens of people from Al-Arish, in the Sinai, into the Gaza Strip.

The ISIS terrorist who carried out the execution by a single shot to the head has been identified as Mohammed Al-Dajni, who is also from the Gaza Strip but fled to Sinai to join ISIS. Al-Dajni’s father, Abu Rashed, is a senior Hamas official who previously held a top position in the health services in the Gaza Strip.

Another ISIS operative who appeared in the execution video has been identified as Abu Kathem Al-Makdisi. In the video, Al-Makdisi is referred to as a “sharia judge.” He is the one who read out verdict against Abu Zmat before the execution. Al-Makdisi also condemns Hamas in the video and calls on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to join ISIS.

Palestinian sources say that Al-Makdisi’s real name is Hamzeh Al-Zamli, a convicted thief who fled the Gaza Strip several years ago. The sources note that he had been convicted of robbing several businesses in Gaza before he crossed the border to Sinai.

Egypt’s Al-Azhar University: Moderation or Dissimulation? by A. Z. Mohamed

While Al-Azhar’s informational campaign aims to promote “moderate” Islam, reinforce the values of citizenship and coexistence among Egyptians, and counter “deviant fatwas,” a recent study reveals that senior officials at Al-Azhar are still defending and promoting school curricula that contradict tolerance and acceptance of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority.

Al-Azhar officials, it turned out, removed the proposed content encouraging tolerance and acceptance of Christians from the school curricula, and the official who proposed that curricular “reform” was fired.

Why are Al-Azhar’s leaders not fully cooperating with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi? Factors include their extremist Islamic faith, and uncertainty regarding their public image and their popularity if they yield to Sisi’s demands. These reservations seem especially charged in the context of rivalries for religious leadership in Egypt, and signs of support for Al Azhar from the parliament, the media and the public. Possibly even more persuasive is the fear of gradually losing all power and the ability to use taqiyyah when needed if they yield to Sisi’s demands.

Al-Azhar University seemed to have either an ambivalent attitude or a two-faced, taqiyah [dissimulation] one regarding tolerance towards Christians in particular and Islamic moderation in general, according to a report, “Two Faces Of Egypt’s Al-Azhar: Promoting Goodwill, Tolerance Towards Christians In Informational Holiday Campaign – But Refusing To Do The Same In Its School Curricula,” disclosed by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

While Al-Azhar’s informational campaign, “Sharing the Homeland,” aims to promote “moderate” Islam, reinforce the values of citizenship and coexistence among Egyptians, and counter “deviant fatwas,” a recent study published in El-Watan News reveals that senior officials at Al-Azhar are still defending and promoting school curricula that contradict tolerance and acceptance of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority. Al-Azhar officials, it turned out, removed the proposed content encouraging tolerance and acceptance of Christians from the school curricula, and the official who proposed that curricular “reform” was fired.

Dirty College Secrets A record-breaking year for campus insanity. January 10, 2018 Walter Williams

A frequent point I have made in past columns has been about the educational travesty happening on many college campuses. Some people have labeled my observations and concerns as trivial, unimportant and cherry-picking. While the spring semester awaits us, let’s ask ourselves whether we’d like to see repeats of last year’s antics.

An excellent source for college news is Campus Reform, a conservative website operated by the Leadership Institute (https://www.campusreform.org). Its reporters are college students. Here is a tiny sample of last year’s bizarre stories.

Donna Riley, a professor at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education, published an article in the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Engineering Education, positing that academic rigor is a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege.” Riley added that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing.” Would you hire an engineering education graduate who has little mastery of the rigor of engineering? What does Riley’s vision, if actually practiced by her colleagues, do to the worth of degrees in engineering education from Purdue held by female and black students?

Sympathizing with Riley’s vision is Rochelle Gutierrez, a math education professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In her recent book, she says the ability to solve algebra and geometry problems perpetuates “unearned privilege” among whites. Educators must be aware of the “politics that mathematics brings” in society. She thinks that “on many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness.” After all, she adds, “who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White.” What’s worse is that the university’s interim provost, John Wilkin, sanctioned her vision, telling Fox News that Gutierrez is an established and admired scholar who has been published in many peer-reviewed publications. I hope that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s black students don’t have the same admiration and stay away from her classes.

Last February, a California State University, Fullerton professor assaulted a CSUF Republicans member during a demonstration against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. The students identified the assailant as Eric Canin, an anthropology professor. Fortunately, the school had the good sense to later suspend Canin after confirming the allegations through an internal investigation.

EPA Staff to Get Cut in Half Daniel Greenfield

The EPA has probably cost as many American jobs as China. Not to mention driving up the prices of everything. Now it’s the EPA that’s shedding jobs for a change.

The EPA Tuesday provided to Secrets its first year staff results which show that the agency is below levels not seen since former President Reagan’s administration.

And if just those slated to retire by early 2021 leave, Administrator Scott Pruitt and his team will have reduced a staff of nearly 15,000, to below 8,000, or a reduction of 47 percent.

This doesn’t include the fake CIA Global Warming expert whose retirement is taxpayer funded, but is being routed through the penal system.

The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison Wednesday for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job.

He also said he used the time “trying to find ways to fine tune the capitalist system” to discourage companies from damaging the environment. “I spent a lot of time reading on that,” said Beale.

Of course the mass retirements aren’t a done deal yet, but it does look like one of the destroyers of American prosperity will have plenty of time to read about the evils of capitalism. And while it will be at taxpayer expense, EPA operatives will at least be doing less damage when they’re not working for the government.

The swamp’s secrets, lies and media leaks. Daniel Greenfield

How Hillary’s FBI Allies Undermined Trump Before the Election

Peter Strzok wanted some insurance.

The senior FBI figure, who had participated in the Hillary email investigation, interviewed Flynn and had been part of Team Mueller, wasn’t looking to State Farm for his insurance needs.

Chatting with his mistress, an FBI lawyer who worked for Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Strzok worried that Trump might win. “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” he wrote.

“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

It was the summer of an election year. The official odds all favored Hillary. But a failed FISA request had already been made. And the real insurance was still coming. Its policies would include a second successful FISA request, the Steele dossier, the mass unmasking of Trump officials and the Mueller witch hunt. The insurance still hasn’t paid off, but the men and women behind the coup are betting that it will.

By the time October rolled around, the cost of the insurance was still rising. In late October, as Election Day was coming up, Strzok and Page were looking over their own leaks to the media. They discussed the stories in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post that they had allegedly helped shape.

Leaking, not football, is the supreme sport of our nation’s capital. Sabotage and self-promotion are the two reasons that government types leak. And this was clearly sabotage. Election Day was coming up and a top investigation figure was seeding damaging stories about President Trump through the media.

“Article is out, but hidden behind paywall so can’t read it,” Strzok’s mistress texted him.

“Wsj? Boy that was fast. Should I ‘find’ it and tell the team?” he asked.

The team wasn’t aware of what Strzok was up to. And he didn’t want them to find out. Like other anti-Trump operatives, Strzok was playing a complicated double game. He was pretending to conduct fair investigations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, even as he wanted her to win and him to lose.

Donald Trump—the Grownup in the Room on Immigration By Roger L Simon

Donald Trump gets called crazy a lot. Or infantile. Or senile. More than a bit of projection may be operative in these allegations, however. Watching Tuesday’s televised discussion of immigration (video here) with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders, which the president opened to the media, it was hard not to come to an opposite conclusion.

Donald Trump was the real grownup in the room.

Yes, he made occasional jokes, but that’s what grownups do to relax tense situations. To get politicians from both sides of the aisle talking to each other cordially in the current hyper-partisan atmosphere is no easy feat. But Trump did that. He showed himself to be what many of us have thought him to be from the outset, whatever the attendant melodrama — a pragmatic businessman with moderately conservative views, even, dare I say it, sometimes weirdly wise. Above all, he is a man who likes to make progress, who wants to move things forward to a better day while recognizing that there is no perfect. How adult is that.

And, yes, it’s possible this event was arranged to counteract the bad publicity from Michael Wolff’s bilious, factually challenged book, but so what? Basically, Trump (with the help of the cameras) shamed his fellow and gal politicians into civility and evidently cajoled them into at least a partial solution, later, in closed session, to that most intractable of problems – immigration. If Trump were anything like his detractors say he is, he couldn’t have done either. He even urged them on to a more global solution on immigration, reminding the politicians at the table they were closer to that goal than they realized. If that’s crazy, maybe we need more of it.

But what of this partial solution? By its very nature, ideologues of the left and right will not be satisfied. (Are they ever?) Lefties want to solve DACA first and then, once the “Dreamers” have their “pathway to citizenship,” the left promises to deal with border security and such things as chain migration and the trendily named Diversity Visa Lottery later. Of course, that’s nonsense. They have no intention of doing anything to mitigate the latter two and to the former they will only pay lip service.

Every politician in the room knew that and so, of course, did Trump. He made sure it didn’t happen.

On the right, Anne Coulter and others of her ilk will doubtless be disappointed, to put it mildly, that an impregnable border wall will not immediately be erected across the entire Southern border and all eleven million illegal aliens summarily ejected from our country. They will claim Trump promised this during the campaign, and he did at moments, but if you were listening carefully, you knew where he was ultimately going — he hinted at it and more many times — compromise.

Hungary’s PM: Migrants Aren’t Refugees, but Muslim Invaders By Michael van der Galien

In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that the “the migrant crisis” is, in effect, “an invasion.”

When asked by Bild why Hungary hasn’t deemed itself able to welcome two thousand refugees while Germany has let in two million of them, Orban answered: “[T]he difference is: you want those migrants. We do not. We do our job by closing the Schengen-border with Serbia. Doing so has cost us one billion euros since 2015 and Brussels pays us nothing for it.”

“The solution to this problem isn’t to divide people who are illegally in the EU among EU member states. We believe that we have to solve the root of the problem instead of bringing these immigrants here [Europe],” the prime minister continued.

“We do not consider these people as Muslim refugees. We consider them as Muslim invaders. To travel to Hungary from Syria they have to cross through four other countries that are, although not as rich as Germany, certainly stable. They don’t flee for their lives. This proves that they are economic migrants seeking a better life,” Orban concluded.

Bild then asked Orban whether this makes those migrants inferior in some way. “If someone wants to come to your home,” the PM answered, “then he knocks on the door and asks: ‘Can we come in, can we stay?’ They did not do that. Instead, they broke through the border illegally. That was not a wave of refugees, that was an invasion.”

He then lashed out at Germany for welcoming these illegals. “I have never understood how in a country like Germany — which we see as the best example of discipline and the rule of law — chaos, anarchy and the illegal crossing of borders can be celebrated,” Orban declared.

Orban then continued to blame Germany’s political leaders (rightfully) for the refugee crisis. “Although the refugee crisis is a European problem,” he explained, “sociologically it is a German problem. When your government addressed the EU refugee quota [the EU wants every country to welcome a specific amount of refugees], why did the Portuguese prime minister cry out: ‘Welcome!’? Because not one single refugee actually wants to go to Portugal. They all want to go to Germany. The reason why these people are in your country isn’t that they’re refugees, but that they want to experience the German way of life.”

Iran and Daesh Lite in North America By Rachel Ehrenfeld

Recent mass demonstrations in Iran, and the government’s violent crackdown has been met with a deafening silence by Muslim “civil rights” organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Why have they refrained from supporting the Iranian people’s uprising to overthrow the oppressive mullahs? After all, the same organizations have vocally and financially supported the mass demonstrations in the Middle East and North Africa that erupted in December 2010 and led to the rise of Egypt’s short-lived Muslim Brotherhood government and caused turmoil and destabilized these regions.

American and Canadian Muslim organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the U.S. and Canada, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) in the U.S. and Canada, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) (including its Canadian branch), share the similar agenda and boards and serve as umbrellas to many smaller associations and community-based groups. Their charities aim to expand the implementation of their agenda, and a few of them have been identified as unindicted co-conspirator in Islamist terrorist financing trials in the U.S. Their common mission: dedication to “da’wah” (proselytization), building “an Islamic way of life in North America[, and] commitment to Islam as a total way of life” by practicing sharia (Islamic law). This desire to impose any version of Islam on society to establish global Islamic theocracy via political activism, has been accurately described by Prof. Clive Kessler as “political Islam” or “ISIS/Daesh lite.”

Political Islam has been successfully enforced by the mullahs in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Over the years, they have increased their efforts to enforce and spread political Islam everywhere. Their efforts did not stop with Shite groups; rather, they extended especially to Sunni Muslim Brotherhood offshoots such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and al-Qaeda. Not surprisingly, the first foreign trip of Egypt’s now deposed Muslim Brother president, Mohammed Morsi, was to visit Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood’s short-lived government (June 2012-July 2013) has failed because the Egyptian people rejected its oppression early on.

The ousting of the M.B. government was followed with banning its activities in Egypt and later in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Syria. But by then, the global Brotherhood’s movement has been well entrenched in the West, where their activities are not limited and often encouraged. The leaders of the Islamist movement have doubled their efforts to spread and whenever possible, to enforce political Islam on Muslims and infidels alike.

Winter Weather Climate Spin Contradicts Science By Julie Kelly

Climate-change spinmeisters have been in overdrive since late December, hustling to explain how this spate of treacherous, winter weather is all due to global warming…just like they told us. (No doubt, the next thaw or blizzard will be mankind’s fault, too.) But their avowals mostly contradict scientific fact—including facts they have affirmed in reports they helped write themselves—not to mention current weather trends.

On January 4, as a “bomb cyclone” savaged the eastern seaboard, Al Gore tweeted this:

Al Gore
✔ @algore It’s bitter cold in parts of the US, but climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann explains that’s exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis. http://ow.ly/Gdm230hAFv4

Gore, who oddly didn’t include clips of massive snowstorms and record-breaking cold temperatures in his films or paid lectures about global warming, linked to an article written by Michael Mann, a Penn State University scientist, author of the infamous “hockey stick” graph, and the media’s favorite climate mouthpiece.

In his customary, humble fashion, Mann appropriates the two-week stretch of brutal weather as evidence of exactly what he’s been saying all along: “Listening to climate contrarians like President Donald Trump, you might think this constitutes the death knell for concern over human-caused climate change. Yet, what we were witnessing play out is in fact very much consistent with our expectations of the response of weather dynamics to human-caused climate change.” The professor then throws in some maps and graphs to purportedly boost his claim, and concludes with, “so, to the climate change doubters and deniers out there, the unusual weather we’re seeing this winter is in no way evidence against climate change. It is an example of precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.”