an important fact Bernie Sanders fails to
tell you when he advocates taxing Wall Street transactions to pay for free
college in the USA. What he never tells you is that Wall Street will not pay
those taxes. Those transactions taxes will be passed along to hundreds of
millions of Main Street pension and other investors in the USA and in other
countries whose investors invest in Wall Street traded stocks and bonds. For
example, professor's TIAA-CREF balances will take a big hit every year.
This $14-billion (French) machine is
set to usher in a new era of nuclear fusion power ---
Scientists in Germany switched on a
new kind of nuclear reactor, the latest experiment in the quest to produce
clean, sustainable power from controlled nuclear fusion ---
It will give me great joy the day fusion power renders bird-killing wind
power turbines obsolete.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch vs. Scalia: A
Liberal Daily Newspaper Trashes Conservatism ---
Liberal bias in academe and the media ---
"The Myth of Mass Incarceration: Violent crime, not
drugs, has driven imprisonment. And drug offenses usually are for dealing, not
using," by Barry Latzer, The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2016
. . .
Unquestionably, in the last decades of the
20th century more defendants than ever were sentenced to prison. But this
was a direct result of changes in policy to cope with the escalation in
violent crime. In the 1980s, after well over a decade of soaring crime,
state incarceration rates jumped 107%.
When crime began to drop in the mid-1990s,
so did the rise in incarceration rates. From 2000 to 2010, they increased a
negligible 0.65%, and since 2005 they have been declining steadily, except
for a slight uptick in 2013. The estimated 1.5 million prisoners at year-end
2014 is the smallest total prison population in the U.S. since 2005.
Those who talk of “mass incarceration”
often blame the stiff drug sentences enacted during the crack-cocaine era,
the late 1980s and early ’90s. But what pushed up incarceration rates,
beginning in the mid-1970s, was primarily violent crime, not drug offenses.
The percentage of state prisoners in for
drug violations peaked at only 22% in 1990. Further, drug convictions
“explain only about 20% of prison growth since 1980,” according to a 2012
article by Fordham law professor John Pfaff, published in the Harvard
Journal on Legislation.
Relatively few prisoners today are locked
up for drug offenses. At the end of 2013 the state prison population was
about 1.3 million. Fifty-three percent were serving time for violent crimes
such as murder, robbery, rape or aggravated assault, according to the BJS.
Nineteen percent were in for property crimes such as burglary, car theft or
fraud. Another 11% had been convicted of weapons offenses, drunken driving
or other public-order violations.
That leaves about 16%, or 208,000 people,
incarcerated for drug crimes. Of those, less than a quarter were in for mere
possession. The rest were in for trafficking and other crimes. Critics of
“mass incarceration” often point to the federal prisons, where half of
inmates, or about 96,000 people, are drug offenders. But 99.5% of them are
traffickers. The notion that prisons are filled with young pot smokers,
harmless victims of aggressive prosecution, is patently false.
The other line of attack is that the
criminal justice system is racist because blacks are disproportionately
imprisoned. About 35% of all prisoners, state and federal, are
African-American, while blacks comprise about 13% of the U.S. population.
But any explanation of this disparity must take blacks’ higher rates of
offending into account.
From 1976 to 1995, blacks were identified
by police as the perpetrators in more than half of homicides, according to
FBI data compiled by the BJS. During this same period, individuals
interviewed for the national crime-victim survey described robbery
perpetrators as black more than 60% of the time. While the rate of black
violent crime fell dramatically after the mid-1990s, it remains disturbingly
high. From 2000 to 2014, African-Americans were murdered eight times as
often as whites per capita, nearly always as a result of black-on-black
Such serious crimes are still the main
driver of African-American incarceration. The latest BJS figures, from the
end of 2013, show that 57% of blacks in state prison were convicted of
violent crimes. Only 16% were in for drug crimes. Those numbers nearly match
the figures for the state prison population overall.
Nor have blacks always served longer
sentences than whites once incarcerated. In 1993, at the peak of the prison
buildup, blacks and whites in state prison served identical terms, a median
12 months, for all offenses. For drug crimes, whites actually served
slightly more time than blacks, 12 months to 11 months.
A growing consensus now supports making
the criminal-justice system less punitive. But prison rates won’t drop
dramatically unless serious crime declines further, which is unlikely. It
certainly didn’t happen in 2015, when homicides in the 50 largest U.S.
cities increased 17%. Nor are racial disparities likely to diminish so long
as African-Americans commit a disproportionate number of violent crimes.
Mr. Latzer, an emeritus professor of criminal justice
at the City University of New York, is the author of “The Rise and Fall of
Violent Crime in America” (Encounter Books, 2016).
CNBC: Fannie Mae
at risk of needing a bailout ---
Fannie Mae, the
state-sponsored U.S. mortgage backer, is at risk
of needing a government bailout that could shake
confidence in the housing finance market, senior
officials have warned.
chief executive and its regulator are sounding
the alarm on a decline in the institution's
capital cushion, which is on course to vanish in
2018, when it would have to ask the US Treasury
for emergency funds.
highlight Washington's inaction on housing
policy and its failure to reform the
institution, which guarantees nearly $3 trillion
of securities and enables 30-year fixed rate
loans, following the last financial crisis.
Fannie Mae has been in the post-crisis limbo of
state-sponsored "conservatorship," neither fully
nationalized nor private, following several
unsuccessful attempts by Congress to overhaul
government does not let Fannie Mae retain
profits, Tim Mayopoulos, its chief executive,
told the Financial Times on Friday that its
capital buffer, which has dwindled from $30
billion before the crisis to $1.2 billion today,
was on track to disappear by January 2018.
Continued in article
The fact that mortgages (many fraudulent) sold on Main Street could be sold
upstream to Fannie Mae and Freddie mack was the major cause of the economic
meltdown of 2008 ---
"Gordon and Bud Did It. Did You? Insider Trading Gets a
Rethink," by Neil Weinberg and Patricia Hurtado, Bloomberg, February
16, 2016 ---
Insider trading used to seem so simple.
Pass a tip: “Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott
Make a killing: “It’s all about the bucks,
And, just maybe, get busted: “At that
moment, man finds his character.”
That, anyway, is the Hollywood version,
circa 1987, in “Wall Street.”
On the real Wall Street, insider trading
has rarely been that clear. And now, the prickly legal questions around it
-- questions that have been around since the days of Gordon and Bud -- could
get even thornier.
Almost three decades after the film, and
seven years after the start of another dragnet that ensnared dozens, the
U.S. Supreme Court is poised to take up the issue in a case involving
But before that happens, Judge Jed S.
Rakoff -- who wrote the opinion headed to the Supreme Court -- is getting
another chance to weigh in.
This week, Rakoff, a Manhattan federal
court judge, is set to preside over a case that highlights a question that
has many traders on edge: Just what is insider trading anyway? The answer
might seem simple, but it’s not and never has been.
Part of insider trading requires that
tippers, or people who pass inside information, get a “benefit.” After a
pair of appeals court rulings since December 2014, it’s now unclear what
counts as a benefit. Cash? Yes. Career advice. No. But say the tipper and
the trader are just brothers-in-law and no money is exchanged. Or roommates
who occasionally share secrets. Is that insider trading?
That’s what this trial is about.
Tuesday’s case was brought by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission against two brokers, and it centers on a
merger tip passed from one roommate to another. The tip was about a billion
dollar deal that made its way to the two brokers now on trial.
According to the SEC, a lawyer who worked
at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP told his friend, a stock trader, about
International Business Machine’s acquisition of SPSS Inc. in 2009. The
friend in turn bought shares in SPSS and told his roommate, who then tipped
broker Daryl Payton and two colleagues. One of those brokers told another
colleague, Benjamin Durant.
Rakoff said in rulings last year that the
SEC may have a case against Payton and Durant, who are on trial. The
evidence may well show that the tips were swapped in exchange for “past and
prospective services rendered” by one roommate to the other. If the jury
agrees, that would be enough to establish the benefit required under
insider-trading law, he said.
“They together ate dinner, drank beers,
played video games, watched TV, used drugs and discussed their respective
days, current events and personal details of their lives,” Rakoff said,
summarizing the SEC’s claims. One roommate “took the lead in organizing and
paying shared expenses, and resolving problems at the apartment.”
Lawyers for Payton and Durant are expected
to argue that the tip to the roommate didn’t include a benefit -- so neither
that, nor anything that followed, was insider trading. The lawyers say the
roommates didn’t have a close relationship; they lived together for only
nine months, didn’t share details about one another’s work, and hadn’t met
one another’s families or friends. Payton and Durant knew even less about
the roommates’ relationship, their lawyers say.
Hoary legal definitions -- in fact, no
single U.S. statute covers insider trading -- have complicated the issue for
years, as have different views from different global jurisdictions. Pretty
much everyone is confused, from traders, to prosecutors to corporate
“It’s a scary world when nobody knows how
to conduct themselves,” said Jeffrey Robertson, a Washington-based lawyer
who represents clients in securities litigation. “Obviously, it’s a state of
It’s so confusing, in fact, that Payton
and Durant were criminally charged with insider trading, only to see those
cases dismissed after a federal appeals court changed the law in December
The Supreme Court may at last provide
guidance. Last month, it agreed to review a case from California in which
Rakoff -- who was sitting on the appeals court there as a visiting jurist --
wrote an opinion on benefit that was favorable to prosecutors.
Continued in article
In my opinion, the more insider traders get away with exploiting private
information the more investors will abandon the market. It's as simple as that.
To protect the market you have to both discourage and punish insider trading
even if its an accidental mistake.
Bob Jensen's Fraud Updates ---
"The Young and the Economically Clueless: Millennials
are flocking to Sanders, and in the GOP they favor Trump. Why are young people
voting against their own interests?," by Daniel J. Arbess, The Wall
Street Journal, February 19, 2016 ---
. . .
The college graduate living in his
parents’ basement and working a marginal job to service a student loan is by
now an archetype of the Obama era. And while the headline unemployment
numbers are down, and the administration congratulates itself on a tepid
“recovery” that was almost exclusively dependent on Fed-engineered
financial-asset inflation, there is every reason to be skeptical about the
health of the labor market. The labor-participation rate languishes at its
lowest level in 40 years, and credit creation, government and private
investment aren’t faring much better.
Both Democrats and some Republicans keep
blaming it all on “Wall Street” (Bernie Sanders’s all-purpose boogeyman) for
“getting away with murder” (Donald Trump on hedge funds). Don’t they realize
that the financial markets are the lubricant of the entire economy—that Wall
Street’s capacity to provide liquidity and to broker capital is the
lifeblood of American companies? History will probably judge the misguided
post-crisis regulations like Dodd-Frank and retribution against Wall Street
to have sown the seeds of the next financial crisis. For now, the
vilification of Wall Street in the presidential campaign is irresponsible.
The sluggish growth of jobs and the
economy has a lot more to do with the transitioning from American
manufacturing and services to information technology than with the 2008
financial crisis and its supposed perpetrators. And the Fed alone can’t do
much more to promote its employment-and-inflation mandates.
Why? Because the economy is facing complex
structural headwinds for both: Artificial intelligence and self-learning
algorithms are efficiency-creating and cost-reducing, and soon they will be
displacing service professionals and Ph.Ds just as they have factory
workers. The Bank of England projects that 45% of jobs done by people in the
U.K. will eventually be performed by robots. ArkInvest expects the U.S. to
shed 75 million jobs in the next two decades.
And yes, the new tech-economy wealth is
increasingly concentrating in the hands of relatively few innovators and
financiers, leaving the middle class and its consumer demand lagging behind.
What is the appropriate role of government in redressing this?
Why wouldn’t young voters want “free
stuff” paid for by the rich, as the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton
narrative promises? Because the no-free-lunch axiom is still true: Mr.
Sanders’s socialized education, health care and other policies would cost up
to $20 trillion, according to analysts, requiring tax collections to
increase up to 47%. And have we not at least learned from the collapse and
dismantling of socialism over the past quarter century that governments lack
the incentives and resources to effectively allocate and manage capital in
the microeconomy? The eldest of the millennials were in elementary school
when the Soviet Union collapsed, so they might be forgiven for their
unfamiliarity with the failure of socialist economics. But Bernie Sanders
was the mayor of Burlington, Vt., and Hillary Clinton the first lady of
Arkansas—what’s their excuse for revanchist economics?
The economic culture of the U.S. is
different than that of any country in the world. Americans have always
admired each other’s economic success and striven for the chance to achieve
it for themselves—by building, not taking the wealth from their neighbors’
pockets. Donald Trump is unabashedly proud of his success—no wonder he’s so
popular. As a political leader, though, he needs to up his economic game
quickly from “There’s going to be a bubble popping” and “Nobody can solve it
Real solutions demand real leadership, not
polarizing Twitter -length rhetoric. An America-appropriate policy response
to the inequality challenge needs to be focused on equalizing opportunities,
not outcomes. At the very least, removing barriers to social mobility will
require tax, regulatory and educational reforms to give people the
qualifications and liberty to improve their lives in the new economy.
At this point in the presidential
campaign, all the ideas for stimulating growth are coming from the
Republican side: Marco Rubio has discussed the transformational challenges
of the tech economy, and he has proposed alternatives to traditional
campus-based higher education (online college and flexible vocational
training); innovative student-loan programs; and corporate tax and
regulatory reforms. Jeb Bush and John Kasich are also reform-minded,
including promoting initiatives to ease the burden on small businesses that
power job growth.
Yet millennials, who would most benefit
from a real economic recovery, replacing the false one of the past several
years, so far seem intent on voting against their interests. There is still
hope. We’re moving past the peak of the “authenticity” phase of the campaign
cycle, when voters unfamiliar with the field of candidates are initially
drawn simply to candidates who seem willing to bluntly speak their minds.
John Kasich’s strong performance in New Hampshire might herald the
transition to a more constructive phase, when voters—including millennials—are
readier to listen to a more nuanced, realistic economic message. If not,
today’s young voters may not like the world they inherit, and members of the
aging generation risk eventually finding themselves short of the Social
Security benefits they thought they had coming.
Mr. Arbess, the founder of Xerion Investments, is a
member of the Council on Foreign Relations and co-founder of No Labels,
promoting political bipartisanship.
"Bernie and the ‘Lunatic
of One Idea’;" The dangers of monomania, from Freud’s belief that sex ran
everything to Sanders’s ‘Wall Street’ obsession,"
by Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal,
February 15, 2016 ---
In his poem “Esthétique du Mal,” Wallace
Stevens refers, in a memorable and useful phrase, to a “lunatic of one
idea.” The phrase refuses to leave my mind whenever I hear Bernie
Sanders—and I have heard quite a lot of him in past weeks—campaigning or
debating or making, most recently, victory speeches. Mr. Sanders’s one idea
is what he takes to be the stark economic injustice of too few people having
too much money, and through the power of their money having tilted American
life in a way that is vastly unfair, unjust, flat-out morally wrong. He has
repeated this one idea so often, and with such ardor in its expression, as
to make Johnny One-Note look like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Mr. Sanders’s synecdoche for his idea is
Wall Street. Everything wrong with American life can be charged up, in his
telling, to a small neighborhood in lower Manhattan. Something old-fashioned
there is about blaming Wall Street for all the country’s deficiencies. But,
then, lunatics of one idea, basking in the pleasure of Manichaeism, like to
focus all their enmity on one target.
For the old American Communist Party this
enemy was “the bosses.” But a street with a symbolic name is even better.
Wall Street was viewed as villainous long before Mr. Sanders. For a span it
was replaced by Madison Avenue, understood as a hive of hucksters inflaming
our desires for things we didn’t need. Bernie Sanders has now brought back
Wall Street, with as he claims its big-money ability to rig elections and
hence destroy all possibility of the good society that socialism, left to
its own inner devices, would surely achieve. One idea, and one idea only; it
isn’t that complicated.
Lunatics of one idea have been immensely
influential, though it is far from certain that this influence has been
beneficial. Think of Karl Marx, whose one idea—not so far removed from Mr.
Sanders’s—was the class struggle. This is an idea that ended in the
formation of the Soviet Union and seven decades of pointless suppression,
suffering and murder on a scale never before known.
Think of Sigmund Freud, whose one idea was
that sex is at the absolute center of human existence, eclipsing all else in
its importance for the development of human character. This is an idea that
has skewed thinking about human nature for more than a century, and, even
though Freud’s thought is now no longer assigned intellectual
respectability, the hangover from it continues nonetheless to influence
Western culture. One idea—that’s all that it takes.
Being a one-idea lunatic makes life a lot
simpler. For one thing, it permits one to eliminate any interfering
complexity from the intrusion of other or contradictory ideas, not to
mention common sense. The one idea—class struggle, sexual determinism, evil
Wall Street, vile Madison Avenue—becomes talismanic. Merely utter the words
in which the idea is encased and all becomes plain: inner meaning, outward
significance, morality, plan of action. That the one idea may not comport
with reality is beside the point. As the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y
Gasset said, create a concept and reality leaves the room. But let that
More interesting than Bernie Sanders’s
threadbare idea is how it has caught on with the young. In generous
readings, is it their idealism that puts the young on his side? Is it his
relentless moralizing that attracts them? Mr. Sanders is, as they say in
social psychology, a contrast gainer—next to Hillary Clinton, with all her
cumbersome political baggage (all of it Louis Vuitton, of course), he looks
good. Yet when he utters his mantra at large gatherings, “Are you ready for
a political revolution?” one wonders: Does this generation that has grown up
with a greater sense of entitlement and protection than any other in history
really want the revolution Mr. Sanders is selling? Can they have so little
sense of the past not to know that the promise of socialism—“democratic
socialism,” the senator would interject here—has ended up in gulags and
brutal cultural upheaval?
Continued in article
Anti-Israel sentiment mixed with age-old
anti-Semitism has reached a fever pitch at Vassar College. It is time that
faculty and administrators take a stand against this toxic brew on behalf of
Mark G. Yudof and Ken Waltzer ---
Anti-Israel sentiment mixed with age-old
anti-Semitism has reached a fever pitch at Vassar College. It is time that
faculty and administrators take a stand against this toxic brew on behalf of
The campus of this private liberal-arts college in
Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has experienced more than its share of anti-Israel
activity. In the spring of 2014, the boycott of a course in the
International Studies Program—because it involved a trip to Israel—included
heckling students and picketing the class. During the fall of 2015, attempts
were made to boycott Sabra hummus because the maker of this popular food is
partly owned by an Israeli food company.
The most recent incident was a talk on Feb. 3 by Jasbir Puar, a Rutgers associate professor of women’s and gender studies. The
address, “Inhumanist Biopolitics: How Palestine Matters,” was sponsored by
eight Vassar departments and programs, including Jewish Studies and American
Ms. Puar began by exhorting the students to support
a boycott of Israel as part of “armed” resistance. As reported by several in
attendance at the speech—the professor introducing her requested that it not
be recorded—Ms. Puar
passed on vicious lies that Israel had “mined for
organs for scientific research” from dead Palestinians—updating the medieval
blood libel against Jews—and accused Israelis of attempting to give
Palestinians the “bare minimum for survival” as part of a medical
When asked, she agreed with a questioner that
Israeli treatment of Palestinians amounted to genocide but objected to the
term itself, which she
said was too
“tethered to the Holocaust.”
Ms. Puar’s speech was co-sponsored by the Jewish
Studies Program, yet faculty members of the program remained silent in the
audience during the event. This is a testament to the spell that anti-Israel
dogma, no matter its veracity, has spread over the campus.
Wild charges against Israel have often been aired
on U.S. campuses over the past several years, and their moral perversity
pointed out. But Ms. Puar’s calumnies reached a new low. She spoke of Jews
deliberately starving Palestinians, “stunting” and “maiming” a population.
The false accusation that a people, some of whose members were experimented
on at Auschwitz, are today experimenting on others is a disgrace.
Yet characterizing Israel and Zionism in ways that
anti-Semites formerly characterized Jews has become a stock in trade among
anti-Israeli activists on college campuses. And it exposes the real
motivation of those who profess to criticize only the Israeli government’s
policies with regard to the West Bank, not Jews themselves.
Now there is a
resolution before the Vassar student union, in
part seeking a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s, on the grounds that the
company—founded by two Jews—sells ice-cream “transported on Jewish-only
roads to be sold in Jewish-only settlements.” This is part of a broader
divest-from-Israel resolution to be voted on this spring, which also
includes other U.S. companies.
These events are transforming a prestigious
institution into a parody ripe for ridicule—a place embarrassing to
prominent alumni and worrisome for prospective Jewish students.
In January 2014, Vassar President Catharine Bond Hill forthrightly
rejected the boycotts of Israel that were being
proposed by a variety of academic associations. This time her
response—posting a letter in the alumni magazine defending the college’s
reputation and stating that some may have found Ms. Puar’s talk
“objectionable”—is too tepid.
She did add that Vassar will organize a series of
lectures with different viewpoints on Israel. But we think her letter should
be addressed to students and faculty—and that hatred of Israel and Jews
should not implicitly be characterized as merely another perspective to be
The Best and Worst
States for Business ---
The best states for business are not all red (conservative, low-tax) states as
evidenced by IBM's recent headquarters move to Boston. The least friendly states
for business growth are mostly in the south with the exception of Hawaii, New
Mexico, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. You would think that the states near
the bottom would do more to retain and attract businesses. Some are really
hurting from the highest proportions of unfunded pensions for state workers.
Williams College President Calls Off Speech by
Controversial Conservative Writer ---
"The End of History, Part II: The new Advanced Placement
U.S. history exam focuses on oppression, group identity and Reagan the warmonger,"
by Lynn V. Cheney, The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2015 ---
If you seek peace, if you seek
prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek
liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr.
Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
—President Ronald Reagan, speech at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin,
President Reagan’s challenge to Soviet
Premier Mikhail Gorbachev remains one of the most dramatic calls for freedom
in our time. Thus I was heartened to find a passage from Reagan’s speech on
the sample of the new Advanced Placement U.S. history exam that students
will take for the first time in May. It seemed for a moment that students
would be encouraged to learn about positive aspects of our past rather than
be directed to focus on the negative, as happens all too often.
But when I looked closer to see the
purpose for which the quotation was used, I found that it is held up as an
example of “increased assertiveness and bellicosity” on the part of the U.S.
in the 1980s. That’s the answer to a multiple-choice question about what
Reagan’s speech reflects.
No notice is taken of the connection the
president made between freedom and human flourishing, no attention to the
fact that within 2½ years of the speech, people were chipping off pieces of
the Berlin Wall as souvenirs. Instead of acknowledging important ideas and
historical context, test makers have reduced President Reagan’s most
eloquent moment to warmongering.
The AP U.S. history exam matters. Half a
million of the nation’s best and brightest high-school students will take it
this year, hoping to use it to earn college credit and to polish their
applications to competitive colleges. To score well on the exam, students
have to learn what the College Board, a private organization that creates
the exam, wants them to know.
No one worried much about the College
Board having this de facto power over curriculum until that organization
released a detailed framework—for courses beginning last year—on which the
Advanced Placement tests on U.S. history will be based from 2015 onward.
When educators, academics and other concerned citizens realized how many
notable figures were missing and how negative was the view of American
history presented, they spoke out forcefully. The response of the College
Board was to release the sample exam that features Ronald Reagan as a
It doesn’t stop there. On the
multiple-choice part of the sample exam, there are 18 sections, and eight of
them take up the oppression of women, blacks and immigrants. Knowing about
the experiences of these groups is important—but truth requires that
accomplishment be recognized as well as oppression, and the exam doesn’t
have questions on subjects such as the transforming leadership of Martin
Luther King Jr.
The framework requires that all questions
take up sweeping issues, such as “group identity,” which leaves little place
for transcendent individuals. Men and women who were once studied as
inspirational figures have become examples of trends, and usually not
uplifting ones. The immigrant story that the exam tells is of oppressed
people escaping to America only to find more oppression. That many came
seeking the Promised Land—and found it here—is no longer part of the
Critics have noted that Benjamin Franklin
is absent from the new AP U.S. history framework, and perhaps in response,
the College Board put a quotation from Franklin atop the sample exam. Yet
not one of the questions that were asked about the quotation has to do with
Franklin. They are about George Whitefield, an evangelist whom Franklin
described in the quote. This odd deflection makes sense in the new test,
considering that Franklin was a self-made man, whose rise from rags to
riches would have been possible only in America—an example of the
exceptionalism that doesn’t fit the worldview that pervades the AP framework
and sample exam.
Evangelist Whitefield, an Irishman who
preached in the colonies, was a key figure in the Great Awakening, an
evangelical revival that began in the 1730s. Here, however, he is held up as
an example of “trans-Atlantic exchanges,” which seems completely out of left
field until one realizes that the underlying notion is that we need to stop
thinking nationally and think globally. Our history is simply part of a
Aside from a section about mobilizing
women to serve in the workforce, the sample exam has nothing to say about
World War II, the conflict in which the U.S. liberated millions of people
and ended one of the most evil regimes in the history of the world. The
heroic acts of the men who landed on Omaha Beach and lifted the flag on Iwo
Jima are ignored. The wartime experiences that the new framework prefers are
those raising “questions about American values,” such as “the internment of
Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and
segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb.”
Why would the College Board respond to
criticism by putting out a sample exam that proves the critics’ point?
Perhaps it is a case of those on the left being so confirmed in their biases
that they no longer notice them. Or maybe the College Board doesn’t care
what others think.
Some states are trying to get its
attention. The Texas State Board of Education, noting that the AP U.S.
history framework is incompatible with that state’s standards, has formally
requested that the College Board do a rewrite. The Georgia Senate has passed
a resolution to encourage competition for the College Board’s AP program. If
anything brings a change, it is likely to be such pressure from the states,
which provide the College Board with substantial revenue.
Some 20 years ago, as chairman of the
National Endowment for the Humanities, I made a grant to a group to create
voluntary standards for U.S. history. When the project was finished, I had
standards on my hands that were overwhelmingly negative about the American
story, so biased that I felt obliged to condemn them in an
for The Wall Street Journal called “The End of History.”
I learned an important lesson, one worth
repeating today. The curriculum shouldn’t be farmed out, not to the federal
government and not to private groups. It should stay in the hands of the
people who are constitutionally responsible for it: the citizens of each
Mrs. Cheney, a senior fellow at the American
Enterprise Institute, writes about history. Her most recent book is “James
Madison: A Life Reconsidered” (Viking, 2014).
I recall when I was living in Texas that the history textbook required in all
public schools in Texas claimed the USA dropped an atomic bomb on North Koreans
during the Korean War. So much for truth in academe. Even North Korea does not
make this absurd claim.
Liberal Bias in the Media and Academe ---