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The Secret Side of Facebook

By Ralph l. Defalco III

In 2021, Facebook insiders began to leak internal documents that revealed the company’s executives knew its platform was being widely misused. Pornographers, human traffickers, pedophiles, drug cartels, and other unscrupulous users found a home on Facebook. Yet, time and time again, Facebook executives chose to ignore or minimize these problems.

The leaks, however, became the source for a series of articles by The Wall Street Journal investigative journalist and tech reporter Jeff Horwitz. His exposé—tied to the revelations of a whistleblower who eventually went public—prompted other media outlets to begin releasing The Facebook Papers with damning details of widespread abuse of the platform.

Horwitz’s new book, Broken Code: Inside Facebook and the Fight to Expose Its Harmful Secrets, is a behind-the-scenes look at Facebook. The author explores the company’s failed content quality enforcement systems, its role in promoting political zealotry and violence, the negative and even crippling effects of widespread use of social media, and the special treatment afforded celebrities, politicians, and VIPS. Broken Code includes the insights from dozens of Facebook employees who spoke both on and off the record to explain the efforts they made to rein in the worst abuses only to see their work ignored, sidetracked, watered down, and marginalized.

The North Star Metric

From its inception, Facebook and its associated platforms, WhatsApp and Instagram, were measured by one overarching metric: how often, on average, people used the platforms. “Daily Average People” (DAP) was the company’s “North Star,” and that oversimplified metric became, the author explains, an insidious trap for corporate decision-makers. “Making decisions based on metrics alone, without carefully studying the effects on humans, was reckless,” Horwitz writes. “But doing it on average metrics was downright stupid. … In the interest of expediency, Facebook’s core metrics were all based on aggregate usage.”

Horwitz makes it a point throughout Broken Code to amplify the difference between how often people use Facebook and how people use Facebook. Trolls, peddlers of misinformation, and spam farms, for example, could easily drive up usage statistics, as could bots and other programs that simply replicated puerile, pernicious, or pornographic content and reposted it to other pages on the platforms. Hype techniques, including clickbait (sensationalist headlines) and engagement bait (appeals to forward content), and Facebook’s aggressive algorithmic amplification spread content further and drove up DAP still more.

These practices, Horwitz explains, empowered inauthentic actors to accumulate huge followings by rewarding publishers with content that was either stolen, aggregated, or spun (altered in some trivial way). The author claims nearly 40 percent of all posters with significant followings and 60 percent of those posting videos used these techniques—and Facebook had no mechanisms to stop them. The result was that “products routinely garnered higher growth rates at the expense of content quality and user safety.”

The content was easily forwarded by the click of a mouse to any of Facebook’s three billion users or any of thousands of groups. Advertisers paid Facebook to target these click-worthy users and groups. And it drove Facebook’s explosive growth and billions of dollars in revenue and profits.

2016 Election

Facebook’s watershed moment, according to Horwitz, came in the wake of the 2016 elections. “The prospect that Facebook’s errors could have changed the outcome of the election and undermined democracy,” shook executives and employees—and Broken Code tracks the fallout that roiled the company’s corporate culture in the years to come.

The author describes a culture heavily invested in the company manifesto that “changing how people communicate will always change the world” was paired with “the conviction that, thanks to the wisdom of crowds, users would simply suss out falsehoods on their own and avoid spreading them. The revelations around the 2016 election had quickly given the lie to that line of thought.” A hugely woke company, the author argues, came face to face with the reality that misinformation and political diatribes spread on Facebook impacted voter’s decisions.

They also confronted the even harsher reality, Horwitz explains, that not all Facebook users came to the platform with benign intent. Some content on the company’s platforms was clearly problematic—hate speech, human trafficking, child sexual predation, advocacy for genocide and violence, and teen suicide. Employees knew mechanisms to control this content were flawed and even downright ineffective. Moreover, they knew the publishers of this vile content could target select hidden audiences by using code words that triggered users who spread it to others with the speed of the internet.

Broken Code is the inside story of Facebook and the serious and even dangerous problems of social media writ large.

Angry Emojis

Horwitz writes that “there had been no question that Facebook was feeding its users overtly false information at a rate that vastly outstripped other media.” As efforts to combat misinformation took hold, the company’s metrics began to nosedive. People stopped posting and reposting free content that was the lifeblood of Facebook.

The situation was compounded, the author explains, by growing public concern about the effects of social media on mental health. At CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s direction, the company pivoted from providing content services to offering “Meaningful Social Interactions (MSI)”—one of dozens of vacuous terms the company regularly invented. Now the new MSI metric would measure how often people engaged with content by tracking the frequency of their comments. Rushed into use, MSI was badly flawed.

It included no effort at sentiment analysis, meaning it gave equal value to a heartfelt bereavement note and a declaration of intention to piss on the departed’s grave. What mattered was not the content of the message but the fact of the comment itself. The company had already added a host of reaction emojis beyond the basic “like.” … Facebook did not care if you choose a heart or an angry face, as long as you clicked on something.

The company had built its new media platform on the baseless argument that the more users “liked” content, the more likely it was to appeal to others. A mouse click had taken the place of meaningful dialog or any attempt to explain why content had value worth sharing. People had become mere users of content. And now machine-made little emojis could stand in for the emotions at the center of real human social interactions.

The results, writes Horwitz, predictably added “an exponential component to the already-healthy rate at which problem content spread,” as “adoption of MSI turned the rarely used “angry” emoji into the bellwether of political content’s success.” The angry face provoked arguments among users, pushed even more inflammatory content to the fore, and spread it farther and faster with each agitated user’s click.

Whistleblower

Broken Code is the inside story of Facebook and the serious and even dangerous problems of social media writ large. It’s a compelling story but not an engaging one because it lacks a well-crafted narrative that draws in the reader. Much of the book lurches from one episode to the next as Horwitz shares pieces and parts of the recollections of dozens of Facebook employees. There’s a human dimension missing here as the author recounts these employees’ complex reminiscences in language loaded with tech jargon. The truly emotional side to these stories is only captured in fleeting instances.

Horwitz has an encyclopedic knowledge of Facebook executives and employees and their roles and is wholly familiar with the company’s balkanized structure of seemingly always feuding fiefdoms. But, there is no index of names and titles to help the reader through this thicket. Nor is there an organization chart, a list of acronyms, or a glossary with the names and functions of the various Facebook teams, departments, and activities that appear throughout the book.

Broken Code finally gets traction with the reader when Horwitz begins a first-person narrative of his experiences with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. While many of the other employees cited and quoted in the book seem to take bit parts, Haugen is at center stage in the last third of the book. The narrative here is crisp, the stakes are clear, and Horwitz’s recounting of the enormous efforts that led to the publication of the Facebook Files is a solid look at the challenges of good investigative journalism.

Horwitz describes how Haugen was disheartened to realize Facebook routinely traded off content safety for platform growth and was unnerved by the scale of what she found. The author recounts the stress, self-doubt, and isolation she experienced as she spent six months collecting thousands of internal Facebook documents. The documents detailed what the company knew about the widespread abuses it failed to check.

Haugen’s findings also led to an investigation of Facebook’s business practices with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Warned she might be sued by Facebook, and the target of a carefully orchestrated back-channel smear campaign, Haugen took her story public on a 60 Minutes broadcast. Her career in the tech industry was over.

In the end—Haugen, like many of the other employees who came forward with the grim details that fill the pages of Broken Code—dealt with both deep-seated regrets and damage to their professional careers to bring to light the problems that plagued Facebook. Theirs is the content that was never posted to Facebook.

*****

This article was published by Law & Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot CSPAN

TAKE ACTION

The Prickly Pear’s TAKE ACTION focus this year is to help achieve a winning 2024 national and state November 5th election with the removal of the Biden/Obama leftist executive branch disaster, win one U.S. Senate seat, maintain and win strong majorities in all Arizona state offices on the ballot and to insure that unrestricted abortion is not constitutionally embedded in our laws and culture.

Please click the TAKE ACTION link to learn to do’s and don’ts for voting in 2024. Our state and national elections are at great risk from the very aggressive and radical leftist Democrat operatives with documented rigging, mail-in voter fraud and illegals voting across the country (yes, with illegals voting across the country) in the last several election cycles.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of The Prickly Pear essays entitled How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona to be well informed of the above issues and to vote in a way to ensure the most likely chance your vote will be counted and counted as you intend.

Please click the following link to learn more.

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Principleless, Panicked and Power-Hungry

By James Allan

Pandemic Panic was a fascinating book to read, especially for a lawyer like me. It very quickly had my blood pressure way up as it reminded me of the nearly three years of governmental thuggery, heavy-handedness, imposition of idiotic and often irrational rules, and resort to lockdown lunacy. If that last sentence sounds as though I was a lockdown skeptic, full disclosure I was. From virtually day one this native born Canadian, who has lived in Australia for two decades, was an open skeptic of the lockdowns on the pages of the Spectator Australia, the British Lockdown Sceptic website (now Daily Sceptic), and once or twice in Law & Liberty in the US. I even had a couple of published peer-reviewed law articles on the topic rejected for listing by SSRN (presumably because only public health types were then deemed suitable to comment on this fiasco, and only lockdown cheerleader ones at that). Right from the start it seemed silly to me, verging on crazy, to think that in conditions of great uncertainty what you ought to do is proceed directly to some version of the precautionary principle on steroids, thereby mimicking the authoritarian response of the Chinese politburo – and in the process throw away a hundred years of data that informed the then pandemic plans of the British government (and the WHO for that matter) and that unambiguously rejected lockdowns.

The smart response in an information vacuum is to carry on as you are making changes at the margins to protect those most at risk as you wait for more information. And very early on it was known that this virus was over a thousand times more deadly to the very old than to the under-thirties. In most countries, for most of the pandemic, the average age of those dying from COVID was over the country’s life expectancy. For governments to proclaim that ‘we are all in this together’ was not true in any sense that could lead to the sort of policy response we saw everywhere in the democratic world outside of Sweden, Florida, South Dakota and a few other outliers that got their responses more or less correct (a fact that today’s cumulative excess deaths data, from start of the pandemic to today, brings home in the bluntest fashion going). Nor should it have led to the sort of massive government spending and debt and money printing that effectively (in part via asset inflation) transferred huge wealth from the young to the old and from the poor to the rich. Or that shut down schools in a way that will see many children, especially poor ones, disadvantaged for life.

So full disclosure, I came to this book very sympathetic indeed to the authors’ underlying position that the national and provincial government responses in Canada were seriously wrong-headed. The authors detail the ‘sometimes inane, often unprecedented and unusual public health measures taken over the roughly three-year pandemic period’. They recount public policy absurdities, including the Province of Quebec requiring unvaccinated people to be chaperoned in plexiglass carts through the essential aisles of big-box stores and the city of Toronto taping off the cherry blossoms and of quarantine hotel nightmares and incompetence. You can read of police heavy-handedness, sometimes more aptly described as thuggery, and of the differential treatment of anti-lockdown protesters as compared to, say, BLM protesters (both during the pandemic). Readers learn that Canada imposed a vaccine mandate for citizens to travel by plane, train or ship domestically or internationally. And that the provinces of Ontario and Quebec had some of the world’s longest lockdowns. Oh, and there are two chapters that touch on the truckers’ Freedom Convoy, especially how the Trudeau government needlessly invoked the Emergencies Act (think ‘threats to the security of Canada’, martial law type legislation) to deal with non-violent – though clearly loud, disruptive and annoying to many – truckers’ protests in Ottawa of the sort that had been dealt with elsewhere in the country using parking by-laws and the Highway Code. This emergency legislation, by the way, allowed the government to seize the bank accounts of anyone participating and assisting the convoy, which it did of many.

Having said all that, the book is very much focused on the law and the legal aspect of the governmental responses to the pandemic. The overarching approach starts with Canada’s entrenched bill of rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsThe two authors, both constitutional lawyers, look at how some of the key enumerated rights fared in protecting Canadians against government overreach. The book is structured so that each chapter considers a different one of the key rights provisions. For example, chapter two considers freedom of assembly, chapter eight freedom of expression, chapter seven the equality right, and so on including religious freedom and privacy rights. Moreover, in terms of running readers through some of the key decisions by the top judges in Canada (and occasionally the US) the book is a handy little primer of cases brought, their outcome, and how the judiciary treated attempts to wind back government pandemic regulations and rules. The short answer to that, of course, is that in case after case after case the judges upheld governments’ COVID measures. The Charter of Rights did nothing. Nor, for that matter, did any bill of rights in any jurisdiction in the democratic world – leave aside one or two ‘churches can open if big stores can, too’ cases in the US and Scotland. But essentially one way to read this book is as a compendium of the myriad failures as regards the attempt to beat (or at least to ameliorate or even just to take the edge off) the lockdown heavy-handedness through the courts.

Thus far thus good then. The book is interesting, informative and with an underlying sense of a pervasive disbelief at just how panicked, principleless and even power-hungry the public health and political castes were during the pandemic. Throw in most journalists too if you wish.

Yet having conceded all that, for my way of thinking the core premise of this book is all wrong. You see I am a long-time skeptic of the desirability of bills of rights and in a way that many Americans will not have encountered. In essence my view is that when you buy a bill of rights you are ultimately just buying the views of the lawyerly caste and of the unelected ex-lawyers who are the top judges. Worse, if you are outside the US there is no way to import US First Amendment jurisprudence, along with your post-WWII Bill of Rights, so that you will almost certainly end up with outcomes that downplay free speech outcomes much more than in the US. In Canada and Europe rights analysis takes place in two steps – first judges decide on the proper scope of the enumerated right and then they move on to consider whether the governmental legislation is a reasonable, justifiable and proportional inroad on it. So stage one is something of a freebie and allows judges to virtue signal because all the work is done at stage two. Worse, this proportionality analysis is at its core plastic and – much as with the claim of Lon Fuller’s hypothetical judge in his famous The Case of the Speluncean Explorers – allows its user to reach either outcome in play perfectly plausibly. You tell me the answer you want, said Justice Keen in that Fuller mock hypothetical Speluncean case, and I can use the approach to give it to you. Ditto proportionality analysis or the second stage in Canadian Charter analysis. (Of course this is not to say that rights in the US are treated as absolute. They are not. It is just to say that in American analysis there is only one step, deciding the scope of the right. This may impose slightly more constraints on the deciding judges. Maybe.)

At any rate, during the lockdowns judges in Canada (and let’s be blunt, around the democratic world) were as panicked as all the other elites. Retired UK Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption may have noted early on that the authoritarian response to COVID amounted to the biggest inroads on our civil liberties in two hundred years. Yet he was a very solitary voice. Nearly all the judges were as frightened and panicked as most everyone else. There was next to no chance litigants were going to roll back governmental regulations through the courts. I said so in print at the start of the crisis and I believe events have proved that true. My take was that we would have to wait till everyone calmed down and the panic subsided and then you would see the judges discover a bit of a willingness to overturn some of these rules and regulations. But as far as the COVID years were concerned the entire edifice of human rights law, and all its accoutrements, was totally useless. Worse than useless in fact.

But I suppose my deeper objection to the foundational worldview on which this book rests is that I do not think we really should even want to live in a world where the lawyerly caste – whose political and social views the evidence today clearly shows to be an order of magnitude or more to the left of, and more ‘progressive’ than, that of the median voter’s – could decide these sort of issues through the courts. And that is true even when we strongly, even vociferously, disagree with what the government is doing, as I did throughout the pandemic. The remedy here had to be political. Elect someone who will stand up to the panic and show what should be done. If we lived in a world where unelected judges could roll back what elected governments did (however stupidly and pusillanimously) trying to deal with a worldwide pandemic then it’s not clear to me what would ultimately be left to the voters and democracy. Put more bluntly, after decades of working in university law schools around the Anglosphere and knowing the lawyerly and judicial caste very well indeed I can tell you that I fully agree with the sentiment William Buckley conveyed when he said that he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Boston telephone directory than by the Harvard University faculty. For me, make that also the lawyerly caste that gives us our top judges. The authors of this book implicitly disagree with that core sentiment of mine, though our view of the pandemic overreach is much the same. Wherever readers stand on both those issues, this is a book well worth reading.

*****

This article was published by AIER, American Institute for Economic Research, and is reproduced with permission.

TAKE ACTION

The Prickly Pear’s TAKE ACTION focus this year is to help achieve a winning 2024 national and state November 5th election with the removal of the Biden/Obama leftist executive branch disaster, win one U.S. Senate seat, maintain and win strong majorities in all Arizona state offices on the ballot and to insure that unrestricted abortion is not constitutionally embedded in our laws and culture.

Please click the TAKE ACTION link to learn to do’s and don’ts for voting in 2024. Our state and national elections are at great risk from the very aggressive and radical leftist Democrat operatives with documented rigging, mail-in voter fraud and illegals voting across the country (yes, with illegals voting across the country) in the last several election cycles.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of The Prickly Pear essays entitled How NOT to Vote in the November 5, 2024 Election in Arizona to be well informed of the above issues and to vote in a way to ensure the most likely chance your vote will be counted and counted as you intend.

Please click the following link to learn more.

Weekend Read: Review of Two Books by Alan Dershowitz  thumbnail

Weekend Read: Review of Two Books by Alan Dershowitz 

By Marvin A. Treiger

Alan Dershowitz began composing War Against the Jews: How to End Hamas Barbarism on October 8, the day after Hamas’ horrific attack. He set aside all his other projects to produce this tome in 32 days. Alan is extraordinarily well qualified for this task. He personally knows and has conferred with Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, with President Isaac Hertzog, as well as numerous high officials in the military and government from the principal political factions.

Before examining this just-published book, some comments are for his earlier more comprehensive volume: The Case For Israel (2002). Alan is an accomplished Constitutional lawyer and here he brilliantly structures his arguments as a legal brief replete with history, anecdotes, and extensive research all duly referenced. Each of the 32 chapters begins with 4 statements that begin by making the best case for the opposition in (1) The Accusation & (2) The Accusers. He then takes them apart in (3) The Reality & (4) The Proof. 

In order to grasp the scope of this earlier examination, the title of chapter 1 is “Is Israel a Colonial, Imperialist State?” The final 32nd chapter is “Why Do So Many Jews And Even Israelis Side With The Palestinians?” His evocative summary conclusion “Israel—The Jew Among Nations,” nails the scope of contemporary Jew hatred.

This book belongs on the shelf of any serious student of Israel and the Middle East.

His recent book begins with a succinct summary of a few arguments from the earlier book and quickly moves on to the massacre (pogrom) of October 7 and the war that has followed.

He also provides a necessary history of Hamas and the Gaza regime as it relates to the overall conflict in the region. He dives into the reaction from our elite Universities, the struggles in our streets and the rise and spread of Jew hatred – a  better term, in my view, than anti-semitism which has lost the appropriate emotional charge. And, anyway, Arabs are semites (members of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs), are they not?

Dershowitz makes the case for total war against Hamas that must end in their complete elimination from power of any sort. He argues that the total defeat and unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan transformed them both into reliable friends and allies. Uncompromising power and strength rather than appeasement and weakness transformed defeated Germany and Japan into allies within a generation.  Prosperity was the other critical ingredient necessary for success and the Marshall Plan laid the groundwork for that.

In the Middle East there is the notion of “the strong horse and the weak horse,” making total victory indispensable for ongoing peace even more than in Europe. Prosperity will be a bigger problem due to the cultural backwardness of the region. We can only do so much without falling into our oft-failing projects of nation-building – so that part is up for grabs. 

Dershowitz’ recent book also includes useful supplementary material: a verbatim debate between Alan and Cornel West with Sean Hannity as moderator; it also contains the text of the original Hamas Charter (1988) where they declare “Israel will exist and continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it just as it obliterated others before it.” The West’s imperial, colonial ambitions never even dreamt of such an apogee. Also included are the “amended” Hamas General Principles And Policies (2017) which were intended to soften public opinion from prior ferocious criticisms of the 1988 version.

The latter document asserts “Hamas believes that the Palestinian issue is the central cause of the Arab and Islamic Ummah (i.e., worldwide Muslim community-MT) and thus, their right to the “entire land”. Why? Because any land conquered by Islam cannot legitimately revert to any other authority. Ultimately, this would include southern Spain, etc., as well. It also explains why historically they didn’t bother to emphasize “nationalism” except to indicate regional entities. The Ummah defines Islamic rule so the concept of nationalism is in essence superfluous. That, at least, is the ideology of groups such as Hamas (a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) and ISIS.

Arab nationalism finally arose in the Holy Land late into the 1920s in response to the growth of the Jewish community and the subsequent inflow of Arabs seeking to find work, safety and prosperity. Remember that in 1850 the first census of the Ottoman Empire found that approximately 50% of Jerusalem residents were Jews.

Dershowitz, on most questions, is a moderate Democrat with strong classical liberal and Constitutional views, especially regarding free speech and the rule of law. He declares “I will remain a Democrat and vote for Biden while seeking to marginalize the radical anti-Israeli elements in that party.”

This feels counterintuitive to me. He appears on Fox more than on other stations on many issues. Insofar as conservatism has become the guardian of classical liberalism, he is a conservative. I even began to think he was staying with Democrats to not lose them as an audience for his views. But his views, expressed in the book regarding the Judicial turmoil in Israel prior to the pogrom, convinced me that at bottom he remains part of the old Democratic Party coalition that is fearful of the right.

The controversy surrounding the Israeli Supreme Court vs. Knesset (parliament) roiled Israel in the weeks before the pogrom. This is the weakest part of the book. He admits that this section was in part compiled out of previous essays he had written on these topics. Unfortunately, in editing, bald-faced contradictions have remained in place.

For example, he states (p.94) “Indeed, the reforms (of the Court-MT) would bring Israel closer to being a pure democracy governed by majority rule. But they would endanger minority rights, civil liberties, equal rights, due process, and the rule of law. That’s why I oppose them. Israel would be a better democracy with these principles kept intact than if they were compromised by a reduction in the power of the Supreme Court to enforce them.”

Yet a few pages later (p.110) after the Knesset ruled that the Supreme Court may not rule using the “unreasonable” argument to overrule legislation, he comes to agree with this reform. Likewise, (p.98) “It may also be appropriate to eliminate the current veto that judges have over Supreme Court appointments.” In other words, the Court now appoints its successors guaranteeing Judicial tyranny as the end game. This too is a big reform. Why not have elections for Judges bringing this issue directly back to the people further distributing power?

Dershowitz, as an old time liberal, fears what he calls right-wing extremist settlers and the Court tends to represent the old guard, socialist-leaning, original Ashkenazi cohort in a demographic that is shifting rightward due also to immigration and the high birth rates of Orthodox Jews. Muslims comprise 21% of the Israeli population yet Jews are not allowed to live in any nearby Arab lands. Can this be just?

The Knesset itself, as part of a compromise, should consider reforms that compel something greater than a majority to pass legislation when opposed by the Court thus checking the Knesset’s power, preventing majoritarian tyranny and compelling a greater consensus for the truly big issues.

This will, of course, make Israeli government somewhat less efficient. This is exactly the motivation underlying James Madison’s doctrine of the balance of powers. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as those with an inkling of knowledge of human nature know very well.

You will come to your own conclusions after reading this important book which is a powerful weapon in our effort to save a great ally and the only democracy in the Middle East. Hamas must be eradicated now and forever.

Thank you, Alan, for your indefatigable efforts to inform us all and rescue the Democrats from themselves.

*****

Image credit: YouTube screenshot of the Dersh Show

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Weekend Read: From National Review to National Conservatism

By Eric Kaufmann

American conservatism has always engaged in identity politics. We are tribal creatures and a nod to our desire for identity and belonging is part of politics. While primal identities such as race or religion can lead to division, when these are sublimated into party and ideology in an attempt to “launder” such identities, they are neutralized, becoming part of a wider frame that is racially cross-cutting and checks extremism. This is the gist of George Hawley’s fascinating new book, Conservatism in a Divided America: the Right and Identity Politics.

What ideas should form the basis of conservatism? The post-1950s Republican strategy has been to lead with classical liberalism, fiscal conservatism, and military hawkishness while subtly signaling to white and Christian voters that the party is looking out for their group interests—while doing little to advance those interests. This formula succeeded in keeping the GOP in office from Nixon to Reagan to the Bushes, and its establishment continues to get its way even during the Trump era.

Whether the Republicans can continue this balancing act is an open question. The universalist, classical liberal rhetoric of the establishment period is, for Hawley, politically irrelevant in our post-Cold War age. As he acerbically notes, “Calls for individualism built on arguments about natural rights are unlikely to persuade Americans to abandon identitarian concerns.”

Content-lite Republican tribalism, however, may do the trick. The cult-like devotion to Trump and “stop the steal,” despite his limited domestic policy wins and egotism, can look more like the relationship between fans and a pro-wrestler than that of committed idealists assessing whether their leader is delivering for them. And while there are subtle associations between white, male, and Christian identities and the Republican brand, the party has been willing to embrace egalitarian tropes and reinforce progressive taboos like “the Democrats are the real racists” to pump up the tribe and score ephemeral rhetorical points. Yet, for Hawley, this circus act may possess aspects of nobility: it keeps primal identities and emotions from breaking the surface of politics.

Hawley, a young academic with seven books to his credit, is a rising star from the infinitesimally tiny universe of American political scientists who lean culturally conservative. A University of Alabama professor who hails from Sumas, Washington, Hawley has carved out a niche as, to quote an Amazon reviewer, ”An original and idiosyncratic thinker who writes original and idiosyncratic books.” Unwilling to beat the partisan drum or champion a distinctive brand of conservatism, he toggles between the modes of detached observer and engaged moderate conservative. In so doing, he pushes back on progressive left alarmism as well as the right’s pretense that it has transcended identity to ascend the hallowed realm in which toga-clad individualists approach politics from an Archimedean point.

This book does us the service of knitting together the history of postwar American conservative thought—William F. Buckley, James Burnham, Leo Strauss, Irving Kristol, and others—with highly contemporary anti-leftist or conservative writers such as Ben Shapiro, Patrick Deneen, Jordan Peterson, Chris Rufo, Christina Hoff Sommers, Oren Cass, Bari Weiss, Yoram Hazony, Rich Lowry, and James Lindsay. Many of these figures, like their Cold War predecessors, unite behind classical liberalism, opposing identity politics and, more recently, wokeness. A garnish of religion or patriotism is occasionally applied, but for many, there is little beyond midcentury individualism. While communitarians such as Deneen, Cass, and Hazony meaningfully diverge, the most prominent conservative voices at CPAC, in Congress, and on Fox News largely recite anti-Democratic boilerplate.

For Hawley, one of the key tensions in American conservatism is how to manage the dissonance between the GOP’s individualist philosophy and the identitarian motivations lying beneath the universalist surface.

Drawing on a range of political science research that shows a correlation between measures of white, Christian, and Republican identification, Hawley argues that the progressive claim that these identities matter for Republican voters contains a large measure of truth. Where he parts company with left-liberal academics is that he believes elite conservatives are sincere in their desire to keep racists and other extremists out, and are attached to classical liberal principles. They leverage identitarian anxieties for electoral purposes without ministering to or espousing them. And while conservative intellectuals have generally opposed progressive initiatives, they have typically adjusted their views to remain respectable, adhering to shifting elite conventions and norms.

The book begins with the National Review circle in the fifties around editor William F. Buckley. These mid-century conservatives were centrally concerned with the Cold War and desperately sought to rescue the economic liberalism of pre-New Deal America. When it came to liberal cultural initiatives, the right was skeptical and instinctively opposed. Even though proportionally more Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act, this is not the case when you screen out the Dixiecrats, a largely autonomous entity by this time.

Hawley notes that an early civil rights measure, California’s Proposition 11 in 1946, which would have made it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, was soundly defeated, with greater opposition in Republican areas. In a similar vein, Buckley’s 1957 editorial, “Why the South Must Prevail” made the argument that African-Americans were not “advanced” enough to deserve the vote, though in time they could be “enlightened” so as to be able to do so. This said, in the following issue of the magazine, Brent Bozell took the view that if this standard were to be applied it must hold equally for less educated whites. He argued against Buckley that the segregationist position was “dead wrong” and would harm the conservative cause. There was no single editorial line.

As the Civil Rights movement progressed, the conservative stance shifted from ambivalent resistance to the new legislation to the view that desegregation was the right approach for government and public schools, but businesses should remain free to discriminate. Freedom of association and federalism were key constitutional principles that should not be superseded by equality law. More recently, Chris Caldwell argues that the Civil Rights Act, in permitting the principle of equality to override these classical liberal cornerstones of the Constitution, has fundamentally altered the basis of American law and, by extension, culture.

Hawley asks us to imagine an alternative scenario in which conservatives and the Republican Party leaned into an explicit racial appeal. … Instead, the intellectual and political right endorsed civil rights [and] kept extremists out of the party. For this they have received no credit from liberals.

By the mid-60s, the intellectual right had, in Hawley’s estimation, “conceded the moral high ground” on Civil Rights and, in addition, became concerned that perceived American racism could damage the country’s soft power in the fight against communism. Conservatives now viewed the early Civil Rights movement as a just cause that came to be supplanted by Black Power radicalism and affirmative action in the late 60s.

Progressives often paint with a broad brush, perceiving conservative actions through the Manichaean lens of racism. This is where Hawley, who is outside the left’s echo chamber, offers a more granular perspective. He asks us to imagine an alternative scenario in which conservatives and the Republican Party leaned into an explicit racial appeal, embracing the white superiority of a Wallace or Thurmond. This would have unlocked a flood of southern votes. Instead, the intellectual and political right endorsed civil rights, kept extremists out of the party, only elliptically signaled identitarian appeals, and sought to retain elite respectability. For this, they have received no credit from liberals.

Hawley makes a similar point with regard to Trump and white nationalism. Again, Hawley has done some of the most important work on this topic because, though a critic of the alt-right’s violent and exclusive vision, he does not feel the need to tip his cap to the progressive claim that we are always just one rally away from Hitler’s Germany or Bull Connor’s Alabama. He is thus able to smudge black-white narratives into more fine-grained shades of grey to help the reader grasp the nuanced dynamics of the far right. He nicely parses the distance between the ethnostate extremism of a William Pierce and the still-violent but conventionally patriotic appeal of many January 6 rioters or Proud Boys. The Capitol Riot was neither an insurrection, (that is, ”the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War”) nor ”a normal tourist visit,” but a riot in which a small number of participants possessed insurrectionary fantasies. Much more interesting than this stale debate, observes Hawley, is the fact that the alt-right was virtually absent from the January 6 affray because doxing and lawsuits had successfully neutralized it.

Hawley winds through sections on religious conservatism, national conservatism, the Intellectual Dark Web, and wokeism, culminating in an intellectual humility that is rarely found among academics or journalists: “This book would probably be more successful and controversial if I could offer some kind of plan for conservatives. … Unfortunately, I remain as perplexed as I was at the start of this project.” He grasps the importance of identity for Republican voters, expresses frustration at the emptiness of some of the party’s mantras, yet wonders whether the “noble lie” of colorblind individualistic Americanism may in fact be the least worst option.

I applaud this kind of candor, and the nuanced, empirically-informed analytical frame that Hawley brings to bear on his subject matter. His engaging intellectual and social scientific tour de force helps the reader grasp how the new generation of conservatives and classical liberals is building on the foundations laid by previous generations.

The account focuses on the National Review circle and the post-1950s conservative movement. This is understandable, given its continuing influence on American conservatism. That said, I think the case can be made that the period from the fifties to 2015 may not last. As Hawley notes, most of the National Review clique were Catholic or Jewish, as were the neoconservatives and theocons. This, at a time when, according to the National Election Study, such groups made up only a quarter of the population and 10 percent of 1960 Republican voters. This was a very unusual group, arguably only weakly connected to the traditions of the provincial Protestant majority that supplied the vast bulk of the party’s voters and politicians.

Hawley also neglects virtually the entirety of what I elsewhere term the ”left-conservative” tradition. Prior to the twentieth century, extending into the 1920s, the opposing factions in American politics could better be described as left-conservative versus laissez-faire. Left-conservatism, springing from the post-Civil War agrarian populism of the Grange and Alliance movements and fin-de-siècle Progressivism, could best be described as restrictionist on immigration, anti-urban, and anti-Catholic, “dry” on the alcohol question, interventionist in the economy and society, and supportive of women’s suffrage. Unions like the Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor came out squarely in favor of immigration restriction between the late 1880s and 1920s.

A strain of romantic nationalism is also a neglected part of the conservative story, encompassing the Anglo-Saxonism of Founders like Jefferson, nineteenth-century writers such as Emerson, historians like Francis Parkman and Teddy Roosevelt, and artists like those of the Hudson River School. This thread resurfaces with Regionalist (American Scene) art in the 1930s, sponsored by the New Deal and commercially popularized by Time-Life features and Associated American Artists lithographs. The left-modernist avant-garde around Partisan Review consciously attacked the Regionalists as fascists in the late 30s, successfully marginalizing key figures such as Thomas Hart Benton or Frank Lloyd Wright from the New York intellectual elite. Others, like Benton protégé Jackson Pollock, were induced to abandon Regionalism for abstract expressionism. This was a major defeat for this “revolt of the provinces” and its brand of American cultural nationalism.

More recently, a handful of writers—Christopher Lasch, John Judis, Michael Lind, Mickey Kaus, Nathan Glazer—have criticized both capitalism and expressive left-liberalism, defending the nation and calling for reduced immigration. They are the heirs of the Populist-Progressive and Regionalist traditions. To a large extent, the populist backlash against the Republican establishment that produced Buchanan and then Trump came from voters tired of being ignored on immigration and other cultural nationalist concerns while the expressive individualist preferences of urban coastal elites predominated.

The tension between the GOP’s classical liberal elite and its communitarian and tradition-minded base continues. While Trump has reshaped the party, Hawley correctly observes that its policy agenda has remained conventional. Commercial interests and established lobby groups continue to punch above their weight. It may be that Republican voters are only after a cheerleader who can fire up the crowds and provide a communal identity while politicians’ day-to-day business continues to concentrate on tax cuts over cultural conservatism. The identitarian anxieties this book so adeptly highlights may, once again, merely flow towards the partisan reality TV show while power continues to reside with the party’s economic liberals.

Will party politics be sufficient to keep the conservative masses content? Ronald Reagan naively delegated the setting of school history standards to a group of mainly progressive academics who swiftly subverted it. He granted amnesty before seeing any evidence of effective border control. Neither culture nor immigration were priorities in his administration, which focused on a conventional economic and foreign-policy agenda. These problems have metastasized. Large numbers continue to cross the southern border while Critical Race Theory and gender ideology consolidate their grip over schools and institutions, remaking the consciousness of future generations.

The next two years may indicate whether conservatives are genuinely able to alter the direction of American culture and institutions. If they can, it would mark a decisive break from a half-century in which movement conservatism has presided over an accelerating shift to the cultural left.

*****
This article was published by Law and Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

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Give The Gift Of True American History With These Wonderful Biographies For Children thumbnail

Give The Gift Of True American History With These Wonderful Biographies For Children

By Joy Pullmann

Photo credit: Joy Pullman/The Federalist

Everyone was reading the Heroes of Liberty books in my home for Thanksgiving, from the early elementary kids to their twenty-something aunts and uncles to their grandpa.


After I opened a box containing the children’s history series Heroes of Liberty and set the books on the playroom table, I hardly saw five of my six kids for the next three days. (My sixth is 2 years old and never sits still.) They were all gobbling down the beautifully illustrated biographies of notables such as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Harriet Tubman, and Alexander Hamilton, pitched at ages 7 to 12 — exactly the ages of my oldest four.

Even though my children are notorious readers because we don’t allow them screen time except for Monday movie night, this was still a slightly startling development. Usually, I have to carefully source books for my kids by interest and age. Even low-screen kids like mine turn up their noses at certain books, according to each one’s persnicketies. This series, however, captured the attention of every one of my readers. And not just them.

When several dozen people filled my home for the long Thanksgiving weekend, the phenomenon repeated among all ages. Everyone was reading the Heroes of Liberty books, from the early elementary kids to their twenty-something aunts and uncles to their grandpa. They sat in the living room passing the volumes around like a funny cat video. Except these held their attention far longer and gave them far more meaningful scope for thought.

Kid-Attractive and Sturdy

The series consists of well-bound, engaging, inspiring, and accurate biographies with child-attractive illustrations. They have a high-quality look and feel. As a mom of kids who read books to bits, I know that the strong hardcover binding will help these books last, hopefully all the way to my grandkids.

I prefer a slightly more elegant and detailed illustration style, but I’m unusual in my strong taste for the traditional. It makes sense for the illustrations in these books to meet at the intersection of quality comic book and animation. It is certainly several steps up in quality from the illustrations I like least in children’s books: those that imitate the artistic efforts of preschoolers, who have the excuse of undeveloped fine motor skills.

The poor bindings and illustrations of many good older books I regularly introduce to my kids often repel them before they even open the cover. This series cleverly attracts children even if its pictures don’t rise to Sistine Chapel-level artistic standards. If I had to choose between the two artistic possibilities, I’d make the same choice as the series editors, because there’s no point in putting out a book people don’t read.

Extremely High Production Quality

Also delightfully surprising was the amount of text these books contained, and how interesting the fact-driven storytelling was. I’ve read thousands of picture books with my children and hundreds of children’s books about American history. This series is competitive with the best I’m aware of, if not the best of their own category. It is delightful to see something at this level of quality from a smaller and conservative-marketed publisher, due to the cliché of religious and conservative materials often not being quality-competitive with big corporate.

There are indeed good history books for kids (try the Cornerstones of Freedom series; a few are politicized but most are solid), but I don’t know of any this good that provide a toe-for-toe counterpart to the heavily politicized junk biographies filling library shelves in the children’s history section. That is why I also set aside my reservations about writing biographies of living people such as Amy Coney Barrett — those already exist of leftist counterparts like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, so they ought also to exist of exemplary Americans such as Barrett. These biographies should truly be on every school library’s shelves.

If your public library doesn’t already have these and allows patrons to request titles as mine does, request that your local library purchase this set. Also, or alternatively, buy your own if you’re able — you won’t regret this investment in your family’s self-education. Since this series is sadly less likely to land on those shelves due to the library and teaching profession’s deep political bias, parents, grandparents, and others have an obligation to provide children good histories when our corrupted public institutions will not.

Honest about American History

Like me, the Heroes of Liberty editors are clearly not interested in replacing leftist propaganda in children’s history with conservative propaganda. The series does no propagandizing, as I (perhaps foolishly) worried given its affiliation with conservative personalities. The books instead simply state true and compelling facts in an easy-to-follow story form and let the truth speak for itself.

Here’s an example from the Harriet Tubman biography in the series: “…blacks were not only free in Philadelphia,” where Tubman escaped from slavery. “They were also active in public and religious life. The city was home to the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of the Abolition of Slavery, the oldest anti-slavery society in the country. Its first president was Benjamin Franklin.”

As mentioned, these are all simple and simply stated facts. Yet in themselves they undercut several false narratives about race and American history, including that black Americans lack agency, and that the American founders were wholesale slavers and the Constitution they produced a “pro-slavery document.”

It’s utterly refreshing. These books destroy false historical narratives without displaying bitterness or bias and without fulfilling the lies and smears always launched against such efforts, such as claims that conservatives “don’t want to talk about slavery or America’s sins.” When appropriate, these books absolutely do so. The Tubman biography, for example, is not at all shy about illustrating the horrors of slavery in age-appropriate detail. In fact, it does an exemplary job of educating about American chattel slavery.

Here’s another example of that from the Hamilton biography: “Then there were also the slave markets where human beings were bought and sold, like cattle, in plain sight. Young Alexander saw it all. And he never forgot what he saw. It all shaped who he would become.” On the same page as this text is an illustration of a slave auction.

Although the books do not shy away from tragedy in their subjects, both personal and national, they also are deeply hopeful because they show how these great Americans worked to rise above the inevitable tragedies of life. This is why biography is known as an inspirational genre, even when it necessarily treats of difficult subjects. At its best, biography reveals human nature and ideally human greatness amid life’s suffering and sometimes crippling constraints. Very little better reading material can be made available to all, but especially children, who like all of us need such examples to look toward as they grow.

Definitely Worth Buying

I’ll admit, I was skeptical of this series until I looked at them. Now I and my children are dedicated fans. My 7-year-old, whom I required to tell me what he had learned in exchange for giving him the next book in the set, summed up with this: “If you stop reading anywhere, it’s a cliffhanger.”

It’s refreshing as a parent to be able to trust the writers and publishers of a book so I don’t have to pre-read, scrutinize, and pre-emptively guard my children’s minds from those who seek to prey upon them with popular lies. It’s refreshing to learn facts about my beloved country and its wonderful people that celebrate the human spirit and especially its peculiar American expressions. It’s refreshing to let my guard down and just enjoy reading about American history with my children from a trustworthy source that isn’t trying to push us in any direction politically, but just to tell true human stories of our ancestors and their dreams, failures, and achievements.

The review copies the Heroes of Liberty team sent me will be donated to a K-12 school library to encourage, educate, and inspire as many children as possible. We will be buying the forthcoming books as they arrive and donating those, too — after we’ve all gobbled them up in our living room. For Christmas, birthdays, and beyond, the Heroes of Liberty team is offering Federalist readers an amazing 20 percent off with the special code FED22.

Quite frankly, I would go with the 12 books for $129 or all 14 currently published for $159 Christmas specials — that’s a ridiculous steal for brand-new hardbacks, and the series is worth it. It’d be a wonderful and enduring present for a special child or family in your life. The two-year book-of-the-month subscription offers a similar value with the bonus of your recipient getting to look forward to personalized mail each month — something my kids absolutely adore.

*****

This article was published at The Federalist and was reproduced with permission.

Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist, a happy wife, and the mother of six children. Here’s her printable household organizer for faith-centered holidays. Sign up here to get early access to her next ebook, “101 Strategies For Living Well Amid Inflation.” Her bestselling ebook is “Classic Books for Young Children.” Mrs. Pullmann identifies as native American and gender natural. She is the author of several books, including “The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids,” from Encounter Books. Joy is also a grateful graduate of the Hillsdale College honors and journalism programs.

Weekend Read – Bibi: His Story thumbnail

Weekend Read – Bibi: His Story

By Neland Nobel

Editors’ Note: Netanyahu is right now in the process of forming a new government.

Bibi, of course, is Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest-serving Premier in Israel’s history.

This almost 700-page volume (Bibi: My Story) covers his incredible career as well as many interesting historic takes on Israel, foreign policy, US relations, US political figures, and the history of his remarkable family.  If you have an interest in history and current affairs, it is a must-read.

Born in 1949, Bibi grew up in both Israel and America.

His father was a noted historian and a specialist in the Spanish Inquisition. He was an early Zionist working on the founding of the state of Israel.

Zionism had a dominant socialist streak in it, but the Netanyahu family came from the more conservative minority Jabotinsky wing.  This was reflected early in the divide among the armed revolutionaries with the socialists largely in the Haganah and the conservatives in the Irgun.

Despite the early leadership being mostly from the socialist wing, Bibi’s father was selected to go to the United States to help form public opinion.  The senior Netanyahu felt America, not Britain, was the rising power, and hence public opinion in the US must be altered before politicians would pay attention.

Initially, he could not get much attention from the dominant Democrat Party in the US because both the WASP-dominated State Department and the Roosevelt Administration were opposed to an independent Israel.  They feigned concern about Britain’s declining empire and influence in the mid-east while at the same time pressuring Britain to give up her empire elsewhere.

Here, the book cuts some new historic ground most will not be familiar with.  The consensus view (especially among liberal American Jews), was that support for Israel was largely the creation of Democrats, especially Harry Truman.  That is not quite what happened.

Zionists early on felt that to get US support, it had to be a bipartisan effort.  After being rebuffed by Democrats, they approached Republicans and found an ally in the rising conservative leader of the party, Senator Robert Taft from Ohio.  Thus, the first public declaration in support of an independent Israel is to be found in the 1944 Republican Party platform.  The Democrats followed later.  It is true Harry Truman, who read his Bible seriously, did support the founding of Israel against the advice of the State Department, but Republican support came earlier and was just as necessary.

Bibi spent a good deal of his youth and high school days around Philadelphia.  He was both a jock and a nerd.  While excelling at soccer, he also graduated in the top 1% of his class.

At age 18, he went back to Israel for military service while his father maintained his professorship in a few American colleges.  Bibi had been accepted at Yale, but military duty came first.

He came back to the US to finish college after military service but switched from Yale to MIT.

In the military, he became a commander in “The Unit”, or Israeli Special Forces.  His older brother Yoni, who he admires greatly, did so as well.

Bibi was wounded during a raid to rescue hostages taken on a Belgian airliner, and his older brother Yoni was killed during the dramatic raid to rescue hostages taken to Entebbe, in Uganda.

Therefore, it is clear that love of God, family, and country was not a slogan for Bibi, it was his life. He put that life at risk multiple times, conducting dozens of special operations against terrorists.

He knows terrorism, upfront and personally.  For him, this is not a theory, but literally a question of life or death.  Such encounters tend to focus the mind, and you get a sense early on, that this is a serious man.  It would prepare him for things to come as he later would clash with both Israeli and American politicians.

The book covers a very interesting history of the War in 1956, the stunning victories in 1967, and the almost fatal Yom Kippur War in 1973.  Much of this has to do not only with Israeli politics but the off and on again relations with the US through successive administrations.  In the coverage of Israeli politics, one finds so many striking parallels with what has gone on in the US.  One theme that dominates Bibi’s 40-year-plus career is the unstinting bias and animus against conservatives in the Israeli press.  The other is the political theatre constantly pulled by the Left, which echoes similar movements in the US.

In 1973, it became clear that Arab forces were going to attack, but Golda Meir and the Labor Party felt that unlike in 1967, they would not make a pre-emptive strike.  They felt that if Israel were to act that way again, they would lose support in the US and the UN.  That bet to please world public opinion came within a hair of losing the nation and plunging the Jewish people into annihilation. Once again, he served, this time in the 1973 War.

After the war, the Likud Party was formed to avoid Labor’s romantic visions again destroying the country and Bibi began to rise within its ranks.  He came back to the US to serve as Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, won a seat in the Knesset (parliament) in 1988, and later became Deputy Foreign Minister.

He became Prime Minister and served from 1996-1999.

The parallels are eerie to American politics in Netanyahu’s two terms as Premier, even down to the granular detail of having his personal residence invaded by police, the intelligence services being turned against him,  success at building a large security fence, dealing with an invasion of migrants, endless investigations and harassment, all the way to the poor treatment of his wife by the Israeli press. Then there was the ugly smear that critics of the Olso Accords and Rabin (Bibi and Likud) were guilty of creating an “atmosphere of hate” that led to Rabin’s unfortunate assassination. It is almost as if the future attacks on Donald Trump were first modeled by the Israeli Left and subsequently adopted by Democrats. 

That Netanyahu could prevail against these same forces that plague American conservatives is a story worth studying by conservative political leaders in the US.  Reading this, you realize how brutal the politics are in Israel compared even to the US, especially since they have a parliamentary system, with multiple quarreling political parties that can bring down a government at any time.

But as you read the book one thing comes through: despite all the attacks, Netanyahu got big things done for his country.

A rival of Ariel Sharon, he was brought into the Likud government and served in what arguably would be his most important post, that of Finance Minister.  With the help of Israeli and the US Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, he painfully started the conversion of Israel from a socialist, labor union-dominated, monopoly-prone welfare state to a free market economic powerhouse.

Later in his second term as Premier starting in 2009, he completed many other economic reforms.  One, in particular, was making Israel a leader in cyber security.

A tiny, new, water-starved nation, besieged and threatened on all sides, plagued by terrorism, became a “start-up nation”, a high-tech mecca that now has per capita income higher than France and the UK.

His economic reforms have proven a great success.  However, the struggle for security and with US liberals continues to this day.

Many US leaders always seem to look at the Middle East as a real estate deal gone bad.  All problems are based on the centrality of the “Palestinian”-Israeli conflict that can only be solved by Israel making land concessions eventually creating a “Palestinian state”.

Netanyahu sees it rather as a conflict between Western values and radical Islam.  He suggests there is no use negotiating with terrorists that don’t even recognize your right to exist. Moreover, it is hard to argue, that attempts by Iranians to assassinate Saudi leaders, civil war in Iraq, civil war in  Syria, or Muslims killing Christians in Africa, have anything to do with the presence of a tiny Jewish country.  Nor could it have much to do with the Pakistani and Indian conflict or the tragic history of Afghanistan.

The problems that lie within Islam are what plague peace in the Middle East, not Israel’s existence.

In and out of power, Bibi came back and served from 2009-2021, thus his combined terms make him the longest-serving Premier in Israel’s history. This long period of leadership allows the reader to see Bill Clinton,  H.W. Bush, George Bush, Barak Obama, and Donald Trump conducting their respective foreign policies, and their individual temperaments.

Clinton and Obama directly involved themselves in the Israeli elections.  This included funding the opposition and the dispatch of personal campaign staff to directly defeat Likud and Bibi.  Understanding this, the constant bleating by some US politicians about “foreign interference” pales in comparison to what they actually did during the Israeli elections.

The most hostile, was Barak Obama, who fully engaged the theory that it was the mere presence of Israel and its real estate, that was causing the problem.  He viewed Israelis as “colonizers”, pushing indigenous Arabs aside. He never understood the Jews were there first, thousands of years before Mohammad was born. He pushed hard to earn his Nobel Peace Prize by advocating “not one brick”, or no new construction of settlements.  This was true, especially in Jerusalem.

Bibi would say this is not a “territory”, this is our capitol and holy city to Jews.  What would the US think if some foreign power dictated what could, or not be built, in Washington, D.C?

Obama believed these building restrictions would bring Hamas, Fatah, and other terrorists to the peace table?  But as in the past, more concessions on land brought more terror and more demands. Obama’s arrogance and ignorance were astounding.   At one meeting, Obama dresses down Bibi and suggests that Israel should not cross him. Why?  Because Obama had dealt with tough street gangs in Chicago in his function as a “community organizer”.  Imagine talking that way to the longest-serving elected official in Israel, a war hero, who personally has had to kill terrorists.  Reading some of this, just makes your blood boil.

American officials, always eager for good press, forget about the cost because they did not feel it.  For example, in the second Intifada, Israel lost over 1,000 civilians to terror.  Another 8,000 or so were injured. Buses were blown up, pizza parlors shot up, and weddings gunned down. If the US had lost equivalent numbers adjusted for population, in that one period we would have lost about 37,000 people, compared to the 3,000 or so on 9/11, which set our nation up for a 20-year war.  Yet, Israel was often criticized for striking back after taking large losses to terrorism.

However, holding bipartisan support for Israel had to come first, and Bibi had to bite his tongue. But Obama’s plans to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons went beyond what could be tolerated. Bibi felt Israel could survive the terror, but not a nuclear Iran. Invited by the Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, Netanyahu gave one of the most stirring speeches ever delivered by a foreign dignitary to Congress.  He said it was better to have no deal with Iran, rather than the bad deal being pushed by Obama.  It moved public opinion and Obama never could submit his proposal as a treaty.

Fifty Democrats refused to attend the speech, Nancy Pelosi turned her back, and Joe Biden arranged an absence.  But as you can see, it struck a chord with most in Congress.  If you don’t remember this speech, it is presented below and is worth your time.  It gives you a measure of the man.

Of course, Iran and its nuclear development is once again a matter of top priority.

Bibi had much better relations with Donald Trump.  Both felt that Israel was not “causing” middle eastern strife, but rather strife among nations in the middle east was causing the Arab/Israeli problem.  Hence the substantially different approach of the Abraham Accords, and new treaties of cooperation between Arab countries and Israel, with or without the Palestinian radicals.

Many now feel Iran is a greater threat to them and seek an alliance with Israel against the Iranian threat.

There is so much in the book about the history of the region, the truly nasty nature of Israeli politics, and the relationship between America and Israel, that it is hard to summarize.  What does come out quite clearly is that Benjamin Natanhayu is one remarkable man and a tremendous leader.  Now in another crisis with the US and Iran, he may be just about to come back again in a time of turmoil, to lead his nation once again.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Rigged – How the Media, Big Tech and the Democrats Seized Our Elections

By Scott Graves

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DOUGLAS MURRAY: The War on the West

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PETER SCHWEIZER: Red Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win thumbnail

PETER SCHWEIZER: Red Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win

By Scott Graves

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Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2022

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safe from the investigations conducted by Peter Schweizer and a crew of forensic investigators.

Peter is president of the non-partisan Government Accountability Institute (GAI) and a senior contributor to Breitbart News. They spent over a year investigating for this book that many of the political elite as well, as their families, will be less than happy about its publication. Schweizer took away all the excuses by carefully untangling events where ever they lead.

First up in the book is the Biden Family and how deep the entanglements with China reach. Involvement begins when Joe was a congressman, magnifies while VP with Hunter, his brother and others joining in and the subterfuge becomes more pronounced. Laptop issues are discussed as are the President’s “claims of knowledge”.

After the chapter on the Biden Family, Schweizer moves on to Senator Feinstein and her husband, Speaker Pelosi and her Family, Mitch McConnell and his wife, just to mention a few of the elites! Each of these power couples will be none to happy about seeing themselves in print in this book.

Big Tech and Wall Street have been in the news along with their very wealthy owners and their lobbying with various committees in DC. Reading about it here is clearly organized and doesn’t have the inflammatory emotional rhetoric involved with mainstream infauxtainment folks.

Schweizer goes back and looks at how/when the US relationship with China started down this path to trouble and we have Reagan, Albright, Kissinger, Clinton, the Bush Family, Obama and Trump. It’s really sobering to look at the changes in business & technology over this timeline and to compare the US growth with China’s. He believes that many agree with a Kissinger idea that at some point in the not too distant future, Beijing won’t have need of the US and when that happens, “they will be difficult to handle.” Basically, they have paid to play; the elite have their fortunes tied to China and the rest of us are learning now just how much our daily lives are tied to them. We’ve been caught “Red Handed”📚

Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2022

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Author highlights the dangerous game our elites are playing with China. From Bidens to Bushes and McConnells to Pelosis, they are taking money to influence American politics in favor of China and helping China in their ultimate goal: to be the top player in the world. They want to dominate economically, technically, and militarily. Keep in mind, they are also a totalitarian state. They repress the Uighars and Tibetans (Dalai Lama exiled), they have no judicial due process, they have surveillance cameras everywhere, they don’t have free speech, there are no elections. We are not perfect but arguably our system has done more to raise economic and freedom levels than any other in the world. I’m not sure that would happen with China as the world’s superpower. Get in the fight and resist.

Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2022

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A must read for every American!

Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2022

When your own government is run by elites who become super wealthy from intimate relationships with hostile foreign elements, where can you turn? This is a huge problem right now that is being exposed by books like this one. Peter Schweizer and his team spent a year investigating the unethical ties that the elites in Washington, tech, media, Wall Street, etc. have with foreign enemies of the U.S. The liberal media will continue to laugh these relationships off as conspiracy theories, but they are facts which can be easily proven by following the money trail. And the money trail points right back at them too!

Every American should read books like this because we’re being lied to – from every area of government, the media, the medical establishment, private industry, and everyone else who is selling us and our country out for the usual culprits: Money and Power.

Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2022

Verified Purchase

This is a very well written book that goes into great detail about the corruption in our government as well as the crooked dealings of the elite. This is a total “eye opener”. Do yourself a favor a pick it up, read it, understand it and maybe we can save this country that we love.

Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2022

Verified Purchase

Let’s see… the Biden Family, Senator Feinstein and her husband, Speaker Pelosi and her Family, Mitch McConnell and his wife, just to mention a few, Kissinger,of course, since he was the main guilty party who enabled China… You should also read Peter Schweizer’s other books as well.

I also recommend, “The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower” by Michael Pillsbury.

Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2022

Verified Purchase

Simple to understand and well sourced.

Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2022

The more Americans who become informed about this corruption the better. Our great nation is being sold out by the ‘beltway bandits’ in DC.

Top reviews from other countries

John R Francis

3.0 out of 5 stars Quite good, but does not live up to the hype

Reviewed in Canada on January 27, 2022

Verified Purchase

I enjoyed this book, and learned about details and people I wasn’t aware of. But anyone who has followed alternative media over the last few years will not be astounded, or even surprised. However it is a well-researched and footnoted addition to the proof of corporate America’s motivation to suck up to the CCP.

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