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One of Trump's more heartening appointments: "David Friedman avidly supports expanding Israeli settlements in the West Bank, unequivocally rejects a 'two-state solution' to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and strongly believes the US embassy in Israel should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Those positions put Friedman - Donald Trump's bankruptcy lawyer and close friend - sharply at odds with the US foreign-policy establishment and entrenched conventional wisdom. So when the president-elect announced on Thursday that Friedman was his choice to be the next ambassador to Israel, alarm bells started clanging....
"Friedman's view is that US policy should be sharply reoriented - away from pressuring Israel to keep taking more 'risks for peace,' and toward pressuring the Palestinians to abandon their oft-stated ambition of eliminating the Jewish state. The incoming Trump administration, Friedman explained recently, 'doesn't see much opportunity for progress until the Palestinians renounce violence and accept Israel as a Jewish state. That's really a prerequisite.'"
"[Daniel] Hannan, who is 45, is by no ordinary measure a front-rank British politician. He has never been an MP, or a minister, or a mayor. Instead, since the age of 19, he has fought for what he calls British independence - fomenting, protesting, strategising, undermining, writing books, writing speeches and then delivering them without notes....
"Hannan may have contributed more to the ideas, arguments and tactics of Euroscepticism than any other individual. It was Hannan, in 2012, who asked Matthew Elliott, the founder of the Taxpayers' Alliance, to set up the embryonic campaign group that later became Vote Leave. Elliott, who is 38, describes Hannan as the pamphleteer who made Brexit seem like a reasonable proposition for millions of people. 'I can't think of anybody who has done more on this,' he told me. Others laboured too, of course, and Elliott cited veteran Tory MPs Bill Cash and John Redwood, who spent decades attacking the constitutional and economic aspects of the EU - 'but Dan is the only person who has successfully created a whole worldview,' he said. 'And also then done better than anyone else to be the propagandist for it.'...
"Besides, to allies and enemies alike, Hannan's role has never been on centre stage. Trying to characterise his contribution to Brexit, many people I spoke to likened him to dogmatic intellectuals from the past who came first and prepared the way. Admirers mentioned Patrick Henry and Tom Paine, whose writings catalysed the American Revolution. Opponents compared Hannan to Trotsky. 'You have got to have hard arses,' the Marquess of Salisbury, a long-term Eurosceptic and Hannan supporter, told me, 'who are morally courageous, who consistently make the arguments, who don't mind being unfashionable.'...
"Concentrating on arcane goals such as breaking up the EPP was a telltale move of the hardcore Eurosceptics. Another inch gained. Another bolt loosened. 'Our goal in politics should not be to get the right people in,' Hannan told me once, paraphrasing Milton Friedman, the American free-market economist. 'It should be to set the incentives so that even the wrong people will do the right things.'"
"British laws and traditions such as the celebration of Christmas are under threat and must be vigorously upheld to stop ethnic segregation dividing society, according to major government review.
"Waves of immigration have rapidly changed the character of some state schools and left residents in parts of Britain feeling unsettled, the landmark report will say.
"These issues must be tackled head on, rather than swept under the carpet by politically correct council officials who fear being labelled 'racist' if they assert British values or raise concerns, it will say....
"[Dame Louise Casey, Government integration 'tsar,'] criticised councils for 'over worrying' about causing offence among minority groups. This attitude led one community centre she visited to put up a 'festive tree' because the 'incredibly well-meaning white manager' did not want to offend his Asian and Muslim staff by using the word 'Christmas'.
"'What offence did he think he was causing? What did we ever think would be offensive about celebrating Christmas with a tree?' Dame Louise said....
"Only by promoting 'core' British laws, traditions and cultures in every ethnic community can Britain hope to ensure that diverse communities integrate fully, and defeat the 'hate mongers' from the far Right and Islamist extremists who want to divide the country, she argued.
"'I have become convinced that it is only the upholding of our core British laws, cultures, values and traditions that will offer us the route map through the different and complex challenge of creating a cohesive society.'...
"'It is not racist to say that the pace and rate of immigration has created a lot of change in Britain and for some people that feels too much. Or that when a large number of people from a different ethnic or religious background suddenly move into an area that it can be unsettling for those already resident there; or that when a school has a large religious minority population, it can change its character quite quickly.
"'Not talking about this and the issues that arise from it only creates more tensions.'"
From The Washington Post, December 2015, Yadavnagar, India: Hindu vigilantes attack beef-eating Muslims.
"'Our gods and goddesses reside inside the body of the cow,' said Satya Pal Acharya, a Sanskrit school teacher and a cow protector. 'As long as our cows are healthy and alive, our civilization will thrive. Sometimes we have to strengthen the hands of the government to implement the laws.'
"The recent violence began in September, when an angry Hindu mob broke down a door and dragged a 50-year-old Muslim man from his home outside New Delhi, following rumors that he had eaten beef. The mob then kicked him and beat him with bricks until he died. When the police sent the meat stored in his refrigerator for forensic testing, it turned out to be goat.
"Two weeks ago, another vigilante group fatally beat a truck driver transporting cows in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh. In Kashmir, a mob burned a Muslim teenager over rumors of cow slaughter. When a Muslim lawmaker in Kashmir held a 'beef party' in protest, he was assaulted by lawmakers from the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the floor of the statehouse, as cameras rolled."
Maps by region and voting district showing the outcome of the "Brexit" referendum.
On top of a generous minimum wage, the Australian government mandates "penalty wage rates" -- bonus wages for working after 10 p.m. or on weekends or public holidays. The result: Few restaurants are open late, and many small cafes stay open only as long as the owner can stand to be there, because he can't afford to hire a second shift of workers. The link leads to a discussion by restaurant owners about the impact on their businesses.
There are many advantages to being officially "disadvantaged."
"At stake in the unconventional class struggle is access to millions of government jobs and free college places allocated to lower castes under the 'reservation system' of affirmative action to counter ingrained discrimination.
"Up to 50 per cent of such positions are ring-fenced for Dalits (previously known as the 'untouchables'), tribal peoples and social groupings designated together as 'other backward classes' (OBCs), whose ranks include Mr Modi, a tea-seller's son....
"By contrast, the Patels - the family name of the Patider caste - are traditional landholders who over the years gained important roles in politics and commerce in Gujarat, a major trading hub.
"They are also one of the country's best-known castes internationally, with a major diaspora across North America and Britain where their numbers include Priti Patel, MP, the environment minister.
"But as the cost of education soars and land-holdings have been divided into smaller parcels, a new generation of Patels claim that they are the ones suffering discrimination by their exclusion from jobs and college places set aside for lower castes."
"Left-wing Jews live, work, and socialize with left-wing non-Jews; and they believe that they are -- to their great regret -- identified with the Jewish state in the eyes of fellow leftists.... But with Israel's Jews repeatedly electing conservative governments, American Jews on the left believe that they must make it as clear as possible that they in no way support a right-wing Israel. Their moral self-esteem needs it and their left-wing credentials need it....
"The Left lives in John Lennon's song "Imagine." Thus, the Left imagines that if Israel completely withdrew from the West Bank and allowed a Palestinian state to be created now, it would be completely unlike Gaza and completely unlike Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Libya; it would be a peaceful Arab Muslim island in the midst of the cruel sea of Arab Muslim countries that surrounds it."
In his book Republican Party Reptile, P. J. O'Rourke recounts the 1986 "snap election" in the Philippines between incumbent Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino, the widow of his murdered rival. O'Rourke spotlights the fecklessness of the American observers, particularly preening Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and Indiana Senator Dick Lugar.(Via Ace of Spades HQ.)
MORE: Neo-neocon calls John Kerry a cargo-cult Secretary of State: "He has never seemed especially bright or accomplished, and certainly never especially likeable. But he always looked like a senator, and so instead of playing one on TV he became one.... He looks a certain way, and sounds a certain way, and our society has devolved to the point where looking like something is considered good enough. Why should skills be necessary, as well? The simulacrum of the thing is enough."
STILL MORE: Boston political columnist Howie Carr on John F. Kerry's trademark phrase, "Do You Know Who I Am?"
"Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in thirteen U. S. states.
"To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world's weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic....
"The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."