Lovers and Other Strangers

Via Tim Worstall, this article needs a fisking:

David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, told the Observer that identity politics had been hugely important in advancing the civil rights of many groups. But he warned of a danger that “individual interests” were narrowing people’s views and diminishing their connection to wider society.

Assigning special protections and privileges to certain minority groups at the expense of the wider population has weakened the social fabric? Who would have thought?

Speaking amid an intensifying row in Birmingham, where a group of predominantly Muslim parents have staged protests outside schools accused of promoting same-sex relationships, he suggested the commission would be prepared to use its legal powers to protect the teaching of LGBT issues in the face of opposition from faith groups.

You might just as easily say the commission could use its legal powers to protect the right to practice one’s religion and peacefully oppose government policy in the face of LGBT activists.

“We are a strategic regulator,” Isaac said. “We can’t support absolutely everybody, but we will take cases where we thinks it moves the law forward to protect human rights.”

Let’s be honest, your only problem here is that one protected class is facing off against another. If it were anything else, you’d be “moving the law forward” to hound the majority population into cowed acquiescence. Human rights really doesn’t have much to do with it.

Recently the commission has become more vigorous in using its legal powers against groups it believes threaten equality.

Equality being where certain, select groups are given special consideration under the law.

“We are about to make a decision whether to investigate antisemitism in the Labour party, and that’s a good example of where, without fear or favour, we are saying in relation to political parties, whether it is Islamophobia in the Tory party or whatever, that if we find unlawful acts we are prepared to use our powers to do something about it,” Isaac said.

If members of political parties hold opinions which contravene our self-serving and deliberately vague laws defining which views may be held, we will use our powers to prosecute them. To protect human rights.

On Friday, Birmingham city council took the decision to close Anderton Park primary school, where parents have been protesting for seven weeks, early for the half term. The MP for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips, has attacked the decision, which she said was down to “bullies and bigots” and contrary to the Equality Act.

Isn’t the right to protest a fundamental human right? Or is there a clause which makes protesting certain viewpoints a crime? I’m confused.

“Everything that is happening at the Anderton school in Birmingham is probably making some headteachers nervous about their commitment to teaching about minority [same- sex] families,” Isaac said.

Headteachers are “probably” nervous? Time to abandon party politics and form a unified, national government until this existential threat is eliminated, don’t you think?

“Part of our job is to remind people that the law is the bottom line.”

And thanks to the vagueness with which it is written and the subjectivity with which it is enforced, the law is whatever we decide it is.

Anderton, a number of other Birmingham schools, and several outside the West Midlands have been targeted by religious groups who say they have concerns about teaching materials shared with pupils, which they claim promote LGBT equality and conflict with the teachings of their faith.

So you have conservative authoritarians arguing with progressive authoritarians over how children are best indoctrinated. Meanwhile, those who think kids should simply be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic at school are unrepentant bigots who must be purged from society.

“As a gay man who’s been very involved in the LGBT movement, I think identity politics have been hugely important historically, and it would be very easy to say identity politics has gone too far,” Isaac said.

Just in case anyone thought the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission ought to be neutral on this issue. Is his deputy an Imam?

But he acknowledged that such politics could be corrosive. “We are living in a world that is more divided, there’s more individualist thinking in relation to what is happening and less empathy, less hope.”

Thanks in large part to that industry you head which goes around slapping labels on people and threatening them with criminal prosecution for wrongthink.

The challenge, he suggested, was to ensure “we don’t end up in the siloed world where everybody is hypersensitive about their own individual interests and less empathetic about how other people are treated.”

Rarely does the head of an organisation come out and state their biggest challenge is the result of their own efforts.

He added: “The key issue is how do we move beyond the ‘I’ to the ‘we’, how do we think of ourselves as citizens in a country or in the world who are not just focused on what works for me and my narrow group. How do we ensure that we think about people who are different to us?”

Ooh, I don’t know. Maybe we could try a version of politics which emphasises what makes us the same – language, culture, shared history, values – rather than what makes everyone different and thus deserving of special treatment.

One solution, he suggested, would be for schools to include citizenship classes in their curriculum, to help them become “citizens of the 21st century”.

Yes, because the one thing missing from the lives of the parents protesting outside the schools is an appreciation of when Britain got its first female MP.

“Teaching kids about not just same-sex relationships but what it is to be a good citizen would be a really important start,” he said.

So Soviet kindergartens only with Lenin in drag.

Finding common ground where all parties accepted that they were subject to the law that protected minority rights would help remove the “binary” nature that engulfed much of the debate swirling around identity politics, Isaac suggested.

It’s those laws protecting minority rights that are the root cause of this problem, you clot.

“People do see it as a zero-sum game,

That’s because it is. Modern rights always come at the expense of someone else.

and my view is that it’s completely possible to teach the tenets of your faith in school, but at the same time say ‘that child over there has two mothers’.

I find it amusing when people who clearly don’t know the first thing about a religion start talking about how its adherents ought to think. Like with the Israel Folau case they think everyone holds the same wishy-washy pick ‘n choose views as your average pencil-necked modern CoE vicar.

We are asking them to respect somebody else’s lifestyle choice or desire to love someone of the same sex.”

The irony here is that in the theocracies of the Middle East, respecting Islam often means endorsing Islam, particularly during Ramadan. What we’re seeing here is less about respect than forced endorsement.

Isaac drew comparisons between the battle to promote equality and human rights and that now being waged to arrest the climate crisis.

In the sense that it’s a privileged, middle-class angst fest driven by a hatred of the plebs and the phenomenal achievements of developed, western societies, he’s quite right.

“Some things are in crisis, particularly in relation to what is happening to disabled people. We’ve made progress in other areas, LGBT being the obvious one, but when I look at gender and race I think we’ve made less progress.”

As the Communists were always just a million more corpses from utopia, progressives think we’re always another few thousand laws from the population thinking as they should. Note that in among all this hand-wringing there wasn’t a single mention of the majority population and what they might want: it’s all about the minorities. Little wonder society is fragmenting.

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More Sado than Macho

According to Met Chief and Slaughterer of Innocent Brazilians Cressida Dick:

The macho image of male police officers dealing with terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower disaster could be putting off women from joining the Met, Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick said today.

She said the terror attacks in London in 2017, when mainly male firearms officers were deployed on the streets, and the Grenfell fire in the same year had led to a mistaken view of policing as a “very physical service”.

Ah yes, who can forget the macho image portrayed by Craig Mackey:

The acting Metropolitan Police commissioner locked himself in his car as he watched terrorist Khalid Masood kill one of his colleagues in Westminster because he had “no protective equipment and no radio,” he has told an inquest.

Sir Craig Mackey, now deputy commissioner of Scotland Yard, said that despite witnessing Masood “purposefully” lunge at everyone in his path with a butcher’s knife, he realised that had he got out of his vehicle, he would have been a target.

Instead, he remained in his black saloon car, within the Palace of Westminster, and witnessed Masood, 52, fatally stab PC Keith Palmer.

I expect more women are put off joining by the abject cowardice in the Met’s leadership than images of tough-looking blokes out on patrol.

Ms Dick told the Standard: “People have got it into their heads that you have to be supremely fit or strong when actually the vast majority of our officers, most of the time, are not using huge amounts of physical strength to get the job done. They are using their communication skills, their problem-solving skills and their analytical skills.”

Indeed, what use is physical force on the streets of London:

Violent suspects could be released by police if officers do not get “backed up” by members of the public, a federation leader has warned.

Ken Marsh spoke out after a video of officers being attacked was shared widely on social media.

The video, taken in Merton, south London, on Saturday, shows a man aim a flying kick at a female officer, who is left clutching her head just yards away from a passing bus.

Another male officer is dragged across the road as he tries to stop a second suspect from running away.

The male officer suffered cuts and the female officer was left with head injuries.

Every few months a video circulates on the internet showing a feral thug getting the better of a policeman in a physical confrontation, but apparently the problem is they’re a bit too macho.

The Met commissioner said more had to be done to challenge the “stereotypes and myths” of policing as a macho culture.

Oh, don’t worry, that myth is dead and buried. The current perception of the Met police is they’re a mix of vanity-ridden wannabes who bully people from behind a computer screen and the paramilitary arm of the social studies department of a third-rate former polytechnic. And none realise this more than the knife-wielding criminals who operate in the capital with impunity.

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Observer observed

I’ve written before about Britain being a country where hi-viz vests have proliferated among a bewildering array of jobsworths with official-sounding titles but who do none of the work traditionally associated with such attire.

The photo below is a screenshot from the chaos that ensued when Tommy Robinson turned up to campaign in Oldham over the weekend:

Does anyone have the foggiest idea what a legal observer is, who appoints them, and why they would be wearing a hi-viz vest on the streets of Britain?

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Posted in UK

The lowest house

As many people have said over the past couple of years, all the Democrats need to do to win back the presidency in 2020 is to not be insane. It appears to be proving easier said than done:

A US House of Representatives panel has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for not releasing an unredacted copy of the report on Russian election meddling.

The judiciary committee took the rare step as tensions rose over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.

Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr, one of Mr Trump’s sons, to legally force him to testify. It is the first known legal summons issued to a member of the president’s family in connection with the investigation.

The Democrats placed a large bet on the ridiculous notion that Trump was an agent of Vladimir Putin, and it’s failed to come off. In fact, they probably knew it wasn’t true and the whole Mueller investigation was just the tool with which they hoped something would be dug up which could be used to impeach Trump, but despite his very best efforts, the special counsel came up with nothing of substance. Trump didn’t collude with the Russians to steal the 2016 presidential election, and the instances of obstruction of justice contained in the report consist of Trump shooting his mouth off like he normally does (while not following through) in the absence of any underlying crime.

What the Democrats should have done is put this catastrophe behind them and quickly move on. A large number of ordinary Americans were already weary of the Mueller probe and its hampering effect on Trump’s presidency, and in the wake of the report it’s hard to imagine anyone outside a tiny minority of anti-Trump fanatics have the stomach for another year of this pantomime. Unfortunately, rather a lot of Democrat politicians make up that minority, as do their media mouthpieces, and are determined to flog this dead horse right up until the 2020 election. For them, getting rid of Trump has become such an obsession they’ve forgotten the best way to do it is to not come across as fanatical, vindictive lunatics in the 18 months before an election. I suspect most Americans are severely unimpressed by what they’re seeing here.

The other problem the Democrats have is the likes of terrorist-supporting Ilhan Omar and Palestinian activist Rashida Tlaib are laying into Israel with little attempt to distinguish their criticism from bog-standard, anti-Jew hatred while the party leadership utters not a whisper of condemnation. That you or I may disagree over whether their remarks constitute antisemitism or legitimate criticism doesn’t matter when an awful lot of Democrat-voting American Jews are listening in horror, first at the comments themselves and then at the silence that follows. It is unlikely that these people will switch their allegiance to Republican but it might cause a lot of Jews to stay at home, unable to bring themselves to vote for a party which not only includes antisemites but actively promotes them. The 2020 election is likely to be a close-run thing, and both sides need every vote they can get.

Two and a half years into the Trump administration the Democrats should have a very strong hand, but they’ve dealt themselves a weak one. They’ve now decided to play it very badly.

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Jess Flips

The British police, in the course of acting as street muscle for their wet political masters, beclown themselves further:

Police are looking into remarks by UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin after Labour MP Jess Phillips accused him of malicious communications.

Mr Benjamin, who is standing in the European elections, tweeted that he “wouldn’t even rape” Ms Phillips.

He has refused to apologise for the remark made in 2016, arguing that “any subject can be the subject of a joke.”

I’m not going to defend the remark, but it is three years old. The reason Phillips is blubbering to the police now is because Benjamin is running for political office at the same time her own profile is increasing. Launching police investigations in order to sandbag anti-establishment political campaigns is nothing new, but they were previously confined to tinpot nations. Secondly, when is saying you wouldn’t commit a crime now a crime? Is it all in the context? Because when Count Dankula was found guilty, it was ruled that context doesn’t matter. Not for the first time are the British authorities demonstrating they’re happy to just make things up as they go in order to protect the ruling classes.

Ms Phillips told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she “cried in the street” after hearing a video by him.

She said that until then she “had been putting a brave face on it and pretending that it was all fine and that I could cope”.

So the remark wasn’t even made to her face. To think, there are credulous fools out there who think this thick, weak, vulgar harridan who conforms to all the stereotypes foreigners have about British women is future prime minister material.

The Birmingham MP has called for people who “promote rape and sexual violence” to have a lifetime ban from running for elected office.

Frankly, I’d rather have an established Ministry of Raping, Pillaging, and Looting* than see citizens banned from running for office because they use unapproved words. Benjamin’s remark was distasteful in the extreme, but what Phillips is proposing here is something straight out of the worst dictatorships.

The MP for Birmingham Yardley told Victoria Derbyshire she did not fear for her physical safety, but worried for her mental health after thousands of messages from Twitter users attacking her in the last year alone.

“Sometimes I would rather someone punch me in the face than the constant degradation you suffer as a woman in the public eye,” she said. “It is constant, it constantly belittles you, it makes you blame yourself.”

It’s not because you’re a woman, it’s because you’re a nasty piece of work.

On Mr Benjamin, she said she could not understand how a person who wrote the comments online was allowed to run to be an MEP.

This itself should disqualify her from public office. When people talk about the decay of political morality in Britain, Carl Benjamin is probably a symptom. Jess Phillips and her ilk are very much the cause.

* We could just rename HMRC, I suppose.

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Who’s the new girl?

A reader alerts me to the existence of a listed company called Regeneration Rethought – U+I. Aside from having a name which makes ChangeUK The Independent Group sound catchy, we learn they are:

a property developer and investor focused on regeneration.

with:

a £9.5 billion+ portfolio of complex, mixed-use, community focused regeneration projects including a £145.7 million investment portfolio in the London City Region, Manchester and Dublin.

So they’re a multi-billion dollar property development outfit. Okay, fair enough. On 3rd April 2019, they appointed a new non-executive director, Professor Sadie Morgan. Here’s what the press release said:

The role will oversee delivery of U+I’s commitments to community engagement in PPP projects, as well as also oversee the establishment of a workforce advisory panel, in accordance with new governance regulations, to support employee engagement and membership of an internal design panel – all intended to reinforce U+I’s commitments to talent, creativity and community.

Ah, so this company is big into PPP – public-private partnerships – whereby the government gets capital expenditure off its books by signing dubious long-term contracts with favoured companies to provide government services.

Prof. Morgan is a founding director of dRMM Architects and Stirling prize winner. And she is Professor of professional practice at Westminster University. She chairs the Independent Design Panel for High Speed 2, reporting directly to the Secretary of State, and is one of ten commissioners for the National Infrastructure Commission. Prof. Morgan is also one of the Mayor’s Design Advocates for the Greater London Authority.

Ah yes, High Speed 2, that shining example of slick project execution and sound financial stewardship. And how handy that someone so close to government decision-makers in the fields of property development and planning should find themselves on the board of a large private property developer! So what will Prof. Morgan bring to the table in return for her undoubtedly hefty pay packet, aside from a direct line to the decision-makers in local government?

“I am delighted to be taking on this ground-breaking role. I was brought up in a co-operative community in Kent that had been set up by my grandfather, and so I grew up with a real sense of inclusion, purpose, community and responsibility. This appointment allows me to help U+I turn those beliefs and commitments into action involving what will, I am sure, be major schemes of huge importance to the communities involved.”

Paragraphs of leaden, jargon-filled corporate-speak which reads as though it were churned out by an algorithm created by someone who grew up in locked shed with a nothing but a pile of local government newsletters for entertainment. But it’s not all bad news: we don’t need to worry ourselves about human trafficking or slavery:

U+I believes that the detection and reporting of slavery and human trafficking is the responsibility of all employees. During the year all employees were required to undertake specific training with regards to Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking. In addition, all new employees are required to complete this training as part of their induction process. Should any employee have a suspicion of slavery or human trafficking in any part of the business or supply chain they are encouraged to raise this at the earliest opportunity.

Why do I get the impression this is more serving the interests of those giving the training than anyone being enslaved or trafficked?

We are committed to ensuring that human trafficking and slavery play no part in any activities carried out by U+I or our supply chain.

That’s a relief, but why use slaves anyway when you have taxpayers?

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Law of rule

Britain is a country whose ruling classes believe barbaric jihadis who fought for ISIS should be rehabilitated back into society. They also believe people should be prosecuted for burning cardboard models of buildings in their back yards and videoing it:

A man accused of filming and posting a “grossly offensive” video of a burning Grenfell Tower effigy on WhatsApp has appeared in court to deny the offence.

Paul Bussetti also pleaded not guilty to causing footage of a “menacing character” to be uploaded on YouTube.

Mr Bussetti, 46, of South Norwood, London, has been charged under the Communications Act 2003 and appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court .

The video was shot at a bonfire party in south-east London.

The rule of law is rapidly slipping away in Britain. Sure there are lots of laws, but their application is wholly arbitrary and they’re written in such a way that something either is or isn’t a crime depending on what those in charge feel like.

When this lot are finally turfed out of office, I hope at least some of them are handed down lengthy prison sentences under laws they helped pass. I don’t even care if it’s done out of pure spite. What, exactly, will be the difference between then and now?

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Posted in UK

Refusal Accepted

It appears Jeremy Corbyn has refused to attend a banquet with Donald Trump when he visits the UK in June, leading to a lot of tweets like this one:


This is the wrong approach. As I’ve written recently, there is no point in trying to shame the utterly shameless or point to the hypocrisy of people with no principles whatsoever. Nobody who currently supports Corbyn would care if he was caught stealing jewelry from the museum cases at Auschwitz, and they’d bend over backwards to excuse him.

The better response would be to say:

“Why do you assume Trump has any interest in meeting you? Does he even know who you are?”

If we had a Tory party that wasn’t gelded, someone would say this in parliament.

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Articulated Laurie

This tweet from Laurie Penny is interesting:


For all her pretensions of being a rebel, Laurie Penny – the private school and Oxford educated darling of the left and writer for New Statesman – is very much part of the Establishment. Almost every institution in the land has been captured by those whose views she shares, or which sit further to the left than her own. The polyamory, the red hair, the profanity, the hardcore feminism, all point to dreary woke conformism rather than rebellion, which is why she gets invited onto the BBC and other mainstream media outlets that wouldn’t touch genuine dissidents with a barge pole.

What’s got her worried is she and her ilk thought by capturing the institutions they’d won the war and secured the peace. But just as American soldiers came to learn that taking nameless hilltops didn’t defeat the North Vietnamese, the Establishment is now seeing their fortresses bypassed, overflown, and undermined by guerrilla warfare. They thought they had complete control and under the old rules they did, but the game has changed and power is increasingly moving away from the centralised institutions in the manner Laurie describes perfectly in her tweet. Which is why she’s worried. Who do you think will have more influence in the next decade: podcasters like Joe Rogan or Independent columnists like Laurie Penny?

The bit she’s got wrong is that this is not fascism, it’s a reaction to the wholesale takeover of the Establishment by the forces of the left. She’s calling it fascism because she has no idea how to counter it, and hopes by pointing to imaginary Nazi flags the ruling classes will launch Operation Rolling Thunder. And look how well that turned out. For all Laurie’s self-declared progressivism, she’s actually a reactionary, terrified of losing the power and prestige she’s accumulated under an outdated system whose foundations are crumbling beneath her. The irony is she’s as much to blame for the demise of the old system and the birth of the new one as any.

More please, and faster.

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Greta Morozov

Last week a bunch of posh kids held a demonstration in London under the banner of an organisation calling itself Extinction Rebellion. Their aims are drearily predictable: obtaining political power for themselves to enact sweeping, authoritarian economic and social policies under the pretence of environmental concern. In other words they’re just another unit off an ageing production line, about as unique as a Michelin tyre but not half as interesting.

The demonstration and other stunts caused severe disruption to people trying to go about their daily lives, which the participants justified by saying everyone needs to be made aware of climate change. Several people complained the police just stood idly by and allowed public roads to be blocked, and asked whether Brexit demonstrators would be afforded the same courtesy. The answer of course is no, because Extinction Rebellion demonstrates in support of the establishment viewpoint whereas a Brexit protest would run in precisely the opposite direction. The police are hardly going to be ordered to beat up a bunch of floppy-haired teenagers who want the government to have more power, no matter how annoying they are. Extinction Rebellion’s actions are about as subversive as the May Day parades in the former Soviet Union.

In case we hadn’t been patronised by spoiled teenagers quite enough, British parliamentarians invited an odd-looking sixteen year old Swedish schoolgirl dressed up to look about ten to lecture us on how bad we are:

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg has described the UK’s response to climate change as “beyond absurd”.

In a speech to MPs, the Swedish 16-year-old criticised the UK for supporting new exploitation of fossil fuels and exaggerating cuts to carbon emissions.

She was invited to Westminster after inspiring the school climate strikes movement.

There’s a lot to say here, and I’ll say it.

Firstly, there’s a good reason why political campaigners have chosen an autistic child as their front: it makes people reluctant to criticise her. As the past couple of days have shown, anyone challenging her scripted nonsense is shouted down for being mean to a child with mental problems. Whoever put her up to this – and it seems to be her parents – ought to be ashamed of themselves. It is bordering on child abuse.

Secondly, any adult who takes their political lead from a sixteen year old ought to quit whatever they’re doing and seek help. Similarly, adults who find a teenager manipulated into regurgitating boilerplate climate hysteria “inspiring” are probably those who think their own brat’s spelling test results are newsworthy. Politicians are a little different in that they like her for the same reason they support Extinction Rebellion: she is arguing in favour of their being given more powers. Just as young Pavel Morozov‘s narcissism served the interests of Soviet politicians, so this child’s serves the interests of ours.

Thirdly, what she’s actually saying is emotive, irrational nonsense. The UK, and the west in general, has not “done nothing” about climate change, and her predictions for the future ought to have interested a child psychologist long before now. Not a single person has challenged her on this. And if leaving a ticking time bomb for children is a concern, how come her focus is not on the national debt? Realistically, what is likely to be the larger handicap we’re passing down to future generations: a one and a half degree temperature rise or tens of thousands of dollars in debt hung around the neck of every newborn baby? We’re stealing children’s futures all right, but not by driving cars.

Fourthly, her supporters say she is doing valuable work in raising awareness of climate change. They’ve offered the same excuse on behalf of Extinction Rebellion, only I can’t think of a single issue given more prominence in my lifetime. Every aspect of our society and culture, every corporation, every government, every event and every activity comes with some reference or other to climate change. It even has its own UN agency. It’s as ubiquitous as a state religion, and we are constantly lectured on the subject from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, seven days a week with no break even for Christmas. Saying British people need more awareness of climate change is like saying North Koreans need more awareness of the Kim family. We are plenty aware, we just don’t agree sweeping authoritarian socialism is the answer, and sticking teenagers in front of us who look as though they wandered off the set of Deliverance and got lost isn’t going to persuade us any.

Finally, this whole circus is merely a symptom of the political malaise which infests the UK and wider developed world. As with the treachery and incompetence over Brexit, I am reluctant to place the blame for Greta Thunberg’s being permitted to address parliament wholly on the politicians responsible for it; they are merely the representatives of a ruling class who are as incompetent as they are corrupt as they are immoral, backed by a section of the population born into circumstances which never required them to acquire self-awareness or make difficult decisions. This Swedish brat demanding we pay her attention and organise our nation’s affairs in a way which meets her approval is one thing. That our politicians, media, and substantial numbers of adults at large in our society see fit to accommodate her is something else. Serious countries would not involve teenagers in the setting of public policy, especially foreign ones. Serious countries would never find themselves even being asked to.

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