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Other View: In 2017, all news will be good (and real), I promise

We have nearly escaped 2016. Good riddance, pestilent year! Everything that has gone wrong has been your fault.

2017 will be nothing like that.

First off, no more celebrities will be allowed to die.

There will be a moratorium on celebrity death, starting Jan. 1 and continuing through Dec. 31. This goes for dogs, gorillas and pandas as well. In fact, there will be no deaths of any kind.

Listen, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, you may not like this any more than I do, but you are not allowed to leave the house any longer. Neither are you, Betty White. Sit down and stay there. We will send you approved, heart-healthy snacks and a pile of interesting reading material. We are sorry, but it cannot be helped.

In 2017, all beloved national treasures will be constantly sheathed in a protective casing and followed around by a team of no fewer than six doctors. They will not be permitted to walk under ladders. All black cats attempting to cross their paths will be diverted and then detonated harmlessly. Cholesterol will be swatted from their hands. Traffic will be routed around them. Their children will not be allowed to tell them disturbing personal news without careful coaching from a team of experts.

In 2017, all clowns will be collected from the woods. There will be no more reports of sylvan clowns beckoning children into the woods with dollar bills. In short, there will be no more nonsense.

Any Wild Improbabilities that suggest a rip in the fabric of time will no longer be allowed. For instance, if there is a rap musical written about a Founding Father, it will close promptly after three days to no fanfare at all. Similarly, the Cubs will win no more World Series, and the Nobel Prize in Literature will return to the staid, plaid-covered arms of traditional authors. Justin Bieber’s music will go back to being bad. The kind of Eldritch magic required to summon up these Bizarre Occurrences has too great a cost, and requires the sacrifice of too many other unrelated hopes and dreams. The portal will be sealed, and the Order of Things will be restored.

In 2017, there will be an end to Hitler comparisons. There will be an end to all behavior that invites Hitler comparisons. The nonsense horse race of 2016 is over, and everyone will focus, together, on crafting sound policy that is beneficial to all. The talking heads on television will actually know what they are talking about. When Experts make predictions, they will be respected and obeyed. Also, there will be no more countdowns. We will live in the present.

America will be great again. Everyone will be issued a festive hat. Britain will quietly ignore the fact that it is supposed to be leaving the European Union, and things will return to normal. If someone makes a movie about good-natured ghost hunters, it will not become a Giant Political Fiasco. There will be no more profiles of sexy fascists with dapper haircuts who held neo-Nazi rallies. “Neo-Nazi,” people will say to themselves. “That sounds, by definition, bad. No more of that, please!”

In general, politics will be entirely free from scandal, corruption and hate. All Hunger Games analogies will cease forthwith. Donald Trump will acknowledge that being president of the United States is a serious responsibility and will slough off his cocoon to reveal a wise and benevolent man who will govern with temperance. He will accidentally delete his Twitter account. He will no longer travel from place to place with a court comprised entirely of his numerous well-coiffed children.

In 2017, people will behave quite differently to one another. They will be polite. They will be kind. Those acts of hate that you heard about were just 2016’s general pestilence at work, and 2016 will be over. People will smile at each other on the sidewalk. Extremism will cease. We will believe rape victims. We will have no call to use the term “officer-involved shooting” ever again.

All people with grievances and hatred in their hearts will channel them into strongly worded notes. There will be no devastating pictures of children on the front pages of newspapers because, as stated above, nobody will die.

You will not wake up one morning with the sullen, leaden sensation deep in your stomach that perhaps, after all, some people do not see you as a person. That was 2016, and 2016 is over. You will not need to worry and to fight and to agitate. That was the old year. This new one will emerge fully formed and perfect and full of benevolence for all.

All news will be real, and all news will be good.

If we can just make it to the end of 2016, 2017 will be amazing. It will be a year unlike any in human history.

Letter: America lost election

I see, hear and read a lot of Trump and tea party supporters jumping up and down howling we won. When one looks at the popular vote, you did not win. American voters' right to elect our leader lost.

Keith Nielson


Krauthammer: Obama's final, most shameful, legacy moment

“When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.”

— Barack Obama, AIPAC conference, March 4, 2012

WASHINGTON — The audience — overwhelmingly Jewish, passionately pro-Israel and supremely gullible — applauded wildly. Four years later — his last election behind him, with a month to go in office and with no need to fool Jew or gentile again — Obama took the measure of Israel’s back and slid a knife into it.

People don’t quite understand the damage done to Israel by the U.S. abstention that permitted passage of a Security Council resolution condemning Israel over settlements. The administration pretends this is nothing but a restatement of long-standing U.S. opposition to settlements.

Nonsense. For the last 35 years, every administration, including a re-election-seeking Obama himself in 2011, has protected Israel with the U.S. veto because such a Security Council resolution gives immense legal ammunition to every boycotter, anti-Semite and zealous European prosecutor to penalize and punish Israelis.

An ordinary Israeli who lives or works in the Old City of Jerusalem becomes an international pariah, a potential outlaw. To say nothing of the soldiers of Israel’s citizen army. “Every pilot and every officer and every soldier,” said a confidant of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, “we are waiting for him at The Hague.” I.e., the International Criminal Court.

Moreover, the resolution undermines the very foundation of a half-century of American Middle East policy. What becomes of “land for peace” if the territories Israel was to have traded for peace are, in advance, declared to be Palestinian land to which Israel has no claim?

The peace parameters enunciated so ostentatiously by Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday are nearly identical to the Clinton parameters that Yasser Arafat was offered and rejected in 2000 and that Abbas was offered by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. Abbas, too, walked away.

Kerry mentioned none of this because it undermines his blame-Israel narrative. Yet Palestinian rejectionism works. The Security Council just declared the territories legally Palestinian — without the Palestinians having to concede anything, let alone peace.

The administration claims a kind of passive innocence on the text of the resolution, as if it had come upon it at the last moment. We are to believe that the ostensible sponsors — New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and a Venezuela that cannot provide its own people with toilet paper, let alone food — had for months been sweating the details of Jewish housing in East Jerusalem.

Nothing new here, protests deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes: “When we see the facts on the ground, again deep into the West Bank, beyond the separation barrier, we feel compelled to speak up against those actions.”

This is a deception. Everyone knows that remote outposts are not the issue. Under any peace, they will be swept away. Even the right-wing Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who lives in one of these West Bank Settlements, has stated publicly that “I even agree to vacate my settlement if there really will be a two-state solution.” Where’s the obstacle to peace?

A second category of settlement is the close-in blocs that border 1967 Israel. Here, too, we know in advance how these will be disposed of: They’ll become Israeli territory and, in exchange, Israel will swap over some of its land to a Palestinian state. Where’s the obstacle to peace here?

It’s the third category of “settlement” that is the most contentious and that Security Council resolution 2334 explicitly condemns: East Jerusalem. This is not just scandalous; it’s absurd. America acquiesces to a declaration that, as a matter of international law, the Jewish state has no claim on the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, indeed the entire Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. They belong to Palestine.

The Temple Mount is the most sacred site in all of Judaism. That it should be declared foreign to the Jewish people is as if the Security Council declared Mecca and Medina to be territory to which Islam has no claim. Such is the Orwellian universe Israel inhabits.

At the very least, Obama should have insisted that any reference to East Jerusalem be dropped from the resolution or face a U.S. veto. Why did he not? It’s incomprehensible — except as a parting shot of personal revenge on Benjamin Netanyahu. Or perhaps as a revelation of a deep-seated antipathy to Israel that simply awaited a safe political interval for public expression.

Another legacy moment for Barack Obama. And his most shameful.