California Wildfires, Elections, Nafta: Your Monday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. Powerful wildfires raged in Northern and Southern California, pushed by strong winds.

The deadly Camp Fire in the north, the state’s most destructive wildfire in modern history, was blamed for at least 29 deaths and the destruction of the town of Paradise. Above, a trailer park was leveled.

The Woolsey Fire, west of Los Angeles, has killed two and charred 90,000 acres around Malibu and Thousand Oaks.

Forecasters predicted continuing winds, no rain and low humidity, which could worsen conditions. Our reporters are chronicling the fire and talking with victims, some of whom barely escaped with their lives.

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2. Voting may get easier in states across the U.S., thanks to ballot measures passed on Election Day.

Florida restored the voting rights of 1.4 million people with felony convictions. Maryland will allow voter registration up to Election Day. Michigan, Colorado and Missouri limited politicians’ ability to directly draw — and gerrymander — district lines. Utah, where votes are still being counted, appears poised to do the same.

Some states also put new restrictions on voting, with North Carolina and Arkansas approving voter ID rules. Nationwide, the moves are part of a battle between Democrats, who tend to gain with a larger electorate, and Republicans, whose policies often push in the opposite direction.

Separately, a judge overseeing the contentious recounts in three close Florida elections told lawyers for both sides to “ramp down the rhetoric.”

Recounts began over the weekend in the state’s races for Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner. Republicans had suggested, without offering proof, that their candidates’ slim leads were shrinking because elections supervisors were miscounting ballots. Above, the recount in Miami.

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3. President Trump’s plans to reshape the Nafta trade agreement with Mexico and Canada could be upended, now that Democrats are taking control of the House.

The Democrats are promising to extract greater protections for American workers. One particular concern: a requirement that at least 30 percent of the labor used to build each car in Mexico be completed by workers earning at least $16 an hour. The agreement also has provisions that would affect dairy farmers. Above, an expo in Madison, Wis.

The incoming Democrats are the most diverse, most female freshman class in history — and include the first Muslim women and Native American women elected to Congress. More than 50 of them arrive in Washington for an orientation this week.

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4. Shortly after Jamal Khashoggi was killed last month at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to “tell your boss” — believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — that the operatives had carried out their mission, our reporters learned.

The conversation was included in a recording of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing that was collected by Turkish intelligence. It is some of the strongest evidence linking Prince Mohammed to Mr. Khashoggi’s killing.

“A phone call like that is about as close to a smoking gun as you are going to get,” said a former C.I.A. officer. Above, a memorial service in Istanbul.

The kingdom has denied that Prince Mohammed, its de facto ruler and a close ally of President Trump, ordered the attack. But the new evidence is certain to intensify pressure on the White House over that relationship.

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5. It was Afghanistan’s “safe” district.

Rural Jaghori was famous for being an oasis in a war-torn country: People couldn’t remember the last murder or robbery, and schooling was nearly universal for boys and girls.

Then last week, the Taliban attacked the district from three sides. The Afghan government sent in its Special Forces to combat the threat.

When a small team of our journalists made the trek to the isolated area, they expected to find residents defiant against the insurgents.

Instead, they found an overwhelmed government force, the bodies of U.S.-trained commandos lined up outside the governor’s office, above, and a situation so perilous that they had to flee by the end of the day.

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6. Michelle Obama’s highly anticipated memoir, “Becoming,” hits bookstores Tuesday.

The former first lady sheds light on what it was like to live through national tragedies in the White House. During the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Conn., President Obama summoned her to his side for comfort — something he seldom did during work hours.

And she is clear about her feelings toward the current administration, calling President Trump a “misogynist” and a “bully.”

“I’ve lain awake at night, fuming over what’s come to pass,” she writes. “It’s been distressing to see how the behavior and the political agenda of the current president have caused many Americans to doubt themselves and to doubt and fear one another.”

Our reviewer called it “a polished pearl of a memoir.”

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7. School buses that sing may be stopping at your corner soon.

New battery-powered buses run so quietly that they have to play a four-tone melody for safety.

Electric buses, which cost three times as much as diesel buses, are still rare. But they are less expensive to fuel and maintain, and they’re catching on in districts across the U.S. where officials are concerned about the carbon emissions that drive global warming.

There are worries about running out of power on longer routes. But that concern could dissipate as charging stations become more common.

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8. What happened to U.S. prescription drug prices?

Two decades ago, the costs began rising well beyond that of other nations, and in recent years they’ve shot up again.

Spending was about $1,000 per person in 2015, far ahead of other wealthy countries. Switzerland, second to the U.S., was at $783. Sweden was lowest, at $351, one study showed.

What can explain it? A medical expert weighs the theories and evidence, and tries to get a glimpse of the future — when the rise of precision medicines could push costs even higher.

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9. Stan Lee, a creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor and many other superheroes, has died. He was 95.

Mr. Lee, above, the chief writer and editor for Marvel Comics, revolutionized the comic book world by humanizing its characters, giving them flaws and insecurities shared by mere mortals. Above, at Marvel in 1980.

In the 1980s, he moved to Los Angeles to bring his superheroes to the big screen and ended up often making cameo appearances in the Hollywood spinoffs.

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10. Finally, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is getting a new topper.

Daniel Libeskind, the architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center, has designed a 900-pound, 3-D star composed of 70 lighted spikes and encrusted with three million Swarovski crystals.

We’ve also collected highlights of Rockefeller Center trees of the past from our photo archives.

Mr. Libeskind said he hoped the new star would convey a sense of the city “radiating its light in all directions.” The tree will be lighted on Nov. 28 and on view through Jan. 7.

Have a brilliant evening.

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Calgary veterinarians pay tribute to their colleagues’ service during First World War

Some Calgary veterinarians are working on a project to share the story of the important role their colleagues played on the battlefields of Europe more than a century ago.

About 300 veterinarians left Canada to serve alongside the soldiers in the First World War, taking care of the thousands of horses used by allied forces in the conflict.

“The horse and mule teams were essential to the war effort,” Dr. Dan French said.

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French is part of a team of veterinarians now working with Calgary’s Heritage Park to establish a new permanent exhibit at the historical village.

The exhibit would show the vets’ contributions not only during the war, but also throughout the early years of European settlement in Alberta.

“They were pretty critical to the ranching industry,” Heritage Park CEO Alida Visbach said.

“And earlier than that, horses were the main sources of transportation and with agricultural development, a very important story to share.”

The group of veterinarians is now raising money to help set up the new exhibit at Heritage Park.

If all goes well, it should open in the spring of 2019.

“It’s really exciting to think back on our colleagues that served over there,” French said. “That is an important part of our history, and look at what they taught us. It’s a great story to tell!”

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Man in tears after stepdaughter takes his last name for birthday gift

A teenager’s moving birthday gift brought an Oregon man to tears last week in a viral video.

McMinnville native Giselle Santoyo claims her stepfather wasn’t able to legally adopt her before her 18th birthday. So the teen went and solidified their relationship on her own.

“My greatest gift in life is you being my dad,” Santoyo posted Friday morning along with a video showing her stepfather opening a gift.

“Here I am with your gift, I changed my last name for you. I love you forever, happy birthday,” she explained. “I am legally Giselle Marie Santoyo.”

Her stepfather could be seen placing his head in his hands as tears began to stream down.

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Opinion | Saudi Arabia Is Misusing Mecca

The rulers of Saudi Arabia derive much of their legitimacy and prestige in the Muslim world from their control and upkeep of the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba in Mecca and the mosque of Prophet Muhammad in Medina. King Salman, like the rulers before him, wears the title of the “Khadim al-Ḥaramayn as-Sarifayn,” which is translated as the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” or, more precisely, “The Servant of the Two Noble Sanctuaries.”

Despite the humility of the royal title, the Saudi monarchy has a long history of exploiting the podium of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by using its imams to praise, sanctify and defend the rulers and their actions.

In the aftermath of the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as the world’s accusatory gaze was transfixed on Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi monarchy has again used the Grand Mosque to defend and deify the crown prince in a manner that makes its legitimacy and control of Mecca and Medina morally troubling like never before.

On Oct. 19, Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Sudais, the officially appointed imam of the Grand Mosque and the highest religious authority in the kingdom, delivered his Friday sermon from a written script. Friday sermons at the Grand Mosque are broadcast live on cable networks and social media sites, watched with great reverence by millions of Muslims and carry a great deal of moral and religious authority.

Imam Sudais delivered a troubling sermon, violating the sanctity of the sacred space he occupied. He referenced a saying attributed to Prophet Muhammad that once every century, God sends a mujtahid, a great reformer to reclaim or reinvigorate the faith. He explained that the mujtahid is needed to address the unique challenges of each age.

He proceeded to extol Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a divine gift to Muslims and implied that the crown prince was the mujtahid sent by God to revive the Islamic faith in our age. “The path of reform and modernization in this blessed land … through the care and attention from its young, ambitious, divinely inspired reformer crown prince, continues to blaze forward guided by his vision of innovation and insightful modernism, despite all the failed pressures and threats,” the imam declared, from the podium where Prophet Muhammad delivered his last sermon.

Invoking the debate following the Khashoggi murder, Imam Sudais warned Muslims against believing ill-intended media rumors and innuendos that sought to cast doubt on the great Muslim leader. He described the conspiracies against the crown prince as intended to destroy Islam and Muslims, warning that “all threats against his modernizing reforms are bound not only to fail, but will threaten international security, peace and stability.”

He cautioned that the attacks against “these blessed lands” are a provocation and offense to more than a billion Muslims. Imam Sudais used the word “muhaddath,” or “uniquely and singularly gifted” to describe Prince Mohammed. “Muhaddath” was the title given by Prophet Muhammad to Umar Ibn al-Khattab, his companion and the second caliph of Islam. The imam implicitly compared the crown prince to Caliph Umar.

Imam Sudais prayed for God to protect Prince Mohammed against the international conspiracies being woven against him by the enemies of Islam, the malingerers and hypocrites, and concluded that it was the solemn duty of all Muslims to support and obey the king and the faithful crown prince, the protectors and guardians of the holy sites and Islam.

Saudi clerics had never weaponized the podium of the prophet at the Grand Mosque so brazenly to serve the monarchy. No imam of the Grand Mosque had ever anointed a Saudi ruler as the mujtahid of the age or dared to imply as much.

The sermons in Mecca and Medina are read from a script, which is approved beforehand by Saudi security forces. While the king appoints a leading imam for the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, each imam has a number of officially appointed deputies who rotate in leading prayers and delivering sermons.

For decades, the sermons delivered in Mecca and Medina have been pietistic, dogmatic and predictable. They have always concluded with a prayer for the Saudi royals, but the imams would not attribute sacred qualities to the monarchy and insisted that the rulers should be obeyed only to the extent that they obey God.

A lot has changed since Prince Mohammed’s rise to power. The crown prince has imprisoned hundreds of prominent Saudi imams who have shown even a modicum of resistance — including very prominent and influential jurists such as Sheikh Saleh al-Talib and Sheikh Bandar Bin Aziz Bilila, former imams of the Grand Mosque. Saudi prosecutors have sought the death penalty for Salman al-Awdah, a prominent, reformist cleric who was arrested last September. Some reports claim that another prominent cleric, Sheikh Suleiman Daweesh, who was arrested in April 2016, has died in a Saudi prison after being tortured.

The only imams who seem to be allowed to lead prayers and give sermons at the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina are those who have agreed to go along with whatever the crown prince wants. Some influential Saudi scholars such as Sheikh Abd al-Aziz Al Rayes went as far as saying in a lecture that even if the Saudi ruler “fornicates in public on television for half an hour each day, you are still required to bring people together around the ruler, not to aggravate people against him.”

Imam Sudais’s recent sermon put Muslims at an axial turning point: Accept the crown prince as the divinely inspired reformer of Islam and believe and accept his words and deeds or you are an enemy of Islam. Muslim scholars reacted to the sermon primarily on social media with disdain and outrage. Numerous Arabic language comedy shows and talk shows on YouTube reacted with mockery and condemnation.

When an imam of the Grand Mosque calls upon Muslims to obediently accept Prince Mohammed’s incredulous narrative about the murder of Mr. Khashoggi; to accept his abduction, jailing and torture of dissenters, including imprisonment of several revered Islamic scholars; to ignore his pitiless and cruel war in Yemen, his undermining the democratic dreams in the Arab world, his support for the oppressive dictatorship in Egypt, it makes it impossible to accept the imam’s categorization of the crown prince as a divinely inspired reformer. The sanctified podium of the prophet in Mecca is being desecrated and defiled.

The control of Mecca and Medina has enabled the clerical establishment and the monarchy flush with oil money to extend their literalist and rigid interpretations of Islam beyond the borders of the kingdom. Most Muslims will always prefer a tolerant and ethically conscientious Islam to the variant championed by the crown prince and the acquiescent Saudi clergy.

By using the Grand Mosque to whitewash acts of despotism and oppression, Prince Mohammed has placed the very legitimacy of the Saudi control and guardianship of the holy places of Mecca and Medina in question.

Khaled M. Abou El Fadl is a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of “Reasoning With God: Reclaiming Shari‘ah in the Modern Age.”

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Software firm Apptio to be bought by Vista Equity Partners for $1.94 billion

(Reuters) – Software company Apptio Inc (APTI.O) said on Sunday it had agreed to be bought by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for about $1.94 billion in cash.

Apptio shareholders will receive $38 per share, a premium of about 53 percent to its last close. The deal that has been approved by the company’s board, Apptio said.

The agreement includes a 30-day “go-shop” period, which allows Apptio board and advisers to consider alternative offers, the company said.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019 and Apptio will remain headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, it said.

Qatalyst Partners served as Apptio’s financial adviser, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati served as its legal adviser. Kirkland & Ellis LLP was the legal adviser to Vista.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on the deal.

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Australia's Healthscope opens books to sweetened $3.3 billion Brookfield offer

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian hospital operator Healthscope Ltd (HSO.AX) said it had received an increased takeover proposal from Brookfield Capital Partners valuing the company at up to $3.25 billion, and rejected a bid from Australian private equity firm BGH Capital.

Healthscope said it would grant Brookfield exclusive access to due diligence to facilitate a binding offer of up to A$4.5 billion ($3.3 billion).

After rebuffing both suitors in May, Chairman Paula Dwyer said Brookfield’s new proposal to acquire the company via either a voluntary scheme of arrangement or an off-market takeover, was superior to BGH Capital’s offer.

Healthscope shares rose 14.2 percent to A$2.37 in morning trading after the proposal was announced, while the broader market was slightly lower.

The Melbourne-based company’s falling profits and large hospital property portfolio have made it an attractive takeover target for suitors looking at Australia’s ageing population as a source of long-term growth.

Brookfield’s latest two-tiered offer values Healthscope at up to A$2.585 per share, slightly higher than its previous offer of A$2.50 per share.

“We consider the Brookfield proposal to be attractive for shareholders and provides enhanced certainty,” Dwyer said in a statement.

Healthscope would therefore not give due diligence access to BGH Capital and its partners, she said.

Last month, BGH and Healthscope’s biggest shareholder, AustralianSuper, lobbed their second and unchanged A$4.1 billion bid with the support of the company’s third-largest shareholder.

A 15 percent fall in the share price since Healthscope spurned its suitors in May probably prompted the company to change its tune and engage with Brookfield, Morningstar analyst Gareth James said.

“My guess would be that the Brookfield bid would win it,” James said. “I think if there were going to be any other bids other than these two they probably would’ve materialised by now.”

Brookfield’s proposal is conditional on Healthscope not completing the sale and leaseback of its hospital property portfolio, for which the hospital operator said it had received “strong interest”.

As part of its proposal, Brookfield is also offering shareholders the ability to remain invested in an unlisted Healthscope.

In August, Healthscope reported that its annual operating profit had halved and outlined plans to spin off, sell and lease back some of its hospital real estate.

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Opinion | Thank You, George Soros

To the Editor:

Re “A Democratic Institution Is Forced Out of Hungary” (news article, Oct. 26):

In the early 1990s my husband and I taught at the Prague campus of the Central European University, founded by the philanthropist George Soros. Our class, called “Civic Education,” was intended to inform students about the system of voting, how honest policing works and some of the benefits of a democratic state.

After the separation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, we taught similar courses in Slovakia, Estonia and Lithuania, as the Soviet control of those places retreated. These were again funded by Mr. Soros.

Many students in Prague proudly told us of shaking their keys in Wenceslas Square as part of the Velvet Revolution, which drove the Communists from power. In Estonia, citizens marched in the park with signs saying “Russians, go home.”

On all campuses, these young people were optimistic about a better future, and eager to learn about a world that had been pretty much shut off from them under Russian influence.

The new knowledge was a life-changing experience. In one winter session, during a snowfall, students stamped out “Thank you, teachers” in the snow.

Mr. Soros was a real factor in the lives of these students, who must now be in their 40s and 50s. He remains a hero for those of us who value education and who believe that all youth is entitled to it.

Gloria Neumeier
Kentfield, Calif.

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Beyond the battlefield: Scugog artist debuts paintings to showcase long-lasting impact of war

An artist from Scugog, Ont., has brought back to life some of the country’s most well-known First World War veterans by debuting dozens of paintings in an effort to showcase how “horrible” war can be before and after battle.

As part of the Scugog Memorial Library’s new “100 Years of WWI” exhibit, Tyler Briley painted portraits of many of those who served as a way to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Among those depicted in his work is Lt.-Col. Samuel Sharpe, who took his own life months after the battle of Passchendaele, where more than 16,000 Canadians were killed or wounded, including one of Sharpe’s closest friends.

Briley can relate to Sharpe’s experience, he says.

“I experienced the same thing — post-traumatic stress — through my job,” said Briley, who served as a firefighter in Scarborough for nearly two decades.

He suffered a career-ending shoulder injury on the job 18 years ago and says: “I didn’t realize until after I got injured that what I experienced was having a terrible effect on me.”

“We bring it home with us,” he adds.

His exhibit also features Lt.-Col. John McCrae, the author of the famous First World War poem In Flanders Fields, with one of the portraits depicting McCrae and his dog, Bonneau.

One of McCrae’s distant relatives, Robert, lives in Scugog, and when he laid eyes on this portrait, he decided to buy it from Briley.

“The likeness was so like pictures we’ve seen,” says McCrae, who is John’s second cousin, once removed.

These paintings are the first set Briley has ever created, but he has been sculpting for several years. This week, one of his other creations dedicated to those who fought in the First World War, a plaque featuring Sharpe, was debuted at Parliament.

Although Briley’s works depict people who have been gone for decades, he says his goal is to help keep their legacies alive.

“This is about coming, observing, respecting, remembering,” he said.

Briley’s exhibit runs until Nov. 23 at the Kent Farndale Art Gallery.

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Opinion | The Complicated DNA of ‘God Bless America’

American Jews on edge from the Pittsburgh temple murders and the sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the United States might — or might not — want to recall an even more anxious time: the dark autumn of 1938. Then, as the Nazis began to overrun Europe and the maniacal voice of Adolf Hitler crackled over the radio, as Kristallnacht shook the world, powerful voices right here at home, of men like Father Coughlin, Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, railed against American Jews — immigrants and the children of immigrants — pushing the country toward war, these men claimed, to rescue their co-religionists in Europe.

All America was on edge that fall: Orson Welles’s Halloween eve radio dramatization of H.G. Wells’s “The War of the Worlds” triggered widespread panic among thousands fearing an actual alien invasion was taking place. Yet another broadcast, 10 nights later, had a very different effect.

On Nov. 10, 1938, one day after Kristallnacht and the eve of Armistice Day, the radio and recording star Kate Smith, the “Songbird of the South,” spoke the following words on her weekly CBS show: “And now it’s going to be my very great privilege to sing for you a song that’s never been sung before by anybody … It’s something more than a song — I feel it’s one of the most beautiful compositions ever written, a song that will never die. The author, Mr. Irving Berlin. The title, ‘God Bless America.’”

The reaction was swift and powerful: America loved “God Bless America.” The song quickly became omnipresent. Thousands of ordinary citizens sang it every day, in schools and churches and at all manner of public gatherings — even at least one meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution. “When the song was played at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field Memorial Day,” The New York Times reported, “the crowd rose and uncovered as if for the national anthem.”

A serious groundswell of support arose for “God Bless America” to replace the rangy, difficult-to-sing “Star Spangled Banner.” Irving Berlin would have none of it. “A national anthem is something that develops naturally through age, tradition, historic significance and general recognition,” he said. “We’ve got a good national anthem. You can’t have two.”

He had first written the song, in slightly different form, in the summer of 1918, as a United States Army sergeant at Camp Upton on Long Island, while preparing his Army musical “Yip Yip Yaphank.” Berlin had become a naturalized citizen just that February. Born in Siberia in 1888, he had arrived at Ellis Island in September 1893 with his parents and five brothers and sisters, none of them speaking any English, part of a large influx of European Jews from the 1880s through the mid-1920s. America had been very good to him, and his new tune’s lyrics and soaring melody expressed his overwhelming gratitude to his adopted “home sweet home.”

But Berlin changed his mind about putting the tune in the show: It felt “just a little sticky” to him. He relegated it to his song trunk for 20 years — then, in the tense fall of 1938, Kate Smith’s manager approached him, looking for a number for Smith to sing on Armistice Day. Berlin went to his trunk.

Yet almost as soon as “God Bless America” was introduced, some of Berlin’s fellow citizens began reviling him for his presumption, as an immigrant and a Jew, in having written it at all. Isolationist America-Firsters, defending “The Star-Spangled Banner,” shouted down efforts to sing “God Bless America” at public gatherings. Though Berlin donated all royalties from the song to the Boy and Girl Scouts, many people accused him, in baldly anti-Semitic terms, of trying to profit from it. Jewish-conspiracy theories sprang up around the tune. The head of the pro-Nazi Protestant War Veterans of the United States wrote a letter to the director of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., accusing Berlin of paying “your organization $15,000 dollars to put over a (Jew) New National Anthem.”

It was a frightening time. A time when — right in Berlin’s hometown — Fritz Kuhn’s German-American Bund could draw a crowd of 20,000 homegrown Nazi sympathizers to a rally in Madison Square Garden. A rally where, in between “The Star Spangled Banner” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” Kuhn blamed “Jewish financiers” for getting America into World War I; where the Bund’s national public-relations counsel, G.W. Kunze, declaimed, “If Franklin Rosenfeld takes the place of George Washington, so in the cultural life Beethoven is replaced by Irving Berlin and the like.”

This was the fringe, but the fringe was scarily close to the main fabric of American life in those prewar years. It was a time when Jews, even wealthy and famous Jews like Irving Berlin, had to watch their step — and very soon, worry about the times to come.

And now our own frightening time. A time when a right-wing fringe, scarily close to the main fabric of American life and encouraged by our president, blames Jewish financiers for helping to bring immigrant hordes into the country. A time when some of that fringe’s sympathizers are taking matters into their own violent hands. A time when, at a rally held by President Trump in Illinois last month, a little girl in a red T-shirt sat on her father’s shoulders and listened to the president drum up fear about those immigrant hordes. The little girl’s T-shirt was emblazoned with three words: “God Bless America.”

James Kaplan’s biography of Irving Berlin, “New York Genius,” will be published next fall.

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Opinion | Where to Cry in an Open Office

Your company designed an open office space to break barriers and encourage interaction, but that makes it much harder to sob over a spreadsheet. Here are the best places to cry without your co-workers interrupting you.

At your desk with your headphones on: The trick is to release your tears one at a time. Tears are a dead giveaway that you’re doing crying stuff and not work stuff.

At Ravi’s standing desk: The dry cleaning he’s always hanging on it will provide partial coverage. Plus, crying at a sit/stand desk is so much better for your posture.

By the water cooler: Boost collaboration with your co-workers by taking turns to openly weep. They might hesitate at first, but remind them it’s easier to cry in person than via email.

Behind your succulent: Sure, the company removed all the walls but at least it added Instagram-worthy décor. The company will be thrilled that you’re getting so choked up over its long-term investment in plants.

Behind Gary, the college intern: Your crying will be obscured by Gary’s long lectures on the egalitarian benefits of an open office and how he took a class on labor and productivity, so he gets it.

At the printer: The hum of the printer will muffle any sobs as well as your co-worker’s loud and explicit conversation about her cosmetic skin graft.

In front of the whiteboard: Brainstorm ideas for your company’s product launch while also doing a mind map of the emotions you plan to release in Q4.

Into your poke bowl: Pretend you’re crying about the appropriation of Hawaiian food culture and not the disintegration of autonomy in the workplace.

At the team meeting: This is fine as long as you don’t do that crying-spasm thing. Feel a spasm coming on? Just hold your breath like you’d hold in a hiccup. Do this for as long as you can. Your team won’t know you’re crying because you’ll be unconscious.

In the elevator: A temporary refuge before the company halts elevator service to encourage employees to take the stairs and/or never leave the office.

By the snack wall: All the low-cal yet high-energy snacks will fuel you for the next eight hours of crying.

By your C.E.O.’s work station: Flatten hierarchies by sobbing in front of your company leader. Open offices were made to foster communication, so introduce yourself and say, “Hi, I'll never make as much money as you!”

The center of the office: The company doesn’t believe in walls, so why build one around your emotions? Let it go and play the “Frozen” soundtrack while you’re at it. Do a cartwheel that turns into a split and then cry onto Colleen’s emotional support dog. You have the space for it! After all, the company wanted to increase productivity and you’ve never been more efficient with your crying in your life.

The restroom: This is where everyone goes to cry. Anticipate long lines.

JiJi Lee is a comedian and writer in New York.

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