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How awful is Angela Merkel? This awful:

The founding director of the European Coalition for Israel in Brussels,Thomas Sandell, announced in a shocking video message on Thursday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel waged a campaign to prevent Central and Eastern European countries from moving their capitals to Jerusalem to preserve the Iran nuclear deal. Sandell said The Jerusalem Post exclusive report in November stating that Merkel called Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German, to convince him to not relocate his country’s embassy to Jerusalem prompted him to go public.

Speaking from the European parliament, Sandell said “what we have found out, something I heard for quite some time already, from Central and Eastern European countries, that would have an have inclination to move their embassy to Jerusalem, this is the natural thing for them to do, is that they have received phone calls from Berlin, from Angela Merkel, the chancellor, basically, this cannot happen under any circumstances.”

He said, "I have spoken to many Germans these last few days in Brussels. They are not aware of this. And all of them would be shocked that all of the countries in the European Union today that would want to block an embassy move to Jerusalem, not only for your own country, but for other countries that have the conviction this is the right thing to do, the only country to do would be Germany--this is a big shock."

Then again, maybe not.

I got to see communism/socialism up close and personal between the years 1985 and 1991, during my long sojourn in East Berlin, Moscow, Leningrad, Warsaw and other garden spots. Among the things I best remember -- in addition to the unmistakable olfactory stench of all communist countries -- were the dilapidated buildings and the shoddy construction standards, especially in the Soviet Union.

So this story hardly comes as a surprise:

Rafael Álvarez was up at 6:30 a.m. to warm milk for his baby daughter when he heard the sound of pebbles falling. “That’s when the floor below us came loose. We were left hanging in the air, then fell into the abyss.” Álvarez, 41, a baker, was buried in rubble to his waist. His mother, daughter and two others were killed when the 101-year-old building collapsed. “Save the babies!” were his mother’s last words, he said.

In Havana, some of the same architectural gems that draw tens of thousands of American tourists crash to the ground every year. Causes range from weather and neglect to faulty renovations and theft of structural beams... Some 3,856 partial or total building collapses were reported in Havana from 2000 to 2013, not including 2010 and 2011 when no records were kept. The collapses worsened an already severe housing shortage. Havana alone had a deficit of 206,000 homes in 2016, official figures show.

Officials estimate 28,000 people live in buildings that could collapse at any moment. Some residents refuse to leave structures that authorities have declared unsafe. “Of course we’re scared but what are we going to do?” said Yanelis Flores, 42, who rejected a government offer to move into a shelter. “I will wait for a house,” said Flores from the eighth floor of the former Hotel Astor, which had American management and 200 rooms in the 1930s.

Today, daylight shines through terrifying cracks in the walls. “This is worse than a pig pen,” Flores said. “It’s rotting.”

Really, it's impossible to have any sympathy for the Cubans. Anybody with an IQ above 85 got out years ago, when the getting was good, and what's left are the descamisados, who will never rise up against their communist dictatorship -- until it, too, finally collapses.

Pig pens are what you get when you make the Faustian bargain with the socialist devil: pig pens and then forcible relocation to a "government shelter," aka prison. But nobody tell Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!

Bernie Sanders is a 2020 "front-runner," campaign manager says.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hasn't yet decided if he's going to run for president in 2020, but if he does, he'll be off to a strong start. The Associated Press' Steve Peoples reports:

“This time, he starts off as a front-runner, or one of the front-runners,” Sanders’ 2016 campaign manager Jeff Weaver told The Associated Press, highlighting the senator’s proven ability to generate massive fundraising through small-dollar donations and his ready-made network of staff and volunteers.

Weaver added: “It’ll be a much bigger campaign if he runs again, in terms of the size of the operation.”

Some liberals have insisted it's not "Bernie or bust," and it doesn't have to be.

Instead, a new generation of outspoken Democrats such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris are expected to seek the Democratic nomination. All three have embraced Sanders’ call for “Medicare for All” and a $15 minimum wage, among other policy priorities he helped bring into the Democratic mainstream in the Trump era.

The further Left candidates get, the more likely they are to win the Democratic primary, and the less likely to defeat Donald Trump.

Whoops.

That hyperlink Rudy inserted leads to this page:

(The site is not secure, so don't click on it.)

The tweet was posted at 1:30 EST and currently has more than 10k retweets.

As Paris burns, foreign policy "expert" and never-Trumper Max Boot is really taking it on the chin.

The Federalist's Sean Davis this morning retweeted a number of Boot's old articles promoting "moderate" President Macron.

During the Obama years, I occasionally read Commentary Contentions for Jennifer Rubin because in those days she actually resembled a conservative. But I've never read a single thing from Max Boot that I could recommend to anyone.