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Washington’s chance to reform the status quo

The United States is a great nation, but we face many serious challenges that need to be addressed. Two key ones relate to the need to ensure fiscal sustainability and achieve government transformation. As a recognized expert in these areas, I have several thoughts that I believe President-elect Donald Trump needs to consider.

Obama’s betrayal of the Cuban people

I couldn’t have imagined that President Obama could do any more harm to the Cuban people before he left office, but I was wrong. With only a week left in his presidency he announced that the long-standing policy of accepting Cubans that flee the Communist island of Cuba by sea — the policy known as “wet feet, dry feet” — would change.

U.N. Deal Deniers Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

That parting shot at Israel

According to well-established sources in Egyptian Intelligence Services, a Palestinian Authority (PA) delegation met in Washington D.C. with officials from the outgoing Obama administration for secret talks. Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice were present.

Elephant With Two Pyramids Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

A plea for ‘tart reform’

There’s an elephant in the middle of the emergency room, but we’re too busy arguing about Obamacare to see him.

Rep. Keith Ellison (Associated Press)

Democrats wasting time hating Donald Trump

- The Washington Times

Democrats who confuse hating Donald Trump with Mom and apple pie as the all-American recipe to win elections are blowing their chances, such as they are, for the 2018 midterm elections. If you’re a Democrat it’s never too soon to fret and stew about the prospects.

Lobbying Trump Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Lobbying in the age of Trump

A conservative wit once said that if you want to know who runs Washington, you should look under “association” in the Washington phone book. The line gets a good laugh, but it’s unfair — which may be why it gets the laugh. And it’s particularly unfair to small businesses and companies employing forgotten middle-class workers.

Religious Freedom Problems in Turkey Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Turkey’s wavering support for religious freedom

I walked into the Ankara airport on Dec. 20, after a long day of eye-opening meetings, to the news on CNN International — the Russian ambassador to Turkey had just been shot. Our U.S. ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, a career diplomat who expertly navigated our previous 24 hours of intensive meetings, was standing next to me. He calmly pulled out his cellphone and started making calls.

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2013 file photo, animal rights activist and co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Ingrid Newkirk lies on a mock barbecue stand as a sign of protest in Mumbai, celebrating World Vegan Month, a month long celebration of a health, environment- and animal-friendly vegan diet. PETA turns 35 years old in 2015, is the largest animal rights group in world with 3 million members, and has done a lot with a little sex, shock and celebrity.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool, File)

Is veganism a mental disorder?

Contrary to the national and local debates we have about securing the border, anchor babies and sanctuary cities, the Swiss have a different system to determine who stays and who goes. Your neighbors get to vote on your citizenship. It’s a policy that at a minimum should promote politeness.

Trump, the Rough Rider Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Trump and the Rough Rider’s conservation ethos

President-elect Donald Trump said in December that he will honor the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt and “conserve and protect our natural resources for the next generation.” Moving quickly to back it up, he nominated Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke as his secretary of interior.

Stickers for voters are seen on a table at a polling station Tuesday, April 26, 2016 in Wayne, Pa. Attention is shifting from a well-worn campaign trail to the voting booths as Pennsylvanians cast ballots Tuesday on presidential primary contests, including the first competitive Republican primary in decades, and races for Congress and state offices. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

Reversing a dangerous power grab

Being an informed citizen means keeping up with the news, however tricky it may be to find reliable sources. But sometimes even that’s not enough. It’s easy to get distracted by the latest shouting match and miss some important item that slips by almost unnoticed.

Fake news from the intelligence agencies

The news stories about the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election won’t end this week, this month or this year. That narrative is just a new version of the “Bush was selected, not elected” meme from the 2000 election.

Trump’s billionaire dealmakers

With Donald Trump, the nation is about to embark on a bold experiment in government management. To guide the economy, he has selected billionaire dealmakers and folks with marketing expertise and shunned seasoned policy experts.

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks during his farewell address at McCormick Place in Chicago, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Czechoslovakia redux

Amidst concern over Sunday’s international conference in Paris and the ensuing meeting of the United Nations on Tuesday, there is an increasing fear the leading powers will again take action against Israel.

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The Old Soviet Union Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Confusing Putin with the old Soviet threat

- The Washington Times

We seem prepared to believe any evil of Vladimir Putin's Russia, which has with its second-rate military establishment and failing economy somehow morphed in the minds of many Americans into a greater threat than the old Soviet Union.

Gen. James N. Mattis,  President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for defense secretary. (Associated Press photographs)

Pentagon pick Mattis no champion of a green military

Environmental advocates have branded retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as the "lone green hope" among the nominees announced thus far by President-elect Donald Trump. They pin their hopes on Gen. Mattis' 2003 plea that Navy researchers "unleash" the Marine Corps "from the tether of fuel." However, his motivation to seek alternative energy probably had nothing to do with the debate over climate change.

Foreign Investment in U.S. Infrastructure Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Creating jobs and upgrading infrastructure

The year 2016 has been a year of change, and very often not in the direction most pundits had predicted. The United States has proved no exception. Regardless of this, however, the U.S. economy's fundamental needs have not changed.

A Trump Arms Race Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Donald Trump's new arms race

For the next four years (and probably eight) the media will proclaim everything Donald Trump says and does to be proof positive that he's incompetent or insane and probably both. While Mr. Trump apparently enjoys riling up the media, his statements usually make sense and have considerable impact domestically and internationally.

Rex Tillerson Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

A State Department reset

No federal agency needs a reset more than the State Department. For years, the embodiment of our foreign service, ambassador corps and diplomatic relations has drifted into global confusion, partisan politics and -- most tragically -- an internal culture that has cost American lives.

The Costs of "Renewable" Energy Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

2016's biggest loser: Big Green

The day after the presidential elections the executive director of the Sierra Club glumly called the Donald Trump victory "deeply disturbing for the nation and the planet." Well, yes, if you're a climate change alarmist who hates fossil fuels, you're in for a bad four and maybe eight years.

In this photo released by the Kremlin Press service via Sputnik agency, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an undated recording of his annual televised New Year's message in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin Press Service, Sputnik, via AP) ** FILE **

A lesson in score-settling

Settling scores is always petty, whether by pouty teenagers, embittered ex-spouses or soon-to-be former presidents. Barack Obama is making himself look small and insignificant when he could be looking like a big man making a graceful exit.

A new sticker designates a gender neutral bathroom at Nathan Hale high school Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Seattle. President Obama’s directive ordering schools to accommodate transgender students has been controversial in some places but since 2012 Seattle has mandated that transgender students be able to use of the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. Nearly half of the district’s 15 high schools already have gender neutral bathrooms and one high school has had a transgender bathroom for 20 years. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

North Carolina stands its ground

There once was a time, and not so long ago, when men and women who violated the well-understood ways that society is organized would refrain from challenging the normal behavior standards, or do as they like and be treated accordingly, as social outcasts.

Time to stop blaming GOP

I think it's fair to say that the majority of Americans are fed up with the Democratic "progressivism" that has resulted in many of the problems we now have. The fact of the matter is that the Democrats don't like or want to accept any blame for anything that's wrong. They constantly blame the Republicans for everything, and they seem to believe the Democrats should govern forever.

Left's nuclear hypocrisy

Last May I heard that the United States was embarking on a $1-trillion, 30-year "modernization" of our nuclear arsenal, yet there has been barely a word about it from the mainstream press. Then, as noted by Rowan Scarborough recently, the Pentagon laid out the Obama administration's plan for the $450-billion, 20-year plan to "modernize our strategic deterrence capabilities ... "

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department, in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016.  Stepping into a raging diplomatic argument, Kerry staunchly defended the Obama administration's decision to allow the U.N. Security Council to declare Israeli settlements illegal and warned that Israel's very future as a democracy is at stake. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Obama's one-two punch

That's quite a one-two punch President Obama has organized at the White House. Barack Obama applied the knife to the back of Israel, and then John Kerry, the secretary of State, arrives to give the blade a lingering, painful twist — just in case the Jews didn't get the point.

White House Land Mines Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

A graceless exit

- The Washington Times

In November, after Donald Trump won the election, President Barack Obama met the president-elect in the Oval Office and told him: "If you succeed, then the country succeeds."

Carrie Fisher will be missed

For Carrie Fisher, who passed away Tuesday, it was either the best of times or the worst of times ("Carrie Fisher, Star Wars' Princess Leia, dead at 60," Web, Dec. 27). Ms. Fisher was born to famous parents — Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher — and reached movie stardom at a young age as Princess Leia of the "Star Wars" series. In addition to being an actress, she was a prolific author and an accomplished screenwriter.

Illustration on the changes in world direction from 2016 by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Why 2016 was a major turning point for the world

Historians will look back on 2016 as an inflection year in world history, perhaps not as momentous (or violent) as the years that follow but marking a major global turning point, when the old order of world politics could be seen as crumbling. This disintegration actually has been going on for some time, but it was not so readily discernible during the intervening years as it became in 2016.

Clemens worthy of honor

I vividly recall a snarling Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, taking baseball pitching great Roger "Rocket" Clemens to task in a congressional hearing for refusing to admit to having used prohibited substances, as alleged by Brian McNamee, a former trainer. In the manner of shysters, Mr. Cummings darkly reminded the witness that he was under oath.