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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is joined by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud during a high level meeting on Somalia at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

When world leaders got garbage for lunch

- The Washington Times

They gave the world leaders, in town for the opening session of the United Nations, lunch in New York the other day and all they got was swill. The leaders munching on the people’s dime said a good time was had by all, but that’s only if your taste runs to garbage. The chefs cheerfully conceded that that garbage was what it was.

Illustration on the changing and perilous situation of presidential candidates by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

How the election revolution has arrived

Apolitical revolution is taking place in America. The process of selecting party presidential candidates has been transformed in the last two or three election cycles. Now we have the early debates designed to drive poll numbers and tell us who’s “ahead” and who’s “behind,” who’s “gaining” and who’s “dropping.”

Illustration on merging health insurance providers by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Proving their medicine is a good as their perks

The planned mergers of four of America’s largest health insurers — Anthem with Cigna, and Aetna with Humana — has triggered a vigorous debate in academic and policy circles.

Illustration on National Manufacturing Day by Paul Tong/Tribune Content Agency

Celebrating manufacturing

This morning when you looked at your calendar, you probably didn’t realize that today (Friday) is Manufacturing Day. Even though it’s not a national holiday (no, you don’t get to stay home from work), this day is still noteworthy.

Illustration on the increasingly dangerous international situation developing in Syria by M. Ryder/Tribune Content Agency

Pursuing contradictory goals

The Russian intervention in Syria is straight out of a Cold War nightmare, conceivably even a countdown to Armageddon updated for the 21st century. Such “Mideast contingencies” were constant focal points of war-games that often recurred during my 30-year military career.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., pauses as he speaks about foreign policy during the John Hay Initiative, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, at a hotel in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ** FILE **

Kevin McCarthy revisits Benghazi

When House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy blurted out on Fox News September 30 that: “Everybody thought Hillary Rodham Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we [the Republicans] put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks as he heads a meeting of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights at the Alexadrovsky Hall in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool photo via AP)

Now Russia turns to Syria

Russia’s daring entry into the Syrian war is Vladimir Putin’s riskiest move yet to challenge the West, especially President Obama, after he got away with murder in eastern Ukraine.

Illustration on Pope Francis' U.S. visit by Donna Grethen/Tribune Content Agency

Papal burnout

Unpopular though it may be to say so, I, for one, grew exhausted by the nonstop pronouncements and commentaries of Pope Francis. The spiritual leader of 1 billion Catholics — roughly half of the world’s Christians — Francis just completed a high-profile, endlessly publicized visit to the United States.

Illustration on China's coverup of it's abuses in Tibet by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Forgotten Tibet

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s state dinner at the White House last week received fulsome coverage — about the fashion, the food and tech giants in attendance.

Illustration contrasting Democrat and GOP views of the presidency by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Love and hate for big government

The two parties’ differing views of big government explain their differing challenges in winning the 2016 presidential election.

Illustration on the dangerous void left by America's leadership vacuum in world affairs by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

A rush to fill the power vacuum

For every nuanced policy argument over isolationism versus interventionism, the unavoidable truth — however unpleasant it may be — is this: If the United States is not the world’s foremost power, someone else will be.

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Illustration on DOJ policy protection of child abuse by Afghan "allies" by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Fighting sexual abuse in Afghanistan

There is a deep and growing malignancy under the supervision of the U.S. military, one that threatens our nation's moral authority and perhaps our very souls. Our commander in chief must take steps to address it or it will destroy our ability to win the war on terror. Every woman in this country should be calling on President Obama to immediately deal with the evil being allowed to flourish under our supervision in Afghanistan.

Illustration on the reasons to defend Israel by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Why Republican presidential candidates support Israel

So last week during the Republican debate, hundreds of thousands of people read your tweets lambasting four of the candidates -- Gov. Chris Christie, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz -- for expressing their strong support for Israel.

Illustration on raising royalty rate on streaming music by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

How the power to set prices is power to destroy

Daniel Webster noted that, "The power to tax is the power to destroy." It is a prudent warning that the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) at the Library of Congress should remember as it is furiously lobbied and pressured by the recording industry to raise the royalty rates streaming companies like Pandora must pay to play music online.

Illustration on ISIS slaughter of Christians in Iraq and Syria by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Chopping up Christians in the Middle East

There were two significant developments this month: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska Republican and Anna G. Eshoo, California Democrat, introduced a Congressional resolution denouncing as genocide the crimes committed by jihadists against Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.

In this Sept. 16, 2015, file photo, Pope Francis speaks during the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

Only 30% of Republicans want Pope Francis to speak out on social and economic policy

- The Washington Times

Should Pope Francis voice his opinions on policy? The answer depends on who you're talking to. Half of Americans would like to hear Pope Francis speak about social and economic conditions and policy rather than focus entirely on matters of faith and religion during his visit to the U.S. There is a sizable partisan divide, however: 30 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats agree - along with 31 percent of conservatives and 69 percent of liberals.

Animals are treated better

Seventy-plus years ago, the Nazis performed horrible experiments on newborn babies under the guise of 'medical advancement.' The entire world was revolted by the actions of these monsters and we held accountable the people responsible.

Refugee crisis Putin's opportunity

The current influx of "refugees" streaming into Europe is surely tragic, although whether these individuals are fleeing the war in Syria or the economic situations in many Middle Eastern countries is debatable. In fact, German officials now acknowledge they can not verify where many, if not most, of these people have come from.

The U.S. Navy warship USS John McCain, an Arleigh-Burke class destroyer, is docked at the Subic Freeport to take part in the joint US-Philippines naval exercise  called Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training (CARAT) at the former US naval base of Subic, about 70 miles west of Manila, Philippines Thursday, June 26, 2014. After more than a decade of helping fight al-Qaida-linked militants, the United States is disbanding an anti-terror contingent of hundreds of elite American troops in the southern Philippines where armed groups such as the Abu Sayyaf have largely been crippled, officials said Thursday. The move reflects shifting security strategies and focus in economically vibrant Asia, where new concerns such as multiple territorial conflicts involving China have alarmed Washington's allies entangled in the disputes. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

A test for the Navy

The U.S. Navy is unique. Now that Britain's Royal Navy, which for centuries enabled Britannia to rule the waves, has declined along with the rest of the empire, America's ships dominate the waves simply because no one can compete in every ocean sea across the globe.

Illustration on political correctness and moral confusion by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

When political correctness stands in for morality

This week's visit by Pope Francis comes just in time. He is an apostolic missionary courageously reaching out to a once-religious country that now ruthlessly kills its unborn, mercilessly harvesting and selling their body parts. It is somehow fitting that our local witch doctors helpfully enshrine political correctness as a convenient substitute for morality.

Holy orders: Pope Francis looks out from the Hill of the Cross in Holguin, Cuba, Monday as he entreated the island nation to adapt some of its more conservative views. Francis faces some backlash from U.S. Catholics for his more liberal views on such issues as same-sex unions and climate change. Story A8. (Associated Press)

The naive intentions of Pope Francis

Pope Francis arrives Tuesday to a hearty welcome in the United States, fresh from a triumphant visit to Cuba, where the Castro brothers not only put out a red carpet for him but put on a show of how to suppress dissent. Catholic dissidents to the Castro rule were knocked about by "state security" when they showed up for the mass the pope no doubt intended for all.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Confederate Saboteurs: Building the Hunley and Other Secret Weapons of the Civil War'

During the frantic last days of the Confederacy, officials involved in intelligence hastily burned records pertaining to Civil War secret service operations, honoring the age-old espionage tenet about the necessity of protecting covert agents. The destruction took on greater urgency when suspicions (unfounded) pointed to a Confederate intelligence role in the murder of President Lincoln.

FILE- In a June 17, 2014 file photo, protesters rally for an increase in the minimum wage on the Great Western Staircase at the Capitol, in Albany, N.Y. The minimum wage goes up Jan. 1 in several states, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.  (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

A Hail Mary for wage growth

As Pope Francis makes his way to adoring crowds this week, I'm reminded of a late-1970s character from "Saturday Night Live," Father Guido Sarducci. Played by Don Novello, Sarducci was known as the rock critic for the Vatican newspaper.

Illustration on the ending of the Ex-Im Bank by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Killing the Ex-Im Bank won't cost jobs

Let's say you've been letting your child watch too much TV. You decide, quite sensibly, to cut down on his viewing time. Think he'll realize it's for the best and take it without a fuss?

Illustration on pruning back government by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Carly Fiorina: Major leaguer

To invoke a baseball metaphor, Carly Fiorina has been called up from the minors to the major leagues. After her widely praised debate performance last week, she can expect "fastballs" to be thrown at her head, not only by some of her Republican opponents, but by Democrats. It has already started.

Illustration on virtues of Estonia's e-government system by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Why Estonia is a country for the future

Estonia is arguably the most advanced country in the world when it comes to use of the Internet and related technologies. Estonia is a most improbable success, in that a mere quarter of a century ago it was still under domination of the Soviet Union as a very poor backwater on the Baltic Sea.

In this Sept. 16, 2015, file photo, Pope Francis speaks during the weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)

Angling for a piece of the pope

- The Washington Times

Everybody wants a piece of the pope. Fidel Castro and his little brother in crime applaud Pope Francis' assault on the very idea of capitalism, and Barack Obama wants to use the pontiff as a recruit in his war on what he perceives to be the "social injustice" of thwarting the Obama agenda and threatening the Obama legacy.

illustration on Chinese cyber-espionage by M. Ryder/Tribune Content Agency

A new version of an old spy game

According to a recent report, "Chinese hackers are using information gained from the breaches of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, as well as intrusions into the Anthem and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield health insurance networks, to build a complete profile of federal employees."

Illustration on determining the true conservative candidate by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Conservative solutions to the nation's challenges

As the former chairman of the American Conservative Union, I have watched, with pride, the structural growth of the movement. When William Buckley, Stanley Evans and other founders created ACU 52 years ago as our country's first conservative organization, they embarked on a mission that has been joined by dozens of other important conservative groups, publications and social media outlets.