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Signs of Economic Growth Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Economic recovery grows from private sector, not government

It only took six years, but we’re finally starting to see the U.S. economy kick into gear. This isn’t a story of government-directed growth, but the opposite — Washington’s role in the economy starting to shrink after years of Obama administration activism. The private sector is starting to take over.

Putin's Strategy Chess Bear Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Russia’s Vladimir Putin clearly wants to dominate all of Europe

Since Vladimir Putin launched his war against Ukraine back in February, speculation has run rampant about the Russian president’s objectives. While objectives change in the course of any war, Mr. Putin himself has admitted that the invasion of Crimea was a strategic decision that, therefore, had strategic objectives in mind. Those objectives also relate to the current fighting in the Donbas region (encompassing Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces). As such, Russia’s conduct repudiates the speculation in Washington that Russia’s Ukraine policy is something of an improvisation. Rather, U.S. policymakers would be well-served in trying to figure out the factors driving Mr. Putin’s decision-making, both at home and abroad.

Protesters chant as they rally outside Gracie Mansion in New York City on Dec. 15.

Murders like New York’s are not the fault of City Hall

- The Washington Times

Last week’s police shootings in New York City have rather predictably set off an epidemic of finger-pointing. In the 1990s, when Timothy McVey blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, President Clinton hinted not very subtly that the real fault lay with the “militia” movement. Later, politicians and some pundits blamed Sarah Palin, of all people, for the shooting of Rep. Gaby Giffords of Arizona, and when an emotionally disturbed Adam Lanza killed his mother, stole her guns and wreaked havoc in Newtown, Connecticut, two years ago, a chorus of finger-pointers blamed not Lanza, but the National Rifle Association and the manufacturer of the guns he used.

Illustration on the deterioration of arts and culture in American society by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Transformation and crisis at The New Republic

The crisis at The New Republic that led to the resignation of its editor, literary editor and numerous staff members is symptomatic of a broader cultural decline also manifest on the pages of The New York Times and other mainstream publications. Newspapers and magazines have been going out of business or are making desperate efforts to be more “readable” and “lively,” that is to say, more entertaining and better integrated into popular culture.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Complete Little Nemo’

Winsor McCay is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest cartoonists. His early 20th century comic strips (“Little Sammy Sneeze,” “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend”) and animated shorts (“Gertie the Dinosaur,” “The Sinking of the Lusitania”) are still among the most groundbreaking examples of both genres.

John Newton          Detail from a portrait by John Russell

The amazing grace of Christmas morn

- The Washington Times

In the clutter of Christmas morn, the Christ born in a manger 2,000 years ago lives, liberating the hearts of sinners and transforming the lives of the wicked. The redeeming power of the Christmas message is nowhere more vividly illustrated than in the incredible life of an English slaver named John Newton.

Illustration on the value of the Christmas story by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

There is everything to gain and nothing to lose in embracing the Christmas story

Suppose what some call the “Christmas story” is true — all of it, from the angels, to the shepherds, to the virgin birth, to God taking on human flesh. By this, I don’t mean to suggest it is true only for those who believe it to be true, but what if it is objectively true, no matter what the deniers say? What difference would it make? Should it make any difference?

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Destroying the myth of Queen Victoria

Neither the formal portrait of the aging, reflective mournful figure that takes up most of the front cover of the book nor the richly adorned matron in her prime on its back cover has much to do with the woman so vividly brought to life in these pages. In fact, they might be said to reflect the very images A.N. Wilson wants to correct.

Illustration on Saudi Arabia's strategic use of its oil supply by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Saudis allow falling oil prices to squeeze archrival Iran

Conventional wisdom in Western capitals holds that Saudi Arabia has held firm in sessions with its OPEC partners against lowering production — which would restore higher prices — in order to maintain its market share in countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and to dissuade investors from pouring more money into growing North American shale and tar sands production.

Socialist policies undoing success of South America's strongest economy

Why do very successful nations often adopt policies that lead to their undoing? After a revolution or major reform, some countries allow a high degree of economic freedom, establish the rule of law, protect private property rights and establish low tax rates with strict limits on government spending and regulation. The economy takes off, the citizens become far richer and then the government mucks it up, usually by attempting to redistribute income and expand state control.

Illustration on impending EPA regulatory takeover of U.S. "waterways" by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

A vast land grab to ‘protect’ water

In November, comments closed on a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to redefine "waters of the United States," as set forth in the Clean Water Act of 1977. While Sen. Edmund Muskie, Maine Democrat, author of the 1977 law, required 88 pages for his entire statute, this spring's Federal Register notice ran 370 pages, not counting appendixes, one of which hit 300 pages alone. Little wonder the new "wetland" rules have generated controversy and a likely Supreme Court case.

BOOK REVIEW: 'Mao's Revolution and America's Fateful Choice'

Who was to rule China after Japan's surrender? The ruling Nationalists were led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, but their writ did not run to many parts of the country. The Communists had controlled China's northern provinces for most of the war, and the alliance between the Communists and the Nationalists had been fragile.

ACLU's Gift of Starvation Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The ACLU’s Christmas gift to orphans

When a local charity teamed up with a middle school in San Marcos, California, to raise money to feed orphans in Africa, they didn't expect to take any heat. But the ACLU caught wind of the project and blew it to kingdom come. In a threatening letter Nov. 20, the ACLU warned the school to stop aiding the group or face legal trouble. It's all because the charity is infected secondhand with the virus known as Christianity.

Jumping the Tax Code Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Special interest pleading via the tax code is government at its worst

The latest disgrace out of Capitol Hill in this lame-duck session is the "tax extenders" bill. This has become an annual Washington ritual with Congress waiting until the very last minute to approve dozens of expiring tax credits, deductions and loopholes. It is a microcosm of everything wrong with the way Congress operates.

Liberal Bully of the Week: Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Remember how Democrats and their media pals told you Benghazi was "old news" five minutes after it happened, and only right-wing Fox News fans still cared about what actually happened? Well, now they're saying the hottest story in town is a report by Senate Democrats on CIA interrogations that happened over 10 years ago. Some old news is a lot fresher than other old news.

Hill squabbles cost Americans — again

"Dereliction of duty" and "a pox on both their houses" are the phrases that come to mind in reviewing the most recent actions of tragic comedy in what we call Congress ("Leadership courts centrist support for $1.1T spending bill as shutdown looms," Web, Dec. 10).

Fanning racial flames

Are various political and religious radicals in the United States deliberately increasing racial tensions and mistrust in order to convince the poorly informed that they need these radical leaders for protection? I believe so, and I think those willing to remove their politically correct blinders will see the evidence, too.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Republican establishment plots to get the candidate it wants

The Republican establishment, which gets so many things wrong, is trying to manipulate the party rules to make sure it gets the presidential candidate it wants in 2016. The party chiefs put it another way, of course: They're just trying to make sure that the party nominates a "respectable" candidate who won't be mortally wounded before it's time to fight Democrats. Some of what Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, wants to put into place makes sense, but many of the suggestions from other quarters don't.

Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Kazuo Hirai speaks how to use its new PlayStation Portable "NGP" at PlayStation Meeting 2011 in Tokyo in this Jan. 27, 2011, file photo. Sony's online PlayStation store was inaccessible to users for part of Monday in the latest possible cyberattack on the electronics and entertainment company. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)

Hacked in Hollywood

Liberal hypocrisy in Hollywood? Malice in Tinseltown? Pettiness among the stars? "Say it ain't so, Joe." Oscar Levant, the movietown piano player with a sharp mind and a sharper tongue ("I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin") once offered a hopeful analysis of what's wrong with the town: "Hollywood is made of tinsel, but if you get beneath the tinsel you'll find the real tinsel." The hackers of Sony Pictures took the challenge, and have revealed the details of the malice, pettiness and tinsel in purloined emails, and La-La Land is beside itself with fear, loathing and mortification.

Illustration on the opportunity for Republicans to lead Congress' efforts against illegal drugs by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Drug control policy in Senate Republicans' grasp

When the American people gave Republicans majorities in both houses of the next Congress, they certainly indicated dissatisfaction with the performance of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. But soon, the voters will ask what the Republican Congress has done with its leadership of the legislative branch.

Doctor Lucy and Foundation Do-gooders Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Islamic extremists incapable of understanding or respecting other views

Violence in the name of religion is a world-wide phenomenon. Extremism fueling bloodshed is a daily occurrence. And for every act of intolerance and inhumanity, a new foundation, based on good will to mankind, bubbles to the surface. The intention is always admirable: "Understanding," "interaction" and "mutual respect" are the foundational words of these organizations.