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America has trashed many of the rights inherited from the British

This being the season for celebrating the Declaration of Independence, we might reflect on what made the American Revolution unique in history. The men who confronted the British at Concord Bridge and fired “the shot heard round the world” did so to defend the rights their forbears won in Britain over the course of several hundred years.

John Adams, the first to hold the job, dismissed the vice presidency as "the most insignificant office" ever invented. Mather Brown's oil painting of Adams was finished in 1788, while the future vice president was serving as a diplomat.

An anniversary to remember

Had a Declaration of Independency been made seven months ago, it would have been attended with many great and glorious effects. We might before this hour, have formed alliances with foreign states. We should have mastered Quebec and been in possession of Canada.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has dominated the political scene for more than a dozen years, campaigned on behalf of his former party, the Islamist-rooted Peace and Development Party (AKP), appealing to voters to elect at least 300 parliamentarians to help push through a constitution that would expand his powers as an executive. But Sunday's stunning results make that a distant prospect. (Associated Press)

An implosion in Syria

The Obama administration’s determination to stay clear of the civil war in Syria, understandable but dangerous, is a tale of red lines drawn and then ignored as if they had never been drawn. President Obama’s brave talk followed by nothing much threatens to lead to an implosion of the region.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a university conference sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative at the University of Miami, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Gaston De Cardenas)

Not ready for Hillary Clinton

Dissecting Republicans and their chances for regaining the White House next year is good, clean fun for most pundits and analysts, Democrats nearly all, because it distracts attention from what's wrong in their own party. The conventional wisdom has been that the Democratic superstar would bury anyone unfortunate enough to be nominated by the Republicans. The only concern in Democratic ranks has been that Hillary Clinton would need a practice sprint in the primaries to tone and flex muscle in anticipation of November. If Hillary were a baseball team, her acolytes concede, she could still use a little spring training.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Red Room at the Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. Cuomo says he has not been subpoenaed or contacted by federal investigators probing Albany corruption, but he won't say if the same is true for his aides. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Saying no to prosperity

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or leave 'em, depending. Several struggling towns in upstate New York look across the state line at Pennsylvania and are thinking about secession, not from the union but from New York. After years of timid waffling, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said no to fracking, the method of drilling for oil and gas that is making Pennsylvania prosperous. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, could be the key to putting a jingle into the pockets of New Yorkers, and improving the state's dreary and desolate business climate.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., right, accompanied by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, outline their ideas for a new tax plan during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 4, 2015.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Getting started on tax reform

Everybody talks about tax reform but nobody ever gets around to doing something about it. Now two Republican senators, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah, have introduced a proposal that embraces both pro-growth and pro-family concerns and simplifies the mess that is the current federal tax code. It's a start.

In this Jan. 23, 2013, file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Something to hide

There's a new chapter in the familiar Clinton dodge, this one written by Hillary. On Monday The New York Times reported that Mrs. Clinton stubbornly refused to use a government email account during her tenure as secretary of state, choosing instead a private account to better hide her emails. This likely violates the U.S. Records Act, and we've seen this kind of Clinton subterfuge before.

A rendition of a now-scrapped Arlington streetcar line.

No desire for a streetcar

Nearly everybody likes a streetcar, but most of them live only in the memories of old folks. Once upon a time streetcars ran nearly everywhere in nearly every big city in America, and in a lot of not-so-big cities. Two hundred miles of track, for example, tied Washington to its suburbs in Virginia and Maryland.

Addressing a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an emerging U.S.-Iran deal would "all but guarantee" Tehran will get nuclear weapons. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Netanyahu speech

Benjamin Netanyahu knocked one out of the park Tuesday, and once it cleared the fence the ball beaned a man lurking in the shadows, and bounced into the tall grass. That man in the shadows looked a lot like President Obama.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Unhappy days in Chicago

Rahm Emanuel was born in Chicago and has been a very favorite son. The Daley machine sent him to Congress, where he was a faithful liege of Bill Clinton, was President Obama's first chief of staff, got rich working his connections to Wall Street, joined the looting of the federal housing program and returned to his hometown to be elected mayor in 2012. Mr. Emanuel once described his job as mayor as the culmination of a lifelong dream, and said, "I'm loving doing this."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures while speaking at the 2015 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, Monday, March 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

The world in peril

Protocol is a valuable tool of diplomacy, but protocol must defer to harsh reality when a nation's survival is at stake. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped on protocol and President Obama's toes when he accepted the invitation of Speaker John A. Boehner to speak to the House of Representatives without the customary endorsement of the White House. We say, good for him.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the winter meeting of the free market Club for Growth winter economic conference at the Breakers Hotel Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper) ** FILE **

A smear evaporates

Scott Walker had a very good week. He was the star of the beauty contest at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and the price and proof of his good fortune was the flak he took from the activists and operatives of the left and the magpies of the media. The Wisconsin governor, so the story went, is oblivious of "gender assaults" on campus.

Staff Sgt. Christian Fuentes motivates recruits with Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, as he moves down the rows during the senior drill instructor inspection at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Aug. 23, 2013.  The purpose of the inspection is to provide drill instructors an opportunity to test recruits in multiple areas, to include their uniforms.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Benjamin E. Woodle)

American soldiers in the Gelded Age

The left loathes the military and all it represents — honor, manliness, patriotism, selflessness and tradition. The ban on open homosexuality in the ranks, for example, was lifted in the lame-duck session of Congress in 2010 after the Democrats lost control of the House, and eight good little Republicans joined every Democrat in the Senate to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the winter meeting of the free market Club for Growth winter economic conference at the Breakers Hotel Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, in Palm Beach, Fla.  (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

Worker freedom grows in Wisconsin

Wisconsin may soon become the 25th state to adopt a right-to-work law, to guarantee that no worker can be compelled to join a union or to pay dues to a union. The state senate narrowly approved the legislation last week (by a vote of 17 to 15) and the bill is moving through the lower house. Gov. Scott Walker, who co-sponsored right-to-work legislation when he was a member of the legislature, says he will sign the legislation if it makes it to his desk.

President Obama. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Governing the Chicago way

Barack Obama is a trailblazer. Most past presidents who get an electoral rebuke like the one he got November would have looked to the examples of Democratic and Republican presidents before him, and tried to accommodate both himself and Congress to reality, and move forward.

 Rajendra K. Pachauri. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan, file)']

Faith-based science comes a cropper

The chief of the United Nations climate change panel is passionate about his global warming beliefs, and some of his passion has gotten out of hand. Passion can do that. Rajendra Pachauri, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore, has been forced to resign his post at the U.N. after he was accused of sexual harassment. Every man is entitled to his beliefs, but sometimes he has to keep his beliefs — and his affections — to himself. Mr. Pachauri was appointed to be a chief, not an evangelist.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro  (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Disaster in Venezuela

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela bears a marked resemblance to the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, right down to the mustache. With a collapsing economy that has soured his countrymen on his ruinous economic policies, Mr. Maduro is beginning to resemble Saddam in a more ominous way as well.

President Barack Obama closes his eyes and bows his head as Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla., says the prayer during the Easter Prayer Breakfast, Monday, April 14, 2014,  in the East Room of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama honored those killed in a weekend attack on two Jewish facilities in Kansas, saying no one should have to worry about their security while gathering with their fellow believers. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Of love and faith

The silly season arrives early. The world's on fire, and here we are, arguing over whether Barack Obama loves America, or loves it enough, and the political correspondents are parsing Scott Walker's answer to a question posed by the armchair theologians at The Washington Post, whether the president is a Christian.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Associated Press)

Obama’s signature gift for Iran

President Obama yearns for a "signature" accomplishment overseas to match his signature domestic achievement as the presidential legacy he leaves on Jan. 20, 2017. He's racing toward a nuclear deal with Iran that would give him a foreign disaster to match the domestic disaster called Obamacare.

Republican governors are blaming President Barack Obama for a budget standoff that threatens a potential Department of Homeland Security shutdown. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The villain of the shutdown

Mitch McConnell is desperately seeking a way out of the corner he painted for himself. The Republican leader of the Senate promised the public two things last November. He said there would be "no government shutdown on my watch," and that he would use the appropriations lever to force President Obama to "move to the center" on several crucial issues, including immigration.

A bill by Rep. Matt Salmon, Arizona Republican, would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to require a member or representative of a household that receives such benefits to show photographic identification at grocery stores when using a food stamp electronic benefits transfer card, or debit card. (Associated Press)

Charity by fraud

Food stamp fraud is a scandal that should give every taxpayer, Democrat, Republican or rogue of no particular partisan persuasion, a severe case of indigestion. Rep. Matt Salmon, Arizona Republican, wants to take a bite out of it.

A woman wearing a mask to protect herself from pollutants walks on a pedestrian bridge as buildings at Beijing's Central Business District (Associated Press)

The clean air force

Air is essential — a couple of minutes without it is proof enough — and clean air is the best kind. While we're breathing, most of us prefer that the air we inhale is clean. The air in much of China, for example, is so foul there's a growing business for taking tourists to Taipei or Manila on what are called "breathing tours."

Mayorkas Time Bomb Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The ticking time-bomb for Hillary

ABC News Chief Investigative Reporter Brian Ross just wanted to ask a few questions but when he recently stopped Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, a burly guard for Mr. Mayorkas put his palm in Mr. Ross' face to make it clear that there would be no answers that day. ABC News' camera crew caught the deputy secretary ducking away.