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Former President Bill Clinton hugs his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, during the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. At right is Chelsea's husband, Marc Mezvinsky. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Cash for clunkers

Successful politicians know how to avoid a conflict of interest. Unsuccessful politicians can’t recognize one when they see one, or if they do, figure they can duck when sticks, stones and subpoenas fly. Then there are the Clintons. Bubba wrote the book on how to duck and weave. Hillary is learning, with difficulty. She doesn’t have the good ol’ boy’s wink and smile.

FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. There was a break in the case of a man who fired shots on several occupied vehicles and the headquarters of the NSA when he returned to the scene of the first shooting, police said Wednesday. The 35-year-old Prince George's County man was arrested Tuesday night near Arundel Mills mall, where shots were fired Feb. 24. A man driving away from a gas station near the mall was injured by glass shot out from his car, police said.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Taming the surveillance state

The Patriot Act was fashioned with good intentions, but it has been dragooned to serve bad purposes. It was enacted during the national panic that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 to protect Americans from the enemy. Now it’s employed by government busybodies to treat Americans themselves as the enemy.

**FILE** The skyline of Washington, D.C. (Associated Press)

What’s not in your wallet?

There’s nothing like a “best and worst” list at tax season to remind a taxpayer that the IRS isn’t the only government revenuer putting on the squeeze. States and cities take a bite, too.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush walks with former campaign staff member Rufus Montgomery, right, while visiting the Georgia Capitol, Thursday, March 19, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

No more spring training

The major leaguers are packing up in Florida and Arizona, getting ready to head north for “the Show” after weeks of sharpening a batting eye or perfecting a curve ball in the sunshine of the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. So, too, are the presidential wannabes. They’ve been toying with each other (and us) for weeks, saying they’re “thinking about running,” or talking about “exploratory committees,” and now they’re going to have to get real, too.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana holds up a counterfeit flask during a counterfeit ticket and merchandise news conference for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

Immigration out of control

Statistics can be a cure for insomnia, but sometimes they can deliver the jolt of a thunderclap. Here’s a thunderclap with a number on it: 165,527. That’s the number of illegals in the United States who have been convicted of a crime and were turned loose by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.

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Illustration: Thanksgiving prayer by Linas Garsys for The Washington Times

Grand'ther Baldwin's Thanksgiving

When you've dined at Grandma Baldwin's you will know as well as I. When, at length, the feast was ended, Grand'ther Baldwin bent his head, And, amid the solemn silence, with a reverent voice, he said: "Now unto God, the Gracious One, we thanks and homage pay, Who guardeth us, and guideth us, and loveth us always!"

FILE - In this June 16, 2014 file photo, demonstrators chant pro-Islamic State group slogans as they carry the group's flags in front of the provincial government headquarters in Mosul, 225 miles (360 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad. The Islamic State group holds roughly a third of Iraq and Syria, including several strategically important cities like Fallujah and Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria. (AP Photo, File)

EDITORIAL: ISIS is the enemy

Chuck Hagel will soon leave his post as secretary of defense, but the threat from the barbarians grows. The threat from the Islamic State, or ISIS, looming over Iraq and Syria and the entire Middle East is compounded by the Obama administration's confusion and cultivated weakness. Nobody with a clear understanding of what the world is about is in charge of the nation's security.

EDITORIAL: The pigs find a loophole

"Earmarks," small, large and enormous pots of taxpayers' money that congressmen give themselves to fund pet projects in their districts, usually in return for votes, are a lot like Count Dracula. They won't stay dead. But last week the Republicans in the House put down an attempt by one of their own to resurrect them.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses the media after the closed-door nuclear talks with Iran, in Vienna, Austria, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014. Facing still significant differences between the U.S. and Iran, negotiators gave up on last-minute efforts to get a nuclear deal by the Monday deadline and extended their talks for another seven months. The move gives both sides breathing space to work out an agreement but may be badly received by domestic sceptics, since it extends more than a decade of diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's nuclear prowess. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

EDITORIAL: Iran stalls again

The lot of a diplomat is not always a happy one. Life in striped pants can be challenging. So much Chablis and brie, so little time. It's not all polite chatter. In the matter of the crucial talks over the future of Iran's nuclear program, all the pushing and pulling of policy, all the huffing and puffing of inflamed egos, will probably be for naught. Sooner or later, unless the Israelis rescue the West from fear and indecision, Iran will have its Islamic bomb.

Mark Petrik and Dennis Smith dig out their south Buffalo driveway on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, in Buffalo, N.Y. Western New York continues to dig out from the heavy snow dropped by this week by lake-effect snowstorms. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

EDITORIAL: The snows of global warming

Pity the plight of upstate New Yorkers, buried under six feet of snow. The folks who dwell in the lee of the Great Lakes are accustomed to deep drifts of white magic in winter, but a winter wonderland doesn't look so magical when the solstice is still a month away. November is not supposed to behave like January. Some of the global warming "experts" attribute the cause of the early snow to "global warming."

Republicans will soon be empowered to adopt a number of much-needed reforms that will point Congress in the right direction. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

EDITORIAL: Putting momentum in harness

Congressional lethargy and inaction in the wake of the Republican wave of 2010 is not the fault of the Republicans, no matter how loud the cries of frustrated liberals. Over the course of the current Congress, the House of Representatives passed nearly 350 bills, only to see them die in Harry Reid's Senate. Some of them surely deserved death, but not all.

EDITORIAL: Republicans uphold NSA snooping

Invoking the Constitution is the common rhetoric of many politicians who swore to follow and defend it, but a lot of them have obviously never read it, or if they have, didn't understand it. The Founding Fathers wrote it in plain English, simple enough for even a lawyer to understand, but some politicians nevertheless have trouble with it.

Earlier this week, President Obama made it clear that he will soon offer some form of limited amnesty to about five million foreign nationals. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

EDITORIAL: Preparing for Obama’s amnesty

The struggle over the future of the nation begins tonight. The Republican Party, finally getting what it wished for, to be the effective counterbalance to the president's statist agenda, must be ready. Mr. Obama is expected to announce in a nationally televised speech that he will issue an executive order to prevent the deportation of 5 million illegal immigrants and to reward their law-breaking with work permits. The next morning he will use a high school in Las Vegas, teeming with illegal schoolchildren, as the backdrop to argue that "no papers" is no problem as long as he is in the White House.

Zoe Buck, a 14-month-old child, checks out an empty voting booth as at her mother, Julie Buck, votes at left, Tuesday Nov. 4, 2014, at the Alaska Zoo polling place in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

EDITORIAL: A sneak attack on taxpayers

Election Day should have taught legislators everywhere the lesson that they must be more respectful to the men and women who pay the taxes, and to show a little respect for the dollars those men and women send to municipal, state and federal treasuries. The message seems to have got lost on the way to Ohio.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, to introduce the Democratic leadership team for the 114th Congress. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) ** FILE **

EDITORIAL: It's the message, Stupid

Nancy Pelosi continues to live in her own cozy world. The House Minority Leader faces her Democratic caucus in the 114th Congress with depleted ranks and depleted confidence, but she hasn't learned much. She tells Politico, the Capitol Hill daily, that the blowout on Nov. 4 was "no wave of approval for the Republicans," and there was no rejection of her party.

Citizens hold signs at the Westminster Board of Health meeting on the proposed tobacco ban, at the Westminster Elementary School, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, in Westminster, Ma. A public meeting on a central Massachusetts town's proposed first-in-the-nation ban on tobacco and nicotine sales ended early Wednesday because officials say the crowd was getting too unruly to continue. (AP Photo/Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Steve Lanava)

EDITORIAL: Anti-smoking fanaticism

Prohibition is back in Westminster, a rural town of about 8,000 near the New Hampshire border in north-central Massachusetts. The town's three-member board of health said it would prohibit the sale of all tobacco products within the town's borders.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell talks during a news conference as Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman listens on Thursday, Nov.13, 2014 at the Columbus Metropolitan Library in Columbus, Ohio.  Burwell says enrolling in health insurance should be faster and easier for consumers during the second sign-up period for the federal health care law. Officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of last year's website meltdown. Open enrollment under Obama's health overhaul starts Saturday.  (AP Photo/The Columbus Dispatch, Fred Squillante)

EDITORIAL: The last Obamacare open enrollment

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, is headed to Tampa, Fla., on Monday to celebrate open enrollment for Obamacare, which began Saturday. Obamacare has made it to its first birthday, but it has no guarantee to see its second.

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his re-election while taking with reporters at his Capitol office in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

EDITORIAL: Tarnish on the Golden State

Jerry Brown is stepping up for an unprecedented fourth term as governor of California, but nobody would call his economic performance particularly distinguished. The Cato Institute ranks him as the nation's most fiscally inept governor on its Governors Report Card for 2014.