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President Barack Obama speaks about his Clean Power Plan, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in the East Room at the White House in Washington. The president is mandating even steeper greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants than previously expected, while granting states more time and broader options to comply. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The president’s other war

If Barack Obama could summon the will to make war on America’s enemies abroad with the enthusiasm he makes war on Americans at home, joy all sublime would descend on the mountains, dells and every fruited plain. But the Environmental Protection Agency released the final version Monday of a new scheme to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants in 49 states, and it’s a shocker. The fruit on the plain is likely to shrivel.

Mr. Obama’s Cuban legacy

The French, as they usually do, have a word for it: the tendency of a man to judge problems solely on the basis of his professional skills. The French call this “deformation professionelle.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, fended off the new questions about the email scandal and suspicious foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, distracting from her effort to wrangle support from union bosses at the AFL-CIO's annual summer meeting. (Associated Press)

The Democratic dilemma

For any candidate to have an authentic chance to be the presidential nominee of either party, the voters have to envision him (or her) as sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. If they can’t do that, John Sears, who managed Ronald Reagan’s 1976 campaign, observed, the hopeful candidate will never make it. Mr. Sears called this the candidate’s first test.

Republican presidential candidate former Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a forum Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Questions for the debate

The debate, such as it is, over illegal immigration gets curiouser and curiouser, and more confusing. Donald Trump provided the gotcha! moment, with a statement off the top of his head damning the quality of Mexican immigrants.

In this Jan. 24, 2015, file photo, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee speaks in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Speak softly of evil

Political rhetoric is dangerous in the hands of careless writers and speakers. Reaching for Hitler as an analogy for contemporary villainy is particularly misleading. Hitler has been sui generis, one of a kind, since Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun, rivaled in modern times only by Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung. Mullahs, evil as some of them may be, don’t count. They’re bush leaguers.

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Phillippee Couillard
By Asclepias (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Is there an example in Canada?

Immigration continues to be the nation's most persistent headache. Everyone acknowledges it as Headache No. 1, but nobody has either the solution or even an effective headache powder. The masses keep crowding the border, and the politicians punt.

State workers take down a Confederate national flag on the grounds of the state Capitol, Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Montgomery, Ala. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered Confederate flags taken down from a monument at the state Capitol. (AP Photo/Martin Swant)

America in the time of fever

The mob is loose. The debate about race that naive and sometimes well-meaning people say the nation needed has descended into an evitable burst of midsummer madness. The Confederate battle flag that is said to have driven a nut case to commit wholesale murder has become merely the backdrop of national lunacy. The millions quail at the sight of the Stars and Bars, a bit of cloth for all that. You would think Marse Robert at Appomattox surrendered too soon.

FILE - In this April 11, 2015, file photo, US President Barack Obama, right, smiles as he looks over towards Cuban President Raul Castro, left, during their meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama. On Decmeber 17, 2014, Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro stunned the world by announcing an end to their nations’ half-century of official hostility. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Saving the dictators

The Obama administration has been holding high-level talks with the Venezuelan dictatorship, this time in Haiti of all places, and that makes prudent men and women nervous. Washington's moral compass -- or whatever they're using for one at the White House -- has been spinning as if out of control, and pointing in odd directions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks in Elizabethtown Ky., in this May 26, 2015, file photo. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

When enough is enough

When the legislation granting "fast track" authority to the president to negotiate a trans-Pacific trade agreement moved toward an initial Senate vote earlier this year, we warily urged Republicans to suck it up and vote for it. No president can negotiate a broad trade agreement without such authority. Anyone who thinks such agreements, properly negotiated and correctly written, aren't to the benefit of the United States understands neither economics nor history.

President Obama will welcome Xi Jinping in September for the first official state visit by the Chinese president. The White House says the administration considers China to be an "important participant" in nuclear negotiations with Iran. (Associated Press)

Taming the hungry dragon

Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sat down Monday with their Chinese counterparts at an annual meeting, as prescribed in an agreement made in 2009, to talk about bilateral co-operation in their relations. They meet this year amid growing differences. The transformation of the Chinese regime is a new worrying element in that relationship.

People raise their hands as a show of unity as thousands of marchers meet in the middle of Charleston's main bridge after nine black church parishioners were gunned down during a Bible study, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

The Christian example of Charleston

The Civil War, the War Between the States, the War of Northern Aggression, the Late Unpleasantness -- call it what you will depending on your preference -- began in Charleston Harbor with an attack on Fort Sumter, and ended four years later with a northern victory that preserved the Union and freed the slaves.

A California high school teacher believes the works of William Shakespeare should no longer be a Common Core requirement, because "one white man's view of life" somehow diminishes other cultural perspectives. (Wikipedia)

Who needs Shakespeare?

If there's one man in the history of words and books and speech who needs no defense against the slings and arrows of the envious, it's William Shakespeare, the country lad who grew up to make English the most important language in the world, and to spin tales in it that would instruct, entertain and inspire the millions four centuries after his death.

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2010 file photo, Victor Hernandez stocks apples in the produce section at Whole Foods, in Coral Gables, Fla. Whole Foods on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 plans to start rolling out a system that ranks fruits and vegetables as "good," ''better" or "best" based on the supplier's farming practices. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Eating well, safely

Who's hiding what, and in whose pantry? American farmers and food processors usually take a lot of pride in what they grow and package, and where they grow and package it -- whether jams and jellies from Oregon, prime beef from Texas and Colorado, tacos from New Mexico, fish from New England, peanut butter "proudly made in Arkansas," and fruits and nuts from California's San Joaquin Valley. It's often right on the label.

Pope Francis (Associated Press)

Pope Francis enlists as a soldier in the army of the green gospel

Not so long ago the global-warming fanatics got their backs up if someone accused them of preaching religious doctrine disguised as science, even as they defended their scientific "evidence" as if it were Scripture. Global warming was "settled science," they insisted, and the skeptics of the doctrine that the warming was the irresponsible work of man were dismissed as ignorant "deniers" of holy writ.

Identifying with delusion

Wishful thinking has its uses. It can ward off the blues, encourage ambition, and even entertain (in small doses). But wishful thinking is, after all, only a daydream. It can't turn water into wine, a fumble into a touchdown, or a white woman into a black woman, however hard she may wish it so. There's reality, sometimes dull and sometimes painful, but real all the same. Wishful thinking can deteriorate into delusion, and that's not good.

President Obama speaks in Washington on June 9, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Red lines and big lies

President Obama warned in August 2012 that Syria must not cross his "red line" against using chemical weapons against the rebels — or else. President Bashar Assad has continued to cross Mr. Obama's red line, and we're still waiting to see the "else."

Abortion in the balance

Abortion is the unresolved issue in American politics. The U.S. Supreme Court thought it settled the issue with its Roe v. Wade decision in 1972, but lawsuits questioning the specifics of how a woman can terminate a pregnancy continue to flood the dockets of lower courts across the nation. Occasionally a case still winds up before the high court as well. Lives, black and white, matter, and issues of life and death carry profound moral significance that continue to challenge judges. Conscience is innate, not a creation of the state.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush waves to the crowd as he formally joins the race for president with a speech at Miami Dade College, Monday, June 15, 2015, in Miami. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A new Jeb Bush

The "official" entry of Jeb Bush into the Republican presidential race leaves an important unanswered question hanging over the race. The former governor of Florida had announced earlier, with the usual drumroll, that if he became a candidate he would mount a different kind of campaign. He would be the happy warrior. He had never liked the grit and grime of take-no-prisoners campaigning or the gotcha! politics characteristic of recent Republican contests. He just wouldn't be a part of a campaign like that.

Syrian migrants who have been stranded for days, in the northeastern Greek island of Lesvos, stand in queue as they wait for travel documents from Greek authorities at the port of Mytilene on Monday, June 15, 2015. An emergency European Union plan to help Italy and Greece manage thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean could be vastly watered down on Tuesday, according EU diplomats. During the first five months of 2015, 40,297 migrants arrived in Greece, up from 6,500 in the same period in 2014. Almost all of them have crossed in boats from Turkey. The sign reads ''Passenger Terminal of Mytilene.'' (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The 'new' Middle East

Old alliances and barriers have fallen away in the Middle East in the wake of new waves of "traditional" Islamic terrorism and the withdrawal of American leadership. "Traditional" is the right word, because, despite politically correct commentaries to the contrary, the history of the spread of Islam has always been accompanied, if not led, by violence. Nobody called Muhammad "the Prince of Peace."

In this image made available by the American Red Cross in London on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010, shows earthquake damage to a shanty town on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, following a major earthquake in Haiti, on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. (AP Photo/American Red Cross, Matt Marek)

Drowning the fish

American generosity is the marvel of the world. The open heart, accompanied by the open pocketbook, is the American way to relieve the pain and loss of disaster. It's how a wealthy society can spread largesse to those struggling with survival.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to supporters during a rally, Sunday, June 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. Clinton's campaign has signaled Iowa will be the centerpiece of its ground game. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Hillary's favor machine

Ideologies and proclivities that end in "ism" bloom and fade in Washington like the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in spring, but cronyism persists through all seasons and ages. Some practice it to greater effect than others, but the Clintons have perfected the fine art of back-scratching for political advantage and profit. New revelations have surfaced that Hillary was doling out favors far earlier than previously known. It simply confirms what the public already knows about America's quintessential political family: If there is a seam in legal lexicon as narrow as the word "is," the Clintons will find it and turn it into a broad boulevard of personal gain.

President Barack Obama speaks to the Catholic Hospital Association Conference at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) ** FILE **

Dribbling and drabbling toward defeat

There is almost a childlike innocence to the foreign policy initiatives of the Obama administration. These might be admired for their insouciance, were it not for the fact that they are contributing to worldwide instability and promising even greater disaster for the United States.

In this April 2, 2015, file photo, President Obama speaks the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington about the breakthrough in the Iranian nuclear talks. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Dimming prospects for affordable energy

Coal will face a rocky future if President Obama has his way. The black stuff that has powered the world for eons is not "green," and that is all that matters for the "progressive" masterminds of the 21st century. They favor more ethereal forms of energy from Mother Nature's bounty like the sunshine and breezes that accompany a perfect day. But for the billions of human beings around the world who live hand to mouth and the 14.5 percent of Americans existing below the poverty line, the anti-coal campaign promises to make energy more expensive. Dimming humanity's hopes is not the path to a brighter future.

Scaffolding continues to go up on the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C., Thursday, September 18, 2014. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Civility and the requirements of good sense

President Obama has crossed another red line, and not one so easily erased as those smudged out by his lethargy and timidity in the Middle East. American representative government and its more important but allusive essence, democracy, have been protected in many ways over two centuries of American history. There is, of course, the written Constitution, which sets out the basic requirements of government.