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Democrats and Republicans alike accused Hillary Rodham Clinton of a political flip-flop of historic proportions, but she said the evidence is that the deal President Obama finalized falls short of her goals. (Associated Press)

Hillary’s Benghazi sleight of hand

Sometimes the only defense is a good offense, with Hail Mary passes thrown on every down. Hillary Clinton readies for her showdown with the Benghazi congressional committee with a Hail Mary offensive to delegitimize that crucial investigation.

(AP Photo/File)

Republican mess originates from betrayed voters’ belief in big talk

Donald Trump continues to be the leader of the pack, and the reason why is no mystery to anyone who has been listening to the land. Americans are frustrated, angry and many feel desperation over stagnant wages, cultural assaults on their values, declining American influence in a world ever more dangerous, and they’re fed up with politicians who make promises they never intend to keep. They’ve heard some big talk in towns big and small, and now they’re left singing the blues in the night. These feelings are reflected in the turmoil over finding a leader of Republicans in the House of Representatives.

In this July 29,2015 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. According to GOP lawmakers, Boehner to step down end of October. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

John Boehner and the earmark

John Boehner is leaving the House and the speakership with cheers ringing in his ears and maybe with a few regrets, but looking at the chaos in his wake, watching his Republican colleagues struggling to find a suitable successor, he’s entitled to reflect on his own accomplishments. There have been more than a few.

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In this April 28, 2015, file photo, demonstrators stand in front of a rainbow flag of the Supreme Court in Washington, as the court was set to hear historic arguments in cases that could make same-sex marriage the law of the land. Gay and lesbian couples could face legal chaos if the Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage in the next few weeks. Same-sex weddings could come to a halt in many states, depending on a confusing mix of lower-court decisions and the sometimes-contradictory views of state and local officials. Among the 36 states in which same-sex couples can now marry are 20 in which federal judges invoked the Constitution to strike down marriage bans. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The coup d'etat by the Supreme Court

Five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are clearly afflicted with the royalty disease. They imagine themselves to be the rightful heirs of Louis XIV of France, who famously declared himself to be the state — "l'etat c'est moi" — with no questions asked. The justices, like the king, think they can do anything they want.

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday, June 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Peace, wouldn't it be wonderful?

We've got peace institutes, peace initiatives and even professors of peace. But the real thing remains elusive. We were told that would change with the election of "the peace president." A man of black and white parents, with one from the third world, would vanquish racial enmity, jealousy and envy. Such a man of vast intellect, steeped in enlightened liberalism, would end the wars imposed on a helpless world by American imperialism.

Chief Justice John Roberts speaks at the University of Nebraska Lincoln in Lincoln, Neb., in this Sept. 19, 2016, file photo. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

'Call this law SCOTUS-care'

Obamacare lives, through the manipulation of the law and abuse of the language by Chief Justice John G. Roberts. A sloppily written health care law is rescued by a sloppily reasoned opinion, with Mr. Roberts, author of the opinion, suggesting that the law ordinarily couldn't survive judicial examination, but enabling 6.4 million Americans to continue to get subsidies prohibited by the act seems nevertheless a nice thing for the court to do.

Other factors determine violence

Karl Rove presented a popular, contra-factual, deceptive statement when saying, "the only way to guarantee that we will dramatically reduce acts of violence involving guns is to basically remove guns from society," thereby implying repeal of the Second Amendment was required. However, a study completed a few years ago and published in the Harvard Journal of Law an Public Policy found that within the United States and across European countries, violent criminality and suicide were unrelated and often inversely related to gun ownership.

Phillippee Couillard
By Asclepias (Own work) [CC 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.