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Another hurdle cleared

Abad novelist couldn’t make this up: American politicians who pretended to sing only from the hymnbook of peace now want to spoil the best opportunity in three generations to pacify the warmongers of North Korea, and turn back the tide of nuclear proliferation which threatens us all. Their fuzzy rationale is that the mover of the promising breakthrough is Donald Trump, and the imperative of his enemies to destroy his presidency must come first. Seldom have political differences become so untethered from the reality of the common good.

In this April 18, 2018 photo, President Donald Trump listens during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's private Mar-a-Lago club, in Palm Beach, Fla. The Democratic National Committee on Friday sued President Donald Trump's campaign, Trump's son, his son-in-law, the Russian Federation and WikiLeaks. The Democrats accuse the defendants of conspiring to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election after breaking into DNC computers and stealing tens of thousands of emails and documents. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Death to the inflation tax

There’s new interest in indexing the capital gains tax to account for inflation. This is something good for everyone that conservatives have been pushing for years. The White House is working now to determine whether the president has the legal authority to make this change in tax policy by his own hand. There’s evidence that he can.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks in his office just after final approval of the Republican rewrite of the tax code, during an interview with The Associated Press at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.  Ryan defied skeptics who thought his party would never get the sweeping tax overhaul bill to President Donald Trumps desk by Christmas. The key, the Wisconsin Republican said minutes after gaveling down a House vote on the measure on Tuesday, was uniting Republicans behind a common plan from the start.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Next up on taxes

When Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 Tax Reform Act into law a lot of those who worked hard to get it done looked at one another and asked, "What's next?" Well, it took about 30 years, but we're about to finally have the answer.

FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2017, file photo, Doug Jones speaks at a news conference in Dolomite, Ala. Jones, a Democrat who once prosecuted two Ku Klux Klansmen in a deadly church bombing and has now broken the Republican lock grip on Alabama, is the states new U.S. senator. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, file)

Alabama faces the consequences

Doug Jones, the new and accidental senator from Alabama, has a big decision to make as he prepares to serve out the remainder of the Senate term of Jeff Sessions, who resigned his seat to become U.S. attorney general in the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he departs from the South Lawn of the White House via Marine One in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, to spend the weekend at Camp David in Maryland. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Who's in charge of the military?

Perhaps it's the mark of our times, but everybody seems to want to be someone or something he's not. Men are trying to be women, women want to be soldiers, judges appoint themselves legislators. "Amusin,'" as Li'l Abner used to say in the comics pages, "but confusin'." But given the stakes, there's no room for the confusing.

FILE - This file photo provided on Monday, Sept 25, 2017, by the Ghouta Media Center, a Syrian activist media group, shows smoke and debris rising after Syrian government shelling of the rebel-held Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, Syria. Humanitarian officials are warning that conditions outside Syria's capital have reached crisis levels, as the government refuses to give up a siege against its opponents that has trapped close to 400,000 people without enough food, fuel or medicine for the winter. (Ghouta Media Center, via AP, File)

The season for church-burning

The "soldiers" of ISIS are battered, bloody and on the run in Iraq, but they're making with big talk for the holidays which they have no reluctance to call by their right name, "the Christmas season."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Robert Patterson make an announcement about new tools to combat the opioid crises, at the Justice Department in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Trading a badge for a broom

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Those tasked with administering the law are obligated defer their opinions to the impartiality of the Constitution. Some people at the Justice Department prefer to tug on Lady Justice's blindfold. Mr. Mueller's investigation into Russian collusion, so called, casting a shadow over the administration of Donald Trump since Inauguration Day, is fraying badly at the edges. The badge, the symbol of authority, must give way to the broom.

A risky president for Mexico

The course of American-Mexican relations never has run particularly smooth. There was the Mexican-American war in the mid-19th century, of course, and there's always the inherent tension with one big, rich country to the north sharing a lengthy border with a poor, perennially corrupt and struggling nation to the south. "Poor Mexico," goes one ancient lament south of the border, "so far from God, so close to the United States."

U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks as his wife Kayla Moore looks on at the end of an election-night watch party at the RSA activity center, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Good news in Alabama for everybody

Roy Moore leaves the stage with a gift for both Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans won't have to share the stage with him ever again, and the Democrats, who tried and failed to win even one of a succession of special elections this year, have finally got what they couldn't get on their own.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he talks during the closing news conference following the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's Extraordinary Summit in Istanbul, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Muslim nations of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation are rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and appear set to counter it with a declaration of east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Turkey's tantrum

The ability to respond smartly to controversy is a measure of responsible leadership. Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan just flunked a test. The Turkish president-cum-caliph with a tart tongue has flown off the handle over the U.S. foreign policy turn toward Israel, demonstrating why he is an unreliable ally. Eliminating common ground undermines the basis for friendship.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 file photo, flames sweep up a steep canyon wall, threatening homes on a ridge line as the Skirball wildfire swept through the Bel Air district of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Fire Department said Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, that the wildfire that destroyed six homes and damaged a dozen more last week in the exclusive Bel Air section of Los Angeles was sparked by an illegal cooking fire in a homeless encampment. No one was in the camp, and no arrests have been made. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Feeling the burn in California

There's never a dull moment in California. Almost a universe unto itself, the westernmost continental state has something for every lifestyle, American or otherwise. But its 40 million inhabitants have to contend with nature like no other state, a point driven home by the late-autumn outbreak of killer wildfires. The treasure that is California comes with considerable added peril when fire joins earthquake.

In this June 8, 2017, file photo Hungarian-American investor George Soros attends a press conference prior to the launch event for the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop, file)

The hard life of George Soros

Life can be almost good anywhere if you're a billionaire. George Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire who once shorted the British pound to bring down a conservative government in Britain, has been on a rant that the government in his native Hungary has grown so oppressive that life there is more miserable than it was during the occupation by the Soviet Union, which was the ultimate socialist experiment. Mr. Soros probably thinks life in modern Hungary, with free speech and free elections that don't always go the Soros way, is as oppressive as Donald Trump's America.

The Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City is seen while a Jewish orthodox man reads from a holy book in a cemetery in Jerusalem, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

President Trump's capital idea

President Trump's announcement that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital changes everything, and nothing. On the one hand, it is simply a recognition of reality and U.S. law. More than two decades ago Congress enacted a law requiring the State Department to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, the Israeli commercial capital, to Jerusalem.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez D-Ill., third from left, along with other demonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Capitol in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), programs, during an rally on Capitol Hill in Washington.  House and Senate Democrats stand divided over whether to fight now or later about the fate of some 800,000 young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

No appeasing the ingrates

Anyone who expects gratitude for a good deed displays only an ignorance of how humans tick. The best way to make an enemy is to do someone a good turn, which often creates not gratitude but resentment. This home truth was on display the other day when 200 ingrates and their enablers rallied on the steps of the Capitol to demand that Congress enact "Dream Act" legislation to protect "undocumented" would-be immigrants brought to this country by their parents, who broke the law to get them to these shores.

FILE - In this March 2, 2014 file photo, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Two recent lawsuits have made the unorthodox legal argument that Harvey Weinstein's pursuit of young women, and his attempts to quiet sexual assault accusations, effectively amounted to organized crime. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

The risks of redress and reform

The attempt to redress and reform one of the great blots on American society, the use of authority in relationships to intimidate subordinates into granting sexual favors, seems to be reaching a crisis point, though the human condition probably guarantees that we will never run out of victims.

Armed police at the scene on Cromwell Gardens in London, after a car reportedly ploughed into people outside the Natural History Museum in London, Saturday Oct. 7, 2017. Police said a number of people were injured and one person was detained at the scene. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

Wolf whistler, be careful in Old Blighty

The bobbies will get you if'n you don't watch out. London's Metropolitan Police are considering whether to regard a wolf whistle aimed at a pretty girl (or even a plain girl with a great personality) as a "hate crime," to be treated as a serious breach of the law.

Michigan attorney general candidate Dana Nessel.

Can the world be saved from the penis?

A good man is hard to find, so the common wisdom once went, but in the spirit of the hysteria season certain feminists have rewritten that to, "Never trust a man with his factory equipment intact." A woman in Michigan is running hard for state attorney general as the Democratic candidate with a missing penis.

Demonstrators are arrested outside of the U.S. Capitol during an immigration rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), programs, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Playing chicken on the border

Chicken is a game usually won by the boldest and most irresponsible player in the game. Democrats usually prevail because they know how to place the blame on the other player. Republicans, eager to avoid being seen as not very nice, usually threaten no one and settle for a friendly pat on the head. But this time they must gird their bashful loins, grit their teeth and refuse to yield. At stake is more than money. With the immigration issue on the table the outcome is a matter of national security.

President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of U.S. policy and risk potentially violent protests. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

This year, in Jerusalem

For once, Donald Trump's taste for all-capital letters makes the right point with blunt precision: "Jerusalem IS Israel's capital: I will move our embassy there AND make peace with the Palestinians." Making peace with people who don't want peace is always difficult, when it's not impossible, but the president promises to soldier on.

In this undated photo provided by General Motors Holden, cars are assembled on the production line in Adelaide, Australia.  The Australian auto manufacturing era ends after more than 90 years on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 when General Motors Co.'s last Holden sedan rolls off the production line in the industrial city of Adelaide. The nation has already begun mourning the demise of a home-grown industry in an increasing crowded and changing global car market. (General Motors Holden via AP)

No requiem for the internal-combustion engine

Standing on principle is admirable, but sitting on a Plan B just in case is smart. Automakers are doing both to navigate the obstacles they face in building vehicles both powerful and clean. It's only wise strategy — the future of the fuel is fuzzy.

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2017 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence speaks in Floresville, Texas. Pence will be keynoting two days of Republican Governors Association meetings beginning Wednesday, Nov. 15, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

The Mike Pence puzzle

To the titans of wisdom, morality and politics (as a bunch of little guys of press and tube think of themselves), Mike Pence is a puzzlement. They just can't get a handle on the man.