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Hank Williams. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Showbiz funerals and high-church grief

- The Washington Times

Monetizing friendships and politicizing grief are not easy to do. You never want to be seen actually doing it. The hand must stay behind the curtain. But Washington and Hollywood, where successfully faking sincerity is high art, are forever tempted to try. Letting all that free ink and air time go to waste, like a crisis in Chicago, is, well, a waste.

President Barack Obama. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

The monkey with a well-done nothingburger

- The Washington Times

Conversations are the mine fields in America's politics. A candidate, even a well-meaning Democrat, opens his mouth at his own risk. He might think he knows words and what they mean, but what he doesn't know is that everyone gets to play Humpty-Dumpty with Alice in Wonderland.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. (Associated Press)

An unexpected rose amidst the thorns

- The Washington Times

Donald Trump is unfair to his critics. They can't keep a negative narrative going no matter how hard they try because he keeps interrupting with unexpected good news. What's a respectable body to do?

Democratic California Rep. Maxine Waters. (Associated Press)

The Democratic pursuit of the unholy dream

- The Washington Times

The Democrats and their mainstream media allies promise to make the impeachment of Donald Trump the first order of business if they take back the House of Representatives in November. If they win the votes to do it, they'll be entitled, whether it's a shameful enterprise or not.

Xi Jinping. (Associated Press)

Another attempt, another failure of suppression of faith

- The Washington Times

President Xi Jinping of China is about to learn what despots before learned, to their consternation, puzzlement and grief. He has set out, as Mao Zedong did before him, to crush and squeeze the Christians in China until he has eliminated them all.

Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar (Associated Press)

Giddy with moral victories and intramural success

- The Washington Times

Democrats have an impressive winning streak leading up to the November midterm congressional elections. Candidate after candidate has run up big numbers, leaving the party giddy with expectations of miracles to come.

Angela Merkel

The unlikely political feats of late summer

- The Washington Times

Jews are smart. Everyone knows that. We just didn't know how smart. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalili, the brilliant military mind of Iran, is a man not easily fooled. He has figured out that drought in Iran is the work of those wily Jews, identifying the problem as the International Jewish Cloud Conspiracy.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

A wake-up call for the sleeping beauties

- The Washington Times

The midterm congressional election campaigns are about to be upon us. Labor Day is when campaigns get serious, and this year we still don't have a name for the Nov. 6 elections.

Al Capone. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Creative writing about Mr. Trump's troubles

- The Washington Times

Donald Trump's critics have made a wonderful contribution to our golden age of letters. But who could have guessed that this glorious abundance of creative writing would be found in political commentary?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

The noisy clashing dreams of 2020

- The Washington Times

Even fake news has its standards, and fake news has its fans, depending on who the faker may be. A faker should not be confused with a fakir, a wandering Hindu holy man or sometimes a Muslim beggar of alms. They're all just trying to make a living.

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Making sport calling out 'them lyin' newspapers

- The Washington Times

Calling out "them lyin' newspapers" has been standard stump speech since the first cave-man candidate invited the mob to start chunking rocks at the village blowhard. The chunking was such fun the custom survives.

Walter Matthau. (Associated Press)

Mainstream media are awash in a tsunami of trivia

- The Washington Times

The media is guilty of manifold sins, as God and everyone else know, but President Trump has misdiagnosed what's wrong with the media. It's not deliberate "fakery," but a tsunami of too much news badly edited, if edited at all. We're awash in information, much of it show-biz trivia that we don't need.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Associated Press)

Stumbling into hellfire in Helsinki

- The Washington Times

How does Donald Trump test the patience, forbearance, loyalty and endurance of the millions who trusted him to drain the swamp, restore a strong American voice in the world, cast out evil-doers and deliver America from the clutch of those who would trash the dream? Let us count the ways.

French President Emmanuel Macron. (Associated Press)

This is no NATO for deadbeats

- The Washington Times

The Europeans wrote the book on how to be successful deadbeats. We got another demonstration of that at the NATO summit this week in Brussels. Some of the chief practitioners of the art of welshing on a debt take a fulsome pride in their deadbeat pedigree.

Boris Johnson. (Associated Press)

There's life in Old Blighty yet

- The Washington Times

The good ol' boys, if there were any in Old Blighty, could tell Theresa May how and why she finds herself in such a mess in London, with a Brexit disaster only inches away: "You always go home with the one who brung you to the dance." This is folk wisdom every conscientious mother should impart to her daughter, early and often.

President James Madison. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Making book on a sure thing

- The Washington Times

I've got your judge right here: Gentlemen, place your bets. I've got Brett Kavanaugh at 5 to 2, Amy Coney Barrett at 4 to 1, and coming up fast on the inside, Ray Kethledge at 8 to 3. Kavanaugh has been on a bit of a fade, Miss Amy is holding steady over the past 24 hours, and some smart money is trending toward Kethledge. Looks like a down to the wire race.

Sen. Susan Collins. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

The inevitable search for the litmus test

- The Washington Times

Litmus test, litmus test, who's got a litmus test? Well, apparently just about every senator on the left. A litmus test -- a standard beyond which one won't go, like Barack Obama's famous red line in Syria -- was once derided as the mark of a rigid mind. Now that the independent mind has gone out of style, everybody wants to impose a litmus test.