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Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference to announce an international cybercrime enforcement action at the Department of Justice, Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Reforming government robbery

There’s nothing “civil” about civil asset forfeiture. It’s a law enforcement practice of seizing assets of suspects, who may or may not have broken the law, and it invites abuse. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to expand it.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., gestures to employees as he takes a tour of the manufacturing floor at a New Balance athletic shoe factory Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Lawrence, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

A resurgence of the arsenal

President Trump has taken the “Made in America” stamp on American consumer goods and put it to wider use as a slogan to inspire an economic and manufacturing renaissance. He’s not the first. Bob Hope was the face of a similar campaign four decades ago, with limited success. For consumers weary of goods with “Made in China” invariably stamped on them, this is a welcome thing.

FILE - In this June 15, 2017, file photo, newly developed robot for underwater investigation at the Fukushima's damaged reactor, moves in the water at a Toshiba Corp. test facility in Yokosuka, near Tokyo. The underwater robot on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, captured images and other data inside Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on its first day of work. The robot is on a mission to study damage and find fuel that experts say has melted and mostly fallen to the bottom of a chamber and has been submerged by highly radioactive water. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)

The nuclear-free fantasy game

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. The Bible tells us so. One of the things on anybody’s wish list is a nuclear-free world. But without assurance that the hope will be redeemed such wishes are the stuff of idle delusion. That goes double for the expectation that the Trump administration’s recertification of the deal proscribing Iran’s nuclear program, and the United Nations’ nuclear weapons ban, will give wing to the dove of peace.

President Donald Trump listens during a "Made in America," roundtable event in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Supreme Court tries again

The more the U.S. Supreme Court equivocates on deciding what President Trump’s attempt to regulate the admission of refugees to the United States actually means, the more the court becomes the U.S. Court of Supreme Confusion. Lawyers are supposed to use precise language to reflect precise thinking, but often they don’t.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, joined by, from left, Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. President Donald Trump blasted congressional Democrats and "a few Republicans" over the collapse of the GOP effort to rewrite the Obama health care law.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Republicans flee the health care fight

If the Republicans in the U.S. Senate were a baseball team, they would be the 1962 New York Mets. The Mets won only 40 games that summer, losing 120, the most inept performance since 1899 when a team called the Cleveland Spiders also won only 40 games. As the Mets stumbled to the end of the disastrous season, their manager, Casey Stengel, cried out in desperate frustration: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

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President Donald Trump arrives for a St. Patrick's Day reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Mr. Trump's travel ban

President Trump and the lower federal courts are playing a dangerous game of ping-pong, and the nation's security is paying for it. The president, who is responsible for the nation's safety, proposes and certain federal judges, who have no such responsibility dispose. The president proposes again, and again a judge or two dispose.

Issa Hayatou, right, speaks to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, left, at the opening of the general assembly of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday, March 16, 2017. Issa Hayatou was voted out as president of the African soccer confederation on Thursday after 29 years in charge, losing to challenger Ahmad of Madagascar in a major shakeup for the sport on the continent. (AP Photo)

The hateful idea of hate crime

Three men were indicted this month in Washington for the fatal shooting of a 22-year-old transgendered woman, the robbing of a second transgendered woman and the assault on a third. A "hate crime" charge was added to the charges of conspiracy, robbery and first-degree murder, which could mean that the defendants, if convicted, could serve sentences half again as long as for "mere" murder.

FILE - This Feb. 13, 2017, aerial file photo, shows a site where the final phase of the Dakota Access pipeline is taking place with boring equipment routing the pipeline underground and across Lake Oahe to connect with the existing pipeline in Emmons County near Cannon Ball, N.D. Federal Judge James Boasberg on Tuesday, March 14 denied a request by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux to stop oil from flowing while they appeal his earlier decision allowing pipeline construction to finish. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

Tubes, tunnels, pipelines and progress

The Dakota Access Pipeline that triggered the resistance of the Indians, or Native Americans as some of them want to be called, is nearly complete and ready to take oil to the refineries. The Keystone XL Pipeline project, which endured an on-again, off-again status during the Obama years, is on again. It's a new day for energy in America.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, right, waits for Air Force One with President Donald Trump aboard, to arrive Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. Trump is scheduled to visit the home of President Andrew Jackson and later in the day speak about health care at a rally. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Health care in the balance

Lost in the partisan bluster and shouting about the future of Obamacare, and the Republican "repeal and replace" reform, is the stark reality that the nation has arrived, finally, at the point where it must decide what kind of health care it wants, and how to pay for it.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks with reporters as Democrats criticize the Republican health care plan, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, March, 14, 2017. The White House and Republican leaders in Congress are scrambling to shore up support for their health care bill after findings from the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 14 million people would lose insurance coverage in the first year alone under the GOP replacement for Obamacare. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Taking brickbats to the wall

Barack Obama is gone from the White House, but his malign influence hangs over Washington like a blue haze. He failed to "fundamentally transform" America, but Democrats who made his slogan their own refuse to surrender the defeated cause. Despite the fact that Donald Trump has occupied the Oval Office for nearly two months, the opposition party stubbornly acts in concert with the "not my president" crowd. Their tune sounds dangerously close to "not my nation."

In this Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 photo, President Donald Trump speaks on the telephone with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

'Enforcement matters, deterrence matters'

Perhaps it's a variant of Mitt Romney's notion of "self-deportation," but President Trump's tough talk on illegal immigration is discouraging the waves of illegal immigration even before the first brick or cinder block is laid in what he calls his "big, beautiful" wall on the border.

FILE- In this Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara speaks during a news conference in New York.  On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, two days before Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave dozens of the country's top federal prosecutors just hours to resign and clean out their desks, Sessions gave those political appointees a pep talk during a conference call. Bharara said on Saturday, March 11, 2017, that he was fired after refusing to resign. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Gamesmanship in Gotham

Preet Bharara is making a career of being one of 46 U.S. attorneys who was routinely asked to resign by President Trump, who, like his predecessors in the White House, wanted to install his own lawyers in these jobs. Mr. Bharara, who was appointed by Barack Obama for U.S. attorney in New York City, thinks life handed him a lemon and he dreams of making lemonade.

President Trump is working with Mick Mulvaney (left), director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and other members of his team to prepare for a government shutdown in case Congress can't reach a budget deal by the end of the week. (Associated Press/File)

What to do about the debt

The federal government collects plenty of money. The problem is that the government spends too much of it. The government wouldn't have this headache if it had heeded the advice of Thomas Jefferson: "Never spend your money before you have earned it."

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer holds up photos of anti-terrorism airport security dogs as he criticizes President Donald Trump Sunday, March 12, 2017, over proposed cuts to the Transportation Security Administration and Coast Guard that the New York Democrat says would put New York at risk, at Schumer's office in New York. The Democrat accused Trump's administration of seeking to slash important funding to free up money to fund a wall at the Mexican border. (AP Photo/Julie Walker)

Bring in the clowns

The confirmation hearings for Rod J. Rosenstein, nominated to be the deputy U.S. attorney general, have descended from the grand act of political theater promised by Sen. Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate, to a clown show.

More days without a woman

One clear indication of what The Washington Post calls the "harder-edged" ideology of the women who marched in Washington on "A Day Without a Woman," were the demands for rescinding what they call "the global gag rule."

Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump speaks with Michelle DeLaune, right, from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, during a meeting on domestic and international human trafficking, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The sour smell of success

It's not necessarily true that "any publicity is good publicity," but Ivanka Trump might think so. Her fashion line was famously dropped by several department stores, and some of the many foes of her father organized a boycott of her goods. The result is a remarkable spike in sales — to near record levels, according to her company.

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with leaders from small community banks, Thursday, March 9, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Trump economy

There's no denying it, the election of Donald Trump has set off a boomlet in the economy, and it promises to expand into a genuine boom once his pro-growth policies have become comfortably settled and guiding the economy. "It's the economy, stupid," and Stupid seems to have finally learned a thing or two.

House Speaker Paul Ryan vigorously talks up the American Health Care Act at Republican National Committee Headquarters. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

The second draft of repeal and replace

There's been a lot of histrionics over the first draft of the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill. Everyone should take a deep breath to prevent a Republicans intraparty knife fight, which would play into the waiting hands of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

FILE - In this July 24, 2009, file photo, Rachel Dolezal, a leader of the Human Rights Education Institute, stands in front of a mural she painted at the institute's offices in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Court documents show Dolezal legally changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo on Oct. 7, 2016.(AP Photo/Nicholas K. Geranios, File)

Wishing on a star

Identity politics, the notion that you can be who you want to be just by saying so, is a game any number can play. Indeed, a visitor from Mars (or maybe it was Pluto) who was dispatched to Earth to find out just what kind of nuts we are, is said to have written home that Earth may be the most curious planet in any galaxy.

President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, during a meeting with the Republican House whip team about the proposed health bill. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Closing ranks to repeal and replace

There's "a time to break down," the Bible teaches, "and a time to build up." This is the moment for both, and the moment is called "repeal and replace." The end of Obamacare and the birth of the American Health Care Act are upon us this week, now that crucial parts of the proposed replacement law have been revealed. Securing a better health care system was the promise to the American people that put Donald Trump in the White House. Enacting a viable alternative won't guarantee Mr. Trump a happy presidency, but failure to do it would guarantee a miserable presidency.

In this Sept. 21, 2016, file photo, soft drink and soda bottles are displayed in a refrigerator at El Ahorro market in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

When a sugar tax goes sour

In politics as in physics, for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. You don't have to be Sir Isaac Newton to understand that a steep "sugary drinks tax" on soda drinks would sharply cut sales of Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, Gatorade and others.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, congratulates the first woman in space, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, on her 80th birthday in Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 6, 2017. (Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Boogermen under the bed

The Red Scare is back, only this time in another color. Beige is the new red. The frightened folks this time are not the Republicans, but the Democrats, though it's not at all clear that the Democrats are so much frightened as villains posing as opportunists.

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2017 file photo, the Capitol is seen at sunup in Washington. House Republicans on March 6,  released their long-awaited plan for unraveling former President Barack Obama's health care law, a package that would scale back the government's role in health care and likely leave more Americans uninsured. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Mocking John F. Kennedy

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation had a momentous announcement on March 2. The foundation would honor Barack Obama, who was off on a shopping excursion with Michelle at the time, with the JFK prize for "elevating the standard of political courage in a new century."

A man passes a section of border fencing that separates Tijuana, Mexico, with San Diego. (Associated Press)

Throwing rocks at the wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall, the poet Robert Frost wrote, but he never had to consider how an uncontrolled border works. Nevertheless, the Democrats, who regard the southern border as an ATM machine that dispenses prospective voters, vow to keep the funding for President Trump's Mexican border wall out of any short-term spending bill.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Associated Press)

Those nefarious Russians

The Russians are a nefarious gang. They send their ambassador to public meetings where he is likely to run into senators, other ambassadors, generals, admirals, bishops and who knows who else, and is quick to talk to them. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi recommend keeping the poor fellow locked up in the ambassadorial residence on 16th Street, lest he ruin the career of someone in official Washington with whom he inadvertently wishes a good day.