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Assault on the thin blue line

“Cops” is a cable-TV reality show and “Bad Boys” is its theme song. Now viewers in a growing number of places can get the street action watching bad boys take on the cops on the nightly news. The expansion of civil unrest across the American landscape is ominous enough, but the ferocity of the abuse of the nation’s men and women in blue is more alarming still, a precursor to anarchy. The truly deplorable who hold the upholders of the law in contempt must get a grip, or be restrained, before the violence crosses the line into a primitive land of no return.

Hundreds gather in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church as they make their way to La Lomita Chapel during a prayer walk in protest construction of President Trump's proposed border wall Saturday Aug.12,2017 in Mission, Texas. (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP)

Obstructing the border wall

President Trump took his determination to build the border wall this week to Arizona, ground zero for illegal immigration, and threatened to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t include a down-payment on the wall in the budget this year.

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump gestures during a Presidential Address to the Nation about a strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan, Fort Myer in Arlington Va. Behind the detail-scarce rhetoric of the new Afghanistan strategy, elements of President Donald Trump's broader approach to foreign conflicts emerge: secret military plans, no "nation-building" and a reliance on regional players to squeeze wayward nations and extremist groups. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

A surge in Afghanistan

All of Arabia (and Iran, too) is not worth the life of one American soldier as the price of conquest, but securing America against the threat of radical Islamic terrorism is worth whatever it takes. Americans have no taste for colonial conquest, which is fundamental to the ideals of the republic. But neither do Americans cut and run when the wind is up.

8-year-old Mattias is carried on a stretcher after being rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building in Casamicciola, on the island of Ischia, near Naples, Italy, a day after a 4.0-magnitude quake hit the Italian resort island, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. Hospital officials on the Italian resort island of Ischia say that three brothers rescued from the rubble of their home after a 4.0-magnitude quake are all in good condition. (ANSA via AP)

The deadly descent of Obamacare

That flying contraption called Obamacare is locked in the downward spiral that is the nightmare of every pilot. Escape is not likely short of a miracle, and Congress doesn’t do miracles. Congress is fleeing the scene of the crime for a long and undeserved vacation, leaving with cries of “good luck.”

Gabriel Thomas, 5, of Waverly Twp., Pa. looks through his special glasses to watch the solar eclipse at Keystone College's Thomas G. Cupillari Observatory in Dalton, Pa., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (Christopher Dolan/The Times & Tribune via AP)

Lessons in the dark

Crowds gathered with eager anticipation. There were runs on “eclipse sunglasses,” with 7-Eleven running out early, and Amazon accused of selling sunglasses that weren’t guaranteed to keep out the right rays. Amazon might deliver on the protective gear, so the street wisdom went, but you might go blind.

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Fans wave flags of Puerto Rico as compatriot Ivan Rodriguez speaks during his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., Sunday, July 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Cleaning up Puerto Rico's mess

Puerto Rico continues to struggle with the consequences of irresponsibly running up debt. It owes debtors about $70 billion, and a default on debt which was due to be fully repaid by last month has made things worse. The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, enacted last year after President Obama and House Speaker Paul Ryan applied pressure on Congress, was supposed to prevent things like that. Instead it threatens to accelerate the rate of collapse.

In this April 6, 2017, file photo, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Deeper into the swamp

Sending a defeated rival to the penitentiary is not the American way (except, maybe, in New Jersey, Illinois or Louisiana). But in a swamp there's always an alligator eager to bite off any fingers searching in the murk for the drain plug.

A rescue drone flies during a training flight operation in the Atlantic beach of Biscarrosse, southwestern France, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. A cutting-edge lifesaving initiative is taking flight again this summer off France's popular Atlantic beach destinations: the rescue drone. Following a successful launch in 2016, three airborne life-saver drones are being operated in the southwestern Nouvelle-Aquitaine region spots until September to come to the aid of swimmers struggling in choppy water.(AP Photo/Bob Edme)

The summer of discontent

The steamy days of August are cooking up a summer of discontent. Like much of what lies beyond the front door, the reasons for the national angst are complicated and often contradictory. Raucous noise from the nation's capital plays a big role in how Americans see the landscape, but waiting for a wind to freshen the air above the Washington swamp might be a long wait.

Trying again with secession

If at first you don't succeed, secede. That's the latest message from California, where the idea of breaking up with the United States is the current rage. With Donald Trump in the White House attempting to "make America great again," the idea of returning to an era of freedom, faith and family is as antithetical to the cool crowd as a blue-light special at Kmart. The farther the Left Coast travels down the road toward "Calexit," the harder the climb back into the good graces of Americans for whom California is not as cool as it once was.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accompanied by, from left, National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, on leaks of classified material threatening national security.  (AP Andrew Harnik)

A job for dedicated plumbers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared war, or at least a skirmish, on leakers last week, and it's about time. Leakers grow like weeds in Washington, and it was ever thus, but it's out of hand when The Washington Post prints leaked transcripts of the president's telephone conversations with foreign heads of state. Even Democrats say so, even if using the occasion to slip another needle into the president, or mock Mr. Sessions' motives.

**FILE** Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in Washington is pictured May 1, 2008, during a ceremony where the title of chief judge for the U.S. District Court in Washington was passed from Judge Thomas F. Hogan to Lamberth at the federal courthouse in Washington. (Associated Press)

Two loud cheers for clean elections

You might think every good citizen would cheer attempts to protect the sanctity of the vote. Many good men and women have died for the right to vote, and we all owe it to them to protect what their sacrifice achieved for all.

Resisting the blue pencil

James Lankford, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, was rightly incensed Monday by an ABC News online headline that "Jeff Sessions addresses 'anti-LGBT hate group' but DOJ won't release his remarks."James Lankford, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, was rightly incensed Monday by an ABC News online headline that "Jeff Sessions addresses 'anti-LGBT hate group' but DOJ won't release his remarks."

FILE - In this Thursday, June 8, 2017, file photo, former FBI director James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Comey has a book deal. Flatiron Books told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Aug. 2, that Comey will write about everything from allegations of ties between Russia and Donald Trump's presidential campaign to the bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

James Comey's literary apology

James Comey has good reason to despise Donald Trump. He would hardly be human if he doesn't. The president cashiered him without ceremony, and nobody likes to hear "you're fired!" Now the director of the FBI until he was sacked has a book contract, and he's in the dilemma similar to that of Zsa Zsa Gabor's seventh husband. He knew what was expected of him on their wedding night, but despaired of making it fresh and surprising.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, looks at the watch of Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, right, as Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea watch them during the 113th Founding Anniversary of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in metropolitan Manila, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. The tough-talking Duterte briefly lashed out at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a speech before local revenue collectors Wednesday. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The road to reality in Pyongyang

The road to reality in Pyongyang leads through Beijing, and it's a road with many potholes. China doesn't want chaos in North Korea, but neither does it want to give up the means to profit from that chaos. Nevertheless, North Korea's second intercontinental ballistics missile launch last week caught the attention of the five countries with a stake in a stable Korean peninsula.

President Trump embraced a Republican-sponsored bill last week that would trim the broad range of family relationships that qualify for immigration and inject a government screen for needed skills and English proficiency into employer immigration. (Associated Press/File)

A good start on immigration reform

Why enact a law or write an executive order to reform a broken immigration system when a poem will do? President Trump endorsed new immigration legislation Wednesday, moving to a merit-based system, and it was greeted with predictable cries and squeals from advocates of open borders.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, file photo, a miniature reproduction of Arturo Di Modica's "Charging Bull" sculpture sits on display at a street vendor's table outside the New York Stock Exchange, in lower Manhattan. U.S. Stocks are rising Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, as payment processors and banks trade higher. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The abuse of Freddie and Fannie Mae

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae almost took down the U.S. economy by transforming bad mortgages into something that looked valuable, but were anything but. The extraordinary bailouts that followed put everyone, for one good reason and another, shaking in their boots.

How Republicans can still win on Obamacare

When Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker who famously said "we will read [the details of Obamacare] after we vote on it," was once asked by Chris Wallace of Fox News just what the Democrats were willing to offer Republicans as part of a grand new spirit of bipartisanship, she replied nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Security forces leave after a suicide attack followed by a clash between Afghan forces and Islamic State fighters during an attack on the Iraqi embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, July 31, 2017. (AP Photos/Rahmat Gul)

The threats of war

America's longest war has cost more than 2,300 lives and 20,000 wounded, and $1.07 trillion. The value of the lives cannot be measured. Now President Trump has authorized sending 3,000 to 5,000 more troops to strengthen training and support efforts there, adding to the 9,800 Americans who are part of an international force of 13,000.

Electric cars and gas pains

Moral preening isn't pretty, and "greener than thou" is all the rage in Europe. Volvo says that starting in 2019 it will no longer manufacture gasoline-only cars, only electrics or gas-electric hybrids.

It's still the economy, Stupid

Donald Trump has shown a remarkable ability to survive snubs, slights and spirited assaults almost from the day he threw his hat in the ring, more than a year ago, and he seems to relish testing the depths of the loyalty of conservatives. His remarkable twitter campaign against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a particular favorite of nearly every conservative, might be the greatest test so far.

In this Saturday, July 15, 2017 file photo, a rosary hangs over the portrait of the late Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo is displayed outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong. China cremated the body of imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who died this week after a battle with liver cancer amid international criticism of Beijing for not letting him travel abroad as he had wished. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

The world ignores an outrage

The death of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo from late-stage liver cancer last month is further evidence that China's suppression of human rights is growing more severe. Worse still, foreign reaction to outrage in China is growing weaker, and cynical besides.

A Palestinian living in Lebanon chants slogans as she holds a placard with Arabic read ing, "turn toward Palestine," during a sit-in in support of Palestinians and the Jerusalem holy site of Al Aqsa Mosque, in front of the United Nations Headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, July 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

When a murderer is called a martyr

Ethics now get short shrift nearly everywhere, and what was once normal behavior is regulated only by moral ambiguity. But murder, whether by an angry spouse, street hoodlum or terrorist driven by religious fanaticism, still has no sanction. There's no justification for outbursts of butchery, and cash doled out to Palestinian terrorists and to their families is blood money, and it's to the shame of the U.S. government that some of that blood money is lifted from the pockets of Americans.

A Romanian army tank maneuvers on a pontoon bridge on Borcea tributary to the Danube river during the Saber Guardian 17 joint military exercise with US troops, in Bordusani, Ialomita, Romania, Sunday, July 16, 2017. The Saber Guardian 17 exercises led by U.S. Army Europe began this week in Eastern Europe involving 25,000 military personnel from more than 20 allied and partner countries. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

God returns to Eastern Europe

Only a quarter of a century after the Iron Curtain rang down on the repression and official atheism of the evil empire -- "godless communism" some called it -- there's a resurgence of religious faith and identification in what was once the Soviet Union and its satraps in eastern Europe.