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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.

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Homeward-bound jihadis

War is hell, especially for the losers. Rather than winding up in a World War II-type concentration camp, defeated terrorists of ISIS are merely gathering up their wounded egos and bloody heads and heading home. Mom might be overjoyed to welcome the return of little Jihadi Joey, but the neighbors, not so much. When reauthorizing the nation's surveillance code, Congress must make sure that in protecting the privacy of the law-abiding they don't overlook the dangers posed by returning fighters who have lost the battle abroad but intend to continue the fight at home.

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore leaves after he speaks at a church revival, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, in Jackson, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The dilemma in Alabama

"You can't beat Somebody with Nobody" is one of the first rules of politics, but occasionally Somebody is exposed as a wolf in borrowed clothes and Nobody wins by default. Nobody in Alabama is a man named Doug Jones, and a fortnight ago his chances of defeating Roy Moore were somewhere between Slim and None. And then Slim unexpectedly left town.

The Supreme Court in Washington is seen here at sunset on Oct. 10, 2017. (Associated Press) **FILE**

California and the Constitution

There's a lot about the law and the Constitution that California does not understand, particularly the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court, perhaps willing to offer the needed tutorial in the law, has agreed to hear a legal challenge to a California law requiring private pro-life pregnancy counseling centers to tell their clients that the state will provide an abortion instead.

President Trump has undermined the judiciary by using his pardon powers on former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and has hurt the First Amendment by berating news outlets or calling them "fake," according to some of the Democrats' articles of impeachment. (Associated Press/File)

Home, with a side of bacon

President Trump is home from the hill, and Thanksgiving isn't far away, but the only words of gratitude from the liberals and the harder left is, "Thanks for nothing." That's all the president gets from his sore-loser critics following a whirlwind diplomatic and deal-making excursion through Asia. When they lock their partisan opposition in concrete and vow never to say an encouraging word, Americans are reminded why they voted to "Put America first."

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at the Vestavia Hills Public library, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala. According to a Washington Post story Nov. 9, an Alabama woman said Moore made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with her when she was 14. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The unraveling culture

The times are not just "a'changing," as Bob Dylan sang of them — but they're unraveling. Dismembering of the culture is at hand, and only the blind and foolish cannot see it. History is trashed and anyone who objects is a bigot, or worse. Pale-skinned Americans are vilified for living innocent lives, exploiting "white privilege." Bulls-eyes are painted on the backs of conservatives and Republicans because, well, they're conservatives and Republicans. Every man is a sexual predator, or will be soon. Throwing brickbats at unpopular targets can be great fun, but what goes around comes around.

Activists with Planned Parenthood demonstrated in Washington on Oct. 20, 2017, in support of a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children to obtain an abortion. (Associated Press) **FILE**

The inconvenience of a conscience

Abortion is the issue that will divide America forever because it's fundamentally an issue of conscience vs. convenience, with no victory for either side in prospect. A conscience is difficult to silence and everybody likes convenience. There's no better snapshot of the chasm between red America and blue America.

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore waits to speak the Vestavia Hills Public library, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala. According to a Thursday, Nov. 9 Washington Post story an Alabama woman said Moore made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with her when she was 14. Moore has denied the allegations. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Roy Moore's day in court

Sometimes a lynch mob gets a guilty man, but it's nevertheless an unspeakable evil. The accusations against Roy Moore in Alabama are sordid and serious, but so far they're accusations, not charges, and he is entitled to his day in court. That day will be Dec. 12, and the jurors, in a special election to replace Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate, will be the voters of Alabama.

Eating, drinking and merriment in Maine

The voters of Maine gave themselves a Christmas present last week, voting to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, and doing it by referendum to prevent Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, from taking it away from them. The legislature had tried five times to give such a fine present to Maine voters, and five times Mr. LePage vetoed the present because he said Maine couldn't afford it.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR REDFIN - A Redfin real estate yard sign is pictured in front of a house in Seattle on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. (Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Redfin)

Searching for loopholes

Home is where the heart it is, but home is where there's a big hole in tax receipts. The home mortgage interest deduction, which enables mortgage holders to write off the interest payments on their properties, will subtract $1.3 trillion from the federal government's balance sheet over the course of the next decade.

National Space Council will meet Thursday. Government officials and entrepreneurs will be in attendance. The event will be livestreamed.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, in the middle of a Christmas Eve space walk, outside the International Space Station in 2013. (NASA)

High times and matrimony at NASA

Some marriages are said to be made in heaven, and now certain Democratic senators want to make sure that some marriages be recognized in space. Heaven can wait. These senators object to President Trump's nominee to be the administrator of NASA because he, like most Americans, thinks the ladies make the most appropriate brides.

Uranium none

Sensations that explode with a flash and a bang seize public attention, but the echo doesn't last forever. Charges of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election that lit up the night sky in the spring are fading now with the colors of autumn. But details emerging from cracks and crevices of the Obama administration demand attention.

In this Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 photo, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., addresses the Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Democratic candidate Ralph Northam won Virginia's race for governor. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

The real pain coming

The Republicans can't say they didn't deserve the spanking they got Tuesday night. The results in Virginia in particular were a wake-up call, and the Republicans have a talent for sleeping through the noise of an alarm clock. The Grumpy Old Party was cruising for a bruising, and it got one. Did the elephant learn anything?

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech at a tourism council in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. (Pool Photo via AP)

Rumbling in Ankara

Nostalgia is a powerful driver of emotions, whether for an old flame dreaming new dreams or for a new ruler of the remnants of empire remembering what once was, and what in his imagination could be again. But the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (formerly prime minister) and his AKP Justice and Development Party is more and more authoritarian than romantic.

Children with banners reading "save the world" march between the delegates during the opening of the COP 23 Fiji UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Theology, not science

As America goes, so goes the world. With the 2017 United Nations climate change conference getting underway in Germany, the world's most influential nation is split over whether it's a good idea to hamstring the economy just to lower the temperature a fraction of a degree (maybe). The smart money says the Trump administration's free market approach to climate policy is a better way than putting it into the hands of environmental theologians who are usually wrong.

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2016 file photo Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reid and John Boehner are going to co-chair a new public policy think tank at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. MGM Resorts International and UNLV plan to bring plans for the institute headed by the retired U.S. Senate Democratic majority leader from Nevada and the former House Republican speaker from Ohio before Nevada university regents on Thursday, March 2, 2017.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Nuclear warfare

Dams are breaking all over town. Donna Brazile's new book, "Hacks," has broken the dam that has been holding back a flood of insider stuff about how the Democratic National Committee smoothed the way for Hillary Clinton to win the party's presidential nomination last year.

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Yokota Air Base in Fussa, Japan, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, to travel to Osan Air Base in Seoul, Korea. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Swimming on the Pacific Rim

"I came, I saw, I conferred," may not match Julius Caesar's historic description of his foreign adventure, but President Trump's 12-day Asia trip is meant to conquer doubts that the United States is still the power to be reckoned with across the Pacific (and everywhere else). When disruptive forces test traditional regional alliances, over issues of trade, free passage on the open sea and the denuclearization of the rogue regime in North Korea, the United States is the indispensable bridge over troubled waters.

FILE- In this Feb. 9, 2015 file photo Harvey Weinstein speaks during a press conference for the film "Woman in Gold" at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin. New York City police said Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, that an actress' rape allegations against Weinstein are credible, and if the movie mogul was in the state and the accusation more recent, they would move to arrest him immediately. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said investigators have interviewed actress Paz de la Huerta. She has publicly accused Weinstein of raping her twice in her apartment in 2010 and called police about it on Oct. 26.  (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

When harassment was in flower

The Frenchman has had the reputation since forever, earned or not, of being the sexiest dude on the planet. Ooo la la, and all that. Who knew the Americans, traditionally regarded as unschooled in the arts of seduction, would challenge Gallic supremacy in these arts?

An anti Trump protester, left, confronts a counter protester and Trump supporter during "This Nightmare Must End: the Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!" protest in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. The group Refuse Fascism called for protests against President Donald Trump's administration in several major cities on Saturday, including Los Angeles. (Ed Crisostomo/Los Angeles Daily News via AP)

The conceit of our times

If we were to believe the mainstream pundits, that the slander and calumny that passes for debate about politics and the slovenly popular culture is something new, we might think that nothing like this ever happened before.

Enas Almadhwahi, an immigration outreach organizer for the Arab American Association of New York, stands for a photo along Fifth Avenue in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in New York. American Muslims are reeling over Donald Trump's victory, wondering what the next four years will bring after a campaign in which he proposed creating a national database of Muslims, monitoring all mosques and banning some or all Muslims from entering the country. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

'Allahu akbar!' on the streets of America

Confederate soldiers shrieked the rebel yell at Gettysburg, American paratroopers cried "Geronimo!" when they jumped into France on D-Day, and radical Muslim terrorists cry "Allahu akbar" when they kill innocents on the streets of America. Whether meant to calm nerves or strike fear in the hearts of opponents, the cries become a signature, sometimes a cry of bravery and heroism, but sometimes a cry of cowardly revenge.

FILE - In this Tuesday March 21, 2017, file photo, Republican gubernatorial candidate, Ed Gillespie, gestures during a kitchen table discussion at a private home in Toano, Va. Political observers say Virginia's closely watched race for governor between Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam has become one of the state's most racially charged campaigns in recent memory. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Fear and loathing in Virginia

Desperation can make men who say they want to be good do bad things. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia, had been leading Ed Gillespie, the Republican, for months. His election was a lock. Everybody told him so.