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FILE - In this May 14, 2012 file photo, King Salman, left, speaks with his son, now Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, (MBS), as they wait for Gulf Arab leaders ahead of the opening of Gulf Cooperation Council, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The surprise dismissal and arrest of dozens of ministers, royals, officials and senior military officers by MBS late Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, is unprecedented in the secretive, 85-year-old kingdom. But so is the by-now virtually certain rise to the throne of a 30-something royal who, in another first, is succeeding his father. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

Interesting times in Arabia

If hard times can make a monkey eat red pepper, as the ancient saying goes, tough times might require Arab and Jew to join forces to bring home the bacon. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.) The reformation of Islam, which stalled in Spain in the 16th century, might be struggling for renewed purchase in Saudi Arabia.

In this April 4, 2012 photo made available by the University of Goteborg in Sweden, the Swedish research team practices before the operations to transplant wombs at the Sahlgrenska Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden. Nine women in Sweden have successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives and will soon try to become pregnant, the doctor in charge of the pioneering project has revealed. “This is a new kind of surgery,” Dr. Mats Brannstrom told The Associated Press. Brannstrom is leading the initiative at the University of Goteborg and will run workshops for other doctors on how to perform womb transplants later this year. “We have no textbook to look at,” he said.  (AP Photo/University of Goteborg, Johan Wingborg)

When two heads are better than one

China is thinking big. The Middle Kingdom has already built a small chain of islands in the South China Sea, fortifying them and bids to make them armed fortresses astride the sea lanes connecting Asia to the world. Leaders have to think big, and China obviously wants to replace the United States as the world’s superpower.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai speaks to the Associated Press after giving a press conference at his home in Harare, Zimbabwe, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.  Tsvangirai said President Robert Mugabe must resign and called for a negotiated, inclusive transitional mechanism as well as comprehensive reforms before elections. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Coup in Zimbabwe

“Every great cause begins as a movement,” the television philosopher Eric Hoffer once observed (maybe), “becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” There’s some dispute about whether Mr. Hoffer ever actually said it, but there’s no dispute that it’s an accurate description of what happened to the Zimbabwe of Robert Mugabe.

NBC's Megyn Kelly interviews Juli Briskman, a former government contractor who was fired after she was photographed giving President Trump's motorcade the middle finger. (Image: "Megyn Kelly Today" screenshot)

The 100-grand salute

Salutes to the president can be monetized, and a middle-finger salute to a passing presidential motorcade can sometimes be worth more than a hundred grand. Is this a great country, or what?

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.

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Mr. Trump's LGBT tweets

Lawyers are always looking for clients, but -- until now --they have to find a client who has actually suffered harm before filing a lawsuit seeking damages for harm. But lawyers for five newly reconstructed women, each identified only as Jane Doe to preserve anonymity, have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Washington arguing that President Trump's tweet that he would bar transsexuals from serving in the military services violates both the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

In this July 10, 2017 photo, Moina Shaiq speaks to a man after a Meet a Muslim event at Bronco Billy's Pizza Palace in Fremont, Calif. Shaiq discussed the importance of the hijab, the head scarf, and the niqab, the face covering, as well as the differences between Sunnis and Shias. She also spoke about the rights of women in Islam, and what it's like to be an American-Muslim today in her one-hour talks. (AP Photo/Kristin J. Bender)

The demographic threat to the West

Acombination of falling birthrates among the native-born and the influx of hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees from the Middle East threatens to swamp the indigenous European culture from which America sprang. Preserving the best of the culture will be the responsibility of the emerging generations, and the size of that responsibility is only now coming clear.

A rainbow appears over Tumon Bay, Guam Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. Residents of the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam face a missile threat from North Korea. (AP Photo/Tassanee Vejpongsa)

Waiting for China

Everybody talks a good game of peace, goodwill and other good stuff from the sidelines of the noisy war of words between the United States and North Korea, but none of those sideline warriors wants to be seen doing any of the heavy lifting.

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."

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. (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.