Cal Thomas

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DUBLIN — “When would you like to schedule your knee replacement surgery?” asked my American doctor before I left for Ireland. I gave him a date that works for me (I'm calling it the result of an old basketball injury, not advancing age). His office scheduled it for that date. Contrast this with a headline in the Irish Independent newspaper: “Surgery delays are ‘cheating elderly out of precious time.’”



PARIS — President Trump was right to cancel a “secret” meeting with leaders of the Taliban and the Afghan government following two bomb attacks by the terrorist group that killed 10 civilians, an American soldier and a Romanian service member in heavily fortified Kabul. The president is eager to fulfill a desire to withdraw remaining American forces in what has been one of America's longest wars. Who isn't?



San Francisco, a city described in song for its natural beauty, is descending into an abyss of homelessness, the use of sidewalks as toilets and a place you might not want to visit, much less live. The latest, but surely not the last demonstration of insanity, is San Francisco's Board of Supervisors’ adoption of new “person first” language guidelines meant to “change the public's perception of criminals.” 



President Trump has repeatedly promised, “America will never be a socialist country.” Since Franklin Roosevelt began expanding government in the 1930s, the United States has increasingly adopted big-state policies associated with socialism. We may not be at the stage Bernie Sanders would advocate, but more millennials appear to favor a system under which they have never lived. Free stuff is appealing until one realizes its costs.



After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, investigators discovered that the lone man assigned to guard the president, John Parker, had abandoned his post to watch the play from an adjacent box at Ford's Theater. Worse, at intermission, Parker adjourned to a nearby saloon to have drinks with some friends. It was during the second act that John Wilkes Booth entered the president's box and shot him.



Politicians and pundits are promoting familiar explanations, excuses, and demands following the tragic mass murders in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. From pushing more gun laws to blaming President Trump, conservative talk radio and Fox News, we've heard it all before. One question no one is asking: why is evil rampant in our country? I don't mean obvious evil like the all too frequent mass murders. There are other evils, which seem to have come from the “pit” and are roaming among us uncontrolled.



Calling someone “racist” has become the default position for liberal politicians and certain members of the media who wish to deflect attention from real problems. President Trump has (again) been called a racist for having the temerity to note that House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) seems to spend more time criticizing him and the border patrol than he does fixing problems in his own home district, which includes about half of Baltimore city.



The Founders of the United States of America warned against massive federal debt, but, to our detriment, their political descendants are not paying attention. The Founders speak to us from their graves to condemn and warn of the consequences now that President Trump and Congress have come to an agreement about lifting the meaningless “debt ceiling” and increasing already massive federal spending and the debt, which is at $22 trillion and growing rapidly.



You had to be there 50 years ago, and I was. As a young reporter for a local TV station in Houston, I frequently visited NASA (“the space base,” we dubbed it), met many of the astronauts and reported on their exploits. Along with people from around the world, I watched the lunar landing on television, July 20, 1969, fulfilling President Kennedy's goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of that decade.



Two summers ago on a visit to Budapest, I asked the spokesman for the Hungarian government about the growing problem of migrants coming into Europe. He told me Hungary doesn't have a migrant problem because they don't have welfare programs. So, he said, migrants continue their travels to other European countries that do.



The likelihood I would ever be invited to serve on a network panel questioning the Democratic presidential candidates is equivalent to an invitation to take the next trip to the moon. Still, as I tortured myself watching the two “debates,” which were not really debates, but mostly a show of memorized sound bites, I thought of unasked questions that ought to have been put to them all



I never thought I would write this, but the publisher of The New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger, is right. Sulzberger wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in response to President Trump's claim that his newspaper committed “treason” by publishing a story about U.S. efforts to compromise Russia's power grid should Moscow again try to meddle in U.S. elections. The Times says it consulted National Security officials who raised no objections to its publication.



The media and Democrats are agog over President Trump's comment to former Bill Clinton adviser and current Good Morning America host, George Stephanopoulos. Trump said if a foreign power had "dirt" on one of his political opponents he'd "listen" and would not necessarily inform the FBI. Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough writes that Hillary Clinton was once fine with obtaining dirt on her opponents from foreign sources. Recall the Steele dossier?



Only the most partisan person would begrudge prayers for the president of the United States, but a recent visit by President Trump to the mega McLean Bible Church in Virginia has rubbed some congregants the wrong way. The White House informed the church with only a few minutes notice that the president would be coming to the service after finishing a round of golf at a nearby course. It was a Sunday on which some Christian leaders had called for special prayers for the president and others wished to pray for the victims and relatives in the recent shooting in Virginia Beach.



Observances of the 75th anniversary of D-Day are properly focusing on the troops and the architect of Operation Overlord, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who freed Europe from Hitler and his Nazi hordes. One person — a woman — has not received the credit she deserves for her efforts with the French Resistance. Without her daring and heroism, the war would most assuredly have been prolonged and many more lives would have been lost.



It's a familiar quote from Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist, but with special contemporary relevance in light of a statement last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller: “‘If the law supposes that,’ said Mr. Bumble... ‘the law is a ass — a idiot.’” But it isn't so much that the law is fractured, rather it is practitioners who sometimes do it an injustice.



Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the release of self-admitted “American Taliban” member John Walker Lindh “unexplainable and unconscionable.” Lindh, who was paroled last Thursday from a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, served 17 years of a 20-year sentence for illegally aiding Taliban forces. Lindh had joined the terrorist organization before September 11, 2001. He was in Afghanistan at the time and was also there when a group of Taliban prisoners murdered CIA officer Johnny Micheal Spann.



Since 1973, when Roe vs. Wade ushered in what would eventually lead to abortion on demand, including partial-birth abortion and even the failure to protect babies born alive after failed procedures — the pro-life movement has achieved few legislative victories. That may be about to change. While New York and several other states have passed statutes effectively allowing infanticide, more conservative states are passing “heartbeat” bills and other restrictions.



It was Oscar Levant who uttered the famous line: “I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.” In a way it was a backhanded compliment to a woman who represented in most of her film roles an image of chastity and virtue that was once mostly promoted in American culture, though not always practiced in private lives, including hers. Day, who died last Monday at age 97, became a friend late in her life.



In a country preoccupied with presidential candidates preaching extreme liberalism and even unabashed socialism comes America's greatest living historian, David McCullough, with a new and needed book. It's called The Pioneers and the subtitle is its theme: “The heroic story of the settlers who brought the American ideal west” (Simon and Schuster). Nowadays, while students at universities and public schools are learning a history often tainted by political correctness and revisionism, McCullough writes of a young country that might have been stillborn were it not for these pioneers.