Cal Thomas

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One reason Democrats seem so fixated on importing illegal immigrants and allowing their children to stay and become citizens may be the exodus from high-tax and traditionally Democratic states. Anecdotal evidence is usually not helpful in determining trends, but when stories begin to accumulate and sound the same attention must be paid. Two friends of mine, who are longtime California residents, recently decided to move from that highly taxed state to states with lower taxes.



“You can get a lot farther with a smile and a gun than you can with just a smile.” This quote has often been attributed to the late Chicago mobster Al Capone, who with his fellow organized crime buddies used extortion as one of their tactics to get what they wanted. Today's modern congressional Democrats have clearly benefited from Capone's example.



Having lost an election they thought they would win and unable to get over it; having been staggeringly wrong about their predictions that a Trump presidency would be the end of global economies; now putting faith in a special counsel to bring down the president with evidence that looks increasingly dubious, the left has taken refuge in the only shelter available to them: the president is off his rocker, mad, crazy, unstable and therefore the 25th Amendment must be invoked and Trump removed from office.



I do not make it a practice to comment on the work of fellow columnists, though occasionally some care to comment on mine, which is fine. I'm happy to help them make a living. An exception will be made here because of New York Times "conservative" columnist, Bret Stephens.



ANGLESEY, Wales -- The UK Daily Mail has again published a story about a subject that has become a recurring theme this time of year. No, not Christmas, but rather drunkenness, though the holiday is used as its primary excuse. Pictures accompanying the story show young people collapsing in gutters and vomiting on the sidewalks. It is not a pretty sight.



DUBLIN, Ireland -- "Try a Little Tenderness" is a song written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods. According to Wikipedia, it was first recorded on Dec. 8, 1932, by the Ray Noble Orchestra (with vocals by Val Rosing). Probably these names are as unfamiliar to us today as the demonstration of tenderness is in our modern political culture.



Unless you are spending this time of year at a spiritual retreat cut off from TV, newspapers or internet service you cannot escape the blaring music and the marketers attempting to sell you something they promise will bring you happiness and peace. The many definitions of peace seem inadequate at this or any other time of year.



One way to kill a predatory animal is to deny it sustenance. The tax-cut bill passed by the Senate, if it clears a conference with the House and President Trump signs it, may be the first step toward starving the big government beast. Reporting on the Senate vote early Saturday morning reflected the biases of various media outlets. Predictably, The New York Times and Washington Post characterized the cuts as favoring the "rich," while doing nothing for the poor.



Rarely has the idiom "virtue is its own reward" looked better than it does in light of the sex scandals sweeping the nation. The so-called "prudishness," of a previous generation and the respect most men were once taught to have for women -- and which Hugh Hefner and his disciples of "free love" mocked -- are looking better with each passing day. Conservatives have been told they can't impose their morality on others, so how is its opposite working out for individuals and the culture?



The English poet of the Middle Ages, Geoffrey Chaucer, is generally credited with coining the phrase that has been updated in modern English to read, "better late than never." It means to do something or to arrive later than expected may not be good, but it is better than not at all. That may not be true in the case of former President Bill Clinton's enablers and apologists for his sexual misdeeds before and after winning the White House.



When Jim Zeigler, the state auditor of Alabama, invoked the Bible to defend Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore against allegations that he had inappropriate contact with underage girls while single and in his 30s (which Moore has sort of denied), it signaled perhaps the final stage in the corruption of American evangelicalism.



It should surprise no one that when it comes to sexual harassment, members of Congress and their staffs are treated differently from the rest of us. The Washington Post notes a law in place since 1995 under which anyone accusing a lawmaker of sexual harassment can file a lawsuit, but only if they first agree to go through counseling and mediation, possibly lasting several months.



Federal income tax was first introduced under the Revenue Act of 1861 to help defray war costs. Congress repealed the tax in 1871 when the need for government revenue declined, only to restore it in 1894 as part of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act. The public policy debate surrounding the constitutionality of income tax has been going on ever since.



If it were a plague, the government would rush to quarantine the infected, as occurred during Europe's Black Death in the 14th century. An immigration debate at Seattle University School of Law is a plague of a different sort, but deadly in a different way. The victim here is the right to free speech.



Responding to the recent Las Vegas concert shooting that killed more than 50 people and injured hundreds more, President Trump described the act as one "of pure evil." One definition of "evil" sounds so inadequate in today's culture: "morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds, an evil life."



In school, I liked math the least and history the most. Both can be useful in the coming debate over President Trump's proposed tax reforms. The one thing I learned in math class is that if the formula is wrong, the answer will be wrong. In history class, I learned we are not the first people to occupy the planet and that the experiences of those who came before us can be helpful when considering contemporary issues.



"The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher plain." -- Sen. George McGovern (D-SD) Filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick have performed a vital public service in making their documentary "The Vietnam War" for PBS. Given the division that war caused in America, it is a pretty fair chronicling of the way things were half a century ago. The film brought back a lot of mostly bad memories to people of my generation.



At a National Archives ceremony last Friday in Washington, D.C., 30 immigrants became naturalized U.S. citizens. In a video, President Trump encouraged them to embrace the "full rights, and the sacred duties, that come with American citizenship." It was a noble sentiment that once resonated with Americans who believed passing along their history to a new generation of citizens was something that ought to be done. Not anymore.



What just happened? President Trump cut a deal with Democrats to pay for hurricane damage relief and raise the debt ceiling without getting anything in return, except the temporary avoidance of a government shutdown. How to describe this? Was it a sellout, or a pragmatic act? It's football season again, so let's call this deal the "option play." It isn't used much by today's professional players, but the play is designed to give a quarterback the option of running the ball, or, if he sees he can't make it through the defensive line, toss it to a player trailing behind him in an effort to gain yards.



ISTANBUL -- Coming from the airport into this city of about 15 million people and 5 million cars, as my driver describes it, I pass ancient Roman ruins and blocks of upscale shops; an old hotel where Agatha Christie penned "Murder on the Orient Express," smoke shops and modest restaurants, and luxury car dealers. It is a metaphor for the choices Turks are being forced to make under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: forward to a better future and a recapture of their secular state, or back to a nostalgic past when Islam was the official religion of the Ottoman Empire.