Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist and author
Latest from Cal Thomas
President Donald Trump's inaugural address may not have risen to the rhetorical level of John F. Kennedy ("The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans" and "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"), or Ronald Reagan's critique of government ("Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem"), or even Barack Obama's in 2009 ("On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord"), but the speech set out large goals, many details of which are yet to be revealed.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development-designate, told a story. He said his mother was a domestic who cleaned beautiful homes. One day she asked him if he would rather live in those nice houses or the house in which he and his brother lived in Detroit. She told him that only he could decide the type of home he would eventually live in by how much he studied in school and the choices he made for his life.
Many top U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a secret intelligence operation for the purpose of discrediting Hillary Clinton, thereby helping Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton has done more to discredit herself, going back to her time as first lady of Arkansas, than the Russians could ever do.
Chicago has come a long way from the idealized lyric "my kind of town, Chicago is," which Frank Sinatra made famous. True, Chicago has a history of gangland murders going back to the days of Al Capone, but 2016 set a new and lamentable record. According to CNN, citing figures released by the Chicago Police Department, Chicago experienced a surge in violent crime in 2016. There were 762 murders, 3,550 shootings and 4,331 shooting victims. This in a city with strict gun laws.
Recent terrorist attacks in Ankara, Turkey, and Berlin, Germany, add to a growing list of incidents that are becoming increasingly difficult to remember. Does one begin the list with the plane hijackings in the '60s and '70s, or the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, or the USS Cole attack in 2000, or the second World Trade Center attack in 2001, or Ft. Hood, San Bernardino, Orlando, Paris or Nice? And that's not all of them, nor will it be the end of them, if we don't have a better response.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) once said that, "Those who travel the high road of humility will not be troubled by heavy traffic." That descriptive and funny line came to mind after I heard what first lady Michelle Obama told Oprah Winfrey last week in a TV interview. Because of Donald Trump's election, she told the former talk show host, "We are feeling what not having hope feels like."
When Mike Pence becomes the 48th vice president of the United States next month, he will take on the role of a political lobbyist for Donald Trump's activist agenda. In an interview I conducted with Pence in his transitional office next to a sandwich shop in Washington, he said he believed voters gave Donald Trump a "mandate." How can that be when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote? "Trump won 30 out of 50 states.
Only five of the 335 men who survived the unprovoked attack that sunk the USS Arizona on Dec. 7, 1941 remain alive. Donald Stratton, 94, is one of them. He has added to the historical knowledge of that day and the beginning of America's entry into World War II in a new book, "All the Gallant Men: The First Memoir By a USS Arizona Survivor."
In a statement following the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, President Obama spoke of "the countless ways in which (Castro) altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation." That's an understatement as the thousands who have risked their lives over the years to escape from Cuba have testified.
That race continues to be a major source of anxiety and division in America is an undeniable fact. While some politicians continue to use race to divide, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is trying again to bridge the gap in his latest PBS documentary series "Black America Since MLK."
NEW YORK — Donald Trump's impressive victory in Tuesday's election offers him a rare opportunity to change the narrative. Secular progressive policies at home and abroad are not working. The establishment has had its chance -- multiple chances, in fact -- to fix things, but it has failed, or didn't try, under Republican and Democratic administrations. Voters are taking a big chance with Trump, but things have gotten so bad that the election shows many millions of Americans are willing to try something new.
Students of the Watergate era (or those old enough to have lived through it) will recall the "dirty tricks" played by Richard Nixon's henchmen, most notably Donald Segretti. Segretti, who was hired by Nixon's deputy assistant, Dwight Chapin, was tasked with smearing Democrats, including senator and 1972 presidential candidate, Edmund Muskie of Maine. Among several "tricks," Segretti composed a fake letter on Muskie's letterhead falsely alleging that Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-WA) had fathered a child with a 17-year-old girl.
Modern journalists have little in common with those I was privileged to know when I was a copyboy at NBC News in Washington in the '60s. Today's "journalists" will disagree, but as numerous surveys have shown, the public trust in what is collectively called the media has sunk to an all-time low. Only the media think they don't have to change and can continue to sell a product more and more people refuse to buy.
What would you think of an individual or a company that earned a pre-tax profit of $29.9 million in one year, paid nothing in taxes and still received a $3.5 million refund? Am I speaking of Donald Trump? No, it is The New York Times Company. Forbes magazine studied the newspaper's 2014 annual report, in which the company explained: "The effective tax rate for 2014 was favorably affected by approximately $21.1 million for the reversal of reserves for uncertain tax positions due to the lapse of applicable statutes of limitations."
Next week's presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could determine the outcome of the election. As polls show Trump leading in some swing states and closing the gap in others, it appears the only burden he must overcome is the one Ronald Reagan shared, looking presidential enough that voters trust him with so much power.
Every now and again secular progressives rip off their mask and tell conservatives what they really think of them. At an LGBT fundraiser last Friday in New York, Hillary Clinton one-upped President Obama, who said of conservatives during the 2008 presidential campaign: "And it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." That came to be known as the "bitter clingers" speech.
Economics was not one of my favorite subjects in college, so I avoided economic courses. But I do know a few things about human nature. If you tax income at too high a rate, corporations will look elsewhere for relief. Take Ireland. In 1991, Apple Corporation cut a deal with the Irish government so that only a certain bracket of its earnings would be taxed, giving it, writes Business Insider, "...a dramatically lower tax rate than it would have to pay in the U.S."
The prize quote of this incendiary political year may go to Hillary Clinton. In response to Donald Trump's charge that the Clintons set up a pay-for-play arrangement that granted big contributors access to Clinton while she was secretary of state, Hillary Clinton said, "My work as secretary of state was not influenced by any outside forces. I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right to keep Americans safe and protect our interests abroad." She added, "I know there's a lot of smoke, and there's no fire."
Every election cycle we must endure challenges and allegations about fraud (conservatives) and discrimination (liberals) when it comes to voter ID laws. This year is no different. A federal court ruled that the Texas Voter ID law passed in 2011, requiring voters to present official photo identification, discriminated again poor, minority and disabled voters and ordered a judge to approve new interim rules for the Nov. 8 election. The new rules will broaden the list of acceptable forms of ID. Voters will now be able to present, among other things, an expired ID, a government check or a current utility bill.
Growing up, I watched a lot of Westerns. In addition to the cowboy hero, the town sheriff was almost always a model of integrity. He stood for law and order against bank robbers, cattle rustlers and horse thieves all trying to disrupt the peace. A contemporary and real-life version of those fictional characters is Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.