Cal Thomas - Vilas County News-Review
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  • IT IS A metaphor for what is occurring at seemingly all levels of our country and culture. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has announced it will slow service for first-class mail and periodicals while temporarily increasing prices on all commercial and retail domestic packages because of the holidays. It’s probably
  • LOS ANGELES, CALIF. — Forget what you hear most pundits saying about the recent recall election that failed to unseat California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Some Democrats think because Newsom ran on an anti-Donald Trump platform, that will bring the party success or cause them less damage in the next
  • FOR 20 YEARS SINCE Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. presidents have been saying their antiterrorism policies have worked, as evidenced by no new attacks on America. While we should be grateful another attack hasn’t occurred, past performance is no guarantee of future success. Fanatics are nothing but patient as we
  • WHAT HAS HAPPENED in Afghanistan will not stay in Afghanistan, but will have a ripple effect throughout the region and beyond.
    In remarks made at the White House, President Joe Biden proved he is out of touch with reality. Responding to criticism that America’s credibility has been damaged due to his precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops Biden said, “I have seen no question of our credibility from our allies around the world.”
    Several allies have been critical, among them
  • IF A CRISIS is a terrible thing to waste, how terrible would it be to waste two simultaneous crises?
    While still in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and Delta variant — isn’t crisis overused and thus losing its power? — comes a report from a panel of scientists assembled by
  • WE HAVE ALWAYS had them among us: fortune tellers; diviners; readers of palms, tarot cards, tea leaves, stars, horoscopes; discerners of animal entrails; calling on gods of wood and stone; and all sorts of other “seers” who have attempted to 
  • BY ANY STANDARD, Zaila Avant-garde is a remarkable 14-year-old girl with a positive and compelling outlook on life.
    Avant-garde, her father reportedly changed her surname from Heard in honor of jazz legend John Coltrane, recently won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee, the first
  • BOOKS AND ARTICLES, scientific as well as theological, have been written on human nature. Still, most people don’t understand it, refuse to learn from it or worse, play to its dark side.
    Some politicians play to the dark side of human nature because
  • A New Jersey school district has voted to eliminate “the names of all religious and secular holidays from the school calendar, opting for the more generic description “Day Off.” You can guess the reason. They used those increasingly popular words — “inclusive” and “equitable.”
    No more
  • SENATE REPUBLICANS REFUSED to go along with the House and establish a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which left five people dead and more than 100 police officers injured. By a vote of 54 to 35, the bill to form the “bipartisan” commission failed, but who really believes that it would have
  • OBSERVING THE OUSTER of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) from her House leadership position and her criticism of former President Donald Trump reminded me of a ’70s TV ad for Listerine® mouthwash. The company attempted to use the product’s bad taste to its advantage. The ad said
  • THE CIA IS always looking to recruit new agents and advertising is one way it has done so in the past. The difference this time is in a newly created series of recruitment videos that reflect the spirit of the age in which we live, rather than appealing to abilities and patriotism.
    The videos seem to suggest that the super-secret agency has been infiltrated, not by spies from Russia, China or al-Qaida, but
  • THE GUILTY VERDICT against former Minneapolis, Minn., police officer Derek Chauvin on all counts was correct, based on the evidence, but the theatrics leading up to that trial and after the jurors had made their decision was outrageous.

    Demonstrations, riots and looting around the country since the death of George Floyd had to have influenced the jury, the media and public opinion.

    Comments before, during and after the trial by politicians were unhelpful to put it mildly. Rep. Maxine Waters represents a district in California. Why did she go to Minnesota to urge people to stay on the street and get
  • WHEN THE NFL decided not to punish players who kneeled during the pre-game national anthem, some fans reacted by refusing to attend games, buy league merchandise or watch games on TV.
    It took several years for the
  • WHEN I HEARD Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas say on “Meet the Press” that the southern border is closed, it immediately brought to mind claims by Iraq’s former information minister, dubbed “Baghdad Bob” and “Comical Ali” aka Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, about
  • EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS, WHO once were content with staying out of earthly concerns, have grown into an influential subset of American politics. Not all who identify with this label vote in unison. They voted in large numbers in 1976 for Jimmy Carter, but reversed course in 1980 and went for Ronald Reagan. In subsequent elections, a majority have voted for
  • PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN has challenged those who oppose the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion bill disingenuously dubbed COVID-19 relief or the more deceitful American Rescue Plan.
  • IF THE SECOND impeachment trial of Donald Trump were a play, it would close after one performance. The plot is known, the outcome is certain and the drama is contrived.
    If it were a film, it might be called
  • PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN and Press Secretary Jen Psaki have assured us Biden is a devout Catholic who attends church regularly. The question is not new, but should be asked again and a credible answer demanded. How can one be devout about one’s faith and not comport with scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church? As
  • THE OLD SAYING “revenge is a dish best served cold” is understood to mean it is better to deliver retribution for a perceived or actual injustice after time has passed in order for it to be done dispassionately. Sometimes, it is better not to serve that dish at all. Like perishable food left unrefrigerated, a different kind of “bacteria” can
  • I DON’T LIKE making predictions for a new year because they are just guesses, and like palm readers, fortune-tellers and “experts,” guesses are often wrong.
    The point was proved last year, when
  • AT THE 1980 DEMOCRATIC National Convention in New York, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) delivered a speech following his defeat by Jimmy Carter for the presidential nomination. The speech was boilerplate liberalism. Kennedy criticized Republicans and Ronald Reagan for their ideas, which he said were from the past. Today, the
  • WHENEVER PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden makes a rare public appearance and is out of the immediate control of his team, it increases my suspicions that he is not physically, and above all mentally, up to the job he is about to take over.
    Last week, Biden
  • EVERYWHERE ONE LOOKS, there are warning signs, from labels on cigarette packs warning that smoking causes cancer to ridiculous labels on thermometers that read “Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally.”
    Associate Justice Samuel Alito has delivered some serious warnings that too often are ignored by
  • THE POLLSTERS GOT it wrong again. Some claimed going into Tuesday’s election that Joe Biden had an unbeatable margin of 17 points in some states. Pundits claimed Republicans would lose between five and 15 seats in the House. It appears they’ve picked up a few. And because final results will not be known until 
  • CAN JOE BIDEN be trusted?
    It was President Richard Nixon who said in the midst of the enveloping Watergate scandal “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I
  • PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S infection with COVID-19 adds to a year no fiction writer could have contrived. The image of Trump walking out of the White House wearing a mask and traveling by helicopter to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., was an optic we have not seen with this president and
  • THE DEATH OF Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gives conservatives and Republicans what they claim to have wanted since judicial activism became the norm in the 1960s.
  • THE CABLE NETWORKS, including Fox News, could talk of little else Labor Day weekend but the magazine piece in The Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg alleging President Donald Trump had said Americans who have died in wars are losers and suckers. The comments allegedly were made two years ago during the president’s visit to France, and
  • LABELING ANOTHER PERSON has become a popular political pastime. The intent is to use a label that is impossible to disprove no matter the amount of contrary evidence.
    Perhaps the worst label one can attach to another person is 
  • I BEGIN WITH a personal story to make a greater point.
    Two weeks ago, I mailed an 8-by-10-inch envelope from a Miami post office to an address in New York state. The postage was correct as was the address and
  • THE VIOLENCE PERPETRATED in the streets of cities across America continues because state and local elected officials (all Democrats) refuse to do what is necessary to stop it. These acts no longer fit the definition of protest. Rather, sedition defines them, “incitement of discontent or rebellion against a
  • THE ON-AGAIN, off-again opening and closing of restaurants in Miami, Fla., has angered restaurant owners in the area. Last week, 30 of them gathered to protest the latest shutdown order by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez, a Republican.
    Nick Sharp, who
  • IN PROVIDING THE crucial fifth vote to strike down a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals, Chief Justice John Roberts has re-enforced a longstanding theme: there is no guarantee a judge nominated by a Republican president will decide cases based on
  • THE MINNEAPOLIS CITY Council has passed a measure to dismantle the city’s police department and replace it with what Council President Lisa Bender calls a transformative new model of public safety. This is supposed to better protect people in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by a
  • IT WAS A night I shall never forget.
    The date was April 4, 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., and I was flying home to Washington, D.C., from Atlanta, Ga. As the plane descended over National Airport, I could see
  • THE CHOICE BEFORE us seems to be no choice at all: stay inside and have no human contact with another soul, keep businesses closed, denying a livelihood to millions or step outside and risk death. Though I believe the risk is small when comparing the number of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have
  • THE DESTRUCTION OF the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent demise of the Soviet Union two years later lulled the West into a false sense of security. Many appeared to believe that an age of unending peace and prosperity had been ushered in. While terrorism would become a stateless threat, most people probably thought it to be an
  • “. . . THE RIGHT OF the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” from the First Amendment.
    Conservatives are mostly a passive lot, expressing their frustrations and anger over ideas they oppose by listening to or watching Fox News, talk radio or attending
  • I CONFESS TO a certain self-interest in this column. The media — especially newspapers — is in trouble. Conservatives like myself have been relentless in attacking their collective bias over the years, but as more of them fold or reduce staff, it is crucial the institution be saved.
    Margaret Sullivan, a columnist for The Washington Post, has suggested that
  • HE WAS THE 44th vice president of the United States in the George H.W. Bush administration, but for the last 20 years, Dan Quayle has stayed mostly away from the unfriendly glare of political life.
    I called him to get his thoughts on
  • THE MODERN MEDIA trend is to make fun of President Donald Trump for his alleged and actual misstatements of fact. You have to go a long way, in this case Sky News in Australia, to find a media outlet willing to make fun of a U.S. liberal Democrat.
    Rita Panahi, the host of
  • THE RUSSIANS ARE like the devil. Each gets blamed or credited with more than they are responsible for.
    Intelligence officials went to Capitol Hill where, according to The Hill “they briefed the House Intelligence Committee about Russia interfering in the presidential race in an effort to get
  • FOR 68 YEARS, the National Prayer Breakfast has been a political oasis; a chance for Republicans, Democrats, national and world leaders to assemble and pray for
  • TWENTY YEARS AGO, President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat met at Camp David in Hauvers, Md., where Barak offered almost all of what Arafat asked for in exchange for making peace with the Jewish state. Arafat
  • THE LATEST PROTESTS in Iran by people angry over the Iranian military’s missile launch that “unintentionally” downed a Ukrainian jetliner killing many Iranians, Canadians and others, is different from past protests over rigged elections, rising gas prices and what Americans like to call voter suppression.
    This time, the protests are over
  • IT CAN BE USEFUL and instructive to observe the turning of a decade by looking back on what life was like in America a mere 100 years ago.
    Jan. 2, 1920, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 108.76. Today, it is more than 28,000 points.
    In 1920, the United States had become an economic power, which is remarkable considering
  • WHILE WATCHING “JEOPARDY” the other night, I had a fantasy. Suppose Alex Trebek had a Final Jeopardy category called The Ultimate Impeachment Hypocrite.
    Here’s how I
  • NOT MANY PEOPLE THINK of the Ten Commandments these days unless some group is trying to fight a legal battle to place them on public property.
    Still, these laws of God, which may be familiar to some only through the Cecil DeMille classic film starring Charlton Heston as Moses, contain worthy guidelines that are
  • IF YOU ARE IN need of more evidence as to why so many Americans are cynical about politics in general and Washington in particular — and isn’t current evidence sufficient? — you need look no further than the etymological shift taken by Democrats during the House impeachment hearings.
    As The Washington Post first reported, the decision to replace quid pro quo with
  • AS FAR AS I can tell from a reading of history, while some presidents were friends of clergy — who sometimes advised them — to my knowledge, none hired them as staff members; until the presidency of Richard Nixon. It was during Nixon’s administration that Charles Colson began mobilizing the evangelical community to support
  • HE WAS THE Bernie Sanders of his day.
    Charlie Chaplin — the iconic actor and, at the time, a well-known political leftist, some said communist — delivered a speech in San Francisco, Calif., in 1941, prior to America’s entry into
  • THE YEAR WAS 1972 and Americans wanted out of the Vietnam War. The right, because it was not being won, and the left because of the increasing body count and lies from generals and politicians about “progress” toward defeating the communists.
    Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern’s slogan “Come
  • THEY ARE ALL GONE now; the men and one woman who were major influences in my early journalism career. The last two died within weeks of each other. They were Jack Perkins and Sander Vanocur, both veterans of NBC News where I started as a copyboy.
    My list of mentors is
  • “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
  • THERE ARE PEOPLE in every generation who believe the generation following theirs is either going to the dogs or will ruin the country.
    A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll lends credence to that way of thinking, especially where Generation Z (millennials), those born in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s, and
  • PRESIDENT DONALD 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
  • 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 Donald Trump has, again, been
  • THE PHRASE “AMERICA, Love It or Leave It” has a pedigree dating back at least to the Eugene McCarthy era. In the ’70s, the phrase was employed against those protesting America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The left has its own version, vowing to leave the country if a Republican is elected president. They
  • THE LIKELIHOOD I would ever be welcomed 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
  • “THE PENTAGON HAS released new color photos as proof that Iran was behind last week’s attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman,” reported ABC News. Hours before that attack, Iranians launched a surface-to-air missile at a U.S. drone monitoring the tankers. The missile missed. In response, 1,000 American troops are
  • 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 an ass, an idiot.’ ”
    But it isn’t so much that the law is fractured. Rather, it is
  • AMONG THE MANY things that frustrate Americans about Washington, D.C., is the unwillingness — not inability, but unwillingness — to solve problems.
    One of many examples is the
  • CONGRESS CREATED THE Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in 2007, in an attempt to attract people into professions like teaching, nursing and public-interest law. College graduates would be forgiven their student loans if they pursued a career in such professions. The Wall Street Journal reported the program is now in disarray. Although 73,000 people have applied for debt forgiveness as of March 31, just
  • OBJECTIVITY, LIKE ELVIS PRESLEY, long ago left the building in Washington and so the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is being read and interpreted through mostly-biased eyes.
    Democrats, who had counted on Mueller to prove that the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia, were
  • FOR THE LAST 27 years, Democrats have been trying to win over evangelical Christians who last voted in large numbers for their party’s presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter, in 1976.
    At the 1992 Democratic National Convention, Al Gore gave it a go, but
  • WHAT SEAN DAVIS, cofounder of the web magazine The Federalist, wrote in the Wall Street Journal sums up the disgust many Americans are feeling about the way big media handled the Russia collusion story. “It wasn’t merely an error here or there. America’s blue-chip journalists botched the entire story, from its birth during the presidential campaign to its
  • ONE OF THE rotten fruits produced by what passes for today’s American education system is the ignorance some young people have about socialism.
    According to a new Harris Poll given exclusively to Axios, the news and information website, Generation Z, comprised of those born in 1995 or later “has a more positive view of the word ‘socialism’ than previous generations and, along with
  • HERE’S A SENTENCE I never thought I would write. Dianne Feinstein was right.
    A small group of middle- and high-school children from the San Francisco Bay area visited the Democratic senator from California last week to demand she support the 
  • MY FIRST REACTION upon hearing that hundreds of leaders in the Southern Baptist church had sexually abused as many as 700 people in 400 churches including victims as young as 3 was “How could they?” It was the same reaction I had when news of predatory priests in the Roman Catholic Church and the
  • ONE OF THE few advantages of changing addresses is that you sometimes discover long-forgotten items.
    In a recent move, I found an old recording that contained an interview of Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-Montana) by Paul Duke for
  • WHEN YOU RECEIVE your paycheck and look at the withholding for federal, state and, sometimes, city taxes, along with Social Security and Medicare, you probably don’t think you’re underpaying the governments and want them to take more.
    New York City, N.Y., Mayor Bill de Blasio believes that if you have played by what used to be called “the rules” and are
  • “WHY CAN’T THE English teach their children how to speak?” asked professor Henry Higgins in the musical “My Fair Lady.” It’s a good question for Americans, especially millennials.
    On a recent flight, two young women sat behind me, chattering away rather loudly. In one minute I counted 16
  • REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES dating back, at least, to Richard Nixon have used the slogan “tough on crime” and its corollary “lock ’em up and throw away the key” as electoral red meat. The problem is what to do when inmates are released with few skills, fewer job prospects and a bleak future that leads some to
  • I FIRST MET the man who would become America’s 41st president in 1968. He was a Houston, Texas, congressman and I was a young reporter for a local TV and radio station. My first impression was how kind he was to this
  • Google search “great American political cartoonists” and you will undoubtedly find the late Herbert Block, aka “Herblock,” of The Washington Post; Paul Conrad of the Los Angeles Times; Michael Ramirez of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and several other cartoonists whose work, if not their names, are familiar to
  • WE ARE ABOUT to find out whether Democrats meant it when they lamented the loss of civility in Washington. Having won the majority in the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election, will they cooperate with Republicans and reach across the aisle or will they pander to their base which wants President Donald Trump’s blood? Guess which scenario I’m
  • IS IT MORE than coincidence that thousands of migrants from Central America are seeking to enter the United States illegally just two weeks before the midterm election? Who are these people? Who’s paying for their transportation, food and expenses? Why doesn’t the media find out? Is this migrant caravan a ploy by
  • ARGUABLY, A CONTRIBUTING factor to the continuation of abortion is that it is performed out of sight and thus, out of many minds.
    A film about one of the worst practitioners of abortion, Kermit Gosnell, opened Oct. 12, in at least 600 theaters. Gosnell is the Philadelphia abortionist sentenced in 2013, to life in prison without parole for the murder of
  • RINGLING BROS. AND Barnum and Bailey Circus announced last year it was closing after a 146-year run, largely because of high operating costs, costly legal battles with animal rights groups and declining ticket sales, especially after elephants were retired from the show.
    Brett Kavanaugh’s embattled nomination for the Supreme Court has become a
  • THEY DON’T TEACH history, at least American history, like they did when I attended public school. That’s why the recent hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to become an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court served as a teachable moment.
    Repeatedly, Kavanaugh referenced the
  • FINDING SOMEONE IN Washington who is nonpartisan and puts the nation’s interests ahead of their own is so rare these days that he or she, if found, might qualify as an endangered species.
    But once in a while, call it the law of averages, someone
  • PRISON REFORM HAS normally been an issue embraced by Democrats, not Republicans. But perhaps, like so many other things in the Donald Trump administration, this, too, is
  • LIKE A BASEBALL team that is way behind going into the fifth inning, Democrats and socialists are hoping for the political equivalent of a rainout so that the game President Donald Trump is winning will be canceled, allowing them time to regroup.
    The president’s opponents are going to need more than that figurative cancellation, however; they’re going to need a real plan of action. Democrats, whose policies of tax, spend and regulate are being reversed, seem to have nothing to offer except failed policies that have slowed growth and discouraged business expansion. Their “policy” is a vain hope that scandal and Russian collusion will lead to Trump’s downfall. So far, that strategy isn’t working. His base 
  • DID PRESIDENT DONALD Trump bungle the moment in Helsinki, Finland, by casting doubt on American intelligence findings that Russian agents “meddled” in the 2016 election? His critics, including some Republicans, say so. And last week, Trump said he had misspoken when he expressed doubt about Russian culpability, but several things need to be kept in mind.
    The first, is that Russia and the United States have been meddling with or spying on each other for decades. That is hardly a secret. Second, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, no votes were altered and the election outcome was not affected by the alleged meddling. Third, the fealty most Democrats and some Republicans are showing for the credibility of U.S. intelligence today was lacking after it was discovered that
  • THE RETIREMENT OF Justice Anthony Kennedy from the U.S. Supreme Court is about to bring a 60-year battle to a head.
    For decades, the country has witnessed a fight between those who believe the Constitution speaks for itself and others who believe it says whatever the judges think it says or even should say.
    Already, the left is apoplectic. Fundraising letters are going out. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) sent one within minutes of Kennedy’s retirement announcement and Chris Matthews went ballistic on MSNBC, all but forecasting the end of the world as we know it.
    A few examples will
  • NEED PROOF THAT the current controversy over children of undocumented immigrants is more political than humanitarian? Hillary Clinton said she was adamantly against illegal immigrants and supported a border wall, until she ran for president in 2016.
    In his 1995 State of the Union address President Bill Clinton said “All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected, but in every place in this country are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers.” Bill Clinton went on to tout the importance of border security.
    Now, Democrats, whose policies have contributed to the separation of parents from children — I refer to
  • NOTHING APPEARS BEYOND the reach of the social engineers, not even cake.
    In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court said the Colorado Human Rights Commission had failed to take into account the religious beliefs of a Lakewood, Colo., baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has sometimes sided with the liberal wing of the court, was highly critical of the commission, which he said had written its antidiscrimination regulations in ways that were hostile to the faith of the baker, Jack Phillips.
    Kennedy’s majority opinion specifically noted that
  • “I AM SHOCKED, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here.” 

    —Capt. Louis Renault, “Casablanca”

    Human nature being what it is, it should come as no shock that the next level of approved gambling in America is sports betting. States already have casinos, the lottery and other ways of separating money from the weak for their ravenous and bottomless coffers, so why not allow betting on
  • FOLLOWING THE 2016 ELECTION, President Barack Obama rightly warned the Donald Trump transition team “we only have one president at a time.” It was a reminder that there can be one person articulating American foreign policy so world leaders will have no doubt as to the intentions of the United States.
    Obama’s former Secretary of State John Kerry ignored that warning and has been behaving as if he’s still in office.
    Kerry, wrote the Boston Globe, engaged in some unusual shadow diplomacy with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the United Nations in New York, reportedly to try and salvage the
  • THERE HE GOES. Despite the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years, including declining rates for minorities, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), affectionately called “crazy Bernie” by some conservative talk show hosts, is flirting with the idea that the federal government should guarantee every American a job, paying a minimum of $15 an hour and health care benefits.
    The Washington Post reports the plan would “fund hundreds of projects throughout the United States aimed at addressing priorities such as infrastructure, health care, the environment, education and other goals. Every American would be entitled to a job under one of these projects or receive job training to be able to do so, according to
  • Tuesday, April 17, 2018 11:14 AM
    THE ISOLATIONIST SPIRIT, a reluctance to become involved in foreign entanglements, goes back in U.S. history to Thomas Paine and his 1776 pamphlet “Common Sense,” and to George Washington’s 1796 “Farewell Address.”
    In modern times, the isolationist spirit had a strong pull against U.S. involvement in World War I and World War II, but was eventually overcome, however reluctantly, by catastrophic events.
    Whether he realizes it or not, President Donald Trump tapped into that spirit when he instructed military commanders to wrap up America’s role in Syria and to bring the troops home within months. One can almost hear the echo of
  • Tuesday, April 3, 2018 10:25 AM
    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP wants us to believe that the ridiculous 2,232-page spending bill passed by Congress, but unread by most members, is a matter of national security, because it has money to rebuild the military. He said he had to sign the bill for that reason, but promised never to sign one like it again. We’ll see.
    Democrats are rejoicing because they got everything they wanted, including a pittance for the border wall, which specifies nothing like the prototypes the president recently inspected in San Diego, Calif.
    Question: If a $21 trillion debt (and counting) and $1.3 trillion budget that requires even more borrowing isn’t enough, what is? Voters
  • Tuesday, March 20, 2018 11:07 AM
    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S critics, who include many establishment Republicans, are finding themselves left with few issues given the president’s recent string of successes.
    How difficult it must have been for The New York Times, perhaps the most vehement media critic of the president (The Washington Post is a close runner up) to have this headline on its Saturday front page “Economy, in sweet spot, adds 313,000 jobs. It may get sweeter.”
    At the other end of the political spectrum, talk show host Rush Limbaugh described the good economic news as the epic Trump economic turnaround adding “Make no mistake. This is not some cyclical recovery. This is not a cyclical rebound. This is a
  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018 11:56 AM
    OF ALL THE promises candidate Donald Trump made during the 2016 presidential campaign, none will be more difficult to fulfill than cutting the size and cost of the federal government. That’s because Congress, which must decide whether to keep a federal agency, has the final word in such matters and spending, especially spending in one’s home state or district, is what keeps so many of them in office. Who doubts that self-preservation is the primary objective of most members of Congress?
    Ronald Reagan made similar promises about reducing the size of the bloated federal government, but was unable to fulfill them because of congressional intransigence. Perhaps his most notable failure was
  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 11:36 AM
    THERE IS A war that has lasted longer than the one in Afghanistan. It is the so-called “war on poverty,” launched by President Lyndon Johnson during his State of the Union address Jan. 8, 1964.
    While the poverty rate dropped from 17.3% to 11.1% in the ensuing decade, it has remained between 11% and 15.2% ever since, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Interestingly, as Census figures show, the poverty rate had already begun to decline starting in 1959, five years before the Johnson initiative was announced.
    Many conservatives have argued that
  • Tuesday, February 6, 2018 11:11 AM
    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S first State of the Union address set a new standard, for himself. If he lives up to that standard in future speeches, he may go far in changing his image from a blustering, ad-libbing “entertainer,” to someone who looks and sounds, shall I say it, more presidential.
    The speech was well-crafted, delivered in a mostly low-key manner and timed perfectly to link themes with flesh-and-blood guests in the balcony. It didn’t hurt that first lady Melania Trump looked stunning in an all-white suit and caused jaws to drop as she descended the balcony stairs to her seat.
    The president appealed to Democrats to find common ground on important issues, but the TV cameras showed members on the Democratic side of the aisle with facial expressions that looked like they were in after-school detention. Never has there been
  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018 11:01 AM
    “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, Ill., 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.
    As has occurred many times before, congressional Democrats are threatening a government shutdown Friday if President Donald Trump and Republicans don’t cave on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an American immigration policy that allows eligible immigrant youths, who entered the country as minors, protection from
  • Tuesday, January 9, 2018 11:29 AM
    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.
    In an end-of-year column titled “Why I’m Still a Never Trumper,” Stephens listed the accomplishments of the Donald Trump administration: Tax cuts, deregulation, more military spending, cuts for the United Nations, defeat of the Islamic State in Syria, more troops to Afghanistan, arms for Ukraine, getting tough with
  • Tuesday, December 26, 2017 12:15 PM
    SO, A REPUBLICAN-majority Congress has “reformed” the tax code for the first time in 31 years, allowing us to keep a little more of the money we earn. Woohoo!
    Back in the day, when my withholding exceeded my tax liability, I occasionally received a nice little refund check from the U.S. Treasury. The check had the Statue of Liberty on it, which was ironic given that high taxes are the antithesis of liberty.
    During the debate over the tax bill, which was passed last Tuesday and quickly signed by President Donald Trump, we heard a familiar question “How will these tax cuts be paid for?” This from a Congress that has
  • Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:06 AM
    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 Donald 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. Bulletin: Relatively few low-income people pay federal income taxes. They join the 46% of Americans who pay no taxes to Washington.
    Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization focused on
  • Tuesday, November 28, 2017 10:06 AM
    THE MUSEUM OF the Bible opened in Washington, D.C., last weekend and not a moment too soon for a city and nation plagued by scandal.
    In addition to ongoing investigations by a special counsel and various congressional committees, sexual harassment seems to have infected the nation’s capital and the country like a scourge.
    One doesn’t have to be Jewish or Christian, the history of these faiths being the focus of the museum, nor does one have to be religious to understand there are consequences to the behaviors now on public display.
    Here’s a verse that might have benefited
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017 10:48 AM
    IF YOU’RE TIRED of the dysfunction in Washington: the backbiting, questioning of motives, failure to agree on much of anything, one-upmanship, allegations about a “stolen” presidential election, Russian “collusion,” posturing and boorish behavior, how about focusing on something that is working and benefits a growing number of people?
    Consider a company called Teladoc, which provides access to a doctor through a computer screen, telephone or mobile app. The waiting time, a company official tells me, is between eight and 10 minutes. That beats any doctor’s office I have ever been in, even with an appointment. The company claims a
  • Tuesday, October 31, 2017 11:04 AM
    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.
    Given the government’s inventive ways of taking our money and spending it irresponsibly, Congress and enough states took care of the unconstitutional part in 1913, with the passage of the 16th Amendment.
    The federal government has
  • Tuesday, October 17, 2017 10:40 AM
    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.
    The Washington Free Beacon reports that Annette Clark, the dean of Seattle University’s Law School, has revoked the school’s sponsorship of a Federalist Society event. The reason? The proposed debate on immigration, hosted by the school’s Access to Justice Institute, might be “harmful” to minority students and undocumented immigrants, aka people
  • Tuesday, October 3, 2017 11:16 AM
    IF YOU LIKE professional sports, a major reason — perhaps the reason — you attend games or watch them on TV is that it helps you escape from whatever occupies your mind the rest of the week. You certainly don’t want the issues of the day encroaching on your enjoyment.
    The recent exchange of insults between President Donald Trump and some in the NFL was the latest indication that there is no safe place remaining where one can hide from politics. The game in London, England, between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars was doubly offensive because of the many players who knelt down in protest when “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played, but stood for the British national anthem “God Save the Queen.” Were they unaware of
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 12:34 PM
    WHAT JUST HAPPENED? President Donald 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.
    Trump might
  • Tuesday, September 5, 2017 11:23 AM
    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, has drawn predictable responses. The left, which long ago exceeded its sell-by date when it comes to ideas that work, denounced the decision as racist, that’s all they have, and a perversion of justice. Some moderates, like Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake, both Arizona Republicans, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, joined the critics.
    Arpaio, who is
  • Tuesday, August 22, 2017 10:47 AM
    IN THE SOUTH, during the Jim Crow era, the “one-drop rule,” codified into law, asserted that if a person had just one drop of African-American blood, they were considered black. I wonder what we’d learn if we gave former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) leader David Duke and the white nationalists who caused havoc in Charlottesville, Va., last Saturday, a DNA test to determine their racial makeup?
    Henry Louis Gates Jr., a Harvard professor, discovered in
  • Tuesday, August 8, 2017 11:47 AM
    THE ESTABLISHMENT, a construct of Democrats and Republicans that rules in Washington no matter which party controls government, appears to be over its fainting spell following Donald Trump’s election. It is now throwing everything at him from a daily — make that hourly, even minute by minute — onslaught of investigations to big media’s equivalent of Molotov cocktails.
    Washington, D.C., recently made
  • Tuesday, July 25, 2017 10:48 AM
    “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” —French proverb

    While scanning YouTube videos, I came across an appearance by Ronald Reagan on “The Tonight Show,” hosted by Johnny Carson. The year was 1975 and Reagan was “between jobs,” having left office as governor of California, where he served for eight years, but not yet president. He would challenge Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination in 1976, barely losing at the nominating convention, but 
  • Tuesday, July 11, 2017 10:21 AM
    PLYMOUTH NOTCH, VT. — When was the last time you heard a member of one political party praise a member of the other party?
    Here, in this hamlet nestled among the Green Mountains, former Baltimore, Md., democratic Mayor Kurt Schmoke rose to speak well of our 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, a Republican. The occasion was the annual celebration of Coolidge’s birthday July 4, the only president born on the day we celebrate America’s birth.
    Perhaps it takes the death of
  • Tuesday, June 27, 2017 10:58 AM

    “PUERTO RICO, MY heart’s devotion. Let it sink back in the ocean.” —West Side Story

    The commonwealth of Puerto Rico is drowning. The island, so popular with tourists, is $123 billion in debt. That’s more debt than the $18 billion bankruptcy filed by the city of Detroit, Mich., in 2013. In May, San Juan declared

  • Tuesday, June 13, 2017 11:09 AM
    FOR SHEER HILARITY and hyperbole, it’s hard to beat a recent headline on a Washington Post editorial opposing President Donald Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the nonbinding and unenforceable Paris climate agreement.
    “Trump turns his back on the world,” it “screamed.”
    A close second goes to the headline on a New York Times piece by columnist David Brooks: “Donald Trump poisons the world.”
    Dishonorable mention goes to
  • Tuesday, May 30, 2017 11:33 AM
    TRUSTING SAUDI ARABIA to combat terrorists and extremists, and drive them out, as President Donald Trump called on the kingdom and other Arab and Muslim nations to do in his Riyadh speech, is akin to forging an alliance with the Ku Klux Klan to combat racism and anti-Semitism. Saudi Arabia has for years promoted the very evil they now commit to fighting through a newly established Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. Never forget that 15 of the
  • Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:37 AM
    AWARDS ONCE MEANT something. There was a time not that long ago when they were given in recognition of important accomplishments. Today, we tend to value celebrity over steady achievement. Fame is paramount. It matters little how one attains it. The Kardashians are just one of many examples.
    We now give participation awards to 
  • Tuesday, May 2, 2017 10:53 AM
    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP did something Monday I have long advocated. He met with a small group of conservative journalists, pundits and radio talk show hosts. I was among them.
    After ticking off a list of what he said were his accomplishments leading up to the arbitrary 100-day marker of his presidency, we asked him 
  • Tuesday, April 18, 2017 10:44 AM
    NEARLY THREE DOZEN men sit on death row in Arkansas, where capital punishment has been suspended since 2005. Unless clemency is granted, seven of them, an eighth man was granted a temporary reprieve, will be given lethal injections all within a 10-day period, between April 17 and 27.
    Why so many? Why the rush?
    The New York Times reports that
  • Tuesday, April 4, 2017 10:11 AM
    IN THE AFTERMATH of the debacle over the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Donald Trump can learn a valuable lesson that will serve him well in the next battle over tax reform and other issues.
    The president was 
  • Tuesday, March 21, 2017 11:20 AM
    “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” —Ronald Reagan

    PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP presented his first budget to 
  • Tuesday, March 7, 2017 10:52 AM
    BEFORE BECOMING A newspaper columnist, I was a broadcast-news reporter for local TV stations and occasionally appeared on NBC radio and the television networks. I have some experience at being on the receiving end of hostilities directed at the media.
    At a pro-Nixon, pro-Vietnam war rally I
  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:59 AM
    AMERICAN PUBLIC SCHOOL students fall well behind students around the world in math and science proficiency. This is not debatable. According to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, both cited in The New York Times in 2012, “Fourth- and eighth-grade students in the United States continue to lag behind students in
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2017 12:00 PM
    JUST DAYS INTO the Donald Trump administration, the left’s narrative is clear. First, it was that Trump is an illegitimate president because he didn’t win the popular vote, claims about voter fraud notwithstanding.
    Then, the left tried name-calling: unfit, immoral, crude, high-handed, fascist. His supporters stuck with him when similar tactics were tried during the campaign.
    Now, the narrative has gone racist, that all-purpose
  • Wednesday, January 25, 2017 10:38 AM
    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.

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