The Rushmore Report – How Trump Can Get His Wall in Three Steps

Last week, President Trump met with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office, in front of the media. They spatted over his proposed border wall. The conclusion of the meeting was clear. Both sides remained dug in. Democrats won’t agree to the $5 billion request from the president, and Trump is willing to shut down the government until they do. Here’s what’s missing for Mr. Trump – a clear strategy to get his signature campaign promise over the finish line. He doesn’t have a bad plan. It’s worse than that. He has no plan at all. But it’s not hard. The president should adopt this simple three-step plan if he really wants to secure the border.

Step 1 – Address the nation.

President Trump should request 30 minutes of prime time from the major television networks, in order to address the nation. Twitter is a poor substitute for a national, prime time address on television. The networks never turn down such a request from a president. This would allow him to take his message directly to the people, putting the maximum possible pressure on elected officials.

Step 2 – Play the Democrats’ greatest hits.

During this national address, Trump should play clips of leading democrats – including Schumer and Pelosi – voicing their support for a border wall when a Democrat was in the White House. There are plenty of videos to choose from, as Democrats’ support for a wall (pre-Trump) is well-documented. The president should not just say Pelosi and Schumer supported a wall, he should show us. Use their own words against them.

Step 3 – Address the spending issue directly.

When it comes to border security, Democrats enter the proverbial phone booth as big spenders, then exit as fiscal conservatives. They say we can’t afford the $5 billion that Trump is requesting. Never mind, these same Democrats voted to spend $10 billion when one of their own held the White House. When President Trump addresses the nation, he should point out that this $5 billion represents one percent of one percent of the federal budget. Compared to the $7 billion spent on Head Start each year, the border wall would be a bargain. According to the Cato Institute, since the Johnson Administration, the federal government has spent $15 trillion on welfare, while the poverty rate has actually inched up.

Securing our borders is a hill to die on. President Trump is to be commended for doing what so few politicians do. He is actually keeping the promises upon which he campaigned. And he is trying to do what no president has ever succeeded at doing. Of course, the Democrats – being the party of ‘No’ – will only obstruct, because that’s what they do. But that doesn’t mean the president can’t get his wall. He can. But first, he needs a plan. All humility aside, he needs my plan.

The Rushmore Report – GOP Senator Loses It

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is a team player. Now the longest serving senator in Congress is retiring. You may have heard of the fellow who is replacing him – Mitt Romney. But before he exits the stage, Hatch fulfilled a long Senate tradition by giving a going away speech before his 99 colleagues. And the dapper, always under control Mormon did not hold back. In fact, he lost it on the Senate floor.

Hatch has rarely caused any kind of heartburn or division among the Republican caucus. He has never been the kind of senator to stray from the fold, like Jeff Flake of Arizona.

But Orrin Hatch has had enough, and he is sticking up for the President, whose policies he faithfully supports.

Hatch has had enough of the Democratic Party’s anti-Trump antics. He blasted Democrats for displaying a level of hatred never even demonstrated toward President George W. Bush. He called this a “new kind of crazy.” He said, “The Left will do anything and everything to hurt this president.”

Here’s more of his speech . . .

“I don’t care, all I can say is he’s doing a good job as president. The Democrats will do anything to hurt this president. What happened before he was elected president is one thing, but since he’s been elected the economy has done well, our country is moving ahead. We’re in better shape than we were before he became president. And I think we ought to judge him on that basis.”

What Sen. Hatch did was simply vocalize what most Republicans feel about all of the investigations into the Trump Administration, including the DOJ’s Russia investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. While general practice is to identify a crime in search of a person, they seem to have found their person – President Trump – and are now in search of a crime, Hatch said.

After a long and distinguished career, Orrin Hatch is going away. But make no mistake; he isn’t going away quietly.

The Rushmore Report – Obamacare Ruled Unconstitutional: What It Means

A federal judge in Texas ruled on Friday the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional due to a recent change in federal tax law. The ruling came a day before the December 15 deadline to sign up for 2019 health coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace. People can still sign up for coverage through Saturday.

“Court’s decision does not affect this season’s open enrollment,” reads a notice on HealthCare.gov, where people can sign up for coverage.

The Trump White House has said that the law will remain in place for now. The ruling is certain to be appealed.

“We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders said President Trump is calling on Congress to pass a measure that would replace the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare. Mr. Trump, who campaigned on repealing the ACA, said in a tweet that Congress must act.

“Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions. Mitch and Nancy, get it done!” he tweeted.

Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra expressed confidence that the ruling could be overturned, saying the “ACA has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court.”

“Today’s misguided ruling will not deter us: our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans,” said Becerra, who is leading a coalition of states defending the ACA.

Democrats will also have the majority in the House next year. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the presumptive speaker of the House of the incoming Congress, said that the House “will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republicans’ effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act.” This resolution would allow the House general counsel to defend the health care law on the chamber’s behalf.

Democrats were able to retake the House in large part because they campaigned on health care issues, warning that Republicans would try to strip away some of the more popular provisions of the ACA, such as protection for pre-existing conditions. Around 130 million people in the United States have pre-existing conditions, and without the ACA, insurers would no longer be required to cover those conditions.

If the law is invalidated, it could scrap other well-liked sections of the law, such as the part that allows parents to keep young adult children on their health care coverage until age 26.

Some Democrats in the House and Senate support some version of Medicare-for-All. Progressives in Congress may take the opportunity to try to pass a more comprehensive health care bill, although with Republicans still controlling the Senate, such a measure could die in the House.

At issue in the case was the individual mandate, which requires people to have health insurance. The penalty for not having insurance was dropped to $0 in the most recent tax legislation, potentially undercutting the Supreme Court’s decision in 2012 that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional because of Congress’ ability to tax.

With no penalty, there’s no tax, the plaintiffs, a coalition of Republican-led states, argued in the Texas case. The plaintiffs also argued that the individual mandate is so essential to the entire law, so that if it’s unconstitutional, the rest of the law must also be thrown out. U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor agreed on that point, too.

Jesse Weber, an attorney and anchor on the Law & Crime Network, told “CBS This Morning Saturday” that the ruling was not unexpected.

“The Affordable Care Act was all built on that penalty,” Weber said. The case will now likely go to the Supreme Court, where the five justices who previously voted to uphold the ACA are still sitting. However, Weber noted that the court now has a conservative majority, with the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh under Mr. Trump.

“Everyone in 2019 is probably OK, because the appeals process takes some time,” Weber said.

About the Author

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

The Rushmore Report – The Commercialization of Christmas

Every year around October, I begin preparing myself for the onslaught. The increase in number of emails I receive from businesses, the increase in mail, the increase in money slipping away from my bank account. I’m guessing that I throw away twice as much mail and send two to three times as many emails to the trash before opening in the October to December rush than the rest of the year.

And I don’t really blame the people and businesses sending all of this stuff to me. As the Director of Communications for international non-profit LiveBeyond, I fully realize that this is the time of year when nonprofits like ours meet budgets, businesses meet quotas, and people reach out to each other in ways like never before. It’s a time of sharing and community and…meeting the bottom line.

On days like today, I like to think back to when I was living in Haiti, working in Thomazeau for LiveBeyond. Sure, I still got emails, but my everyday life wasn’t so crowded with advertisements and marketing ploys. Christmas time was just…well Christmas time – a time of year when people made a point to get together. I got to help distribute stockings with toys to local children, hand out gifts to the LiveBeyond Haitian staff, and laugh gleefully at the Haitian v. American Christmas song competitions (The Haitians always won, by the way).

Christmas isn’t so over commercialized in Haiti. In a country where most of the people live on less than a couple bucks a day, who can afford to buy mountains of presents for each other? No new email or billboard was going to encourage one of my friends to make an impulse buy of this year’s big present. So, few companies even bother advertising there.

The holiday in Haiti always gets me thinking about the true reason for our celebration. Mary gave birth in conditions similar to how the women give birth in Haiti. Jesus spent his life in a level of poverty that wasn’t far from what I see in the villages in Haiti. But the Lord chose to use circumstances like these to bring us the absolute Joy of the world! And the advertisements for Jesus’ birth were positively heavenly.

This Christmas season, I encourage you to remember why we are celebrating. Jesus came to this earth to save us all and to show us the true joy we can experience when we are in a loving relationship with the Lord. He spread that to us. Now it’s our job to spread it to the rest of the world. If that means purchasing special gifts or making donations to your favorite nonprofits in honor of our loved ones or buying items on a list for a child in need, then we should absolutely do it. Because that means that one more person is being reached by the Light of the world.

May the Lord bless you this holiday season.

About the Author

Devin Vanderpool is the Director of Communications for LiveBeyond, a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to providing clean water, medical care, adequate nutrition and the hope of Christ to the poorest of the poor in Thomazeau, Haiti.

The Rushmore Report – First Iowa Poll Just Out!

The first poll for the 2020 Iowa caucuses has just come out. The first survey of the first state, conducted by the Des Moines Register, CNN, and Mediacom revealed which Democratic hopefuls are in the best position to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election. One of the themes of the poll is that voters favor experienced politicians over upstart candidates.

Only three potential candidates sit above ten percent in this initial poll, and only one more candidate garners at least five percent. The top four prospects at this point – and this is guaranteed to change a zillion times – are as follows.

1. Joe Biden – 32%
2. Bernie Sanders – 19%
3. Beto O’Rourke – 11%
4. Elizabeth Warren – 5%

The next candidates, all polling less than five percent, are, in order . . .

5. Kamala Harris
6. Cory Booker
7. Amy Klobuchar

The firm that conducted the poll was Selzer & Co., led by J. Ann Selzer, who said, “This is obviously a warm welcome to some people who are really familiar to caucusgoers in the state. But there’s also some welcoming of newcomers who are only now starting to come to the state and get to know the people who could shape their future.”

The Iowa caucuses matter because they are the first polls of the primary season. But while they’re important, there is no guarantee that the winners will win their party’s support. In 2016, for example, Ted Cruz won the Republican caucus, but Donald Trump would win the party’s nomination. The one thing the Iowa caucuses do is to narrow the field.

Conventional wisdom – confirmed by historical results – is that the Iowa caucuses stamp the ticket for the three candidates with the most votes. So the candidates who finish out of the top three will be very unlikely to compete for the nomination. And considering the Democratic field in 2020 will be more crowded than a mall on Black Friday, jockeying for the top three positions will be critical.

So as of today, your three candidates coming out of Iowa will be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Beto O’Rourke. But check back with us, because there is at least a 100 percent chance this will change.

A Tribute to My Dad

I still remember “the call.” It came 39 years ago today, at 1:00 p.m. I was home alone, in my college apartment, watching a baseball game on TV. When I answered the phone, Mark Murrow greeted me with a dim voice. I’d never had a call from Mark before. He lived next door to my parents, about an hour’s drive away. “Why would he be calling me?” I wondered. Soon, it became clear.

“Your dad has had a heart attack. You need to get to the hospital as soon as you can. He is at Northwest Medical Center.” He told me where the hospital was, and I hung up.

Jumping in my 1975 Ford Maverick, I head for the nearby Tenneco gas station. After buying just enough gas for the trip across Houston, I was off, driving like a crazy man. Then it happened. At 1:20, a peace came over me as I sensed a clear voice from God. “You can slow down now. He’s gone.”

He’s gone. Those two words would change everything for me.

When I arrived at the hospital, I went to my mother. We hugged, cried, and prayed. Then I called my brother. When he arrived an hour later, I told him the grim news. The rest of the day remains a blur.

But let me return to those two words: He’s gone.

The Bible says, “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12). I confess I have honored my dad more in the past 37 years than I did in my first 19. There were too many times I did not obey his words or honor his position. I suppose that’s called “being a teenager.”

I had a special relationship with my dad. There are so many great memories: playing catch, fishing all night, birthday parties, vacations, cub scout outings, ball games, and my favorite – the night he slipped into the church sanctuary to hear me preach my first sermon.

So today, on the 37th anniversary of his death, I honor the memory and legacy of Lester I. Denison. A farm boy and product of the Depression, he served his country heroically in WWII. He started his own business, raised two good kids, and was faithful and wonderful to his wife.

It has been said, “The greatest need in every male’s heart is to have the approval of his father.” I suppose I’m still seeking my dad’s approval. I want him to be proud of me . . . as I am of him.

Lester I. Denison was many things: military veteran, business owner, Sunday school teacher, and entrepreneur. But to me he was just “Dad.” That makes this my saddest day of the year. On December 15, for the 37th time, those two words still ring in my ears as if spoken just seconds ago . . .

He’s gone.

Hair

Here are some things you may not know about hair. If you are blonde (coloring doesn’t count), you were given about 150,000 hairs to work with. Brunettes must get by with 100,000 and redheads with just 60,000. So, if you’re a frustrated redhead, it’s okay to express your frustration in many ways, but don’t pull your hair out; you can’t afford to.

The average eyebrow has 550 hairs. (As an aside to all men, feel free to trim your eyebrows before you look like a poodle.)

Ten percent of men shave only with an electric razor, while 30 percent of women do. The average beard has 15,500 hairs. Half of Caucasian men go bald, compared to 18 percent of African Americans and almost no American Indians.

Fifty percent have gray hair by age 50 (more if you have more than two kids). Cutting your hair does not make it grow. The life span of one hair is five years.

And here’s one more truth. God has your hairs numbered. While that isn’t hard for the follicly challenged, it says something about how intimately you are known by your God. So get to know him. Life is short.

You’re hair today, gone tomorrow.

Huddles

I was insecure as a child. I think it goes back to my infant years. When Mom used to rock me, she used those big rocks. My insecurities carried over to my teen years. When I watched football games on television and the teams went into their huddles, I thought they were talking about me.

Actually, there was a day when they didn’t huddle up at all. The quarterback would tell each player what to do. Then it all changed at the powerhouse of college football: Gallaudet University. Located in Washington, D.C., Gallaudet is a school for the deaf. The quarterback calls the plays by sign language.

In the old days, one of their quarterbacks noticed that the defense was watching him call the plays. So he asked the players to “huddle up,” so he could call the plays without being seen by the opposition.

The custom continues today, on the football field and in the church. Yes, in the church! In most churches, we are more concerned with “holy huddles” (meetings, gatherings in our buildings) than we are with putting points on the board (ministry, service).

Church, it’s time to break the huddle and run some plays!

Birthdays

Today – December 12 – is a big day for birthdays! This is especially true for the entertainment industry, and for those who are, let’s say, among the older among us.

Born on December 12, 1893 – Edward G. Robinson

Born on December 12, 1900 – Sammy Davis

Born on December 12, 1915 – Frank Sinatra

That’s not a bad roster of births. But there’s another big day coming, just over a week away. We call it Christmas. On that day, December 25, we celebrate the birth of our Lord. And Jesus has something very different from the men mentioned above. Let me explain.

Died in 1973 – Edward G. Robinson

Died in 1988 – Sammy Davis

Died in 1998 – Frank Sinatra

See the difference? While Robinson, Davis, and Sinatra are no longer with us, Christ is. The one who was raised on the third day is with us today. So as you play your old Frank Sinatra Christmas album, rejoice that, while ol’ blue eyes is no longer with us, the One he is singing about is.

First Football Game

A man took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game. After the game, he asked her how she liked it.

“I loved the game,” she said. “But I can’t understand why everyone was killing each other over 25 cents.”

“Over 25 cents?” asked her boyfriend. “What do you mean – 25 cents?”

She explained, “All the fans kept screaming, every time they hiked the ball, ‘Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back!'”

That is what is known as a simple misunderstanding. Unfortunately, life is also full of huge misunderstandings. Such as good works get us into heaven. Or God only loves us when we “live right.” Or there are many roads to heaven.

Clear communication doesn’t matter so much when you are watching a football game. But when playing the game of life, it means everything.