American Revolution Begins

At about 5:00 a.m., April 19, 1775, seven hundred British troops, on a mission to capture Patriot leaders and seize a Patriot arsenal, marched in Lexington to find 77 armed minutemen under Captain John Parker waiting for them on the town’s common green. British Major John Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation, the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the area. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead or dying and ten others were wounded. Only one British soldier was injured, but the American Revolution had begun.

Eight years and 25,000 deaths later, the United States of America had won her independence and was a free nation. That is how revolutions happen. They start small and end big. One shot was fired, and the world took notice, 241 years ago today.

When’s the last time you “fired a shot”? Take aim at God’s preferred future for you life. He is speaking, if you’re listening. Too often we shoot before aiming. Let God direct you, and take aim at the revolution He has in front of you. Then take your best shot.

The Rushmore Report – Is Facebook Really Biased?

After two days of Congressional hearings with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, American perceptions of the power of social media became clear. After 2012, Democrats and the media celebrated President Obama’s Facebook campaign strategy. But in 2016, with the Donald Trump election, Facebook became a malignant ghetto of “fake news” and inappropriate election manipulation.

Congress is right to ask how Facebook’s massive popularity could lead to clear violations of privacy and manipulation of our political process. But there is more to discuss. Questions of bias and censorship demand answers, despite the reticence to seek those answers from the political left.

The grilling by Republican senators was classic. Ben Sasse (Nebraska) asked Zuckerberg how he defines “hate speech” (which Facebook pretends to ban), noting that many young people find the First Amendment to allow for “hate speech.” Zuckerberg offered no legitimate response.

Ted Cruz (Texas) zeroed in on the hard evidence of Facebook demonstrating a “pervasive pattern of political bias,” citing Facebook’s actions to keep major conservative stories off its “trending” topics for readers. As evidence, Cruz pointed to Facebook’s shutting down of the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” page. Two dozen Catholic pages have been blocked, as well.

To his credit, Zuckerberg replied, “I understand where the concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place.” Just acknowledging that reality sends shock waves down the spines of Democratic legislators, who predictably avoided the subject of bias in their softball questions.

Cruz was relentless in his questions. He asked if Zuckerberg had ever heard of a Planned Parenthood page being taken down. No. How about a MoveOn.org page? Nope. Any Democratic candidates’ pages? No, again.

Bias complaints from the right usually fail to acknowledge the balance provided by such outlets as Fox News. But as a monopoly, left-leaning Facebook has no competition, which is why it is important that the social media giant play things down the middle in an apolitical way – or at least openly admit who they really are.

The Rushmore Report – Newt’s Explosive Response to Comey Book

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has reacted to the new James Comey book – and he’s not holding back. The former FBI Director has gone on a speaking tour to bash President Trump in his efforts to sell books. Gingrich has responded with pointed criticism in his call for more revelations to be forthcoming from the Justice Department and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Gingrich discredits many of Comey’s claims.

Gingrich told Fox News, “My first reaction to fired FBI Director James Comey’s new book, A Higher Loyalty, is to demand that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein release the still-secret Comey memorandums describing his conversations with Donald Trump as president-elect and president. After seeing hundreds of pages of Comey’s self-serving version of reality, the American people deserve to see what he actually wrote at the time of these conversations.”

The former Speaker suspects “the memos will undermine a lot of Comey’s case.”

Gingrich identifies two striking things about the book.

First, the now-fawning Democratic leaders were Comey’s worst critics just over a year ago. The Republican National Committee has compiled a video showing the comments of leading Democrats and their harsh criticisms of the former Director. From Nancy Pelosi to Chuck Schumer, virtually every leading Democrat called for Comey to be fired in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

Then, the Speaker says, “miraculously, after President Trump fired him and Comey began to attack  his former boss – Democrats suddenly considered Comey to be a saintly, loyal public servant.”

Second, the book is a perfect example of an angry, fired employee ranting against his former boss. Gingrich says, “Anyone who has had to fire someone who was convinced they were right and you were wrong can appreciate the intensity of Comey’s anger. That intensity and bitterness flow throughout the book.”

Gingrich concludes, “Comey is a man who lied to Congress about never having leaked documents and then admitted a few weeks later that he had given documents to a college professor friend, specifically so this professor could pass the information to the media – in this case, the New York Times. Comey told Congress he did this so the media could demand a new independent counsel, who Comey was sure would be Robert Mueller.”

The Speaker is on target in his analysis. We now know that Comey took a discredited dossier written by Christopher Steele to Donald Trump and was surprised that Trump was shaken by some of the viciously dishonest things written about him in it. Comey also had used this phony document to get a FISA warrant to eavesdrop on Americans involved in the Trump campaign.

Gingrich is right when he says, “Sadly, Comey has tarnished the FBI and set a terrible precedent for future directors. After this, if you were president, would you confide in an official who could end up writing a vicious version of your conversations a year later? Comey will go down in history as the most discredited Director of the FBI we have ever had. Remember that when you watch the endless interviews conducted by the fawning left-wing media outlets.”

The Rushmore Report – Should Christians Care about Earth Day?

This Sunday, April 22, is Earth Day. This is the day set apart for citizens of the world to honor their planet, while committing to new ways to preserve her resources. For the environmentalist, Earth Day is his national holiday. But what about the Christian? How important should the environment be to a follower of Christ?

Billy Graham was posed this very question a few years ago. Following, we offer his response – unedited.

“In reality, many churches and mission groups are speaking out about these issues. A number of denominations, for example, have passed resolutions urging their members to be more active in environmental issues.

“Why should we be concerned about the environment? It isn’t just because of the dangers we face from pollution, climate change, or other environmental problems – although these are serious. For Christians, the issue is much deeper. We know that God created the world, and it belongs to him, not us. Because of this, we are only stewards or trustees of God’s creation, and we aren’t to abuse or neglect it. The Bible says, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’ (Psalm 24:1).

“When we fail to see the world as God’s creation, we will end up abusing it. Selfishness and greed take over, and we end up not caring about the environment or the problems we’re creating for future generations. It’s not surprising that some of the world’s worst environmental damage was done by the old atheistic regimes of Eastern Europe.

“I hope you won’t lose your concern for these issues, for they are important. But don’t lose sight of something that is even more important: your relationship with God. Is Christ first in your life, and are you seeking to follow him every day?”

About the Author

Billy Graham wrote this letter in response to a reader, on Earth Day several years ago.

The Rushmore Report – The Top 50 Christian Universities in America

Picking a good university to attend involves many factors: your major, cost, location, and the culture of the university and its campus. I can make a great recommendation – Houston Baptist University. I’ve never known a finer institution. But setting all bias aside, here is a Top 50 list, via Anna Rebekah Orr.

1. College of the Ozarks (Point Lookout, Missouri)

2. Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois)

3. Whitworth University (Spokane, Washington)

4. Messiah College (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania)

5. Grove City College (Grove City, Pennsylvania)

6. Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan)

7. Taylor University (Upland, Indiana)

8. Union University (Jackson, Tennessee)

9. Cedarville University (near Cleveland, Ohio)

10. Asbury University (Wilmore, Kentucky)

11. Abilene Christian University (Abilene, Texas)

12. Corban University (Salem, Oregon)

13. Point Loma Nazarene University (San Diego, California)

14. Eastern University (Saint Davids, Pennsylvania)

15. Milligan College (Milligan College, Tennessee)

16. Northwestern College (Orange City, Iowa)

17. Westmont College (Santa Barbara, California)

18. Dordt College (Sioux Center, Iowa)

19. Hope International University (Fullerton, California)

20. Greenville College (Greenville, Illinois)

21. Bethel College (Mishawaka, Indiana)

22. Seattle Pacific University (Seattle, Washington)

23. George Fox University (Newberg, Oregon)

24. Lipscomb University (Nashville, Tennessee)

25. Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, California)

26. North Park University (Chicago, Illinois)

27. Geneva College (Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania)

28. Bethel University (St. Paul, Minnesota)

29. Houghton College (Houghton, New York)

30. Dallas Baptist University (Dallas, Texas)

31. Simpson University (Redding, California)

32. Gordon College (Wenham, Massachusetts)

33. Roberts Wesleyan College (Rochester, New York)

34. Huntington University (Huntington, Indiana)

35. Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia)

36. Anderson University (Anderson, Indiana)

37. Biola University (La Mirada, California)

38. Fresno Pacific University (Fresno, California)

39. Northwest University (Kirkland, Washington)

40. The Master’s College & Seminary (Santa Clarita, California)

41. Midamerica Nazarene University (Olathe, Kansas)

42. LeTourneau University (Longview, Texas)

43. John Brown University (Siloam Springs, Arkansas)

44. Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Mount Vernon, Ohio)

45. Oral Roberts University (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

46. Concordia University (Irvine, California)

47. Oklahoma Christian University (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

48. Bob Jones University (Greenville, South Carolina)

49. Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, Illinois)

50. Spring Arbor University (Spring Arbor, Michigan)

About the Author

Anna Rebekah Orr writes for Christian Universities Online.

The Rushmore Report – According to Democrats, Christians Cannot Serve in Government

On Thursday, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) offered a bizarre critique of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Pompeo wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic about homosexual sex.

Yes, this is a real thing.

Booker asked Pompeo, “Do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”

Pompeo is a religious Christian, so presumably he does. He answered, quite properly, “When I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry. I stand by that.” He also informed Booker, “My respect for every individual regardless of sexual orientation is the same.”

Booker was outraged by Pompeo’s reply. His time ran, however, before he could grill Pompeo on whether he enjoyed Brokeback Mountain sufficiently or cried at the end of Moonlight.

This is anti-Christian bigotry from Booker. It’s that simple. Religious people of all major faiths — Christian, Jewish, Muslim — believe homosexual activity is a sin. Full stop. The Bible is quite clear about this in both Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the New Testament is clear about it in Romans and Corinthians and Timothy. The Koran isn’t shy on the issue, either. None of that means that religious people thereby want the rights of gays and lesbians violated. I, for example, am fully libertarian on same-sex marriage, and have been for years. Religious people think lots of things are sins, and also think that people have a right to do the wrong thing. The same logic undergirds support for the First Amendment: I hate racism, but people have a right to say racist things. I may dislike sin, but a government dedicated to stamping out sin rather than preventing violation of rights is called tyranny.

But according to Booker, you must celebrate sin in order to believe there is a right for people to commit sin that has no externalities in a free society. This makes sense from a Leftist point of view, where government is the great instrument of the good, not a mere protector of rights — the same people who try to stamp out dissenting thought through “hate speech” legislation are likely to believe that religious Americans feel the same way about using government to stamp out sin. But they’re wrong. And they’re religious bigots.

Worse, Booker’s shtick is unconstitutional if it were to be applied legally. The Constitution forbids religious tests for office. What Pompeo thinks about sin has nothing to do with what he thinks about public policy, unless Booker has evidence otherwise. If not, this is simple intolerance. Ironically, Booker would go on to essentially admit that point a few minutes later when he ripped into Brigitte Gabriel for supposedly expressing bigotry for questioning the compatability between Islam and democracy.

But that’s no shock. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked judicial nominee Amy Barrett just a few months back about her religion: “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”

Here’s the real issue: when your religion is government, and government is god, you cannot tolerate any other God before it — and you assume that all those who believe in God wish to mobilize government in order to impose God’s will. The only people on the political spectrum interested in using government as a proxy for imposing heaven from above live on the Left.

About the Author

Ben Shapiro is the editor for The Daily Wire.

The Rushmore Report – 10 Things Congress Should Do Now, but Probably Won’t

In 2016, Americans made their voices heard. Not only did they elect a Disruptor-in-Chief for the White House; they elected a Republican Senate and a Republican House. And since elections have consequences, one might expect Congress to act in accordance with the positions by which they were elected. By any standard, this Congress has disappointed. And the clock is running. If they want to make a difference, they should do ten things before the mid-term elections.

Former Congressman Jason Chaffetz has suggested ten things Congress needs to do now – but that they probably won’t do. Continued inaction – hundreds of bills are sitting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk – is a recipe for disaster, both for the country and the Republican majority.

Let me share Chaffetz’s formula for success.

1. DOJ Conflicts of Interest: The chairs of the Senate and House judiciary committees should convene a joint hearing to facilitate a public testimony from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. They should be asked to explain and clarify the numerous visible and apparent conflicts of interest on Mueller’s team.

2. Second Special Counsel: Upon the release of the upcoming DOJ Inspector General Counsel Report, the House Judiciary Committee should move to formally demand the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to join the IG in further investigating warranted matters with powers to prosecute those who have violated the law.

3. Answers from the FISA Court: The House and Senate Judiciary Committees should call the FISA Court judges before Congress to offer public testimony about the process and the specific case of Trump campaign surveillance.

4. Subpoena Compliance: The House and Senate Judiciary Committees should call Attorney General Sessions to testify about all outstanding Congressional subpoenas and why the DOJ has not yet complied.

5. Border Security: The Homeland Security Committee, Judiciary Committee, and Oversight Committee should continue to hold numerous hearings on securing our border and fortifying it with a wall. Pass legislation allowing the president to reallocate funds from the Department of Defense.

6. Testimony from Mayor Libby Schaff: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff should be called to testify before Congress to defend her decision to protect criminals and endanger federal law enforcement. She should have to raise her right hand and testify under oath before the American people.

7. Facebook/Twitter Hearings: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey should be called to testify in person before Congress about their speech suppression practices. Having made the American people their product rather than their customer, they should be required to answer for the commercial and political use of personally identifiable information.

8. Reform the Broken Budget Process: Congress should kick off a serious effort to reform the broken budget process with a joint hearing. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer should be made to testify before a joint budget committee chaired by the House and Senate. Those four people should be asked to publicly testify and explain what went wrong with the budget process and how they’re going to fix it. They should publicly debate the solutions and defend their positions. House Budget Chairman Steve Womack and Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi should preside over the hearings.

9. Balanced Budget Amendment: Give the states the opportunity to vote on whether Congress should be subject to balancing the federal budget. We will never reign in spending until the American people have to pay for what we’re actually spending. There are several drafted amendments to choose from. If two-thirds of the states want Congress to balance the budget, then they’ll have a mandate for it.

10. Confirm Trump Appointees: The U.S. Senate should refuse to recess until all the president’s appointees have been voted on. Inexplicably, there are 160 nominations in committee and another 199 pending on the Senate calendar. Congress should put an end to the delay of the Senate minority.

The Rushmore Report – Awesome Christian Quotes by U.S. Presidents

Historians disagree on how “Christian” America was and is. One thing is for sure. Throughout our history, our presidents have often stood on biblical principles. You don’t have to take my word for it. Consider some of these direct quotes from some of our most popular leaders. Their words speak for themselves.

George Washington – “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”

John Adams – “We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!”

John Quincy Adams – “The Bible is the first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention.”

James Monroe – “Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe. And to the same Divine Author of every good and perfect gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land.”

Andrew Jackson – “My most fervent prayer is that the Almighty will overrule all my intentions and actions.”

Abraham Lincoln – “I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book upon reason that you can, and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man.”

Grover Cleveland – “All must admit that the reception of the teachings of Christ result in the purest patriotism, in the most scrupulous fidelity to public trust, and in the best type of citizenship.”

Theodore Roosevelt – “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”

Calvin Coolidge – “The foundation of our country is the Word of God.”

Herbert Hoover – “The study of the Bible is a post-graduate course in the richest library of human experience.”

John F. Kennedy – “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”

Ronald Reagan – “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”

George H. W. Bush – “We asked for God’s help; and now, in this shining outcome, in this magnificent triumph of good over evil, we should thank God.”

George W. Bush – “Each day millions of our citizens approach our Maker on bended knee, seeking his grace and giving thanks for the many blessings he bestows upon us.”

The Rushmore Report – Let’s Assume Trump Is Guilty of Collusion; Is It Even a Crime?

For two years, CNN has committed more air time to the Trump collusion story than they have to the tax bill, ISIS, and job creation combined. One reporter calls this the “story of the century.” And it’s true that the president’s son met with a Russian lawyer in hopes of securing damaging information on Hillary Clinton. But does that mean Trump colluded with Russia? And even if he did, is that a crime? Let’s consider the opinions of leading legal experts, including famed Democratic attorney Alan Dershowitz.

William Jeffress, the attorney who defended Scooter Libby, writes, “If the Trump campaign conspired with or assisted the Russians in hacking the emails of John Podesta or the Democratic National Committee, the crime is clear. But beyond that, it is anything but clear. We do not have a federal statute punishing corrupt efforts to influence an election, unless done by particular prohibited acts such as vote buying or illegal political contributions.”

The whole collusion “scandal” is considered a “nothing burger” by Saikrishna Prakash, distinguished professor of law at the University of Virginia. He writes, “There are tidbits worth investigating here. For one, why did the convener of the meeting (with Trump, Jr. and the Russian lawyer) say the meeting was ‘part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump?’ After all, the lawyer from Russia now claims she is not a government lawyer. But I don’t think this really amounts to much, at least as a legal matter. ‘Collusion’ is not a cognizable federal offense. Politicians seek dirt on other candidates – the dirtier the better. That is what opposition research is all about.”

Samuel Bell, Duke law professor, says simply, “Collusion, of course, is not a legal thing.”

But I find the words of famed Democratic attorney Alan Dershowitz to be the most compelling, both on the merits of his argument and the credibility of the source. Dershowitz, who is an unapologetic liberal Democrat, is emeritus professor of law at Harvard University.

Dershowitz writes, “Which criminal statutes, if any, would be violated by collusion between a campaign and a foreign government, if collusion were to be proved? Unless there is a clear violation of an existing criminal statute, there would be no crime. Obviously, if anyone conspired in advance with another to commit a crime, such as hacking the Democratic National Committee, that would be criminal. But merely seeking to obtain the work product of a prior hack would be no more criminal than a newspaper publishing the work products of thefts such as the Pentagon Papers and the material stolen by Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. That is why the entire issue of alleged collusion with, and interference by, the Russians should be investigated openly by an independent nonpartisan commission, rather than by a prosecutor behind the closed doors of a grand jury.”

Let’s return to our foundational question. Even if President Trump is guilty of collusion, is it even a crime? The short answer is “no.” The long answer is: “No, but as long as Trump opponents can keep the story going, in an effort to sidetrack legislative progress, they will.”

Democrat Adam Schiff has claimed, for two years, that there is “strong evidence” for collusion. But when he does a rare interview with any news outlets that are not strongly anti-Trump, he has yet to produce one piece of evidence to support his claim.

So this is where we stand. President Trump has been accused of a crime that a) is not a crime, and b) has zero evidence that it even happened.

And this – for mainstream media outlets – is the “story of the century.” Such an assertion can only be explained in one of two ways. Either a) the media is driven by its desire to get Trump, regardless of the evidence, or b) we are having a really boring century.

The Rushmore Report – A Surprising History of the National Income Tax

As tax day approaches, a review of the history of the American tax system is in order. The U.S. government has been taxing its citizens for most of its history. However, during the early years, the tax was minimal and applied only to the affluent. Beginning with the Great Depression and FDR’s New Deal, that all changed.

Since FDR, the government has been growing larger and requiring more and more revenue. Let’s review the individual income tax and the corporate income tax.

A Brief History of the U.S. Income Tax

During the American Revolution (1775-1783), most states levied a faculty tax, which was a tax on a person’s property and ability to earn income from commerce or trade. For several years after the Revolution, there was no national tax and the government provided very little for its citizens. The Constitution of 1789 gave taxation powers to the federal government to “pay the debts and provide for the common welfare of the United States.”

Because of the Civil War (1861-1865), the U.S. government levied a temporary income tax on individuals. Decades later, in 1894, Congress enacted the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, which included a two percent flat tax on incomes over $4,000 ($115,000 in today’s dollars). This tax affected fewer than 10 percent of households and was the first tax levied during peacetime.

The modern tax era was birthed in 1913, with the passage of the 16th Amendment, allowing for a federal income tax. This applied mostly to high wage earners.

The top marginal bracket was raised to 77 percent to pay for World War I. By the 1920s, the top bracket was back down to 25 percent. This fueled the “Roaring Twenties,” a bubble in the financial markets, followed by the Great Depression of 1828.

Corporate Income Tax

The corporate tax has ranged from six to 15 percent. Beginning in 1943, the percentage collected via corporate tax began to deline. But the personal income tax has not wavered much. Today, the corporate tax generates far less revenue for the government than does the personal income tax.

Conclusion

Today, we have a tax code of over 700,000 pages. It is unwieldly, cumbersome, and entirely too complex. Moreover, the individual income tax is the largest source of federal revenue. With an ever-expanding federal government, it seems plausible that future taxes will be more creative and less obvious to the casual observer. However, because government’s primary targets are individuals and corporations, any additional tax on businesses will only serve to drive companies away.

As companies leave the U.S., the country could become like Detroit, once a beautiful city with a strong tax base. Today, its tax base has migrated to other localities, leaving the city with a severe tax shortage. Could the U.S. become like Detroit on a larger scale? Yes, if politicians continue to attack the golden goose. The prudent path would be to cut spending and implement greater fiscal control in Washington. It is no longer acceptable to give politicians a blank check to use for personal gain. We need the George Washingtons of this nation to step forward, serve the country, and return to private life to live under the rules and regulations that they helped to enact.

About the Author

Mike Patton is a contributor to Forbes.