Posts

The Rushmore Report: Being a Proud American Is Easy – Even from Australia

For several years, Anna Kooiman was a successful television reporter and host in America, culminating with a highly visible career at Fox News. But last September, she moved to Australia to be with her Aussie family. Now, Kooiman hosts shows on Australian TV. But she remains a proud American. This is her unique reflection on the country she loves, from the opposite side of the world, in her own words.

“Sitting down to write a piece about what makes me proud to be an American is an easy task because I have thought so much about the topic while living in another country for the last 10 months. Of course, our military strength and long history of strong alliances with other nations make me a proud American – but I feel like those should go without saying. It’s a given! I’ll share a few more reasons I am a proud American this 4th of July.

“America truly is the land of opportunity. The market is big. The needs are diverse. The people have an unshakable work ethic. If you work hard, you can get ahead. My folks are small business owners in Charlotte, North Carolina. They own Oasis Pools and Patio as well as The Peppermint Forest Christmas Shop. Gotta keep food on the table year round! My mom, dad, and older brother’s success with the American dream (as business owners) make me proud to be an American. 

“Before my Aussie husband and I made the move from the USA to Australia, we took an epic American road trip. We packed our belongings and our yellow lab, Baxter, into an RV, and we drove from New York City to San Francisco. We watched the landscapes change from city to mountains to heartlands to coastline. We heard the accents change, we tasted the food of each region and fell in love all over again with the melting pot this great country is today. I called the two week journey our ‘From Sea to Shining Sea Trip.’ It certainly reinforced my passion as a proud American and I now recommend a cross country U.S. road trip to anyone who will listen!”

Kooiman did a great job hosting the July 4 event for Fox. Before the event, she posted, “I hope you enjoy the pictures from our trip and I hope you’ll tune into the FNC Proud American coverage.”

The Rushmore Report: Three Take-Aways from Trump’s Big Speech

Tuesday night, President Donald Trump offered his first speech to Congress. Within an hour of its conclusion, CNN reported the findings of their poll – 78 percent who viewed Trump’s speech gave him positive reviews. But what is the impact of his most important address to date? This was a game-changer. Three things stood out.

1. The Democrats looked petty.

Throughout the 70-minute speech, Democratic congressmen were caught on camera appearing at though they were auditioning for a constipation commercial. Give West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin credit. When Trump said he wanted to save the coal industry, he alone, among Democrats, stood in applause. We can assume from that one of two things – either the Democrats are against coal workers or they are against Trump. When the president paid tribute to fallen soldier and Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, only the Republicans stood to offer a two-minute ovation. Instead of offering pleasant nods, the Democrats jeered, held their thumbs down like school children, and bolted from the Congressional chambers within a nano-second of the close of Trump’s presentation. It was a bad night for Democrats. They were clearly not on the side of the 78 percent of Americans. They have no interest in working with the president. Their behavior seemed to confirm their desire to maintain minority status, to be the party of “no,” and to define themselves by what – and who – they oppose.

2. Trump’s tone was presidential.

The word “presidential” is overused. But for one hour, it actually fit Mr. Trump. He was calm, measured, and positive, and he avoided the hyperbole that has characterized his prior offerings. Missing was media-bashing and self-promotion. The bluster was gone. I’m not sure who “got to” the president and convinced him to change his tone, but I’m glad they did. Some are crediting Ivanka Trump, others Vice President Pence or confidant Kellyanne Conway. But it was Donald Trump who signed off on the speech and it was Donald Trump who delivered it. For that, he deserves great credit.

3. The substance was solid.

No matter what side you are on, you cannot deny this. In his first 40 days in office, Mr. Trump is keeping his promises. He continues to put meat on the bones, to offer ways to accomplish his campaign goals. On subjects ranging from immigration to foreign policy to domestic challenges to the budget, Trump offered real solutions to real problems.

It’s too early to grade the Trump presidency. But we can be certain of this. Because of Trump’s speech on Tuesday night, we all woke up to a more hopeful America on Wednesday morning. In his opening comments, Mr. Trump said, “I have come to deliver a message of unity and strength.” He met that goal, and America is better for it.

The Rushmore Report: Trump Travel Ban – 4 Democratic Presidents Who Did the Same Thing

President Trump’s 90-day ban on immigrants from seven countries first targeted by President Obama has elicited amazing outcry. Several questions for the opposition arise. Why did they not protest Obama’s limited number of immigrants? Why didn’t the SAG awards dinner let anyone in who wanted in? And why no outcry when four Democratic presidents banned immigrants?

Before we identify the four Democratic presidents who initiated similar bans on refugees and immigrants, let’s back up a bit. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the United States accepted 1,062,040 legal immigrants in 2015 (the last year for which data is available). That is more than any other country in the world – by far. The United States allows 85 percent more immigrants than Germany, which ranks second.

As for the Screen Actors Guild, the unending bashing of Trump’s new immigration limits during their annual show Sunday night wreaks with hypocrisy. While the SAG wants Trump to let anyone into our country who wants in, they exclude almost everyone who wants in to their show, unless they are a member of the SAG. According to their own website (www.sagawards.org/membertickets), if someone wants to attend their annual meeting they must “request an invitation.” Even then, they must pay $900 to enter a lottery, which determines which few “regular” people can attend.

So the SAG allows immigrants (non-members) entry to their event by “invitation only,” and at a high price and roll of the dice. And then they lecture our president for putting a temporary ban on immigrants from countries that are hotbeds for ISIS and terrorism.

So here’s the bigger question: Where was the outcry when four Democratic presidents banned immigrants from specific countries? I don’t remember the Hollywood outcry when their liberal heroes did the exact same thing.

So who were these four presidents and what did they do?

1. Franklin Roosevelt

During WWII, FDR reduced the number of Jewish refugees for fear that Nazi spies would enter the country as well. In 1939, he refused entry to a ship carrying hundreds of Jews. He also signed an order that interred 72,000 Japanese Americans in camps across America following the attack on Peal Harbor. Let me say that again. Franklin Roosevelt interred 72,000 American citizens, based solely on their heritage.

2. Jimmy Carter

President Carter kicked out all diplomats with any ties to Iran following the capture of 52 Americans in 1979. Further, Carter banned all Iranians from entering America. All visas were invalidated.

3. Bill Clinton

In May of 1994, Clinton signed an order “barring entry for members of the Haitian military and their immediate families.” In January of 1998, Clinton signed an order “barring entry for members of the military junta of Sierra Leone, and the families.”

4. Barack Obama

After the 2009 discovery that two al Qaeda terrorists were living as refugees in Bowling Green, KY, President Obama took action. The Obama State Department stopped processing Iraqi refugees for six months in 2011.

This temporary ban on refugees and immigrants from seven countries first identified by Obama as a threat to American national security is consistent with prior actions by Democratic presidents, including Roosevelt, Carter, Clinton, and Obama.

Not that the media much cares, but the American people are also on the side of the Trump Administration. A recent Breitbart poll concludes that 66 percent support the President’s action, while only 24 percent disagree. The rest are undecided. Other polls by CBS, NBC, and The Wall Street Journal have similar conclusions.

 

The Rushmore Report: President Obama’s Final Speech – 10 Memorable Lines

Tuesday night, President Barack Obama delivered what was billed as his “final speech” as the 44th president of the United States. Speaking from his adopted hometown of Chicago, the president took credit for the successes of the past eight years, while offering his unique perspective on the direction of the country going forward. Ten memorable lines stood out.

Mr. Obama called on the country to be “anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy.” The speech centered on the values of the democratic system despite challenges he perceives from his successor, Donald Trump, though he only named him once.

These are the most memorable lines from his speech.

1. On democracy: “Democracy can buckle when it gives in to fear.”

2. On Michelle: “You have made me proud, and you have made the country proud.”

3. On believing in America: “Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we can.”

4. On the lack of common ground: “It’s not just dishonest, this selective sorting of the facts; it’s self-defeating, because as my mom used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you.”

5. On race in America: “After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic.”

6. On American exceptionalism: “Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but we have shown the capacity to change and make life better for those who follow.”

7. On setbacks: “For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed.”

8. On bipartisanship: “All of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, must help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”

9. On political discourse: “We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character aren’t even willing to enter into public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and when we sit back and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.”

10. On “four more years” chants: “I can’t do that.”

It was an excellent speech, one of the president’s finest. His tribute to his family, Vice President Joe Biden, and the American people was heartfelt, moving, and sincere. It was a good night for all Americans, no matter their political persuasion, to hear their elected leader at his best. His claims of success can be debated by others. This was a time for our president to take the well-deserved spotlight one more time. And in the bright lights of Chicago, he did well.

Watching the peaceful transition of power in President Obama’s speech reminds all of us that this is still the greatest country on earth.

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

On this day in 1941 – 75 years ago – Japanese warplanes bombed the U.S. naval base at Oahu Island’s Pearl Harbor. Having received intelligence reports of intercepted coded messages from Tokyo to the Japanese ambassador in the United States, the president anticipated Japanese reprisals for his government’s refusal to reverse economic sanctions and embargoes against Japan.

Franklin Roosevelt had remained firm in his demand that the Japanese withdraw from China and French Indochina and renounce its alliance with fascist Germany and Italy. At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, 360 Japanese warplanes attacked Pearl Harbor, followed by 200 aircraft, which decimated the American ships, destroying 180 planes, and killed more than 2,400 men.

In the short term, the Japanese goal of crippling U.S. naval strength in the Pacific, and thereby giving Tokyo free reign to gobble up more of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific in its dream of imperial expansion, was successful. But the war had only just begun.

Only four percent of the veterans of World War II are still with us. We owe them a debt we could never pay. What happened 75 years ago today was devastating. But America did what she always does. She rebounded. As a part of her response, American troops would set up a communications outpost on the South Pacific island of Bougainville. My dad was a part of that action. Sadly, he would be one of only 17 of 300 men in his unit to survive the battle.

This is a day to remember, reflect, and even rejoice. America was down – but not out. May the spirit that carried us from that day, 75 years ago, to victory, be ours again today.

The Rushmore Report: Five Things Trump Must Do to Be a Great President

President-elect Trump is filling his new Cabinet quickly and efficiently. He has put out a short video, stating the executive orders he intends to issue in the first 100 days of his administration. There is a whirlwind of activity surrounding Trump Tower, as he meets with potential key players in his new administration. Clearly, Mr. Trump is not waiting to get started. He is working 18-hour days to get things set up.

Already, pundits are critiquing his administration – two months before he takes office. There is no way of knowing how successful he will be. But at The Proud Americans, we care about our country. For America to be successful, President Trump must be successful. Below, we offer five suggestions – five things Mr. Trump must do to be a great President.

1. Repeal and replace Obamacare.

Trump must do this, or his entire campaign was a farce. He ran on repealing the Affordable Care Act. But he must be careful. Speaker Paul Ryan has a plan ready to roll out. Trump should adopt this plan, or something like it. The replacement version must include these things: eliminate government mandates, keep the Obama provision that allows children to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26, cover pre-existing conditions, allow for competition across state lines, and put health care insurance in the hands of the open market, like other commerce.

2. Repeal multiple trade agreements.

Every agreement should meet one litmus test – is it good for America? We won’t go into detail on all the harmful trade agreements here. With many, Democrats are in agreement with the need to walk away from them, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

3. Leave minimum wage in the hands of the states.

A national minimum wage makes zero sense. The cost of living is so drastically different from Texas to California, for example, that a national standard is useless. And keep in mind, the higher the government mandates a minimum wage, the higher the cost of products will be to the consumer. This leads to inflation, which renders the minimum wage increase worthless.

4. Reduce the corporate tax rate.

The Unites States has the highest corporate tax rates of any industrialized nation. Why else would Ford move its plants to Mexico? Keep in mind, any corporate tax is a double tax on shareholders, as they also pay income tax on their dividends. High corporate tax rates drive business from America, raise costs, and dissuade growth.

5. Embrace the faith he claims.

Many strong evangelical leaders have attested to Mr. Trump’s new-found faith in recent months. It is important that Trump embrace his Christianity, not because he said he would, but because he cares. Trump is a builder. It’s in his DNA. And he’s good at it. But the Bible says, “Unless God builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1).

Donald Trump can be a great President. But he can’t do it alone. He needs the help of his Cabinet, Congress, and the American people. But mostly, he needs the help of God.

The Rushmore Report: Praying for Our New Leaders

Early in his presidency, Barack Obama asked for prayer as he led our country in tumultuous times. His request was a pointed reminder to me that I should be praying for our president and our leaders every day – not to get something from them – but simply in obedience to Scripture. With the election of new national leaders, we must pray as never before. Here’s why.

1. The Bible teaches that God can turn the hearts of kings (Proverbs 21:1). That means we should be praying for God’s will to be done and for our new leaders to seek God and listen to Him. We should pray they seek godly counsel and that our leaders will come to know God personally through His Son, Jesus Christ.

2. We must pray with an eye on the issues of the day. Think about the issues before our new president. Ebola is not only a huge problem in Western Africa, but could be in the United States, as well. ISIS is still expanding. We are in the midst of a jobless recovery. Our new president and national leaders need wisdom to face the issues of our day.

3. We must pray for a mighty movement of God. Charles Spurgeon said, “Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the omnipotent muscle of God.” The Bible commands us to pray for authorities, because all authority has been established by Him to accomplish His purposes.

Can our diligent, heartfelt prayers make a difference for the future of our country? Most certainly. Does our new president need our prayers? Most definitely. Do our prayers make a difference? Absolutely.

About the Author

Franklin Graham is President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a best-selling author, and founder of Samaritans Purse.

The Rushmore Report: Seven Signs of a Falling Nation

In an interview with the Financial Times, U.S. Comptroller General David Walker stated that the United States government “is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration, and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon.” There are seven signs of a crumbling nation. America needs to know these signs.

The article added, “Mr. Walker warned that there were ‘striking similarities’ between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including ‘declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsible by central government.'”

He added, “I’m trying to sound an alarm and issue a wake-up call.”

History reveals that all governments, empires, and kingdoms of men, no matter how grand, no matter how powerful, ultimately fall. It happened to ancient Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. Even Rome was not exempt; though it dominated much of Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, and parts of the Near East, and lasted for 500 years, the Roman Empire ultimately fell.

There is an old and popular saying: “Rome was not built in a day.” Likewise, the Roman Empire did not fall in one night; its decline was gradual. Not long after it rose to world dominance, several factors were already at work contributing to the empire’s ultimate demise.

Similarly, these factors are at work among the societies of the American and British peoples – and serve as warning signs of a civilization destined to fall.

1. The Family Unit

Few understand that the family unit is the basic building block of every thriving society. Within the family, young minds are first taught the importance of building character, controlling one’s emotions, setting worthwhile goals, striving for excellence – or at least this should be the case, as it was generations ago.

In Rome, parents came to spoil their children, who then grew up to become lazy adults who were irreverent, disobedient to authority, and had little respect for the elderly or the “old paths” of social norms and values. Likewise, the family unit in America, Britain, Australia, Canada, and other sister nations of the West is under constant assault. Broken marriages and fractured households are not the norm. The result? A generation of children who oppress and rule over their parents and show no respect for their elders (Isaiah 3:4-5).

2. Education

The Roman Empire began with an educational system that emphasized developing character, morality, patriotism, and social values in young lives. The goal was to develop the whole person. but this was eventually replaced by an emphasis almost exclusively on academics, with no moral or ethical absolutes defining right and wrong.

Similarly, character development, patriotism, and civic duty are seldom taught in the public schools of the West, where God and the Bible are banished. God declares, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).

3. Religion

The Romans were pagan idol worshipers who took the gods of the Greeks and gave them Roman names. Accompanying the assortment of false gods were lascivious religious rituals and customs. Temple prostitution, drunkenness, and other vices that appealed to the flesh were common across the empire. Similar to the Greeks, the Romans worshiped mythological figures who freely gave in to carnal desires.

Today, millions of Americans claim to worship the God of the Bible – yet their actions scream something quite different. The word worship means to “regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.” The religion of Rome, which encouraged and empowered the people to live a life of excess, contributed to the empire’s death. The religions of the West, especially in the U.S., are no better.

4. Pleasure-Seeking

The Romans were masters of extreme pleasure-seeking. They entertained themselves with gladiators (rock stars of the day) and gambled on who would live or die. They enjoyed the sight of Christians and Jews being eaten alive by wild animals. They thrilled themselves with drunken parties and sensual pleasures.

Today, advertising, news media, and Hollywood promote materialism and covetousness. A society that loves to emulate wanton lifestyles portrayed in movies and that pursues sports, gambling, theater, music, and other distractions over seeking true values is destined to collapse – as did Rome.

5. Economy

Originally, agriculture and land ownership were Rome’s chief sources of wealth – and became the most heavily taxed. Over time, landowners who operated large farms on the backs of slaves eventually undersold smaller farmers, forcing them out of business. In addition, importing foods from both conquered lands and more easily accessible distant foreign ports also began to take its toll. Commercial trade in Rome created a massive consumer economy that focused on services rather than production and growth – just as in modern-day America and Britain.

Today, Americans pay local, municipal, county, state, and federal taxes before even receiving their paychecks, and contend with numerous consumer taxes: sales, gasoline, vehicles, property, licenses, pets, luxury items, airline flights – the list seems endless.

6. Government

As in ancient Rome, strong belief in self-determination and self-reliance has been replaced with an attitude of expecting something for nothing. Government-run systems originally intended to assist those in genuine need are now considered an entitlement.

7. Military

Just as the Roman army was overstretched and overextended in foreign lands, so is the American military. Roman soldiers, once known for their precision in battle and rigid obedience to authority, eventually became demoralized. The same can be said for the American troops today.

Good News: A Kingdom that Will Never Fall

Family, education, religion, pleasure-seeking, the economy, government, and the military. The failure of these and other factors have contributed to the death of men’s governments – and are at work in the birthright nations of America and Britain.

However, there is a future government that will be established by a perfect Leader, as foretold in Isaish 9. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be on His shoulder. His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the incrase of His government and peace there shall be no end” (vs. 6-7).

About the Author

Bruce A. Ritter writes on news, trends, and religion for Analysis Magazine. He has authored and co-authored several books, while maintaining a busy schedule as a lecturer and public speaker.

The Rushmore Report: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick Refuses to Stand For National Anthem

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did something that went mostly unnoticed before their most recent preseason football game. He refused to stand for the National Anthem. While the rest of his teammates and coaches stood to honor America, he stayed on the bench in protest. Asked why he would not even stand, Kaepernick offered a rather controversial explanation.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL.com after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

The former All-Pro did not inform anyone with the team of what he was going to do. “This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he said. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

The 49ers issued a statement to Pro Football Talk: “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

When I read this story, five reactions came over me.

1. Immediate disgust

My dad fought in WWII. His dad fought in WWI. They fought for the flag Mr. Kaepernick is dissing. They fought to give him more freedom than he could possibly find in any other country. It seems any man who is making $12 million a year playing football (after a lousy season) is the wrong messenger to talk about oppression. My immediate thought was, “Go play in the Canadian Football League – for a tenth of what the NFL pays you.” I thought, “It really takes guts to criticize the nation that affords you the opportunities you have – which you would not have anywhere else, that protects you with their military and brings you fame and fortune.” And I thought, “If America’s flag is not worth saluting, find one that is, and move there. I’ll help load your moving van.”

2. Pity

I feel sorry for a man who has so much but sees so little. There is no country on earth that would be better for Kaepernick to live in – or he’d already be there. But he doesn’t criticize the genocide, murder, and persecution around the world. He only criticizes the one country that gave him the opportunities he has. I pity a man like that. It must be sad to see so little.

3. Frustration

Kaepernick’s shot at the police was clear. “They get paid leave and get away with murder.” I won’t take the space to give the data again, because closed minded individuals don’t care about the facts. But the summation is this: far more cops are shot than do the shooting. As soon as Mr. Kaepernick speaks out against the 425 black-on-black shootings in Chicago so far in 2016, his condemnation of cops everywhere will become more tolerable. He appears to fall in line with the “Black Lives Matter Only If They Are Shot By White Cops, But Black Lives Don’t Matter If They Are Shot By Other Blacks” crowd. Did I say this is frustrating?

4. Understanding

As maddening as it is to see a man take millions of dollars for throwing a ball in the air, in the only country in the history of the world where that would be possible, and then disrespect that country (though he wouldn’t live anywhere else), I also know I can’t understand what it is like to be black. I have no doubt that Colin has seen some things, felt some things, and experienced some things I have never had to endure. Does that make his protest right? No, but it makes it understandable.

5. Grateful

I am grateful that I live in a country that gives her citizens the right to condemn her, while at that very moment this country is protecting them from those who would destroy our way of life. Free speech came at a high price. I am grateful that Mr. Kaepernick lives in a land where his greatest risk is a defensive end, while the cop he demeans is risking his life – so men like Kaepernick can ridicule and criticize them. I am grateful for a country that is protected by a military whose average salary is less than 1/10 of one percent of what Kaepernick makes. I don’t like what Kaepernick said, but I’m grateful he has the right to say it.

Only in America do you have incredible freedoms. Only in America is there liberty and justice for all. Only in America can a 27-year-old man make $12 million a year as a backup quarterback while dissing the country that makes that possible.

Only in America.

1934 – Adolf Hitler Becomes President of Germany

On this day in 1934, Adolf Hitler, already chancellor, was also elected president of Germany in an unprecedented consolidation of power in the short history of the republic. In February of 1933, Hitler blamed a devastating Reichstag fire on the communists (its true cause remains a mystery) and convinced then-president Paul von Hindenburg to sign a decree suspending individual and civil liberties, a decree Hitler used to silence his political enemies with false arrests.

Upon the death of Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler proceeded to purge the Brownshirts (his storm troopers), the head of which, Ernst Rohm, had begun voicing opposition to the Nazi Party’s terror tactics. Hitler had Rohm executed without trial, which encouraged the army and other reactionary forces within the country to urge Hitler to further consolidate his power by merging the presidency and the chancellorship. This would make Hitler commander of the army as well. A plebiscite vote was held on August 19. Intimidation and fear of the communists brought Hitler a 90 percent majority. He became, for all intents and purposes, dictator.

What made Hitler so evil and destructive? One thing, say historians. No accountability. Lord Acton was right when he said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Be careful before seeking power. That might be the worst gift you ever receive.