Herman Cain

July 30, 2020

Thursday brought the sad news of the death of a friend, Herman Cain.

After a highly successful career as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, this brilliant entrepreneur spent the following years as a radio talk show host and a Presidential candidate, but always he was a tireless advocate for free enterprise, for opportunity for all, and for an America that gave people opportunities to dream big and do big.

I became closely acquainted with Herman Cain in 2007 during my campaign for President in the GOP Primary. Herman was one of the national leaders of the Fair Tax movement, and the Fair Tax was a centerpiece of my campaign. We spent time together throughout the campaign in advocacy for the Fair Tax.

After the campaign and when I became a contributor for Fox News, I would regularly invite Herman on my show to talk free enterprise, conservative values, and of course, the Fair Tax.

In 2012, Herman launched his own campaign for President. Feeling that the country might not be able to fully understand the Fair Tax, he created a “Step One” toward the Fair Tax in his simple but profound 9-9-9 plan. The simplicity of the plan caught on, and Herman was like the evangelist in a crusade, brilliantly explaining that a tax fixed and finite is more fair. I was able to spend time with him on the campaign trail and one of my favorite memories is playing bass for a band that accompanied Herman in singing his beloved Gospel music.

He had a great sense of humor and was the eternal optimist. I loved just being around him as his vivacious spirit was truly contagious.

I’ve hated all that the Chinese Virus has done to the world, but I’m especially angry that this awful virus took the life of a great American, a kind gentleman, and my friend, Herman Cain.

At this link, some prominent people from the political world pay their respects.

RIP Charlie Daniels

July 7, 2020

I am still in shock after receiving a message Monday from country legend Charlie Daniels’ representative, letting me know that he had died of a stroke at 83. He was so big, so strong, so omnipresent in music for 70 years, and so bold and outspoken in defense of America and its veterans, police, and first responders that it seems almost impossible that he could have left us so suddenly. I’m proud to say that he was a friend of mine and a friend of our TBN show, where he appeared just recently to promote one of his many initiatives to help our veterans.

Fox News immediately contacted me to write a tribute. I hope you will read it at this link.

This obituary from the Nashville Tennessean includes some highlights from Charlie Daniels’ amazing career and the many fellow icons who worked with him, from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen to Ringo Starr and Elvis Presley. He was truly a “musician’s musician,” the "best there's ever been" on both fiddle and guitar, and the man the greats called when they wanted to make music history.

Here are some of the many tributes to him that are pouring in from fellow music stars.

To show the deep love and respect that Americans felt for Charlie Daniels, here are some photos of his body being driven to the funeral home, accompanied by a police escort, followed by a group of fans on motorcycles, and saluted by fans lining the sidewalks to pay their respects as they held up the American flag he revered.

Finally, it’s especially unfortunate that he leaves us at a time when so many people are turning on the patriotic American values he fought so hard to protect and defend. I wish he could have lived to see what I hope and pray will be the crushing repudiation by voters of the current wave of violent, ignorant, intolerant and divisive anti-Americanism. But he left us a great legacy of writings and recordings to help inspire patriots to fight back.

One of the greatest was a song that came out during a similarly depressing, if less violent, time in America’s history: 1980, the end of the Carter years when we were told that malaise was our “new normal,” that America was in decline, that we could be pushed around by countries like Iran, and we’d better just get used to it. He released a battle cry of a song that reminded us not to believe the demoralizing lies and anti-American propaganda. Some say he helped save the nation, as that song fired up patriotic Americans to go to the polls, elect Ronald Reagan, and reclaim America’s greatness. He revived it again after 9/11, as you can see in this live video. I think it’s high time we start playing it again, right up to and beyond Election Day 2020. It’s called “In America.”

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate having this exceptional nation and the freedoms it gives us, but we must always remember that we have those things because of all the soldiers who put their lives on the line to secure them for us, from Revolutionary times forward. There’s a story I love to tell that illustrates that for young people.

When I was Governor of Arkansas, I got to know an outstanding high school teacher in Little Rock named Martha Cothren. She was one of my original Huck’s Heroines, and I was always telling her it was my goal to make her one of the most famous teachers in America, because she’d be such a great example to all teachers. Here’s just one reason why.

Martha became concerned that many of her kids didn’t fully appreciate their precious American freedoms. So she prepared an unusual lesson for them. On the first day of school, the kids shuffled back into class only to discover that it was completely empty. Not a desk in sight. So they asked, “Miss Cothren, where are the desks?” She replied, “You don’t get your desk until you can tell me how you earn it.”

The kids were stunned, but they started trying to guess how they earned their desks. By getting good grades? No, that’s not the answer. By behaving in class? No, that’s not it. The first period ended with the kids leaning against the walls or sitting on the floor, but they never had figured out how they earn their desks.

Well, in trooped the second-period class. They were greeted with the same empty room and the same question they couldn’t answer. This went on all day, and by lunchtime, word was circulating all over school that Miss Cothren had gone crazy.

Finally, during the last class of the day, she told the students, “Okay, nobody’s figured out how you earn your desks, so I’ll tell you.” She opened the door, and in walked 27 military veterans, each one carrying a desk. As they quietly placed them in neat rows, Martha said, “Kids, you don’t have to earn your desks because these guys earned them for you.” She said you get free desks, free books and a free education, but it wasn’t free to these veterans…or to their friends who never came home from the wars they fought to give us all that freedom. She said, “Whenever you sit in that desk, try to remember who earned it for you.”

After that lesson, Martha was approached by one of those veterans, a news photographer, with tears in his eyes. He told her that when he returned from Vietnam, he was cursed and spat on, and made to feel ashamed of his service. He said, “Today is the first day since I’ve been home that I felt like someone appreciated what I did.”

Unfortunately, there can’t be a Martha Cothren in every school. I certainly wish I could replace every America-hating “history” professor in every university with a clone of her. But other teachers and parents can make sure their kids know who earned their desks for them. And we can all make it a point to say “thank you” to current and former members of the U.S. military. Seems to me, the 4th of July would be a great time to start.

I’ve been astounded recently by the way the left has been so successful at using the phrase “hate speech” and the fear of school shootings to convince young people to demand that their own First and Second Amendment rights be taken away.

Somehow, they have managed to bamboozle a large slice of the young generation into simultaneously believing that they are wise and mature enough to start voting and even writing laws at 16; yet they are so childish and irresponsible, they can’t be trusted to touch a firearm until they’re 21, or to hear an opposing opinion without rushing to a safe space to cuddle a puppy and schmoosh Play-Doh.

When young people don’t know their rights, where those rights came from, and how much was sacrificed to secure them, it’s easy to convince them to trade them away for empty promises of comfort and security. This is the basis of all those quotes warning not to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage, a bit of advice so ancient and universal that it dates back to Esau in Genesis 25: 29-34. But leftists are still counting on young people not knowing it (no wonder they want to ban the Bible from schools.)

These days, students are taught an ugly, twisted and totally negative perversion of American history. They’re taught to hate their own magnificent heritage, and they don’t learn the most basic facts (or even what the word “pottage” means), let alone all the great stories you discover when you dig into real American history. This seems like the perfect week for a lesson in how America came to be born. And I’ll try to put it into terms they can relate to.

Maybe – possibly – today’s students vaguely recognize the name Paul Revere (although they might believe he was a slave trader. I certainly doubt they had to memorize the poem, the way we did.) But how many know there was another heroic midnight rider who warned that the British were coming, only this one was a teenage girl from Duchess County, New York?

She’s just one of many American heroes that kids don’t learn about because modern textbooks scrub history of everything interesting or inspiring in favor of leftist social and political agendas that downgrade America. They depict it as a land of nothing but racism and oppression, not as a land where people of goodwill have struggled and sacrificed for generations, constantly working to improve things by establishing justice, securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity and creating a “more perfect union” (in the original foundational document, the writers made it clear that nothing’s perfect, but we would strive always to keep working together toward perfection.)

Kids, American history is not a list of personal grievances against people who’ve been dead for 200 years. It’s everything that ever happened to everyone before you came on the scene. Seek it out. Trust me: it can be pretty interesting, and you can actually learn things from it.

For instance: listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of…Sybil Ludington? As the oldest of 11 children, Sybil had to take on a lot of responsibility at a young age. She was barely 16 on the night of April 26, 1777. She had just tucked all her siblings into bed when, suddenly, there came an urgent knock at the door. It was a messenger, coming to warn her father, Col. Henry Ludington, that British troops were invading.

His troops weren’t expecting an attack and were scattered all over the countryside. Gathering them meant a dangerous ride over pitch-black roads, through enemy soldiers, wild animals, and hostile Indians (sorry: “Indigenous Peoples.”) Understandably, the messenger refused an order to go. But Sybil volunteered. Her father protested, but she pointed out that only she knew where all his men lived. As any father of a strong-willed daughter (especially one named Sybil!) will recognize, he’d long since learned that arguing with her was futile. So Sybil mounted up and rode off.

It was a rainy night. The British had already set nearby Danbury, Connecticut, on fire, and the flames cast an eerie, red glow on the fog. It spurred Sybil on as she galloped from house to house, banging on doors and shouting that the British were coming. According to legend, at one point, a highway robber tried to intercept Sybil, but she raised her father’s musket and sent him running. Yet another reason why teenagers should think twice before demanding that the Second Amendment be taken away from them.

By dawn, Sybil and her horse were cold, wet and exhausted. She’d roused over 400 troops, who joined the Battle of Ridgefield and helped drive the British all the way back to Long Island Sound. Gen. Washington personally honored Sybil for her heroism.

Today, there are historic markers all along her route, and statues of her in New York and Washington (if they haven’t been torn down by historical illiterates.) But I’ll bet most young people never even heard of Sybil Ludington, a teenager much like them, except she knew what really happened during the American Revolution. Maybe it’s because nobody wrote a famous poem about her midnight ride -- even though her ride was over twice as long as Paul Revere’s. Let’s hope someone turns her story into a hip-hop musical.

Happy Independence Day and happy 244th birthday to the United States of America! No, this nation was not born in 1619 when slaves first arrived, no matter how many trinkets liberal “journalists” award themselves for creating bogus history. It was born on July 4th, 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which officially kicked out the previous regime and kicked off history’s greatest experiment in freedom.

Today is when all Americans celebrate our freedoms. But sadly, too many young Americans have been miseducated to feel no gratitude for the titanic struggles and sacrifices made by those of previous generations to secure and preserve those freedoms. Even those who recognize how lucky they are to be Americans are often too willing to trade away their freedoms in exchange for hollow promises of comfort and security. As the great philosopher Joni Mitchell once said, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.”

That’s why the Founding Fathers took such care to lock our most important rights safely within the First Amendment to the Constitution. There are more freedoms guaranteed in that one short sentence than people in most nations can even dream of. That’s why for centuries now, people from around the world have risked their lives to come to America, and why immigrants are often more aware of how unique America is and more grateful for those freedoms than native-born Americans. The Founders understood that freedom really is that precious.

When the framers of the Constitution first met in 1787, many feared that if they created a strong federal government, it would trample the rights of the people, just like the British king they’d fought to break free of. So to make sure the people’s rights would always be protected, they added 10 amendments - although George Mason thought they were so important, they should come first, as the Preface!

Now, in case you’ve never heard it or have just forgotten (as too many federal judges and a few Supreme Court Justices I could name have), here is the First Amendment, in its entirety. Don’t worry, this really won’t take long:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Yep, that’s it. This was before government needed a 2,000-page bill just to ruin your health insurance. Only 45 simple words were needed to protect our right to speak freely without fear of government retribution...Our right to publish those words so that other Americans can read and debate them…Our right to band together with like-thinking Americans and protest peacefully without fear of arrest (note: protesting peacefully does not include rioting, arson and looting)…Our right to petition our leaders to change their policies…And our right to be free from having an official state religion forced upon us, but also from government interference with the free expression of our personal religious beliefs (like telling us we can’t gather in church to worship, but we can gather in Walmart.) A lot of people celebrate the first half of that religious right (no state religions) but pretend the second half (no state interference in religion) doesn’t exist. The Supreme Court even seems to be reticent lately to make clear that it means what it says, even though it takes only six words to say it: “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

These are the rights that together create the free American culture that those of who know real history celebrate today. The Founders thought they were all so important that somehow, they found a way to list every single one of them first.

Then, just to be certain that no future government ever tried to take those rights away, they made the very next amendment the right to bear arms.

And they emphasized that these rights are given by God, not government. So no matter how hard some people might try to scratch some of them off of the parchment, it won’t make a lick of difference. You can’t edit God.

We’re taking a brief break from the daily news so that my staff and I can enjoy some time off to celebrate the Fourth of July with our families. But don’t worry, we’ve prepared some newsletter material in advance. And if anything major occurs that cries out for comment, we’ll set down our hot dogs and rush to our laptops! We will return to covering the daily headlines on Tuesday.

In the meantime, all of us here wish you and your families a safe, fun, and blessed Fourth of July weekend. Please remember, in the midst of the current radical anti-American garbage that’s taking up way too much space in the news that there is a reason why you’re called “the Silent Majority” and they are just the extremely loud, tiny minority. This is NOT a nation of racists and white supremacists with a shameful history based on nothing but slavery that deserves to be smashed and forgotten. This is instead history’s greatest experiment in freedom and respect for the God-given rights of the individual.

As we all gather peacefully and unapologetically, both native-born Americans and immigrants, to fly Old Glory, watch the fireworks and sing patriotic songs, let’s remember that when anyone tries to claim that America is an evil, irredeemable, racist nation that needs to be “fundamentally transformed,” they have the First Amendment right to say it, but they deserve no more serious consideration of their ignorant views from intelligent adults than do any other prattling children.

Yes, our ancestors were flawed human beings, as are we all. So far, there’s been only one perfect person in the past 2,000 years. But never has there been such a nation that continually strove to overcome its problems and prejudices, that was founded on the government being the servant of the people and not vice versa, that fought a bloody civil war to end slavery, and that has sacrificed so many lives to protect others around the world from oppression and tyranny. For generation after generation, Americans have worked and struggled to create a more perfect union, and to ensure the blessings of liberty and equal opportunity for people of all races and creeds so that the future will forever be brighter than the past. That is worth celebrating!

Our Founding Debate

July 2, 2020

I hope you’re having a great 4th of July week, but between the celebratory fireworks on one hand and the anti-American political fireworks on the other, let’s take just a moment to reflect on what Independence Day really means and how it led to the freedoms and blessings that far too many Americans fail to appreciate these days.

Most historians (not New York Times writers, but real historians) mark the beginning of America as the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. But in truth, there was still a long road to travel before America as we know it came to be. First, of course, there was the matter of fighting a bloody revolution against Great Britain, one where victory was an overwhelming longshot, and win or lose, the leaders risked their lives and fortunes. Victory was followed by more heated battles over what kind of government we would have.

Our Forefathers finally agreed to a blueprint, the Constitution, that wasn’t even introduced until 1789 – over 13 years later. Today, many Americans take those hard-won freedoms very lightly and seem eager to trade them away for false promises of security. Some can’t even name the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Maybe they’d cherish them more if they knew how close they came to not having them at all.

Did you know that the Constitution very nearly got passed without the Bill of Rights? Even some of the wisest of our forefathers thought a Bill of Rights was a dangerous idea. Alexander Hamilton argued that it was risky to list the rights the government couldn’t take away because then, politicians might try to grab any and every power that wasn’t specifically prohibited to them (apparently, the ability to rap wasn’t the only way Hamilton predicted the 21st century). He and many others also felt that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary: since nobody was surrendering their God-given rights by agreeing to the Constitution, there was no need to list them, right? Hamilton wrote, “Why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?”

It’s ironic that Hamilton made that argument. Later on, as the first Treasury Secretary, he cited powers that the Constitution merely implied that the government had in order to take on debt, create a federal bank and impose unpopular taxes. Over a century later, when the federal income tax was passed, some lawmakers wanted to include a 10% limit, but they were voted down. Opponents scoffed that it was absurd to think the government would ever steal as much as 10% of an American’s hard-earned wages. Flash forward just 30 years, and they were happily taxing away 94%. So just imagine how few freedoms we’d have today if they’d listened to Hamilton and decided it wasn’t necessary to put specific limits on government power.

Luckily for us all, Thomas Jefferson won the argument, and the Bill of Rights was added. They even included the 9th amendment, which I’ll bet most people can’t even describe. Here’s what it says:

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

It means that just because some God-given rights aren’t specifically listed, that doesn’t mean the people cede them to the government. Maybe because so many of the framers were also farmers, they understood that like weeds, government tends to grow and grow, choking out the productive crops -- and like a bull, it will trample you if you don’t corral it.

So if we want to preserve our freedoms, and keep government limited, maybe we should send more farmers to Washington -- and fewer lawyers.

Happy Juneteenth

June 19, 2020

Happy Juneteenth, and if you don’t know what that means, you probably will soon. Juneteenth (for “June 19th”) has been a popular holiday throughout the South for well over a century, but the current racial tensions have politicians and corporations around the nation suddenly jumping on the bandwagon to declare it a national or state holiday or paid leave day, only about 150 years late. Here’s what it’s about:

On June 19, 1865, Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3  to the slaves in Galveston, Texas, which informed them that they were free and now had “an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves.” This was 2-1/2 years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth was a Texas celebration for many years, starting in 1866, but ramping up in 1872, when former slaves bought 10 acres of land in Houston to create Emancipation Park, the city's only park and swimming pool open to African-Americans, and the site of a big annual Juneteeth celebration. It gradually spread throughout the South, but most people outside the South knew very little about it until very recently.

Ironically, Juneteenth has finally entered the national consciousness during a summer when the coronavirus has killed mass public gatherings, so the usual barbecues and concerts will mostly be restricted to virtual events, backyards and close family this year.

I know some people will be cynical and call the sudden push for Juneteenth pandering or politics, but as someone who grew up in the South, I can assure you you’re lucky to finally discover Juneteenth. It’s a great holiday that celebrates freedom just as much as the Fourth of July does, and while it’s considered an African-American holiday, it’s something that every American should celebrate. Anything that can get us all back into public parks, celebrating together with music, fireworks, and barbecues, and remind us that people of all races are free and equal in America, is more than welcome now. It's necessary.

The America I Love

June 11, 2020

Right now, the media are dominated by voices claiming that America is a land of racism and hatred, built on oppression and slavery and white supremacy. Well, pardon my language, but they are full of bull flop. There are a handful of bad apples, but it’s a very big barrel, and if we really were to do as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed and judge each other by the content of our characters rather than the color of our skin, I bet we’d mostly find a lot of good, caring people of every shade. If you don’t believe me, turn off all the hyperventilating hate merchants for a moment and look at this story:

Last Thursday, there was a car crash in Indianapolis, and a woman was trapped under an overturned van. Nearby resident Laurie Collins reported on Facebook that she heard the crash and ran to the scene. She said that suddenly, many people “came out of nowhere” to help. Some comforted and reassured the woman and tried to assess her condition while the others determined to lift the van off her somehow. They gathered around, called out, “1...2…3!” But they couldn’t move it. So more guys joined in, and the second time, they did the seemingly impossible: they lifted the van and pushed it off of her.

As you can tell from the photo, and from Collins’ description, there were “all kinds of different people and they were all trying to help together.” Please note that the people who rushed to help were men and women, and all different races. I’m sure many of them didn’t know the race of the victim, and couldn’t care less. When they heard someone was in need, and rushed in, joined together, and all lifted in the same direction to help.

That is the America I love and the American people I know. No matter how many buildings are set on fire or statues are vandalized or phony history books are forced onto students, you will never convince me otherwise.

Feel-good story

June 9, 2020

We need a feel-good story right now, and here’s a great one. In Buffalo, New York, 18-year-old Antonio Gwynn Jr. was so upset by the trashing of his neighborhood by protesters that he grabbed a broom and some trash bags and went to work at 2 a.m., cleaning it up. He worked for 10 straight hours. By the time volunteers arrived to clean up, they found that Antonio had just about finished the job all by himself.

When word spread of what Antonio had done, local businessman Matt Block was so impressed, he saw that Antonio was looking for car-buying advice on his Facebook page, so Block gave him his prized 2004 red Mustang convertible. He didn’t realize how it would affect Antonio, who was stunned into silence because his late mother used to drive a red Mustang.

As word spread, another local businessman kicked in a year of free auto insurance, saying, “I just felt compelled to help him out. We just need to get together our whole city and show people how there’s so many good people here." And Medaille College in Buffalo offered Antonio a scholarship to study business.

Finally, I guess I should mention this: Antonio is black, and Matt is white. But that really should be the least important part of this story.