Erick Erickson from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 19 Sep 2020 21:37:53 -0700 Erick Erickson from Creators Syndicate 7dce2a1503d11885952a15bfe1637247 Peace in the Middle East for 09/18/2020 Fri, 18 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I have noted before that I grew up in Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates. From 1980-1990, my family lived in an ungated community in the middle of the city down the street from the Iranian Hospital with the Jumeirah American School just one long block up the road. We walked to school every day.</p> <p>The school changed its name to the American School of Dubai the year after I graduated. It moved locations. The current school at the old location is the Jumeirah Baccalaureate School. My old house is all that remains of my neighborhood. The whole place got leveled and rebuilt, except my house on the corner at 27 Sheikh Rashid Villas, which is now No. 39 on 32b Street, Dubai, UAE. The only reason my house remained is because it became a doctor's office some time after we moved home in the run up to the first Gulf War.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Growing up, our history and geography textbooks all had pages missing or redacted. Anything that referenced Israel got taken out by censors. Maps of the Eastern Mediterranean had Israel either relabeled as Palestine or simply scribbled out with black Sharpie.</span><p>Updated: Fri Sep 18, 2020</p> 81f93e0535f39a7a7a3947a926d9eda3 A Complicated Virus for 09/11/2020 Fri, 11 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The President purportedly withheld bad news about the coronavirus to avoid a panic and, in so doing, allegedly cost American lives. That is what the American media and the Democrats claim. Meanwhile, a reporter had all of this on tape and withheld this very newsworthy item, even as bodies were piling up in freezer trucks parked by overrun morgues, just so he could make a buck.</p> <p>My outrage is exhausted over all angles of the virus story except this one: A self-aware and self-reflective media would be absolutely crucifying Bob Woodward for withholding these audio records as American bodies piled up, but like carrion-eating animals, they will continue picking at the corpse of virus coverage instead of ever turning on their own.</p> <p>The American news media is less trusted and less popular than either the President of the United States or poop in a pool, and this is why: Bob Woodward could have released the tapes after concluding his interviews with the President. He chose instead to hold on to them for money.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 11, 2020</p> 5d09476048e54ef6bc7186123f625e0d The Violence Is Not New for 09/04/2020 Fri, 04 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In 2008, around the time of the Republican National Convention, a white 20-something male approached the Texas Governor's Mansion and threw a Molotov cocktail at it. The mansion burned down. The case remains unsolved, though federal and state authorities have long presumed it was a left-leaning anarchist. In fact, around the same time, left-wing anarchists were fighting police in the streets of St. Paul, Minnesota, during the GOP's convention, and some plotted to go back to Texas to commit acts of violence.</p> <p>In 2010, Andrew Joseph Stack crashed a plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. Members of the media immediately concluded he must have been a deranged tea party activist. In fact, Stack was both a nut and a Marxist whose suicide note attacked corporations and the Catholic Church.</p> <p>Also in 2010, John Patrick Bedell opened fire at the Pentagon. Some in the media jumped to the conclusion the shooter was of the tea party. But the Christian Science Monitor noted Bedell was an "anti-Bush registered Democrat who believed 9/11 was planned and carried out by the US government."<p>Updated: Fri Sep 04, 2020</p> 6a29c54edae389c33635889cfa7e4351 The Bounce and the Aftermath for 08/28/2020 Fri, 28 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If the election were held today, Joe Biden would most likely win. Democrats could probably capture the Senate. The problem for Democrats is that the election is not today and the Republicans have had a good convention.</p> <p>After the Democrats' convention, President Donald Trump went up five points with independent voters in a CBS News poll. I am hard-pressed to find previous conventions where one candidate got a bump from the other candidate's convention. Trump has drawn close to Biden in swing state polls. Polling averages in several key states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, have Trump closer to Biden right now than Trump was against Clinton.</p> <p>That has Democrats concerned, and rightly so. Republicans orchestrated a convention that left much of the media and Democrats screaming, but the convention was never for them, anyway. The convention was not really even for the Republican base. It was for voters who may not like Trump but do like a lot of his policies. It was for voters who like Biden but harbor concerns about progressivism.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 28, 2020</p> 6ca3bdfa3d5b9eeaa83528928079f607 The Abraham Accords for 08/21/2020 Fri, 21 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The Israel-United Arab Emirates news is actually much bigger than the American press is reporting. President Donald Trump actually does deserve a great deal of credit, and if the deal were reported accurately, he would get that credit.</p> <p>But the issue is larger than even that, and the American media has totally missed the bigger story.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 21, 2020</p> 68c60e793dd351a567b8ef274af22abf The Harris Problem for 08/14/2020 Fri, 14 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>With the announcement of Sen. Kamala Harris as Joe Biden's vice presidential pick, Democrats and the press would have us believe she is a safe, moderate choice. They would have us believe that Harris is pragmatic, to the right of Sen. Elizabeth Warren and grounded in the establishment &#8212; someone who who will not rock the boat. Some on the right are pointing to activists on the left who are unhappy with this pick. But Harris and Warren were the two choices who could very much ensure that people who do not like President Donald Trump will go vote for Trump, or at least not vote for Biden.</p> <p>Vice presidential picks do not generally matter, but many voters think Biden will not last a term. That sounds crass, but it is true. Voters look at Harris as a possible future president, not just filler to lock down part of the base. She actually matters more than Vice President Mike Pence or, frankly, Joe Biden when he was Barack Obama's vice president.</p> <p>As for Harris herself, the problem is not that she is too progressive. It is that she is no leader. She is a follower of the woke mob. Harris can easily be led by the mob to do bad things.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 14, 2020</p> 2d9f8ffed221bb962c28baccf571f955 Reality and Hope for 08/07/2020 Fri, 07 Aug 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A reader emailed to ask, "An honest question: how do you balance opinion vs. hope. As a pastor I always emphasize hope (though admittedly I am offering Christ) yet I also clearly emphasize reality. ... Yet the question remains: where does responsibility lie with those who speak publicly & are heard?"</p> <p>Whether writing my daily emails, newspaper columns or the five hours a day of radio I do, I try to start with reality. A frustration of mine for years has been the media treating the conservative movement and Republican Party as the same. They are, in my mind, distinct entities that live in a symbiotic relationship.</p> <p>Lately, however, much of the conservative movement exists only to advance President Donald Trump. It is no longer distinct. Many of the institutional and outside voices of conservatism have abandoned their distinct credibility to serve as cheerleaders for Trump in ways they would never have dared less than two decades ago when George W. Bush was President. In 2008, conservatives mounted efforts to fight Bush's bailouts of General Motors and American financial institutions, arguing, among other things, that bailing them out would create moral hazards.<p>Updated: Fri Aug 07, 2020</p> c1235e662cd303e0be83ce6d5f058170 The Inconvenience of Neighborliness for 07/31/2020 Fri, 31 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A legal scholar tested Jesus and asked simply, "Who is my neighbor?" </p> <p>In reply, Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.''" &#8212; Luke 10:30-35.</p> <p>The story of the good Samaritan is Jesus' way of telling us to have mercy on and compassion for our fellow man. Sometimes, we must burden ourselves to protect and take care of strangers among us, or even those who we would not like in normal times.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 31, 2020</p> cecb873be0cdc032f0d8ffdb9039a354 Let the Cities Burn (or Not) for 07/24/2020 Fri, 24 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>There is no police power in the federal Constitution. The police power is left to the states. To the extent the President can send federal officers into Portland, Oregon, and other cities, it should be to protect federal property.</p> <p>The President cannot save Portland from itself, and he should not. He cannot save the other cities either.</p> <p>I want a mask mandate, but there is no federal police power for the President to impose it. It must come from governors, who have more expansive police powers than your average libertarian-leaning person would have you believe.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 24, 2020</p> 4cb58325e33d5d9e5066f795002767a1 Responsibility and Tribalism for 07/17/2020 Fri, 17 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In February and early March, the experts on television, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the surgeon general and others were adamant that only sick people need to wear masks. It would do the public no good to have a run on masks, and if they did, first responders would be deprived of masks.</p> <p>The claim continued until it did not. When experts shifted their opinions, the media failed to fully explain why the information had changed, how it had changed and what was different. Instead, the press decided to shame those who would not wear masks, shame the President for not mandating masks and yell about the need for masks.</p> <p>A little humility from the press on this issue could have gone a long way. Instead, they took an issue for which there had been conflicting medical advice and made it a tribal, partisan issue. When people began protesting in April to reopen, members of the press and pundits shamed the protestors and blamed them for a projected spread of the virus that did not come. Some progressive first responders took to the streets to block the paths of these protestors and shame them.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 17, 2020</p> 53650803116e91d74ac2b8aa0f2de512 Restrainer in Chief for 07/03/2020 Fri, 03 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Believe it or not, John Roberts handed conservatives two big wins at the Supreme Court last week, just not the win they wanted. Roberts gutted the Consumer Financial Protection Board and beefed up the argument for the unitary executive. Roberts, in effect, expanded the power of presidents to exercise control over appointees of independent executive branch agencies. The long-term ramifications are significant and structural. He also led the Court in striking down a Montana Supreme Court decision that barred religious schools in Montana from taking advantage of public tax dollars for tuition payments. Nonreligious private schools could participate, but religious ones could not. This is a big religious liberty win.</p> <p>But Roberts also sided with the Court's liberals to strike down an abortion case in Louisiana. He would concur not in their reasoning but in their judgment. Roberts took a position based on stare decisis and essentially argued that legislatures putting unnecessary obstacles in the way of exercising rights must be restrained by courts. We will see him pull that language back out in a Biden presidency when the Democrats want to curtail the Second Amendment.</p> <p>To understand Roberts, understand his handling of the "Obamacare" case. In that case, leading up to the 2012 election, Roberts upheld the Affordable Care Act on grounds no other justice on the Court agreed with but used reasoning that would make it easy for a President Mitt Romney to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. He chose to be the ultimate unaccountable politician by doing so in a way that took the Supreme Court out of the fighting.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 03, 2020</p> 3fe5cf6bf47a757ba3bb37f3b0b6c04a The Theology of the Protests for 06/26/2020 Fri, 26 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In Romans 8:18-25, Paul writes that all creation is groaning for a glory that will be revealed. He urges people to put their hope in what is not yet seen because hope in things seen is not true hope. When Paul writes about the glory that is to be revealed, he is writing about the apocalypse, which means a revelation. The things unseen will become seen. Every day moves us closer to that revealing. We do not know the day, but we get closer each day, and all of creation groans for it. </p> <p>When we first become aware as children, we begin to question things. We hear that voice that comes from our soul asking why we are here; what is our purpose; is there something better; and why is this world so upended and undone and unjust and unfair.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The world calls back that there is no purpose.</span> When we die, the worms eat us, and the secret to happiness is the struggle to bring a heaven that does not really exist to an earth that does. Over time, in many places and in many ways, many people stop listening to that voice and start listening to the world.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 26, 2020</p> a968da71182d5d51b78e38abc3a3f945 Break Up Google for 06/19/2020 Fri, 19 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Google has reached a level of monopolization that needs to be taken seriously as a threat to freedom, the free exchange of ideas and political diversity.</p> <p>Follow along with the logic of your average "woke" Google employee. These employees have been openly arguing for a few years now that Google needs a diverse array of employees shaping Google's algorithms, or Google will only present to consumers certain information that might exclude diverse views or information.</p> <p>Concurrently, these same employees have argued that Google need not entertain conservative thoughts or ideas. It was not that long ago that Google employees revolted at the idea of Kay Cole James, a black female and president of the Heritage Foundation, sitting on a Google advisory board designed to ensure diversity in Google's artificial intelligence practices.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 19, 2020</p> 1e620ee8d78edb02e9d8477bb3c4b60a The Forgotten Ones for 06/12/2020 Fri, 12 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A man emailed me last week, and his email cut me to the core. He said he was really angry about the Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd deaths, but not for the reason the rest of us are. He, a black, middle-class man, lives with his wife and children on the edge of a crumbling neighborhood. They are saving to move.</p> <p>He is angry because white people are suddenly realizing what he has always known, but white people are still refusing to look at the rest of the problem. White liberals who are suddenly railing about the police unions protecting police are unconcerned about teachers unions protecting teachers. His children are academically successful in a public school. He acknowledges teachers can only do so much when kids are coming in from broken families and were up all night listening to gunshots. But he also knows from his community how many of the kids could do better with better teachers.</p> <p>He is angry about the failure of public schools and the unwillingness of rich white people across the political spectrum to let him use his tax dollars to send his kids to better schools. He is angry about white people talking about the violence in Chicago but taking no action and deciding that is a conversation best left "to the black community." He is angry at the health care system for failing black communities, and he is angry at the black communities for failing themselves.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 12, 2020</p> cde7051242619d392a50011cfd2ac5ab The Status Quo of Virtue Signaling for 06/05/2020 Fri, 05 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>All lives actually do matter. A sports announcer last week lost his job for using the phrase "all lives matter" instead of "black lives matter." Our cultural superiors insist on certain phraseology these days, or else. It is just another effort in the culture war to make you care and think in particular ways. </p> <p>The phrase "all lives matter" came about in pushback to aggressive efforts a few years ago by Black Lives Matter activists. This statement of fact is now presumed to be a calling card of white supremacists. </p> <p>On Tuesday, people rushed to social media to add black squares. Major corporations shut down their websites. People protested in the streets. I saw more than one person shamed for innocently using the phrase "all lives matter" or, as a worse offense, putting up a picture other than a black square on Instagram.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 05, 2020</p> 4044fdcc26f6b63a445a66ffe5413a02 The President Needs to Focus on Reelection for 05/29/2020 Fri, 29 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In May of 2001, a young congressional staffer went missing in Washington, D.C. Her name was Chandra Levy. She had been murdered in a park in Washington, and her remains were not found until a year later.</p> <p>During the course of the investigation, the Washington police discovered Levy might have been having an affair with then California Rep. Gary Condit. Media speculation went rampant, especially after Levy's body was found in 2002 &#8212; a midterm election year. Condit went on to lose his race.</p> <p>A few months after Levy died, a young woman working in the Fort Walton Beach, Florida, office of then Rep. Joe Scarborough fell over dead in his office. On July 20, 2001, Lori Klausutis' body was found. She had fallen over, struck her head and died. The coroner determined she had an undiagnosed heart condition, which had caused her to collapse.<p>Updated: Fri May 29, 2020</p> e5f0956f11f4181743f5360fd69a9fb0 #BelieveAllJournalists for 05/22/2020 Fri, 22 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When COVID-19 began impacting the United States, a vocal minority of conservatives began making statements that wound up being betrayed by the truth. For example, a recurring sentiment had been that the virus was nothing more than "a bad flu." Many compared it to H1N1, the swine flu.</p> <p>In the 2009-2010 swine flu outbreak, approximately 12,000 Americans died in a year. In the current outbreak, over 80,000 Americans have died in 10 weeks. Some would argue the numbers are overstated, but none will venture to guess how many are overstated. Even assuming a 50% overstatement, in 10 weeks, COVID-19 has killed many more people than the swine flu did in a year.<p>Updated: Fri May 22, 2020</p> 5b15f09cc457ec3e5ed6e505e3ca9a29 What Is Truth? for 05/15/2020 Fri, 15 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>When Jesus of Nazareth appears before Pilate in Jerusalem, Jesus tells Pilate that "Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." (John 18:37) Pilate responds with one of the most famous questions in history, "What is truth?"</p> <p>In postmodern America, where people now talk about <i>your</i> truth and <i>their</i> truth instead of <i>the</i> truth, it is a question that needs some real attention. The conservative movement needs to do a better job of focusing on the question. Too many hucksters are twisting the truth to keep people riled up and enraged instead of providing answers.</p> <p>In Georgia, Ahmaud Arbery is dead. Two men, Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael, attempted to stop Arbery for supposedly breaking into a home. The men pulled guns, a struggle ensued, and Travis McMichael shot Arbery, who died at the scene.<p>Updated: Fri May 15, 2020</p> d351da9060f367e838adc60896414d3c The Jailed Businesswoman for 05/08/2020 Fri, 08 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Shelley Luther is a small-business owner of a hair salon in Dallas. Struggling to make ends meet, Luther defied her local government and reopened her hair salon. She was fined, and she persisted. A court then found her in contempt for defying local orders and sent her to jail. On Thursday, the Texas Supreme Court ordered her released. It should have never gotten that far. Luther should not have gone to jail for opening her hair salon. It is a remarkable overreach against a woman struggling to get by and take care of her family.</p> <p>Also, Luther should not have reopened her business.<p>Updated: Fri May 08, 2020</p> 223944755779f33dd4a9e182baf59940 COVID-19 Trutherism for 05/01/2020 Fri, 01 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A lot of people seem to believe that the death toll of COVID-19, now over 60,000 in the United States, is exaggerated and that the virus is far more common and widespread than previously believed. To be sure, it appears the virus is more widespread than initially believed. However, it is not nearly as widespread as some claim. The initial antibody studies were flawed, and there is evidence some of the antibody tests were just bad, triggering a positive result based on the common cold.</p> <p>We should acknowledge that Congress has provided a financial incentive for hospitals to over inflate deaths from COVID-19. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act recently passed by Congress, hospitals will get 20% more Medicare/Medicaid money based on treatment for COVID-19 as a primary or a secondary infection.</p> <p>That 20% add-on payment has allowed a number of people to claim all the deaths are exaggerated and things are not so bad. While some are pushing the idea that the virus really is no worse than a bad flu, there is also plenty of data suggesting governments are undercounting deaths. Reporting separately, both The New York Times and the Financial Times note urban areas around the world have seen similar spikes in deaths at home. Subtract out the averages for people dying of heart attacks, strokes and other events in those areas, and there is still a larger and largely unexplained spike in people dying. This reasonably does suggest COVID-19 is killing people at home. Many of these unexplained deaths involved respiratory distress.<p>Updated: Fri May 01, 2020</p>