Erick Erickson from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 10 Jul 2020 22:00:35 -0700 Erick Erickson from Creators Syndicate 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> 12f16ba602bd0d2d3415a0e46b027bcc Loyalty and Viruses for 04/24/2020 Fri, 24 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A lot of small businesses in Georgia are in desperate straits. The business owners, many of them sole proprietors, make too much to get stimulus checks. They do not qualify for unemployment. Either they got denied payroll protection program money or the fund ran out. </p> <p>These businesses &#8212; barbershops, tattoo parlors, massage therapists &#8212; are services. They cannot mail haircuts or tattoos. They depend on customers. Many of them have longtime clientele. Those businesses are on the verge of going bankrupt while waiting for their customers to come back.</p> <p>Concurrently, hospitals in Georgia are asking for permission to reopen for elective surgeries. The massive wave of COVID-19 patients came in parts of the state, but never at the scale expected or modeled. Field hospitals have been set up, but they remain empty across the state. Intensive care unit capacity, hospital capacity and ventilator capacity never maxed out. The number of daily cases has dropped for a week except for one expected spike. That spike was expected and came because of a nursing home outbreak. The spread of the virus in the community has stopped.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 24, 2020</p> 90ad41a601a8666b06e6fa25d5cc0747 The Clock Is Ticking for 04/17/2020 Fri, 17 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I am in the shelter in place camp. I am also in the camp of thinking we cannot stay sheltered in place for long. I am also in the camp of thinking we must treat this as a regional problem, not a national problem. I am also in the camp of thinking we need the White House to form an articulable plan to help the 50 states reopen.</p> <p>When I was in campaign management, we had a date certain &#8212; the same date every campaign uses, i.e., the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. From there, we worked our way back.</p> <p>When would the ads start? How much would they cost? What would be the mail plan? Where would the ads go? How much? When would we start door to door? How many houses did we need to hit? What about phone banking? How many volunteers versus how many paid staff?<p>Updated: Fri Apr 17, 2020</p> e3f2605adad58acbac8f10f2f53e393e History's Greatest Event for 04/10/2020 Fri, 10 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>We have arrived again at the anniversary celebration of the greatest event in history. Around 2,000 years ago, in a rather routine and inconsequential act for that time, Roman authorities nailed a man to a cross. What happened next is subject to dispute. But since then, most of the world has believed that three days after his execution, the man named Jesus came back to physical life.</p> <p>Whether one believes it happened or not, indisputably, the first Holy Week fundamentally transformed civilization. Today, several billion people globally will celebrate Holy Week. They believe Jesus died for them, rose again from the dead, stayed on the earth for 40 days and then ascended to Heaven. "From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead," as the Apostles' Creed proclaims.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 10, 2020</p> 81ec44bca016c6582d6f0f7fd1e84fc6 A Test of Faith for 04/03/2020 Fri, 03 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I am deeply opposed to the government shutting down churches and arresting preachers. But I am also deeply opposed to churches meeting right now. Let me tell you about Albany, Georgia.</p> <p>There are 490 cases of COVID-19 in Dougherty County, Georgia. The county seat is Albany. There are 29 deaths in the county. For perspective, I started writing this piece on Wednesday, and there were 466 cases and 26 deaths. By the time you read this, the number will be over 500. Dougherty County has 89,000 people, making it, per capita, the hardest-hit part of Georgia and, again per capita, on par with New York City.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 03, 2020</p> 54f3b9c83d557d6c62c2afb2a4ca210c The Press Corps' Sturm und Drang for 03/27/2020 Fri, 27 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If there is one thing we know for certain about the American press corps' interactionwith President Donald Trump, it is that they presuppose him an unserious and very vain dolt. If anyone grabs too much of the spotlight or utters anything disloyal, the President throws them out the door.</p> <p>That is what so much of the press believes. In fact, I suspect some of you readers believe it, too. Certainly, some in the White House believe it. They have tried to exploit it by circulating rumors about various people riding too high in the saddle. The press has tried to drum up divisions between the President and Vice President in this way.</p> <p>How many stories have we read about the Vice President overshadowing the President, operating as a shadow President, etc.? These were not true, but they were circulated like a soap opera to try to spark division in Washington.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 27, 2020</p> f4a009f08abd52150c59e0562517c0c0 The Proper Context for Blame for 03/20/2020 Fri, 20 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>On Monday, March 16, 2020, President Donald Trump took to the podium in the White House pressroom and began to make the case to the American people that the underlying operations of the country must change to stop the growth of the Wuhan coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in the United States.</p> <p>The President wants Americans to end discretionary travel; shelter in place for 15 days; limit gatherings to no more than 10 people; avoid eating at restaurants and bars; and avoid gyms and other recreational spots if the virus is spreading in that community. </p> <p>For several weeks, Democrats and the media blasted the President. At the end of January, the President imposed a travel ban on China. The very media now blasting the President for not taking the matter seriously began to attack the President. According to experts at the time, the President's ban on travel with China would make fighting the virus more difficult. In hindsight, the experts now agree it was the right decision.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 20, 2020</p> 5e9131be807a79cc3077a3e3146bd6a9 Toilet Paper Trumps Stimulus for 03/13/2020 Fri, 13 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>People are beginning to hoard toilet paper. I went on a normal shopping trip to buy toilet paper last week and could not find any because of all the panic-buying. Social media is full of people storming grocery stores and fighting over two-ply. Hand sanitizer is extremely difficult to find. The Clorox plant up the road from me is running 24 hours to keep up with demands.</p> <p>But the toilet paper?</p> <p>The run on toilet paper should be the biggest signal that an economic stimulus plan is not going to work right now. People are being driven by fear, and they are being told to stay out of crowds. People are stocking up on toilet paper because they are convinced they are going to get quarantined or otherwise stuck in their homes.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 13, 2020</p> 3ef79b021d2eba383d36e54c2d6ae26f Applaud the Democrats for 03/06/2020 Fri, 06 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Sen. Bernie Sanders really would be an easier candidate for President Donald Trump to campaign against in November. Sanders is so far left, with a history of burning bridges, that Trump and the Republican Party could easily and deservedly vilify him.</p> <p>The American public got a taste of Sanders, the true believer in communist revolution, when he sat for an interview with Anderson Cooper on "60 Minutes." Sanders praised Cuban dictator Fidel Castro for a literacy program after the Cuban revolution. Never mind that Castro also rounded up dissidents, engaged in mass murder and pulled his people into unending poverty. At least they could read how poor they were.</p> <p>On Tuesday night, across the country, it appeared Democrats mostly rejected Sanders. In states Sanders won, former Vice President Joe Biden came close. In states like Virginia, where Sanders had been ahead in recent polling, Biden decisively crushed him. Sanders got a few good wins, including California. However, even California was closer than it should have been, and in Sanders' home state of Vermont, Biden drew closer than anyone expected he could. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 06, 2020</p> 7efed73c4c63023aeb0e53d84c90ccb2 Voting for Who You Hate to Stop Who You Loathe for 02/28/2020 Fri, 28 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Can we acknowledge no real conservative would vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders over President Donald Trump? If you want, you can sit out because the process grosses you out and you hate them all. But actively voting for a socialist to stop the populist disqualifies you from ever talking about conservatism.</p> <p>You can rationalize it and say that four years of Sanders would be ineffective because of Congressional gridlock, but that can be said of Trump, too. Trump, at least at the regulatory level, has rolled back government, not expanded it. Sanders would undermine the private sector, the free market, churches and individual liberty, without ever involving Congress.</p> <p>Stop posing as a conservative if you are going with Sanders. It'd be far better to sit it out. To go for Sanders is really an admission that your pride is suffering, not the country.<p>Updated: Fri Feb 28, 2020</p> 6592789d000015612123fa8fb1534696 Polling the Polls for 02/21/2020 Fri, 21 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The polls are not wrong. I know many people think polls are wrong, because the polls say things people do not believe. Sure, there are bad pollsters, but polling averages do a pretty good job. Take 2016, the example that comes to mind for a lot of people who say polls are wrong.</p> <p>Hillary Clinton did, in fact, win the popular vote. The final polling average had her winning by 3%. She won by 2%. The polls were right. The problem is that we elect the President with an Electoral College, not a popular vote. The individual polls of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were far more instructive. But individual state polling is hard to do, and it's more expensive.</p> <p>As a general rule, if a poll has the candidates with a gap of 5% or more, those numbers tend to trickle down proportionally at the state level. When polls show candidates with margins of less than 5%, go to individual state polling to get a more accurate reading of a presidential race.<p>Updated: Fri Feb 21, 2020</p>