Tucker Carlson Thinks You’re Stupid

The New York Times* reports on how. . .

“. . . a right-wing media world that typically moves in lock step with the president has struggled to reconcile Mr. Trump’s surprise escalation with his prior denunciations of open-ended conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Adding:

“Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, said that he and other supporters of the president were still hunting for an effective defense. ‘This is a very complicated issue, and the people who support President Trump, from Tucker Carlson all the way to Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, are really trying to work through this,’ Mr. Bannon said on Monday. ‘What you’re seeing now — live on television, live on radio — is people working through what this means.”

Carlson broke ranks with his fellow Fox News nutters this way:

‘It’s hard to remember now, but as recently as last week, most people didn’t consider Iran an imminent threat,’ Mr. Carlson said at the start of his Monday show, going on to mock Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for saying intelligence agencies had identified an undefined Iranian threat. ‘Seems like about 20 minutes ago, we were denouncing these people as the ‘deep state’ and pledging never to trust them again without verification,’ Mr. Carlson told viewers, eyebrow arched. ‘Now, for some reason, we do trust them — implicitly and completely.'”

The Times summarizes:

“Just as the political world was caught off guard by the killing of General Suleimani, so was the conservative media complex. As reports of the missile strike in Baghdad that killed the general emerged on Thursday, Mr. Hannity phoned into his Fox News show from vacation to offer vociferous praise. That same night, Mr. Carlson warned his viewers that ‘America appears to be lumbering toward a new Middle East war.'”

Credit where credit is due, it’s nice that Carlson occasionally demonstrates independent thought.

But all is not well with him. The Times again:

“After his Monday segment on General Suleimani, he introduced a five-part series, ‘American Dystopia,’ chronicling urban decay in San Francisco.”

Because I find it weirdly entertaining, I watch an occasional Fox News segment. Lo and behold, Monday night I caught the first part of “American Dystopia”. Granted there is a lot of competition for this, and I am only a sporadic viewer, but the segment may very well have been the low point in Fox News television history. At least I nominate it for that.

It was only about 7-10 minutes long. It consisted of an interview with a policewoman who was repeatedly asked what would happen if particular crimes were committed in San Fransisco. Her default answer “you’d be issued a citation” was supposed to highlight the utter failure of progressive social policies. Other viewers and I were supposed to be disgusted by the lax enforcement of criminal laws, but anyone who has paid any attention to what the most informed people working with addicts have to say knows that criminalizing drug use has proven totally ineffective.

Carlson intimated that if we just incarcerated every heroin user the problem would be solved.

The video footage was something you’d expect from a crew of middle school students reporting on urban decay. . . repeated close ups of syringes and repeated close ups of human feces. Over and over to give the impression the entire city was overrun by needles and human waste.

No context was provided for where the footage was shot, how big of an area it was, and whether it was even close to representative of the entire city. Viewers were supposed to conclude that every block in San Fransisco has an assortment of troubled drug addicts on its sidewalks, who, along with other people, randomly shit on the same sidewalks.

It’s weird how San Fransisco’s real estate is among the most expensive in the country when all of its streets are lined with syringes and shit.

Of course, in this case, Carlson is carrying the President’s water, using absolute bullshit reporting in an attempt to tarnish the Speaker of the House, who continually gets the better of the President.

I’m sure Pelosi would be the first to admit that San Fransisco isn’t perfect and that homelessness is a tough, tough challenge. That’s just demonstrating a firm grasp of reality, something Fox News, Carlson more often than not, and the President find difficult.

*sorry Domingo

I Don’t Understand

It will come as no surprise to people who know me that I’m often befuddled. I might even go so far as to say befuddlement is my default state-of-mind.

Why I wonder, do drivers do 35 mph when merging onto the damn freeway?

Why I wonder, in team sports, do analysts and fans talk incessantly about Most Valuable Player candidates?

Why I wonder, does the President’s base blame liberal Dems for being arrogant when Trump tweets “No President has ever achieved so much in so little time.”?

Why I wonder, are some people so susceptible to authoritarian, narcissistic cult figures? And why is Bikram still a free man? And why are people in Mexico and Spain still studying yoga with him when it’s been proven he’s a sexual predator/rapist?

Why I wonder, when no athlete has ever achieved so much in so little time, am I not taken seriously as a Most Valuable Player candidate?

 

 

What Evangelicals Want (For Now)

After attending my first Quaker meeting in North Carolina 25 years ago, someone approached me. “You know,” he said with a hushed voice, “we’re not going to invite you back.” It wasn’t rude, the message was simply, “Cool if you return, cool if you don’t.”

Evangelicals are the opposite, their whole raison d’être is to persuade others to believe and behave like them. So when it comes to immigration, what do they want non-believers, Quakers, more social justice minded Christians, and the huddled masses to believe?

In “Why Rank-And-File Evangelicals Aren’t Likely To Turn On Trump Over Family Separation”, fivethirtyeight.com explains that for now they want everyone to just “. . . obey the the law and defer to the president’s authority.”

“Robert Jeffress, the pastor of Dallas’s First Baptist Church and a strong Trump supporter, told FiveThirtyEight that the separation of children from their parents was ‘disturbing’ but quickly added that Trump has the “God-given responsibility” to secure the border in the way he deems appropriate and punish people breaking the law, even if it appears harsh.”

When the national political pendulum inevitably swings, and a newly elected liberal president promotes more progressive immigration policies possibly including amnesty, don’t expect Robert Jeffress to wax philosophic about deferring to the president’s “God-given responsibility”.

Jeffress isn’t saying Trump is advocating exactly what evangelicals think Jesus might if he were advising on immigration policy today. In fact, I don’t think he’s referencing Jesus’s interactions with the poor and dispossessed at all. He’s saying everyone should respect the authority of the president because us evangelicals share his views on immigrants.

What are those views?

“. . . polling on white evangelical Protestants has shown that they’re more likely than any other religious group to support hardline immigration policies and to have negative views of immigrants overall. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 70 percent of white evangelical Protestants are in favor of expanding the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.”

Does crossing the border illegally give evangelicals cart blanche for thinking of immigrants negatively? How does that justify their “hardline immigration policies” given Jesus’s preference for the poor, the downtrodden, the illegal? Evangelicals, what’s the biblical basis for your viewing immigrants so negatively?

“These findings line up with results from other surveys too, like a 2017 poll from the Public Religion Research Institute that found that white evangelical Protestants were the only religious group in which a majority (57 percent) said they’re bothered when they encounter immigrants who don’t speak English. They were also the likeliest to say that they have little or nothing in common with immigrants.”

I wonder if Jesus was bothered by people who spoke different languages? I wonder if he felt like he had little or nothing in common with those crossing borders. Also, I wonder how many evangelicals really know any immigrants on a personal level. My guess is, for the vast majority, immigrants are abstractions largely created by conservative news outlets that play on their default fear of the unfamiliar. Do evangelicals have more than sporadic, cursory, largely economic interactions with immigrants?

I’m lucky to be married to someone who teaches numerous immigrants English. A few have become family friends. The one distinguishing characteristic among all of them is their incredible work ethic. I find that, coupled with their desire to improve their families’ lives, tremendously inspiring.

“Daniel Cox, the research director at PRRI, said these findings help explain why evangelicals aren’t likely to abandon Trump over the child separation crisis, even if they’re troubled by it. ”More than other groups, white evangelical Protestants seem to perceive immigrants as a threat to American society,’ he said. ‘So even if they don’t like this particular policy, they’re on board with Trump’s approach to immigration in general, and that makes it likelier that they’ll see this as a tactical misstep rather than a breaking point.'”

How will evangelicals’ “hardline immigration policies” impact their efforts to fulfill their destiny by continuously adding to their fold? They must hope to convince potential converts that immigrants are a detriment to our nation’s well-being. And to ignore our nation’s history. And to fear cultural differences. And to defer to this President’s authority (but probably not the next).

Good luck with that. Thomson-DeVeaux concludes, “Hardline immigrant policies won’t necessarily work forever.”

“Past PRRI polling has shown that younger white evangelicals are much likelier than older white evangelicals to believe that immigrants strengthen the country or to agree that immigrants are the victims of discrimination, which may reduce their support for restrictionist immigration policies in the long term.”

When it comes to evangelicalism, the future can’t come quick enough.