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Reprinted with permission from AlterNet
Fox News' Tucker Carlson drew widespread condemnation when, in April, he promoted the Great Replacement Theory, a racist belief that is embraced by white supremacists and white nationalists. Some of that condemnation came from the Anti-Defamation League, but Carlson has only doubled down on his views. And he railed against the ADL during a conversation with former Fox News host Megyn Kelly on SiriusXM.
The Great Replacement, a white supremacist/white nationalist conspiracy theory, claims that liberals in western countries are trying to "replace" whites with non-whites. In France, supporters of far-right white nationalist Marine LePen claim that French liberals and progressives are trying to "replace" France's whites by bringing in immigrants from Africa and the Middle East — and Carlson, similarly, has claimed that Democrats and the Biden Administration are trying "to change the racial mix of the country" by bringing in immigrants from developing countries.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has been calling for Fox News to fire Carlson, but that is unlikely to happen — as Carlson enjoys some of Fox's highest ratings and maintains a devoted following on the far right. When Kelly asked Carlson about criticism from the ADL, he responded, "The ADL? Fuck them."
Carlson added that in the past, the ADL "was a noble organization that had a very specific goal, which was to fight anti-semitism, and that's a virtuous goal. They were pretty successful over the years. Now, it's operated by a guy who's just an apparatchik of the Democratic Party."
Continuing to double down on his support for the Great Replacement Theory, Carlson told Kelly, "The Great Replacement Theory is, in fact, not a theory. It's something that the Democrats brag about constantly, up to and including the president. And in one sentence, it's this: Rather than convince the current population that our policies are working and they should vote for us as a result, we can't be bothered to do that. We're instead going to change the composition of the population and bring in people who will vote for us. So, there isn't actually inherently a racial component to it, and it's nothing to do with anti-semitism."
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a far-right Florida Republican and ally of the extremist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, vigorously defended Carlson on Twitter and posted:
.@TuckerCarlson is CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America. The ADL is a raci… https://t.co/800MtDCQvJ— Matt Gaetz (@Matt Gaetz)1632588759.0
Josh Marshall, in response to Gaetz's tweet, posted:
Where the GOP is now, explicitly supports Great Replacement Theory, by name! And calls the ADL racist against white… https://t.co/tSqZZZli5k— Josh Marshall (@Josh Marshall)1632660462.0
Greenblatt recently slammed Carlson for "openly embracing White nationalist talking points" and said, "For Tucker Carlson to spread the toxic, anti-Semitic and xenophobic 'Great Replacement Theory' is a repugnant and dangerous abuse of his platform."
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"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance," the old bumper sticker says. Yet for decades, national and state lawmakers have flaunted their ignorance of what makes a good society by stupidly shortchanging our investment in our youngest minds. At the same time, corporate and governmental policymakers have intentionally rigged our economic and political systems to hold down workers' incomes even while their living expenses rise. The result is that mothers and fathers alike are herded into whatever jobs or jobettes are available — just to make ends meet. This leaves young children to ... what?
Let's be clear: Caring for children is expensive. Kids are labor-intensive — assuming, that is, the goal is not merely to keep the little creatures watered, fed and restrained, but actually cared for intellectually, emotionally and socially. Today, only the wealthy can purchase primo attention from private providers and, thanks to ever-attentive lawmakers, the rich even enjoy a special tax-break loophole for their nannies. But workaday families — especially the majority stranded on the lower rungs of the economic ladder — are mostly on their own when it comes to child care.
For our society to rank up with other developed countries, there is no shortcut. We must choose to make a significant public investment to sustain an egalitarian system of quality child care ... or maintain our present "We don't care" policy toward our kids.
As inadequate as today's "care" network is, it's only fair to note that the rickety thing actually is heavily subsidized. Not by government, but by the caregivers hired by center owners to tend to the children! Most of these providers are paid less than $11 an hour — on par with parking lot attendants and less than many dog walkers. The hours are long, the ratio of children-to-caregivers tends to be impossibly high, job stress is severe and staff support is meager.
Even as the need for care has soared in recent years and centers' fees have climbed, pay for caregivers (overwhelmingly women and mostly low-income women of color) has stayed flat. Benefits and job security? Get real. Usually, workers' wages are so low that they can't afford to enroll their own children in the centers where they attend to others' young ones. Training and career development? The U.S. model does not consider caregiving a profession or a career.
A mind-warping brainteaser: What country set the gold standard for high-quality, universal child care? Hint: The very one that now fails so pathetically, stupidly and shamefully to meet that crucial need. Yes, it's the mighty USA!
It came at the onset of America's commitment to World War II. With masses of men deployed, masses of women were called to rev up economic production by working as everything from engineers to Rosie Riveters. Their children? Believe it or not, our government responded directly and effectively by passing the Lanham Act in 1943. The new law treated child care as a core component of our nation's infrastructure, key to a unified war effort. This was a national/local government partnership that set up and staffed a publicly subsidized network of more than 3,000 Lanham Act preschool centers all across America, open to all.
These weren't mere child-minding barns, but full-scale teaching and nurturing centers that paid for accredited teachers and staff and trained them in childhood education. The program was widely affordable: For about $.50 a day (equivalent to less than $8 today) a child could get 12 hours of quality care. Twelve hours! The fee included lunch and snacks; the centers operated all day, year-round, reached families in 47 states and aimed at a 1-to-10 teacher-student ratio. Subsequent studies found the program enormously beneficial to the well-being of children, parents, communities and the nation.
So, of course, right-wing extremists killed it. After the war, they loudly insisted that women return to housewifery and that the government get out of child care. Succumbing to their pressure, President Harry S. Truman axed the budget for the Lanham Act centers shortly after Japan surrendered in 1945.
To find out more about Jim Hightower and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.