The Reparations Gambit

I have been waiting for this ball to drop for a long time.  I thought maybe that 2014 would be the year that the Democrats would pull the electoral ripcord on the reparations issue, but they seemed to drop the ball on it and suffered in the elections accordingly.  Then in 2016 I thought Hillary would pull reparations out of her purse (it was right beside the hot sauce) and close the enthusiasm gap among black voters.  But she was so confident that she couldn’t lose that she decided it could stay in her purse.  Like Trump was really going to beat her?  After all, once you pull the reparations card, it’s out for good.  You can’t change your mind and stick in back in your oversized purse.

But now the issue is out, and it looks like 2020 will be the first Presidential election year (and forever more) that reparations become a real political issue. According to The New York Times, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Julián Castro have all come out in support of some type of reparations.  They are rather vague on the details and price tag, but eh, it’s still early, and besides, those sorts of details are not very important or at least no more important than details and price tag for a “Green Deal.”

By the time we get to the nomination, some form of reparations will be part of the candidate’s agenda and part of the Democratic Party platform.  And it can join the other trillion dollar promises, like Medicare for all, Green Dreams, Universal Basic Income (UBI), Universal Daycare, Free College, and the hundreds of other spending fantasies.  However unlike the other high dollar promises, reparations promise to be eternally racially divisive.

Just what this country needs.

To be fair, slavery reparations do have the tug of moral authority to them.  In a perfect world, I would support them myself. A great evil was done and there should be some sort of compensation for it. However it’s 150 years later. There is no one alive that was a slave, and the practicalities of coming up with a fair and just system to compensate their descendants seem pretty daunting.  I’ve thought long and hard on this subject myself and have yet to figure out a way, or have read of any such plan, that would be workable and just.

Never has the devil been more in the details of a policy than in reparations.  If Abraham Lincoln’s Freedman’s Bureau had been allowed to continue its work, and the newly freed slaves had gotten their 40 acres and a mule, this issue would have been one and done.  But now, who do you compensate?  If, for example, you have theoretical reparations of a $50,000 credit, to be applied to either college or home down payment (the two gateways to the middle class), do you give it to the man, his, son, or his son (assuming all living)?  Should it be given to the oldest living relative in a family, or the youngest?  Or do you just give it to every descendant of slaves from now on?

Of course, that means Barrack Obama, Colin Powell, or Kamala Harris would be entitled to zero reparations since none of them are descendants of American slaves. What about Malia Obama, the President’s daughter?  Would she get half of reparations? And how would you determine eligibility?  There are probably a lot of African Americans who would have a great deal of difficulty laying their hands on all of the documentation necessary to prove ancestry from the slaves freed in 1865.  So would you just go by skin color? Self Identification? DNA?  Imagine, Rachel Dolezal being eligible for reparations. Or imagine the millions of white people with sub-Saharan ancestry thanks to DNA testing, who want their piece of the reparations pie.  If the one drop rule is good for the goose…

But in a way, the very difficulty in figuring out the right policy is a feature, not a bug.  It’s more useful as an issue than an actual policy. And with the added benefit of being racially divisive, it’s the perfect issue for Democrats to run on in 2020.

And every election thereafter.


Jussie Smollett’s New Martyrdom

I’ve had a fascination with hate hoaxes, ever since I followed, and was fooled by, the OG of racial hate hoaxes, Tawana Brawley. The key element of believability (at least in those innocent times) was who would actually do that to themselves?  She has to be telling the truth.  I mean, who writes racial slurs on their bodies and covers themselves in feces?  After a long, publicity laden story, it turned out that Tawana Brawley did.  As memory serves, I was genuinely shocked at that revelation. But the Tom Wolfe novel come to life that describes the entire sordid tale is still a well-known story and is still the template for numerous racial hoaxes over the years.

However once the cherry is busted on the idea that people will do damn near anything to claim the mantle of righteous victim, these stories become a predictable source of entertainment.  In fact a few years ago I wrote a post summarizing some of the best (IMHO) hate hoaxes for the year.  Two from the list come to mind as hoaxers that were really willing to go the distance to pull this off:

Charlie Rodgers (Charlie is a girl), an ex-college basketball star who made the false claim that she was raped by attackers who carved anti-gay slurs into her.  Under the slightest bit of police investigation, the story fell apart and wonder of wonders; she actually got jail time for it.  But I direct you to the dedication she showed to her craft:  she actually carved anti-gay slogans into her own skin.  That’s dedication to the cause.  I’m not into giving awards or rating these hoaxes, but if there was a Tawana Brawley award for willing to go the distance to pull off a hoax, I believe Ms. Rodgers would make the short list for that.

But why, you may ask, not the winner?  Could there be another candidate with similar dedication?  You’re darn right!  May I present, Morgan Triplet.  She was determined to have the best presentation at the University of California-Santa Cruz Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues by announcing she was a victim of rape, a real one.  As reported:

“Prosecutors said Friday that Triplett allegedly placed two ads on Craigslist, one requesting someone to shoot her in the shoulder with a small caliber gun in exchange for sex. The second ad was a request for someone to punch, kick and bruise her in exchange for sex. In the ads, placed in the Santa Cruz County region of Craigslist, Triplett also stated that she would not file charges.”

That’s definitely being a good sport about the whole thing.”


And then we come to Jussie Smollett…

The story sounded fishy from the start Two MAGA guys, who watch Empire and actually know who Jussie Smollett is, hang around Chicago at 2 AM during the polar vortex on the off chance that Smollett would leave his apartment in the middle of the night to get a Subway sandwich.  Then when finding him, they…punch him a few times (I’ve never been clear on that), place a clothesline (the “noose”) around his neck, and then leave?  As highly improbable as that story sounded, I guess it was still barely possible.

Except for that “noose.”

For future observers of the racial hate hoax scene, if there is a noose involved, the story is fake.  Lynching and nooses are an overwhelming part of being woke in America.  There is a noose around every corner, and every gun shop or Trump rally is stocked with nooses, ready to go.  In real life, the bulk of the 3,500 or so African Americans who were actually lynched were done by the 1960’s.  But as a symbol, the Noose is just as vibrant as it was a century ago.  In fact, Smollett even hosted a documentary about lynching.  It’s clear he has noose on the mind.

As of this writing, Smollett is still proclaiming his innocence, or perhaps with a bit more clarity, his victim-hood.  Whether his evolving legal situation eventually requires him to publicly fess up or not, my guess is that won’t matter to the many people who still believe him, and any future confessions won’t matter.  Tawana Brawley still has her believers after all.  But even more so now than in Brawley’s time, this is an age in which narrative is more important than truth. At a certain level of wokeness hate hoaxes are not just OK but necessary in order to reveal a greater “truth.”  Or as Dan Rather might have put it, fake but accurate.


Trump Bombed on the Border, Bigley

Last month I wrote a post on Trump’s Mid-Term Report Card, and on the subject of political negotiations, I gave him an F, particularly in the case of the wall and immigration issues, the Wall Street Journal gave a pretty close account of how Trump’s inattention and Congressional leadership’s opposition, allowed the issue to languish until the Democrats won the House.  At that point, it became an impossible dream. Still he persisted…

But to no avail. After initiating the longest shut down in history, the end result of that was Trump signing a bill today that was far worse than if he had never shut down the government at all. Conservative Review had a breakdown of the 5 worst parts of the bill, but in an 1,169 page bill, we will still be discovering Easter eggs even though the bill is already signed.

  1. Less wall than the Democrats had previously agreed to.
  2. Local officials can veto wall portions in their area.
  3. Amnesty (!) for child traffickers and smugglers.
  4. Resettling illegals throughout the country.
  5. Increases low skilled Visa categories.

In other words, this bill sucks.  I would have been angry if Obama or Hillary had signed this sort of garbage, but when the most immigration restrictionist President since Eisenhower signs it, where do you go?

Trump should not have signed this.  Never mind whatever “Emergency Declaration” he thinks may get him more money for the wall sometime in a year or two (assuming it survives all the court challenges).  In the meantime he’s made US immigration law much worse.

He’s looking at another F.

Standing Down as a GOP Tax Policy

It looks to me as if the Democrats have taken their takeover of the House as a permission slip to go crazy.  Ever more crazy policies seem to bubble up from the Democratic political class lately (and I’m not even counting Governor Northram’s call for infanticide in blackface); specifically their tax policies.

The Democrat’s new socialist it girl, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Commie-NY), suggested on 60 Minutes a top tax rate of 70% on the “tippy-tops,” which in English apparently means incomes north of 10 million dollars a year.  Not to be outdone, competing freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Somalia) recommended a 90% income tax rate.  Advocating a 90% tax rate is probably the most normal sounding policy Omar has recommended.  After marrying her brother in an immigration fraud scheme and advocating for leniency for convicted terrorists, a 90% tax rate seems almost quaint.

These of course are joke policies.  Their purpose is to look compassionate, and stoke envy, without accomplishing much of anything.  As an example, National Review took a look at Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% income tax results:

“Representative Ocasio-Cortez floated the idea of limiting the 70 percent tax bracket to incomes over $10 million. My analysis of IRS data shows this would raise only 0.25 percent of GDP — about $50 billion annually — in part because nearly half of the income earned by these 18,000 filers comes in the form of capital gains that would be left outside a 70 percent tax on salary income.

Even $50 billion is surely too high of an estimate, because the kind of people with incomes over $10 million also have teams of accountants and tax lawyers finding every conceivable tax loophole and overseas income shift. “

“…Super-wealthy families often keep their wealth in the form of investments and other assets that can be converted into taxable income on their own schedule. Jeff Bezos may be worth $160 billion, but in 2017 he reportedly paid himself an annual salary of just $81,840, with total compensation (including deductible expenses) of $1.6 million. Taxing 70 percent of all salary and wages above $10 million (or even $1 million) would not even touch the Amazon founder. “

So it’s not even a drop in the bucket to pay for her Medicare for All, Green New Deal, and all the other free goodies AOC ran on.

But then came Elizabeth Warren…

Warren, who announced her candidacy for President yesterday, has beaten them both with a wealth tax. Warren’s wealth tax would apply 2% to individuals with assets over 50 million dollars and 3% for those with assets over 1 billion.  Warren’s wealth tax should raise “$2.75 trillion over a 10-year period from about 75,000 families, or less than 0.1 percent of U.S. households…” 

Now we’re talking about real money.

Of course there is a reason that wealth taxes like this are not common in the industrialized world.  The most obvious of course is that the most powerful people in a country don’t want them. In fact, there are only a handful of countries that do have some sort of version of the wealth tax. Given how donors control the agendas of both parties, it’s hard to imagine how an Elizabeth Warren candidacy goes anywhere, and if it does, how this policy is implemented.  Of course, I’ve been surprised before, not the least by the rapid dip into insanity the Democratic Party has dived into. It’s very possible that by the time we get to the Democratic convention, the wealth tax will be part of the platform.

One can hope…

But what strategy should the GOP use to fight back at tax policies that we know are both crazy and destructive?  I’ve given some thought to this and I’m not sure that the GOP establishment would ever go along with it, but that’s par for the course for a party leadership that’s turned defeat into a talking point.

Consider this:  It’s the near future, and a Democrat controlled House has on the floor Warren’s wealth tax increase.  The vote whips think the votes will be close.  Now if you are the Democratic leadership, you want the vote to fail because the donors don’t want any of this but the Democratic leadership does want the issue to run on.  They’ve assured the donors that they think the Republicans will kill it so not to worry; it’s a great issue for 2020.  The House roll call begins…and the Republicans do not vote.  They vote “present” or whatever it takes to not register a vote against the bill.  So what happens?  The bill passes.

Of course, with the Senate still firmly in GOP hands, this won’t matter, but it sends two wonderful messages to two different groups of political donors:

To the Democrat donors:  You’ve had your cake and eaten it to for too long. You’ve virtue signaled with the Democrats, counting on the party leadership and the Republicans to do your dirty work for you, mainly, killing bills that really threaten your interests. Now the GOP has decided to stop protecting you

To the Republican donors:  We’re either going to be in the majority, or we’re not going to waste our time trying to save you from yourselves.  If you don’t see the threat of real unfettered Democratic control, we’ll show you.  You can help stop it or pay the piper.  PS, it’s cheaper to help stop it.

To be clear, I don’t see any chance of the GOP leadership actually trying this.  They are just too stupid to even consider not only any out of the box thinking, but challenging their donors.  But for the Republicans, the donors are a real problem, and their control over the party is leading it to Paul Ryan-esque doom. Unless another rogue billionaire who doesn’t need donors comes along, the post Trump era may snap back to its former donor driven agenda; a party with plenty of donors, but few voters.

Banned from Twitter!

I never thought it would happen to me but here we are.

And what was the offending tweet? My hate speech?


Although I’ve heard that Twitter had made “Learn to Code” a bannable offense, I didn’t really believe it.  I mean…that’s ridiculous.  All to protect the feelings of blue check marked weasels, masquerading as journalists?

Although Twitter has had a flurry of tweets of journalists getting laid off, I didn’t realize they were a protected class under the Twitter Civil Rights Act.  Particularly in the case of this particular writer, who lied about being an immigrant.  Being here on a Work Visa doesn’t make you an immigrant, it makes you a guest worker.  However being an internet journalist means you can do it from anywhere, even the frozen wilds of Canada.

However given the collapsing market for fake news and listicles, she still should probably learn to code.