Idiot Savvy-ant Open Thread: Ross Doubthat Has A Modest Proposal

Ten thousand bucks, cash on the barrelhead, if he never has to hear from You People again. No, really:

Instead of reparations as an addition to our current affirmative-action regime, then, maybe they should be considered as an alternative — one that directly addresses a unique government-sanctioned crime against part of the American people, without requiring a preference regime that makes lower-class white Americans feel like victims of a multicultural version of The Man.

So, this week’s immodest proposal: Abolish racial preferences in college admissions, phase out preferences in government hiring and contracting, eliminate the disparate-impact standard in the private sector, and allow state-sanctioned discrimination only on the basis of socioeconomic status, if at all. Then at the same time, create a reparations program — the Frederick Douglass Fund, let’s call it — that pays out exclusively, directly and one time only to the proven descendants of American slaves.

What would it pay out? Reparations advocates talk in trillions, which would take this already-unrealistic proposal into the realm of the utopian. But right now, giving every single African-American $10,000, perhaps in a specially-designed annuity, would cost about $370 billion, modest relative to supply-side tax plans and single-payer schemes alike. The wealth of the median black household in the United States was $11,200 as of 2013; a $10,000 per-person annuity would more than double it.

In so doing it would hardly eliminate racial disadvantage, but then again neither has 50 years of affirmative action. What it would offer is a meaningful response to an extraordinary injustice, but a response that does not involve permanent discrimination…

How does that man walk around without an umbrella, to protect him from the passers-by continually spitting at him?

I actually checked to make sure this appeared under the actual NYTimes banner — that it wasn’t a spoof site intended to mock revanchist apologists like Our Mr. Douthat. There are so many layers of wrongness to this idea, from the meagreness of his calculations to the voter-ID twist that surely every local authority would accept the testimony of a prospective “beneficiary” as to their ancestry. It would be nice if a qualified professional, like Jamelle Bouie or Ta-Nehisi Coates, were to fisk Douthat the way he deserves… but why should they waste their efforts on such a pitiful specimen?



Doctor, doctor give me the news

Fake analysis!

Republican replacement plans for Obamacare would lead to significant declines in the number of Americans with health insurance coverage, according to an analysis presented Saturday at the National Governors Association and obtained by Vox.

The analysis was conducted by the health research firm Avalere Health and the consulting firm McKinsey and Company.



It’s not personal, it’s strictly business

The right-wing talking points around the Flynn-Trump-Russia-Peepee story are coalescing around this “it’s not Flynn’s actions that are illegal, it’s the leaking about them from anti-Trump forces that’s illegal”. It won’t surprise you to learn that this is Glenn Greenwald’s take on it:

I have nothing special against Glenn Greenwald, and I read and enjoy The Intercept. A few years ago, he posted a spittle-flecked screed against me and against this blog. You can read it for yourself, if you have the time, but the TL;DR is that he’s a rageaholic. And that’s cool. Anger can be power. But it can lead you to funny places. Like hating Hillary Clinton so much that you become a stooge for Trump, and, by extension, a stooge for Vladimir Putin.

Likewise, it wasn’t so long ago that Eli Lake was leading the #NeverTrump charge. Then, after Obama let the UN Resolution criticizing West Bank settlements go through, Lake started frothing at the mouth and also became a stooge for Trump, and, by extension, a stooge for Vladimir Putin.

When Wikileaks was dumping boring minutiae from Hillary Clinton’s emails, most of which were of course secured by Russian hackers, Greenwald thought that leaks were great, sunlight was the best disinfectant, and so on. Now, any leaks against Dear Leader Trump are the work of Deep State traitors who belong in jail. Likewise, when Saint Petraeus was being prosecuted for mishandling intel, Lake thought unauthorized disclosures were nothing less than the “fabric of the national security state”. Now, they’re apparently a threat against the Republic that should be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.

The inconsistency here is so laughable that it’s not worth elaborating on, so I won’t.

I’ve seen this before with a lot of national journalists and pseudo-journalists. For all the lecturing they give people like me about being unserious partisans, you think they might, just for a minute, think about how much of their own agenda is driven by personal hatred and grievances.



Saturday Evening Open Thread: Your Periodic Reminder About Paul Ryan

Donald Trump is sucking up all the media attention, but the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver remains an ongoing threat to everything that is honest and decent in America.


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Apart from continuing the Resistance, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



The four people you meet in hell

A few years ago I did a post about the three different kinds of conservatives in the media. I decided they were:

  1. “Atlas Shrugged” conservatives: Megan McArdle, the Reasonoids, Larry Kudlow, etc.
  2. “Chronicles Of Narnia” conservatives: Ross Douthat, Peggy Noonan, many other Catholic conservatives.
  3. “300” conservatives: Victor David Hanson, war bloggers, any neoconservatives.

I thought it might be time to revisit this classification in the age of Trump. Enough media conservatives have come out against Trump (and, not surprisingly, many even-the-liberals are busily enabling Trump) that I don’t want to make this about conservatives per se but about Trump supporters and enablers. The front page of Reason was almost all anti-Trump today, and Jen Rubin’s column these days could double as a Daily Kos diary, so to start, I’m not putting neoconservatives or Reasonoids on the list…but Megan McArdle will remain, in a different category. And Narnians will also stay in the classification.

Here we go:

  1. Narnians: Peggy Noonan, Rod Dreher (supporters); Ross Douthat (enabler). These are folks who believe that the United States is first and foremost a magical Christian nation. Therefore, Trump is at best Aslan and at worst a boob who was brought to power by left-wing excesses.
  2. Narcissists: Megan McArdle, Charles Lane, Frank Bruni, Nick Kristof. These self-styled centrists can’t let their beautiful minds be consumed by partisanship, so they have to spend as much or more criticizing impolite protesters and the Oberlin student council as they do criticizing Trump. Show business kids making movies of themself, you know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else. It pains me to leave Ron Fournier off this list, but he’s been very tough on Trump.
  3. Nihilists: Bob Woodward, most Republican elected officials, everyone who works at Axios. The nihilists have no political convictions, they only care about access and power. If you haven’t noticed, B Dub is all the way in the tank for Trump. Republican elected officials would give Satan a rim job if it killed the Great Society. Axios has already run a great deal of Satan-sponsored content.
  4. Neo-Nazis: Marc Thiessen, everyone at Breitbart. Needs no explanation. Say what you want about their tenets…


Saturday Evening Open Thread: Guardians of the Galaxy Kakistocracy

Behold, the Trumpworld Gamora and Rocket Racoon! Not shown: Jared Kushner as Star Lord, Paul Ryan as Drax, and Mike Pence as Groot, the semi-sentient ambulatory tree who will be used as a blast barrier by his teammates in the event of blowback.
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Conway is never less than excellent at bullshit! She has the best bullshit!
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Goddess bless the Onion: “White House Staff Reminded To Place Lids Firmly On Trash Cans After Steve Bannon Gets Into Garbage Again“.

Reminder: This is ALL on the Republicans. Thanks, guys!



He Said What ? The Entire Transcript of the President’s Interview with ABC News

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ETA: I will just briefly state that no one in a military or intelligence community setting (uniformed or civilian personnel) will sit down when being addressed by a senior leader until they are told to do so. The President never issued the sit down order of “you may be seated” during his address at Langley. I do not know if this is because no one told him he needed to do so or if he was told and forgot or he just decided not to.

Here’s the entire transcript, including parts of the interview that were not aired, of the President’s interview with ABC’s David Muir:

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, ABC News “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir interviewed President Donald Trump in the White House. The following is a transcript of the interview:

DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, it’s an honor to be here at the White House.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much, David.

DAVID MUIR: Let me ask you, has the magnitude of this job hit you yet?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: It has periodically hit me. And it is a tremendous magnitude. And where you really see it is when you’re talking to the generals about problems in the world. And we do have problems in the world. Big problems. The business also hits because the — the size of it. The size.

I was with the Ford yesterday. And with General Motors yesterday. The top representatives, great people. And they’re gonna do some tremendous work in the United States. They’re gonna build plants back in the United States. But when you see the size, even as a businessman, the size of the investment that these big companies are gonna make, it hits you even in that regard. But we’re gonna bring jobs back to America, like I promised on the campaign trail.

DAVID MUIR: And we’re gonna get to it all right here.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Good.

DAVID MUIR: Mr. President, I want to start — we’re five days in. And your campaign promises. I know today you plan on signing the order to build the wall.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Correct.

DAVID MUIR: Are you going to direct U.S. funds to pay for this wall? Will American taxpayers pay for the wall?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Ultimately it’ll come out of what’s happening with Mexico. We’re gonna be starting those negotiations relatively soon. And we will be in a form reimbursed by Mexico which I will say …

DAVID MUIR: So, they’ll pay us back?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yeah, absolutely, 100 percent.

DAVID MUIR: So, the American taxpayer will pay for the wall at first?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: All it is, is we’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico. Now, I could wait a year and I could hold off the wall. But I wanna build the wall. We have to build the wall. We have to stop drugs from pouring in. We have to stop people from just pouring into our country. We have no idea where they’re from. And I campaigned on the wall. And it’s very important. But that wall will cost us nothing.

DAVID MUIR: But you talked — often about Mexico paying for the wall. And you, again, say they’ll pay us back. Mexico’s president said in recent days that Mexico absolutely will not pay, adding that, “It goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans.” He says …

(OVERTALK)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: David, he has to say that. He has to say that. But I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. And you have to understand what I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico.

We wanna have a very stable, very solid Mexico. Even more solid than it is right now. And they need it also. Lots of things are coming across Mexico that they don’t want. I think it’s going to be a good thing for both countries. And I think the relationship will be better than ever before.

You know, when we had a prisoner in Mexico, as you know, two years ago, that we were trying to get out. And Mexico was not helping us, I will tell you, those days are over. I think we’re gonna end up with a much better relationship with Mexico. We will have the wall and in a very serious form Mexico will pay for the wall.

DAVID MUIR: What are you gonna say to some of your supporters who might say, “Wait a minute, I thought Mexico was going to pay for this right at the start.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I’d say very simply that they are going to pay for it. I never said they’re gonna pay from the start. I said Mexico will pay for the wall. But what I will tell my supporters is, “Would you like me to wait two years or three years before I make this deal?” Because we have to make a deal on NAFTA. We have to make a new trade deal with Mexico because we’re getting clobbered.

We have a $60-billion trade deficit. So, if you want, I can wait two years and then we can do it nice and easily. I wanna start the wall immediately. Every supporter I have — I have had so many people calling and tweeting and — and writing letters saying they’re so happy about it. I wanna start the wall. We will be reimbursed for the wall.

DAVID MUIR: When does construction begin?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: As soon as we can. As soon as we can physically do it. We’re …

DAVID MUIR: Within months?

PRESIDENT TRUMP: I would say in months. Yeah, I would say in months. Certainly planning is starting immediately.

DAVID MUIR: People feel …

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