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Marianne Williamson demands reparations “whatever it costs,” and she just qualified for Dem debates

Marianne Williamson demands reparations “whatever it costs,” and she just qualified for Dem debates

With Williamson on stage staking out a clear and aggressive reparations plan, leading Democrats will have to move either further left or buck their base.

Author and activist Marianne Williamson is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Her big campaign issue is the demand to pay reparations.

The notion of paying reparations to blacks has been around for a while, but really moved to the center because of the writings of liberal darling Ta-Nehisi Coates. I addressed the multitude of problems with reparations in 2014, when Coates made a splash on the issue with an article in The Atlantic. I wrote, The dead-end Case for Reparations:

The 15,000+ word essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic, The Case for Reparations, is getting completely predictable reactions.

It’s looooong, which gives it a perceived weight which just is not there.

In fact, there’s not much new there, except for historical anecdotes shedding detail but not light on what we already knew to be the history of slavery, segregation and discrimination….

Coates never gives the answer as to who gets what and how.

And that’s ultimately the problem with reparations arguments that are not based upon the people causing the harm paying the people directly harmed by specific conduct soon after the conduct is remedied.

If you can’t answer the question of why a Vietnamese boat person has to pay reparations for the conduct of white plantation owners more than a century earlier, then you can’t make the argument.

If you can’t answer the question of why two successful black doctors living in a fashionable suburb should get reparations paid for by the white children of Appalachia, then you can’t make the argument.

If you can’t answer the question of why the adult black recent immigrant from Paris should be paid reparations based on the color of his skin for crimes committed in a land he did not grow up in, then you can’t make the argument.

And what about the increasing number of children of mixed race?

And I could go on and on.

Ultimately, Coates’ argument is a dead end.

Reparations is the most perfect social justice – identity politics issue, but as Nate Silver noted last February, it’s a non-starter politically outside the Democratic Party, which is why even Democrat candidates who embrace the idea are cautious about it:

Reparations, along with abolishing ICE, are very unpopular. This was not surprising to me, which is why I was surprised when I first saw the headline, “2020 Democrats Embrace Race-Conscious Policies, Including Reparations” in the Times. But the candidates’ actual comments were more in the vein of our first two categories — somewhat vague acknowledgements of the inequality that black Americans face. The challenge for Democratic elected officials, as the party leans into its racial liberalism, will be how to translate the public’s general pro-minority proclivities into policy. I suspect that Democratic presidential candidates will end up pushing policies that limit how aggressive ICE can be and that address the wealth gap between black and whites — but fall short of explicit calls for abolishing ICE or giving reparations.

In early April 2019, Rasmussen reported:

Democrats on Capitol Hill are once again talking about taxpayer-funded reparations as a tangible way to apologize for slavery in this country, but most voters still aren’t buying.

Just 21% of Likely U.S. Voters think U.S. taxpayers should pay reparations to black Americans who can prove they are descended from slaves. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 66% are opposed to slavery reparations. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided.

Support for reparations, not surprisingly, is strongest among liberals.

Amidst the shifting sands of support for reparations, here’s where the Democrat candidates stood as of three weeks ago, according to Axios:

Sen. Cory Booker: Booker introduced a Senate companion version of a House bill by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas.) that would establish a commission to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against black Americans, and make recommendations on reparation proposals for descendants of slaves. Former Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) was first to introduce legislation in 1989;

Sen. Kamala Harris: Harris said in an interview on “The Breakfast Club” in February that she supports government reparations for black Americans. Harris told NPR’s “Morning Edition” last month that the term reparations “means different things to different people,” and that allocating funds for mental health treatment would be one form of reparations.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: In 2016, Sanders was dismissive of reparations, saying, “First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive.”

  • During an appearance last month on “The View,” Sanders doubled down on his position: “I think that right now, our job is to address the crises facing the American people and our communities, and I think there are better ways to do that than just writing out a check.”
  • However, on April 5, Sanders told Rev. Al Sharpton that, if elected, he would support Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s bill, setting up a commission to study reparations. “If the House and Senate pass that bill of course I would sign it … There needs to be a study,” Sanders said the National Action Network conference.

Julián Castro: The former San Antonio mayor and housing secretary under President Obama has arguably been the most vocal candidate on this issue. Castro said he would create a commission to study reparations and determine the best policy proposal.

  • Castro notably took shot at Sanders by name in an interview last month on CNN, saying: “It’s interesting to me that when it comes to ‘Medicare for All,’ health care, you know, the response there has been, ‘We need to write a big check.’ That when it comes to tuition-free or debt-free college, the answer has been that we need to write a big check.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: In an interview on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press‘ last month, Klobuchar said: “I believe we have to invest in those communities that have been so hurt by racism. It doesn’t have to be a direct pay for each person, but what we can do is invest in those communities. Acknowledge what’s happened. … Making sure we have that shared dream of opportunity for all Americans.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: She tweeted in support of Jackson Lee’s bill last month, saying: “Slavery is a stain on America & we need to address it head on. I believe it’s time to start a national, full-blown conversation about reparations. I support the bill in the House to support a congressional panel of experts so that our nation can do what’s right & begin to heal.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: She said at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s annual convention last week that she supports legislation to study reparations. “This is a conversation that is long overdue,” she said.

Beto O’Rourke: Like Sanders, O’Rourke has been less enthusiastic about reparations, but said he supports Jackson Lee’s bill.

Marianne Williamson: The best-selling author is the only candidate, despite her long-shot bid, to present a plan with specifics. She proposed $100 billion in reparations or $10 billion a year to be distributed over 10 years for economic and educational projects , Williamson told CNN in January.

Note that Williamson is the most specific and clear in her support for reparations.

In this campaign video, Williamson explains her support for reparations, it’s a parroting of the Coates’ argument:

In this clip, Williamson describes her plan, with $100 billion as a floor:

[Click Image for video]

There is no ceiling to the plan. Her campaign website puts the bill at $200-$500 billion, but Williamson demands reparations “whatever it costs”:

[Click image for video]

And she will be on stage for the Democratic primary debates, having qualified through the donation process. Politico reports:

Author and lecturer Marianne Williamson has hit the 65,000-donor threshold set by the Democratic National Committee for the upcoming 2020 debates, her campaign announced Thursday.

Her announcement boasted that her campaign contributions came from more than 200 people in each of 43 states, which she said “far outpaces the DNC requirement of 200 people in 20 states,” referring to the Democratic National Committee.

“Ours has been — and will continue to be — a campaign of ideas that people care about and that they are willing to stand behind. It takes a certain kind of audacity to take a stand for something truly new,” Williamson said in her emailed announcement. “Thank you to those of you who have seen the possibility of a new American beginning and have been willing to invest in its formation. What has occurred here is the proverbial ‘end of the beginning,’ and now the next phase of our work begins.”

In order to qualify under DNC rules, a candidate must either score at least 1 percent in three qualifying polls or cross a 65,000-donor threshold, with at least 200 donors in 20 states. The debates are scheduled for back-to-back nights in June in Miami and July in Detroit.

But because there are 20 slots on the debate stage, and 21 Democrats have already launched campaigns, it is possible candidates might need to meet both requirements before they can appear.

Still yet to qualify under either criteria are Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.); Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam; and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.). Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio are still weighing runs.

Assuming Williamson is on stage, as appears likely at this point, it means reparations will be front and center. Other Democrats will not be able to avoid or evade the issue.

Having Williamson pushing her signature reparations issue during the debates will force at least some leading Democrats to move further left on reparations.


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I guess there is always a limited market for brain dead pettifogging buffoons.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to dystopia. | May 10, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    I think the response to this should be to dismantle Affirmative BS, end welfare and set a capital punishment threshold to execute career criminals. Start tallying each criminals cost to society,costs of police, prosecution, prison time, cost of damage to victims, and once they hit the magic number pull their plug.

    Government jobs should not be held at a significant higher level than a groups percentage of the population, that would go a long way towards improving what is now a haven for incompetents, or better yet lock out those with IQs lower than 90.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to dystopia. | May 10, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    Who’s Marianne Williamson? Lizzie Warren’s house maid?


    Another Fake, Rich, Globalist!

    guinspen in reply to dystopia. | May 11, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    I grok you’re intent, but it seems to me we’ve a surfeit of brain dead pettifogging buffoons.

What I see is that this is a bribe. Plain and simple. When you have a Party or a Candidate looking to pay a group of people for nothing they have done, nor anything the people paying this “reparation”, then it is a bribe, no matter how you package it.

Bribing people for votes is illegal. Why is it that something like this especially is not challenged for what it really amounts to?

It is the same thing with paying for college tuitions. Why should I as a taxpayer have to foot the bill for someone making an individual choice to go to higher level education? It is a bribe for the votes of the ignorant college kids or even to a different degree, their parents. Why should we pay for this education on top of having paid for public schooling of the children long beyond when our own children might have been in school? We already pay in many states a subsidy of community and state colleges anyway, which we have no say in.

So all these really are is a bribe for votes. It is saying vote for me and you will get money in return. This isn’t giving a tax break so you hang on to your earned money. This is handing them thousands of dollars to secure their votes. It is what lead to Rome falling.

Rome was notorious with bribing voters out of the public coffers. It is a major reason for their conquests, along with the greed of the senators who led campaigns to gain wealth and status. It is corruption on a grand scale. And it eventually leads to the same place socialism leads, broke, collapse, violence, hunger, and death.

    OldProf2 in reply to oldgoat36. | May 10, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Bribing people for votes is a fundamental principle of the Democrats. You take money away from less than 50% of the population and give it to over 50% of the population, with the stipulation that the recipients have to vote for you to keep the money coming.

    That way, you create the Robin Hood illusion that you’re robbing the rich to give to the poor, and you stay in power with over 50% of the votes.

      amatuerwrangler in reply to OldProf2. | May 10, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      One more time: He who robs Peter to pay Paul can count on Paul’s vote.

      I have to wonder if these idiots have a plan to account for the number of black folk who work hard for a living when their taxes are part of the reparations paid. Or, will they both pay the money in taxes only to receive some of it back as a reparation. What about black folk who came to the US after 1866? Or even before but as free people?

      Do they even realize that the US did not even exist at the time the last slave was brought to what would later become the US?

Yes, Dim-o-crats, please run on this!

Take money from people who’ve never owned slaves and pay it to people who’ve never been slaves, and call it “justice”! It’s brilliant!

gotta love it when someone says a white yankee whose ancestors joined union army specifically for slavery issue (and thats just the side of family who were here BEFORR 1880’s) and died has to pay someone something based solely on the color of their skin.
and what about colored supporters of the south, they were a thing too.
should they pay others?

Next 5 exits on the pander super highway. Some people work for a living, others vote for a living.

    SDN in reply to Romey. | May 10, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    And the issue with automation is that you will have an increasing population from the left end of the bell curve that won’t be able to do the former while our warm body democracy ensures they can do the latter.

Nothing for anyone other than Democrats to lose any sleep over. Another self-loathing white socialist desperately trying to stay in the game.

That’s going to be one helluva Democratic Party platform next year. A list of everything the vast majority of Americans absolutely do NOT want to see happen. The conventional way of building a winning coalition is to assemble a list of issues that are popular with a majority of people. “Absolutely everybody and everything sucks! Especially you you bigot!” comes up a bit short.

Dantzig93101 | May 10, 2019 at 11:46 am

Reparations have no legal or moral justification, but they could work in a pragmatic sense. I would support them on the conditions that:

1. They are made on the explicit understanding by all parties that they are PAYMENT IN FULL for any alleged wrongs past or present covered by the agreement.

2. From (1), no further payments of any kind, including affirmative action, set-asides, or special legal privileges will be allowed within or by the United States.

3a. To prevent further incidents of racist abuse, African-Americans will receive in addition to cash reparations the state of California except for strategic assets that will remain under the control of the United States. California will become the Republic of New Africa that black activists have been demanding since the 1930s.

3b. No one will be required to move to the Republic of New Africa, and no one will be required (by the United States) to leave it.

3c. Anyone who remains within the territory of the United States, regardless of race, will be ineligible for any special privileges based on race. That will apply not only to the law, but to any institutions or businesses that interact with the U.S. government. America will be a colorblind society, at last fulfilling the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King.

3d. The Reparations Amendment will use the power of eminent domain to condemn and repurpose privately-owned areas of the future Republic of New Africa, where prior to transfer, the United States will build sustainable public housing for those who lack resources to provide it for themselves. Such areas might include, for example, Nancy Pelosi’s estate and the surrounding area.

    That’s funny. Point number 1, alone, is a non-starter. Paying reparations would be seen as proof of guilt and, as always the case with the left, demands would then escalate.

    Humphrey's Executor in reply to Dantzig93101. | May 10, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Some blacks, such as Juan Williams, are honest enough to admit that they do not want reparations because the do not want to lose the right to complain about slavery, ad infinitem.

    Albigensian in reply to Dantzig93101. | May 10, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    The hope that reparations might be accepted as “full and final” is a fantasy. It’s more like chum in water, a sure means toward create ever-increasing “never enough!” demands.

    Interesting idea, but Point 1 would be overturned on Day 1, and the whole demand would start over again.

    Talk about trying to put the Genie back in the bottle…

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Dantzig93101. | May 10, 2019 at 8:24 pm

    Reparations should be $1, and other considerations such as previously delivered welfare, college grants and admission regardless of merit, and so on. All of which should end regardless of the $1.

Well then…

The descendants of those who benefited from the freedom gained at the expense of the deaths of over 500,000 Union war dead should pay reparations to the families of those who gave all.

I think if reparations are paid it should have to be based on the Warren Standard. Any citizen with 1/1064 black blood should qualify.

Why so Pro-Choice?

Reparations for the Americans who stood for human rights, then sacrificed blood and treasure to realize them. For the men and women who stood for equal rights, then stood against diversity, political congruence, and other forms of selective exclusion. And for their Posterity, too.

Fairly transparent. Obama taught the Dems that their path to victory lies with maximum African American turnout. Promises of reparations might exploit that, but at what cost? Many people particularly oppose reparations as a matter of principle and making it an issue will drive them to the polls too.

It’s almost like the dems want Trump re-elected… Please keep it up – go further and further to the left and by all means, send out a few more idiot presidential hopefuls to spread the left’s non-message around the country and through the media. The grownups already know the score.

Sure, why not? We’ve spent $15 Trillion (with a “T”) on LBJ’s “Great Society” so far and look at the stellar results we’ve had improving the lot of blacks and other disadvantaged. Why not give them some more free shit? SMH


Prof Jacobson, one thing I noticed neither you nor your commenters brought up previously: How does reparations not violate the prohibitions in the Constitution against Bills of Attainder or “laws working Corruption of Blood”?

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to SDN. | May 10, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    You mean like “Dead Men Don’t Pay Reparations?”

    Reparations are so insane only Democrats would think about them.

Repatriation before reparations. Want to stay in the US? You cannot punish people for crimes they did not commit, just because they look something like those who did.

Can anyone name a single thing that anyone in the Democratic clown car has proposed that benefits working class Americans?

What is the greatest cause of inequality in 2019 – racism or a 72% illegitimacy rate, high drop-out rate and black-on-black crime?

It’s not white people knocking up the baby mommas, forcing blacks to drop out of school or white gang-bangers shooting up neighborhoods.

Throw your hat in the democrat flake hat.

Right, Maryann?

Hey, reparations for Jews who were victimized by Roosevelt’s anti-Semitism in WW2:

JackinSilverSpring | May 10, 2019 at 5:40 pm

Reparations should be paid by slaveholders to the slaves they held. Now start looking for the slaveholders and the slaves. (Hint: they’re nowhere to be found.)

    Both slaveowners and slaves have heirs, though, and a person’s debts are not extinguished by death, though they are limited to the extent of his estate. If a slaveowner’s heirs still have assets that can be identified as part of his estate, it’s not entirely unreasonable to expect them to compensate his slaves’ heirs out of those assets. The cases where these conditions obtain is small, but not zero.

    What I would argue even in those cases, though, is that it would be an ex post facto law, imposing liability where none existed before. After all, the slaveowner committed no crime, and did nothing wrong by the standards of his time. Now if you can in addition prove that that specific slaveowner abused his slaves in a manner that was illegal at the time, then I think there’s a good case for reparations, up to the extent of what remains of his estate.

Lefty Politician: Greetings you unfortunate Afro-Americans…
If you elect me your president… I promise we will have a “Conversation” about reparations… We will “Invest” in your communities and bring economic and educational projects to your neighborhoods…!!!!!

Black Guy: Sounds great…how much money do I get ?

Lefty Politician: Well…Ahh…you don’t get any actual MONEY…
You see…we’ll be allocating funds for blah, blah and blah…
Of course, some of my cronies…I mean, experts…will be in charge of those funds…. You know…”Investing”….”Conversation”…..ah…communities….

Invest in black communities. We did that after the 1968 riots, as barely disguised reparations. After the Rodney King riots, we did it again. After the next riots (perhaps if Trump is reelected), we’ll do it again. What’s that cliche about doing the same thing over and expecting different results? As far as I know, none of my ancestors was a slaveholder, either in the U.S or in their countries of origin. Even if I came from a long line of slaveholders, there is no way I would ever vote for a political party that supports reparations to people who repeatedly squander — more correctly, burn down — multiple opportunities to better themselves.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to zennyfan. | May 11, 2019 at 12:00 am

    First they had projects, which promptly turned all adjacent property into ghettos. After that failed, we go section 8 housing, which promptly turned all adjacent property into ghettos.

    Gee, the real problem is a really crappy culture.

Reparations were paid in blood. It was called the Civil War. ‘
Will the left pay the dead soldiers also?

I have said it before and I’ll say it again.

I will gladly pay reparations to any slave I have ever owned.

    Milhouse in reply to gospace. | May 13, 2019 at 12:34 am

    What about the heirs of slaves owned by someone whose estate you inherited? If that happens to be the case, of course.

HairyBuddah | May 11, 2019 at 3:02 am

A couple of commenters have alluded to this, but it needs to be stated directly. Reparations have already been paid with the Great Society and other welfare programs. These funds have disproportionately been distributed to African Americans with the stated goal of lifting recipients out of poverty and opening a path to better lives, more education, and higher standards of living and achievement.

None of this helped. Just giving people money doesn’t help them. Money is best for personal progress when it is earned. So with our system families in poverty get mired more deeply in poverty. And on the other end of the spectrum, trust fund kids tend to waste all their money and leave their kids worse off than they were.

Reparations? You already got them. Sorry if you didn’t spend them wisely. Time to stand up on your own.

Compelling arguments against reparations for slavery have already been well given by David Horowitz

Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks is a Bad Idea for Blacks – and Racist Too

Don’t talk to me about reparations for the descendants of slaves until after you talk about reparations for the descendants of the 300k to 400k Union soldiers who died to free those slaves.

Funny how that never comes up from the politicians trying to buy votes from the “free stuff” crowd. Those pols know darned well that reparations will NEVER happen. I remember from my college days when that subject came up in class (40 years ago) and a loose vote took place. Black students said yea and everyone else said nay. And let’s not forget that saying you’re a slave’s descendant and proving it are two different things. What experts are going to prove it and who pays them? What a disgusting ploy the whole thing is.

There is no ceiling to the plan. Her campaign website puts the bill at $200-$500 billion, but Williamson demands reparations “whatever it costs”:

So how will we know when we’re done?

    Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | May 13, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    The news is, and I know this from my time in the Navy. I learned this from my Great Grand Uncle who was a Marine at Belleau Wood. I learned if again from my Uncle Tony who was a Sailor in the Med, and again from my dad.

    And again from my parish priest who captured 11 NORKs at the business end of his .45. And again from my Drill Instructor.

    You’re never done.

To reinforce the “devil’s in the details”, someone may have noted this before: What’s Kamala Harris or President Obama to do — will they be donors or recipients? I read that in discussing her family story she said one of her ancestors owned slaves in Jamaica. She (and President Obama) are of mixed race — and in the case of the former president, his African ancestors were never slaves, so where do they fall on the spectrum?