The Brett Kimberlin Saga:

Follow this link to my BLOCKBUSTER STORY of how Brett Kimberlin, a convicted terrorist and perjurer, attempted to frame me for a crime, and then got me arrested for blogging when I exposed that misconduct to the world. That sounds like an incredible claim, but I provide primary documents and video evidence proving that he did this. And if you are moved by this story to provide a little help to myself and other victims of Mr. Kimberlin’s intimidation, such as Robert Stacy McCain, you can donate at the PayPal buttons on the right. And I thank everyone who has done so, and will do so.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Identity Politics Eats Itself: The Greg Abbott Edition

So we are hearing today all over twitter and the blogosphere that Progress Texas released a photoshop of Gregg Abbott, who is the Republican running for Governor of Texas, that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 3.11.07 PM

Of course what is wrong here is that they are literally erasing Abbott’s disability.  They photoshopped it to look like he was standing up.  That is, they photoshopped a wheelchair-bound man to make him look like he was no longer paralyzed.

Over a Redstate, Erick Erickson asks: “Does Progress Texas have something against paraplegics?”

But respectfully, I think he is missing what is happening here.  And what he is missing is that once again identity politics is eating itself.  In order to see that, though, you need to actually see the whole flyer that this came from, before I explain what is happening in it:

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In a previous piece, Identity Politics Eats Itself: The “Wise Latina” Edition, I wrote about how Jamie Stiehm felt betrayed by a single ruling by Justice Sotomayor in favor of Catholic nuns who swore a vow of celibacy and didn’t want to offer free birth control and abortions.  Mind you, the offending ruling was simply a stay preserving the status quo until the full Supreme Court could rule “[b]ut that was enough to reduce [Sotomayor] from being a wise latina, to being just another Catholic on a court that is waging a war on women or some silliness.

In other words, Stiehm decided that Sotomayor’s Catholic identity trumped her latina identity.  She was supposed to vote based on at least her gender—presumably with her lady parts—if not her ethnicity/race.  But when she went “off script” Stiehm was decided she was just another Catholic.  She was in essence stripped of her racial/ethnic and gender identity in favor of a Catholic one.

With all that in mind, we can turn to Abbott and this ad.  Just as Sotomayor was stripped of her status as a latina, in the full Abbott ad, you can see that Progress Texas is stripping Abbott of his disabled identity, in favor of his identity as a white male.  As in “this is a white guy who knows nothing of the struggles you face as a nonwhite female.”  That’s the clear implication of putting his picture in there, next to a shorter latina.  She is supposed to be representative of all the people whose difficulties he is supposedly oblivious of,

Think of how awkward that ad would look if Abbott was shown in a wheelchair.  First, it would make the woman stand taller than him.  Second it would hammer you over the head with the fact that Mr. Abbott belongs to a group that traditionally has suffered discrimination in the workplace.  I am not going to do a detailed exposé on this topic, but this USA Today article published the results of a Cornell University that deserves to be quoted from extensively (even if USA Today’s website is uniquely annoying in format):

WASHINGTON — Workers with disabilities are paid about 10% less than other workers in similar jobs, and 8% less in total compensation, including wages, health insurance and vacation time, according to a new Cornell University study....

Workers with disabilities also are overrepresented in manual labor jobs and underrepresented in white-collar fields. The study found transportation, production, and office and administrative support were among the top occupations where people with disabilities were employed.

Skilled jobs, including management, business and finance occupations, employed the lowest number of people with disabilities....

Only 21% of people with disabilities are either employed or actively looking for a job. Among those seeking work, the jobless rate was 13% in September 2013 compared to just over 7% for those without disabilities.

Indeed a spokesperson for Cornell suggested that employers need to start treating discrimination against the disabled in a way similar to discrimination against race or gender:

“Employers need to be looking at wage gaps in their own workforce,” said Linda Barrington, executive director of Cornell’s Institute for Compensation Studies. “A lot of companies do that for gender, they do that for race, ethnicity. People with disabilities — and (the) pay gap for people with disabilities need to be included in every company’s checklist as they go through and say ‘do we have fair pay practices.’”

So put that all together.  Seventy nine percent of disabled people are not even trying to get a job.  Of those who are trying, their unemployment rate is around thirteen percent.  That is around the same unemployment rate for African Americans.

Now of course there are a lot of refinements that have to be recognized, here.  First, race is not a real difference (or more precisely it is a difference that is only skin deep); being handicapped, by definition, is a real, substantive difference.  So some part of those dismal numbers involving disabled persons simply reflect the fact that they are disabled and the discrimination is fully justified.  (For instance, Mr. Abbott is not going to play quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and even he would probably admit that is fair.)*  Further, the robust social programs to help the disabled also depress employment.  That is, you have to think that some disabled people on Social Security as the result of those disabilities (and similar private and public support), figure that they would rather sit on the easy paycheck than actually do what is necessary to get a job.  And finally, one has to wonder how many people have hidden disabilities and haven’t reported that to the government.  For instance, when the 2000 census came around, I got the long form census that asked if I was disabled.  I answered about my race, gender, and a few other questions that relate to them positively identifying me, but as for the rest I told them they had no right to ask and I was not going to answer.  I didn’t exactly tell them to pound sand, but that was more or less the message I got across.  So I don’t show up on their rolls as a disabled person.

But stop and ask yourself this.  Think of all the disabled people you have knowingly been around (recognizing that some of us have disabilities that are not apparent to the naked eye).  Do you really think almost 80% of them are unemployable?  Do you really think that of those who are even trying to get a job that they are a full 13% less qualified for the jobs they are seeking (not any random job, but the job that they had decided that they can do)?  When writing the original draft of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Thaddeus Stevens (himself a disabled man) said it was his dream “that no distinction would be tolerated in this purified Republic but what arose from merit and conduct.”  Do you really think that these numbers can be fully explained by the relative merit and conduct of disabled persons?  I think obviously part of those numbers represent irrational discrimination.

Again, I am not saying that 100% of the disabled can work.  And I am not saying that 100% of the 13% unemployment gap is unfair.  But certainly more disabled people can work than just 21%.  And certainly not all of that unemployment gap is explained by merit and conduct.  There are many disabled people who are as “crippled” by the prejudice they face as the disabilities themselves.

So back to the Progress Texas flyer, imagine how bad it would look if they made it clear he was disabled, and thus 79% less likely to even be looking for employment, less likely to get a job if he looked, and less likely to be paid the same if he managed to become employed.  It would blow their whole message out of the water.

So they photoshopped it and made him a dishonorary “ordinary” white male, making him look every inch of “privilege” when that simply wasn’t the case.  Because the script is that if you belong to a group of people who historically face discrimination you have to believe in a series of solutions involving maximum intervention into the markets.  And the only people who oppose that kind of big government intervention are people who never taste discrimination.  That is part of the ideology of identity politics, but one picture of Abbott undermines that narrative completely.  That is not to say that being disabled is the same as being a woman or being black, or anything else that inspires prejudice, but there is a commonality of unfair discrimination that cannot be denied.

This kind of identity politics is also racist and sexist, for at its core identity politics is racist, sexist, anti-gay, anti-disabledist (to coin a term) and so on.  As noted the last time I wrote about identity politics:

Years ago, Justice O’Connor wrote that “[a]t the heart of the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection lies the simple command that the Government must treat citizens as individuals, not as simply components of a racial, religious, sexual or national class.”  This is not a command to the citizens, but I think it does qualify as good advice.

But these days progressives reject this view: they invariably reduce black people to their color alone, reduce women to their lady parts and so on.  Now in the case of those who created this ad, they were obviously aware that he was in a wheelchair.  You can’t remove something from a picture without knowing what you are removing.  But they tailored this message so that the intended recipients would only see him as an undifferentiated white male.  But not only have they ignored the many differences that make Abbott a unique individual, but they want his white maleness to overwhelm even the group identity that they would normally grant him as a disabled person, if he only towed their political line.  And while this differs from Sotomayor and Stiehm in that Sotomayor’s refusal to rule as a “wise latina” sent Stiehm spiraling into the ugliest anti-Catholic bigotry imaginable, do not let that fool you: the hatred is there.  It is just under the surface:

(Image credit)

And under the right circumstances, it does come out.  I do not believe, as “Zombie” does, that all of “[p]rogressive politics is rooted in racism” and various other kinds of bigotry.  But he is right to say that much of it is.


* On the other hand, many people with other disabilities can play football and can do so well (not to mention that there is probably some kind of wheelchair football just as there is wheelchair basketball).  For instance, the modern practice of the huddle was invented by Gallaudet's football team as a means of hiding their signed instructions from anyone else who could understand sign language.  Indeed someone in my family is deaf and was "mainstreamed" at a time when such a thing was unheard of and was center of his otherwise hearing football team (the quarterback tapped him physically to get him to snap the ball).  Of course he never made pro, but there is no reason to think a deaf person couldn't do so.


My wife and I have lost our jobs due to the harassment of convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin, including an attempt to get us killed and to frame me for a crime carrying a sentence of up to ten years.  I know that claim sounds fantastic, but if you read starting here, you will see absolute proof of these claims using documentary and video evidence.  If you would like to help in the fight to hold Mr. Kimberlin accountable, please hit the donation link on the right.  And thank you.

Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates.  And you can purchase my book (or borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime), Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History here.  And you can read a little more about my novel, here.



I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct.  In some cases, the conduct is even criminal.  In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system.  I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence.  This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.

In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him.  Do not call him.  Do not write him a letter.  Do not write him an email.  Do not text-message him.  Do not engage in any kind of directed communication.  I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.

And for that matter, don’t go on his property.  Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him.  Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision.  Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).

And do not contact his organizations, either.  And most of all, leave his family alone.

The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report.  And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request.  That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.

And let me say something else.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above.  But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.


  1. Maybe someone could do a more realistic matchup: Greg Abbott in his wheelchair holding a little pig bank, Wendy Davis standing up with a big pig bank looking down mockingly at Abbott. Caption: Tell Wendy to stand against discrimination (especially among her supporters)!
    Or something like that...

  2. Actually, the Seahawks have a player that is deaf: Derrick Coleman, Fullback. Very inspiring guy.