Interesting (and tedious) tidbits from Nikki Haley’s new book

So I read Nikki Haley’s new book, With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace last night. I am mostly ambivalent about it.

I like Haley personally and always imagined she’d end up being the first female president. And I love everything associated with South Carolina. To be honest, however, I wasn’t very impressed by her book.

I suppose part of my reaction is that I do not usually read vanity books by politicians, and that is certainly what this turned out to be. If I am going to read a book about public policy, it’s going to be about public policy and not someone’s feelings about public policy.

Her book reads like it was written by a chick, sorry not sorry. The whole thing is about how she feels about this or that. It’s like she was aiming for the Republican version of Michelle Obama’s Becoming. Her audience is more book club than professional analyst. And that’s fine. She clearly wants to position herself as President Trump’s heir apparent, and that means speaking to the least common denominator. Except I think the least common denominator is a heck of a lot smarter than she thinks it is.

At any rate, here were my main takeaways from the book:

The slacktivists who try to capitalize on mass murders are beyond awful.

Haley was Governor of South Carolina during the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (“Mother Emanuel”) in Charleston, the oldest African-American church in the United States. She refuses to use the shooter’s name, which I think is a good idea, and provides short biographies of everyone who was murdered that day, which I think is great. That chapter will absolutely break your heart. I learned a lot details about the folks who perished that I did not know before. I learned that the shooter had visited the church before carrying out the massacre and was treated with such kindness that he briefly reconsidered his evil intentions. Even during the massacre, members of the church were trying to reason with him, saying “you don’t have to do this.” One mother shielded her daughter and told her to play dead, even though her son (who had tried unsuccessfully to shield his aunt) lay dying next to her.

Haley explains that this shooting occurred in the aftermath of Ferguson (an event, incidentally, that was exploited by Russian propagandists trying to wreck havoc on our election process) and she did her best to prevent her state from exploding with racial animosity and potentially more people being hurt or killed. She goes into long digressions on the “New South,” which has mostly put its racist past behind it. She sees her own political career as evidence of that.

She blames others – whom she notes are not from the South, and thus rely on caricatures of the South instead of understanding the tremendous progress that has been made – for trying to inflame instead of extinguishing destructive passions.

Her primary target is former President Obama. She said that when Obama called her after the event, he was cold and inauthentic in offering her sympathies. He used the event as an opportunity to speechify about identity politics. She thought his behavior was a distraction from honoring the victims and that he was inflaming the people she was trying to calm. He was an instigator among instigators in her mind.

She says the same thing about Al Sharpton. Haley attended the funerals of every victim of the massacre, including a Democratic state senator whom she knew very well personally and considered a good friend. She called him immediately upon learning about the event, without knowing that he was one of the people who had been killed. She says she is haunted by the thought that his phone was ringing in his pocket as he was laying there, dead, in the church.

Sharpton showed up for the first funeral and inserted himself into the program. Instead of speaking about the deceased, whom he did not know, he immediately got political… at a stranger’s funeral. He attacked Haley from his “stage,” and was called out for his terrible behavior. He went back home after that and left the families of the other victims alone.

These folks were among mobs of people who had nothing to do with Charleston or the deceased who swarmed the city after the event trying to sow chaos. Here were families dealing with the most impossible grief, with opportunists trying to disrupt their world further for the Twitter glory.

She says she took the programs home from the funerals and spent time each night trying to introduce her children to the people who had died. She would sit her family down and repeat to them everything she had learned about them. This reminded me of something we like to say in my family when someone passes away: “I will remember you to everyone.” I was also touched by the motto of one of the deceased – someone who just sounds like a good church lady you would love and come to depend upon – always “be kinder than necessary.”

She has a whole chapter devoted to this history of taking down the Confederate flag at the capitol, which frankly I thought was idiotic and I wish she had not included. That whole chapter is an opposition researcher’s dream.

She does not share Michelle Obama’s perspective on “white flight.”

Haley shares a litany of experiences that all boil down to her being rejected because of her race or gender. She spends a lot of time talking about identity politics only to dismiss it.

Haley was an Indian-American, the child of immigrants, who spent most of her early life in rural South Carolina (a town with less than 3,000 people). Her mother put Haley and her sister in a local beauty pageant when she was very young. The town selected both a black and a white beauty queen each year. The judges were confused by the girls, who fit neither category. They disqualified them and gave them a beach ball as a consolation prize.

She also talks about a black Democratic colleague who told her that she was not a “real” minority because she was from India. He called her “a conservative with a tan.”

Haley’s argument is that the fact that she experienced these things but still managed to become governor of a Southern state is evidence of how much progress the South has made to overcome racial bias. She does not like people like the Obamas, for whom race looms large in every aspect of their lives, even after becoming leader of the free world.

I just don’t even know what to say about things like that. I grew up in Los Angeles during the 1990s, which was full of racial animosity, and working in education policy for a spell convinced me that there is still a lot of quiet racial animosity even in polite places. Contrary to the way the mainstream media paints rural America, rural America is more of a functional, tolerant melting pot than urban America. That comes from necessity. People have to get along to survive. People in rural areas tend to get along easily across ethnic groups, religions, and economic classes.

I share her exasperation with the media who like to paint flyover country as a bunch of racist, sexist, homophobic hicks. There have been more openly gay mayors in the South and Midwest than there are in New England or California. Many of the same Appalachian counties who voted for Trump also voted for Obama. Places that pride themselves on being polite and hospitable are usually polite and hospitable.

But it is possible for Obama and Haley to both have factually true narratives, neither of which lend themselves to generalizations about what “America” as a whole is like. Obama can experience white flight in Chicago’s suburbs without suggesting that all of America is racist. Haley can experience thousands of acts of colorblindness without dismissing that racism continues to be a significant experience for some people. But I would submit to you that none of this is good politics. The majority of Americans are over identity politics, and are tired of arguments both for and against it. They just want you to shut up about it already.

James Comey backed Haley up on her decision for South Carolina not to accept refugees from war-torn countries.

Not going to lie, I physically rolled my eyes when she invoked him as an authority. Does she not have an editor?

Haley says she refused to accept refugees because she did not want even a single potential terrorist relocating to her state. She says she did not come to this opinion straightaway, but spoke with then-Director of the FBI James Comey about background checks on refugees. Comey told her the United States has no meaningful information about any of the refugees that were being brought in. He said he could offer no serious analysis of the threats they may or may not pose. After the Paris concert shooting, which left 130 dead and over 400 people injured, she decided to balk on the refugee issue.

She tells a story about how complicated thinking about refugees is. Her husband, Michael, who served in Afghanistan, worked to bring his team’s interpreters to the United States. The military’s Afghan interpreters served an intelligence function and translated threats to their units, making them prime targets. The Haleys used their connections to Senator Lindsey Graham to make sure the interpreters could seek asylum in the US and become citizens. She says the Lutheran Church was helpful in getting them temporary housing and teaching them English. (I used to volunteer for a refugee ESL program – for refugees from the Congo – through the Roman Catholic Church, so I know exactly the programs she is talking about. But I don’t understand why their interpreters needed to learn English. How were they interpreters? But whatever.)

Tillerson was insufferable and he hated Haley because Trump offered her his gig first, which she turned down.

It’s a good thing that Haley does not spend much time in “tell-all” mode, because everything she has to say about internal politics is not as flattering to her as she thinks it is.

It really does not require much imagination to believe Rex Tillerson is a colossal prick who thinks he’s the smartest person in every room and gets along with approximately no one. But in Haley’s own account of events, you almost can’t blame him for thinking she’s an unqualified brat. No one is going to read this book and hold her in the same esteem as, say, Condoleezza Rice.

She says Trump summoned her initially to serve as his Secretary of State, a position she turned down…. Well, she does not say why, exactly, but you are left with the impression that she thought it was too much effort.

So Reince Priebus then suggests that she consider being ambassador to the United Nations. Her reply – in front of Trump – was “I don’t even know what the United Nations does! All I know is that everybody hates it!”

I seriously almost closed the book at this point. Does she think this is adorable? It’s not adorable. How stupid do you have to be to put something like that into the book that you are presumably using to introduce yourself to the electorate? *head explodes*

She then laments that Tillerson insisted on interviewing all her hires himself to make sure she was not screwing up US diplomatic efforts by importing a bunch of her staff from South Carolina to the United Nations. You are left thinking, you know, maybe the folks who worked on your campaign back in Columbia, South Carolina, aren’t experts on Syria? Maybe his concern was… reasonable?

The part most discussed in the media revolves around a few pages where she alleges that Tillerson and John Kelly were plotting to sabotage Trump. This no doubt will get a lot of nods from anyone who cares about the Deep State, but it is so painfully stupid and unprofessional within actual context that I had to re-read it to make sure she really said it.

In her telling, Tillerson and Kelly corner her in an office where they proceed to tell her that she’s not qualified to do her job and how Trump made an epic mistake turning the UN ambassador into a cabinet-level position (which she said was a criterion for her accepting the position; in previous administrations, she would be answering to Tillerson). In a split second, they go from being sexist dicks telling her how worthless she is to trying to “recruit” her into their nefarious Deep State plot, which seems to consist merely of doing whatever they want. I mean, come on. Either they think you are useful or you are not.

The only thing you are left with here is the observation that none of these people currently work for Trump and that’s probably not a bad thing for the American people.

UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlements on the West Bank, was timed not to interfere with Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

The Obama administration abstained on the vote, allowing the controversial resolution to pass, the first time the Security Council had adopted a measure like this. But they waited until December 2016 to do it, so Hillary’s many Jewish supporters would not sit out the election. Let the cynicism that involves wash over you for a moment.

China forcibly sends North Koreans who escape the country back.

We brought in two North Korean women who had successfully escaped after having been caught by the Chinese and forcibly sent back to North Korea. The stories they told were blood-curdling. One woman was sent back to North Korea by the Chinese three times before she finally escaped. The punishment reserved for these escapees, who were mostly women, is severe. The woman told of being forced to abort without anesthesia the child she conceived in China. At one prison camp, the bodies of the inmates who had starved to death were fed to the guard dogs. Both women told of being raped, starved and forced into hard labor.

United Nations refugee statistics are bogus.

I’ve always had this impression, but it was somewhat interesting to learn the mechanics of how the United Nations manipulates data to inflate the financial obligations of member countries.

If you go to the United Nations website, they say there are currently over 70 million forcibly displaced people in the world. For the sake of comparison, there are 327 million people living in the United States. They say 26 million of those are refugees and 3.5 million are asylum seekers. (We have more asylum seekers than that currently living illegally in the United States, but I digress. Their numbers suck in many ways.)

How do they get such high numbers for displaced people? The answer – which is absolutely insane – is that they see being displaced as genetic, not a physical situation. If you are a descendant, for example, of the original Palestinian refugees – even if you have successfully relocated to another country and been granted citizenship there – you are considered a refugee. You may have never known anything besides a comfortable suburban existence in your entire life, but according to the United Nations, you are a refugee and entitled to international financial aid. Thus you have the United Nations turning into an inter-generational income stream. This is your tax dollars at work, because the United States is footing most of the bill for this.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has other bizarre problems too, according to Haley. They use member funds to pay for schools and health care for Palestinians, and this includes schools where the textbooks preach about violence to Jews and where the schools themselves are way stations for tunnels beneath the border (meaning the schools are effectively UN-funded terrorist installations). It’s really kind of ironic that American taxpayers are paying for stuff like this when the school districts of major US cities are in acute financial distress and US politicians are complaining about medical bankruptcies.

It is beyond dispute that Iran continued to work on its nuclear weapons program under the Obama administration and early Trump administration (i.e. when Tillerson was persuading Trump to roll over the Iran deal while they debated strategy internally).

A lot of people go around talking about how they hate the Iran deal because blah blah blah pallets of cash. Not to suggest that freeing up as much as $100 billion for the largest state sponsor of terrorism is a good idea.

But the most bonkers thing about the Iran deal is that it was deliberately drafted to allow Iran to proceed with building nukes. Which they of course did.

Obama said the deal provided for “anytime, anywhere” inspections of Iran’s facilities, which is almost true. The inspections apply only to *declared* nuclear sites: “for any other locations that were suspected of harboring nuclear activity, the Iranians could deny access to inspectors for up to 24 days.” And there were many such sites. So the bureaucrats at the UN would dutifully inspect the sites Iran told them to inspect. If intelligence picked up another site and the administration decided to make a big deal of it, they would ask to inspect that site. And Iran had nearly a month to relocate equipment to another undeclared site or tell inspectors to pound sand. Yeah, there was no way that the people negotiating the agreement did not understand they were creating a loophole.

Try to process for a second how insane someone would have to be to think a nuclear Iran was a meh idea. And then you’d have John Kerry.

But you would also have a lot of people in Trump’s cabinet too. The man who set out campaigning to end the Deep State ended up hiring a lot of Deep State folks, according to Haley:

Supporters of the [Iran] deal argue that the Trump administration set out to destroy the Iran deal out of a desire to undo President Obama’s singular foreign policy initiative. The truth is, there was so much support for the deal in President Trump’s cabinet – not to mention virtually unanimous support among the foreign-policy establishment – that the easy thing to do would have been to stay in the deal.

Trump’s biggest problems have always been personnel problems. He has hired some terrible people (he can’t blame anyone but himself for that) and he and his proxies have failed to fire many, many more terrible people. It’s a difficult thing for outsiders to sort out all the rubbish within government ranks, but that should not be an argument for only electing people who have been in DC forever. Your choices are essentially deal with a lot of unnecessary drama or continue to send ever more of your paycheck to pay economic rent to corrupt losers. Change is not easy.

Haley thinks Assad is bossing Putin around, not the reverse

She says this many times throughout the book with absolutely no logic behind it. I’m kind of curious what she thinks this means. Russia is not exactly the superpower that it once was, but I can’t imagine that its leader is the lapdog of a small country savaged by a civil war. Perhaps I am wrong about that, but I’d like to better understand the dynamics there if I am.

Haley hates being called “ambitious,” a pet peeve she brings up about thirty times in the book. (Kidding, I didn’t count, but it’s enough that you get tired of it.) She clearly saw utility in being UN ambassador because it could give her the foreign policy bona fides to run for president later. And that’s hardly a stupid strategy – you see daily through candidates like Elizabeth Warren how much of a shortcoming having zero foreign policy experience can be in a campaign.

But Haley’s folksy way of talking about foreign policy is not much of an asset, at least not the way she talks now. She does well when she acts like a ball-buster, not someone who whines about ex-CEOs who really act like Mean Girls. Despite the title, this book was not written by the ball-buster version of Haley.

Michelle Obama is not wrong about “white flight”

Michelle Obama is getting a lot of undeserved grief for comments she made this week about the “white flight” she observed growing up on the South Side of Chicago:

“But unbeknownst to us, we grew up in the period — as I write — called ‘white flight.’ That as families like ours, upstanding families like ours … As we moved in, white folks moved out because they were afraid of what our families represented,” Obama said.

“And I always stop there when I talk about this out in the world because, you know, I want to remind white folks that y’all were running from us — this family with all the values that you’ve read about. You were running from us. And you’re still running, because we’re no different than the immigrant families that are moving in … the families that are coming from other places to try to do better.”

I have no doubt that this was her experience growing up and that Obama is sharing her story in good faith. It’s not a particularly political observation either. You will read similar stories from, say, Condoleezza Rice in the book she wrote about her parents, Extraordinary Ordinary People or Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, My Grandfather’s Son. Rice grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and Thomas grew up in Savannah, Georgia, during the Civil Rights era. Both offer candid accounts of the racism they experienced in ordinary life that echo Obama’s. All of these people have succeeded against the odds through a lifetime of good values and hard work. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just embarrassing themselves.

Particularly working in education policy, I saw the ways that neighborhoods tend to segregate themselves by race and wealth. You have never met a more passionate group of people than folks fighting to keep their small, inefficient independent school district during a regionalization push in government. It’s not a fantasy or talking point. This is why we have charter schools in this country now. Pretty much the only way disadvantaged neighborhoods can get an edge in education is by bringing in the capitalists. It’s one of the best arguments for school choice there is.

The fact of the matter, though, is that we are not watching some epic white flight in American cities now. We are watching the wholesale destruction of great American cities due to objectively bad public policy. It’s not integration that people fear most, but inconceivable levels of government dysfunction and seeing most of their wealth melt away in taxes to pay for that dysfunction. That’s what is making people vote with their feet.

People leaving New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles are not generally moving to whiter suburbs. They are moving to the South – mostly to Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. These are aggressively libertarian tax havens, places where your kids will not be out of school for two weeks because of a teacher’s strike and your house won’t burn down because the utility has been plowing money into green projects at the expense of maintaining existing infrastructure. Where you are not paying higher and higher taxes because policymakers promised public workers lavish retirement benefits but set aside no money for them. And so on and so on.

Both Texas and Florida have massive minority and immigrant populations. I would submit to you that a white family fleeing Chicago over bad politics has a lot more in common culturally and ideologically with immigrants from the Caribbean and Latin America in Florida than their progressive white neighbors in Chicago. To suggest that the realignment that is happening in the US right now is about race seems very wrong.

It may seem like history rhymes to Obama, however, because the people who are the most reliant on government services are the ones least likely to be able to afford to move out of dysfunctional urban areas. The decreased economic opportunities in these urban areas as the people who can leave do leave will also magnify the personal impact on those families. It probably does feel like their neighborhoods are in a downward spiral now. This will affect poor people of all races, but minorities especially. She’s not wrong that this is a tragic phenomenon.

Kanye West’s full interview with Big Boy

I have mad respect for Kanye West after watching this video. I had seen clips from it on the news that were (predictably) edited in unflattering ways, and went to YouTube to see the whole thing. I am so glad I did.

Kanye West has developed into some sort of anti-hero in the spirit of Joseph Heller – the only sane person in an insane world, who finally breaks to the point that he’s going to speak truth to power relentlessly and effectively. He gets bashed for being a black Republican who preaches about family values. He gets accused (falsely) of sharing the prosperity gospel. But he’s standing his ground. He thinks that people can relate to him more after seeing him navigate “cancel culture,” and he’s right. His testimony is no doubt helping a lot of people shift toward healthier lives.

His overall message is that people are only going to find happiness if they defy the nihilism that has taken over our culture. (We have no culture now – we are cultural orphans, he says. Our environment is swarming with “culture vultures.” So true. We are witnessing what happens to our country when people turn their backs on traditional values and start taking antisocial positions. It’s destroying entire generations, who have been taught such unhealthy habits and preferences that they can’t function in the real world.) Build families, he says. Opt out of social media’s toxic ecosystems. Stop listening to rappers who talk about prison reform and then glorify behaviors that land you in prison. Stop thanking people in politics for putting you on food stamps and providing your children with a self-destructive education. They aren’t your saviors; they are keeping you as their wage slaves.

In the spirit of being pro-family, Kanye talks about how the left’s abortion deity disproportionately impacts minority communities. And he’s right about that. White progressives like Bernie Sanders even congratulate themselves openly about how they’ve helped minority communities by making it easier for them to butcher their young. It’s not Kanye who has cracked up.

Seattle Public Schools thinks math is racist and oppressive

When I first heard about Seattle Public Schools’ proposed “K-12 Math Ethnic Studies Framework” this afternoon, I was curious if the actual document lived up to the freak-out among conservative observers. Seattle, after all, is where many STEM-based corporations are headquartered. (For now, anyway – several tech companies already have their foot out the door, and not simply over taxes.) How did a city where math is responsible for substantially all of governments’ tax receipts end up with school districts that want to destroy math education? It makes no sense whatsoever. But then again, New York City is talking about scrapping gifted and talented education because it is racist, so it’s not like Seattle is the first blue municipality to consider cranking out ignorant children a political priority. (Heck, New York City put it into law that schools cannot reject a student for a diploma on the basis of having never attended class. No kidding. You no longer need to attend school to get a diploma from a public high school in NYC. The schools literally have no academic standards.)

From what I can tell, most observers have only read the article in Reason magazine, which simply paraphrases an article in Education Week. Both of these articles understate the extreme positions in Seattle’s proposal. I think most people – regardless of political persuasion – would lose their minds if they saw the proposal documents for how Seattle Public Schools might transform math education.

Here they are.

The proposal divides math instruction into four categories that math instructors need to address in the classroom: (1) origins, identity, and agency; (2) power and oppression; (3) history of resistance and liberation; and (4) reflection and action. Yes, this is their framework for teaching math.

Under the “origins, identity, and agency” category, the authors suggest that instructors address “the ways in which we view ourselves as mathematicians” and emphasize that mathematical theory is “rooted in the ancient histories of people and empires of color.”

The authors urge math teachers to “create counter narratives about the origins of mathematical knowledge” and to “see the value in making mistakes both as individuals and as a community.” Got that? It’s no longer enough that schools pass students who cannot demonstrate a proficiency in subject-matter through the system. The schools need to praise students for failing.

The document elaborates: “How important is it to be Right? What is Right? Says Who?”

I don’t know about you, but when I was in school, I was not taught to talk about my feelings about math or to see the answers according to some political rubric of authority. I was taught *gasp* proofs. Ditto for symbolic logic.

Under the “power and oppression” category, the authors … well… I’ll just let them speak for themselves:

Power and oppression, as defined by ethnic studies, are the ways in which individuals and groups define mathematical knowledge so as to see “Western” mathematics as the only legitimate expression of mathematical identity and intelligence. This definition of legitimacy is then used to disenfranchise people and communities of color. This erases the historical contributions of people and communities of color.

Thus, math instructors need to work into their curriculum a discussion of “the ways in which ancient mathematical knowledge has been appropriated by Western culture” and “identify how math has been and continues to be used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color.” As an auxiliary, they recommend teaching about how technology and standardized testing are connected to mathematics as a tool of oppression.

But they don’t stop there. They also recommend that math teachers “explain how math has been used to exploit natural resources” (as if forests have been wronged by algebra) and “explain how math dictates economic oppression.” (For example, the fact that you do not understand how your mortgage works because you attended Seattle Public Schools puts you at an unfair intellectual disadvantage to the people at the bank who attended real schools.)

The authors then ask (I’m not even halfway through the document, hang in there) “who holds power in a mathematical classroom? Is there a place for power and authority in the math classroom? Who gets to say if an answer is right? What is the process for verifying the truth? Who is Smart? Who is not Smart?”

They recommend math teachers ask their students to name oppressive mathematical practices in their experience, “how data-driven processes prevent liberation,” and “how math can help us understand the impact of economic conditions and systems that contribute to poverty and slave labor.”

Students should be asked what is legitimate as math and what fears they have about math. Then they should ponder who in society has worked to make them fearful of math and what ulterior motives someone might have in doing so.

Next up is the “history of resistance and liberation” category, which suggests teachers cover “individuals and organizations that have reclaimed mathematical identity and agency” and how we can “change mathematics from individualistic to collectivist thinking.”

The last category, “reflection and action,” suggests that teachers encourage their students to take the gospel of the math ethnic studies framework to their communities so they can understand how math is fundamentally racist and how it has been used to oppress them all along.

The sick thing about all of this is that people who push for this kind of content in classrooms are hurting minority children themselves. Every minute of every day that is spent on nonsense like this is instructional time and instructional resources that are not teaching the kids useful skills that they absolutely must have to compete in a modern economy. Not to mention the fact that the teachers are giving kids the impression that talking this way will do them any service in the real world. Crikey.

Elizabeth Warren’s struggles with autobiography

A lot of folks are debating the merits of Elizabeth Warren’s claim that she was fired from a teaching position because she was “visibly pregnant” and that was just the way things worked back then.

Warren has set a pattern when it comes to discussing autobiographical details – which she does an awful lot in an attempt to give some sort of folksy appeal to her pseudo-socialist policy ideas. She knows [insert trillions of dollars of federal spending] is necessary because she personally has suffered with [not being able to afford a college education, racism, etc.]. It’s like she knows that she can’t defend policies that in aggregate exceed the gross domestic product of the United States several times over, so she goes for some nutso emotional tale instead.

Every time Warren brings up her past, she (1) outright lies about what happened, and (2) has no problem inventing insanely damaging stuff about real people from her past, though she usually picks people who cannot defend themselves.

In discussing her fake Native American heritage, she claimed multiple times that her parents had to elope because her paternal grandparents were vicious racists who did not want their son marrying a Cherokee girl (who obviously wasn’t actually Cherokee).

This story sent the (legitimately) Cherokee genealogist Twila Barnes into an obsession with disproving that Warren had any Native American ancestry at all and that this wasn’t merely a matter of her family not being officially recorded on tribal rolls. She spent several long blog posts tracing Warren’s ancestry back to the 18th century with available public records to prove Warren was, in fact, whiter than Downton Abbey.

My take on this story is: Who the hell talks this way about their own grandparents? Not only to slander their grandparents for political points, but to suggest they were racists in the process?

Elizabeth Warren, that’s who.

Warren’s latest story about going off to college involves her mother – whom she previously said took a job for the sole purpose of helping Warren pay college tuition – punched her in the face “quick as lightning” when she dared to ask to attend college. It was her dear father who said she should be given a chance. (And of course, for the purpose of climbing her way through the academy, she was a Native American.)

So in the 2020 edition of her autobiography, a fictional abusive mother gets added to her fictional racist grandparents. All of them long gone and unable to defend themselves against these charges.

Now we have some poor school principal from the 1970s who hates teachers with buns in the oven, who continued the stream of fictional abuse Warren has “persisted” through.

She either knows so little about local government operations that she did not understand that there would be official records of the school board approving her contract for another term and accepting her resignation “with regret,” or she assumed that any official records from decades ago would have been destroyed. Or she’s such a pathological liar that she comes to believe the false narratives she tells about herself. Who knows. I’m not sure any of these is less in need of psychiatric help.

But it’s yet another example of Warren objectively lying about being discriminated against or otherwise injured that trashes some very real third party with a name and personal legacy. Someone who probably was around to help her out in reality only to get tossed under the bus because she needed a campaign speech and she had a pretty boring and, dare I say, white-privileged life. It’s really quite sick.

It’s a fun phenomenon that folks who need to appeal to a progressive party that fetishizes suffering ends up with a bunch of candidates inventing suffering. Poor Biden was valiantly standing up to the violent street gangs who terrorized community pools in Vermont. Warren’s very white parents had to elope because racism. Yadda yadda yadda. I mean, come on, give it up already. None of this has anything to do with the real business of government.

Moral nutrition

Lately, I have been reading The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity by Douglas Murray. The book is a brilliant critique of identity politics and the war on freedom of speech in western democracies by an established journalist who also happens to be openly gay. Murray believes that progressives’ identity politics ultimately undermines the human rights efforts they ostensibly exist to advance by building deep resentment and divisiveness within societies. It’s an easy argument to make for anyone who resides outside the identity politics dumpster fire intellectually, but it’s personal to Murray. I am glad he wrote this book.

One observation I have come away from the book with is no matter how bad we think identity politics has become in the United States, it is far worse in the United Kingdom. Censorship is pervasive there. Interest groups micromanage everything that is shown on television. If your child makes a statement about how they disagree with homosexuality, for example, you might get a visit from real police, not just social media mobs. In the United States, identity politics is pretty easy to ignore if you aren’t active on social media and do not send your children to public schools. In the UK, there is a much higher effort to invade and police ordinary life.

But a much more interesting observation Murray makes is how much social justice warriors have come to resemble the Christian evangelicals they so passionately hate. That is to say, identity politics is as much a personal habit as a dogma. That’s part of the power it exerts over the people who are consumed by it.

I am from a Catholic background personally, but I know many evangelicals from attending a religious university and from living in the South most of my life. I do not agree with their positions on many things (particularly theology) but I also have no problem getting along with them. I personally respect their faith. So don’t take this as a criticism of their religious beliefs, which they are entitled to have.

Evangelicals believe that managing one’s personal habits is essential to living a good life, which they define as honoring God. They make the practice of religion a central habit. Every day, they set aside blocks of time to pray and read Scripture. They send their children to Christian youth organizations and schools. They read a lot of what I call Christian self-help books. They listen to specific radio shows and praise music from Christian artists. They fill their homes with signs and pillows with lines from Scripture. They brand themselves in public with what they wear and the stickers on their car. In short, they live in a sphere where their faith is ubiquitous and thus mostly impenetrable.

Murray describes this sort of behavior as “moral nutrition.” Your dogma is reinforced by your habits in the same way that your health is reinforced by eating five servings of vegetables a day. You get your five servings of Jesus a day and you are a healthy Christian soldier.

Social justice warriors behave the same way with their own (albeit increasingly nonsensical and contradictory) dogmas. They consume identity politics all day long, as if they might risk sobering up if they didn’t. If you read the New York Times or the Atlantic, for example, they find ways to bring identity politics into a discussion of pretty much any random thing: corporate governance, restaurant reviews, architecture and real estate, book and movie reviews. Like-minded folks dutifully circulate this content on social media and on cable news programs, so they can all get their five servings of dogmatic social and economic resentment a day. So they can feel like their political god is everywhere.

And like evangelical Christians, social justice warriors understand the necessity of converting children. Social justice warrior parents and educators also make sure their young charges get their five servings of identity politics a day.

This isn’t because they are trying to force their beliefs on you. It’s because they are trying to force them on themselves.

Why is anyone surprised that abortionists share the fetishes of serial killers?

Seems like a good guy to go to for counseling on when to start a family. What could go wrong?

This week, the family of Indiana’s most prolific abortionist, Ulrich Klopfer, discovered the medically preserved remains of 2,246 babies that he had aborted, which he was warehousing in his home. He was collecting the bodies of the babies he had been killing and living with them. Like they were Beanie Babies or Star Wars figurines.

Klopfer’s clinic had lost its license to perform abortions in 2015, after he had repeatedly performed abortions on girls younger than 13 years old. In his own testimony to the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, Klopfer explained that he performed an abortion on a 10-year-old girl who was raped by her uncle. While her parents supported the abortion and were present, they did not want the uncle to face any legal scrutiny. Klopfer rather dryly confessed that he went along and did not report the rape to authorities, effectively sending the girl back to be abused again. The members of the board cited his “professional incompetence” as reason for revoking his license.

He also kept no records that his clinic had been complying with the state law that women seeking an abortion receive counseling at least 18 hours beforehand. I’m not sure that avoiding being counseled on life decisions by such a man is much of a loss, however.

Interestingly, Pete Buttigieg – presidential candidate and mayor of South Bend, where Klopfer was practicing – intervened on Klopfer’s behalf when a Catholic organization wanted to set up a counseling center across the street from the Women’s Pavilion, where Klopfer worked. His administration refused to grant a permit for the counseling center after they had already purchased the land. Buttigieg is a pro-abortion activist and recently stirred up controversy when he suggested that we define “life” as when a baby takes its first independent breath – sacrilegiously suggesting that this was the “biblical” definition of life – which was obviously intended as defense of late-term abortion. (By Buttigieg’s logic, there are a lot of non-living babies in NICUs across the country.)

Anyway, keeping gruesome souvenirs is classic serial killer behavior, for whom killing becomes a highly ritualized activity. Serial killers like to feel connected to their victims.

Klopfer is hardly the first abortionist found to behave like a serial killer, either.

Kermit Gosnell was convicted in 2013 of killing at least three babies born alive at his abortion mill by severing their spinal cords with scissors. People who knew about or even directly witnessed the issues with his clinic had filed a litany of complaints with authorities, who did absolutely nothing to discipline him for fear of being attacked by abortion activists as trying to impair women’s reproductive rights. Organizations like Planned Parenthood bully lawmakers and other concerned observers into silence, even when there is very good reason to go after someone. It’s a significant component of their business model.

Gosnell preyed on poor women and immigrants, and several even died at his facility. But pro-choice wackos didn’t have a problem with that. As an outspoken advocate for late-term abortion, Gosnell was treated as a progressive hero. He even performed abortions on women who were far along in their pregnancies using experimental technology on television.

In addition to running an abortion mill, Gosnell was also a prosperous heroin dealer. He wrote tons of bogus prescriptions for OxyContin. How better to exploit impoverished urban women than to charge them thousands of dollars to kill their babies and get them addicted to drugs? Again, this guy was a progressive hero.

The OxyContin business was something authorities would pursue, so they raided his clinics. That’s when they discovered the complaints about his business actually understated the wicked reality. They found dead babies in garbage bags and recycled milk cartons everywhere he went. He collected baby feet in jars. Like Klopfer, Gosnell also enjoyed living with souvenirs of his handiwork.

And then there was the 2017 case of Detroit abortionist Michael Roth, who was also caught with 15 jars of parts from aborted babies in his car, out of which he had been performing abortions (perhaps in dark alleys, as the cliché goes). Along with a bunch of drugs. He was driving around with corpses. Totally normal human being, right?

So much of the abortion “debate” is about concealing the fact of what abortion is, which is willfully murdering another living human being. Pro-choice folks try to deny the humanity of aborted babies by describing them as a “clump of cells,” among other things. (I’ve even heard pro-choice individuals compare a baby to a cancerous tumor.) They employ strategies like Buttigieg’s bizarre notion that “life” begins when a baby takes its first independent breath. He’s a 30-second Google search from understanding how biologists define life, but that’s inconvenient to a politics of death.

It’s the height of fantasy to think your emotions have the power to confer real existence on another person, that a baby literally comes into being by the act of a mother desiring it. That’s like Marianne Williamson arguing that people could meditate Hurricane Dorian away – like the sheer act of not wanting a hurricane means you won’t have to deal with it. It’s nonsense. I’d call it childish, except most children are smarter than this.

But perhaps the biggest fantasy that pro-choice people entertain is the fantasy that psychologically well-adjusted people want to be in the business of performing abortions and that they are not sending children and young adults to sicko serial killers to get medical advice. That being an abortionist is a career, not a spree.

A psychologically normal person does not look at a baby bouncing around in its mother’s womb and think, hey, I’m cool suctioning that out with a vacuum cleaner, shooting it up with digoxin to send it into heart failure, sucking out its brain matter, tearing it limb from limb and then re-assembling the body parts in some twisted puzzle in the lab to make sure they didn’t leave any behind to give the mother an infection later. This is the sort of daily grind that only excites psychopaths. And an abortionist is just a psychopath with a 401k.

There’s a reason why many abortionists don’t even have any serious medical training, apart from the fact that Planned Parenthood is adept at stifling regulation. (Only 7% of OB-GYNs who work in private settings will perform an abortion. And even those are reluctant to do most of the procedures performed at private clinics. In more conservative parts of the US, most doctors refuse to refer women to a clinic at all.) Keeping people alive and healthy is not what abortionists are about. It’s not what they do with their hands. They are killers. That is the activity that defines who they are. That is their identity. They aren’t going to go six figures into student debt like a cardiologist just to vacuum wombs like some deranged housewife. You don’t need specialized training to be a serial killer.

There’s a “celebrity” abortionist who was caught discussing the sale of fetal remains and is involved in the trial of David Daleiden in California. (He’s the guy who caught them on tape. Kamala Harris & Co. have charged him with felony eavesdropping. His defense is based on the fact that he taped people confessing to criminal activity, as the abortionists he spoke to described how they convince women to get certain kinds of procedures because they produce optimal cadavers to be sold. And the trade-offs of pushing women into decisions that also risk live births.) The abortionist wore a necklace with a silver coat hanger dangling from it into the courtroom to show her pride in her profession.

How bizarre is it that this sort of psychopathic projection has been normalized in some regions of our country? These people are telling you who they are and what they love to do.

It is beyond me why anyone would ever act surprised that abortionists have the same sick fetishes as serial killers. I think more sensible future generations of Americans will look back on this era of politicians encouraging girls to have as much sex as possible – and hey, who’s to “slut shame” you if you don’t even know his name – then kill any “unplanned” pregnancy that may result the same way we look back on the Holocaust. (It actually is a holocaust, the term we humans use to describe slaughter on a mass scale.)

I think future generations will see abortionist personalities as they really are: people with the same moral compass as the Manson family, who engage in the same sort of behavior.

And I think they will see pro-choice people the same way we see ordinary Germans of Hitler’s era – people so drugged on fantastical, narcissistic rhetoric or fearful of personal repercussions that they stood by and watched it happen. Some of them even voted to protect it. They “believed” in it. Because abortion involves talking about very real babies in theoretical terms, and the denial of empirical evidence.

It will probably be an object of interest to future generations how so many people lionized a guy that was living with over two thousand dead bodies in his house, as if his life was one big safari, but his trophies are human beings. And some of those trophies were removed from the uterus of girls who weren’t even teenagers yet.

And people called it progress.