Patterico's Pontifications


Weinergate: Someone Smarter Than Me: Explain Why This Is Not Possible

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:49 pm

The person claiming to be “Jennifer George” who called Lee was a hoaxer.

There really was a person who threatened the real Jennifer George, and that person pretended to be Lee Stranahan.

That person hates Lee, and Breitbart.

I have been very busy and probably don’t know all the reasons why this couldn’t possibly be the case. So tell me.

UPDATE: Point #1 could be wrong, and the theory still holds.

UPDATE x2: I’m feeling better about the theory with each passing second.

Hi, Neal!

Geert Wilders Takes a Victory Lap (Update: Welcome Instapundit Readers)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 5:03 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: Thanks for the Instalink and welcome to Instapundit’s readers.  While you are here, you might also check out my piece at Big Journalism: Fourteen Clear Factual Errors in Richard Stengal’s Essay on the Constitution (And I Am Looking For Your Help).  This is where I am trying to draw attention to a journalistic scandal I have dubbed “Stengelgate,” that is even receiving some attention on Fox News.  And of course check out the many great posts at this site.


I heard over a week ago that Geert Wilders had been acquitted and I didn’t bring it up, here, because a few other stories were dominating, and because frankly they had falsely reported that he had been acquitted in the past.  But when I saw this editorial by him, helpfully available for free at the Wall Street Journal, I had to post it.

In Defense of ‘Hurtful’ Speech

A Dutch court vindicates a politician’s right to air controversial views on Islam.

By Geert Wilders

Yesterday was a beautiful day for freedom of speech in the Netherlands. An Amsterdam court acquitted me of all charges of hate speech after a legal ordeal that lasted almost two years. The Dutch people learned that political debate has not been stifled in their country, and they learned they are still allowed to speak critically about Islam and that resistance against Islamization is not a crime.

I was brought to trial despite being an elected politician and the leader of the third-largest party in the Dutch parliament. I was not prosecuted for anything I did, but for what I had said. My view on Islam is that it is not so much a religion as a totalitarian political ideology with religious elements. While there are many moderate Muslims, Islam’s political ideology is radical and has global ambitions. I expressed these views in newspaper interviews, op-ed articles and in my 2008 documentary, “Fitna.”

I was dragged to court by leftist and Islamic organizations that were bent not only on silencing me but on stifling public debate. My accusers claimed that I deliberately “insulted” and “incited discrimination and hatred” against Muslims. The Dutch penal code states in its articles 137c and 137d that anyone who either “publicly, verbally or in writing or image, deliberately expresses himself in any way that incites hatred against a group of people” or “in any way that insults a group of people because of their race, their religion or belief, their hetero- or homosexual inclination or their physical, psychological or mental handicap, will be punished.”

Read the whole thing.  He’s earned the right to it.

Update: If you have trouble reading it at the WSJ, try his own site instead.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Harvard Study: The July Fourth Parades Makes People Into Republicans!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:25 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Every now and then we see the latest academic study telling us that people are conservative and/or republican because they are uninformed racist idiots or something like that.  And every single time they turn out to be based on dubious scientific techniques that attempt to dress up the scientists’  biases as objective science.

So I am not going to take this study, that seems to make Democrats look bad, very seriously.  But I admit I kind of laughed, reading it anyway:

“Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” said the report from Harvard.

“The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans,” write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.

Do read the whole thing.  It will make you smile.

But it is most likely wrong.  The 2% swing mentioned is less than impressive.  Further, chances are these sociologists were not following these people around as children, so what they were actually measuring who stated that they remember going to Fourth of July celebrations, which is a different question than whether they actually went to them.  Not to mention the issue of correlation v. causation which I am sure all of you are familiar with.

Still this weekend, join your neighbors in celebrating the birth of this great republic and perhaps introduce some of our children to what makes this country great.  Who knows, you just might be making them into Republicans.

And perhaps if you are at a barbeque, throw something on the fire…

Might not be good for cooking, but it will make you feel good.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The Stengel Story Breaks Through to Fox News (Update: Video!)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:15 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update (II): And MRC TV has posted the video.

(Click on the image to watch the video.)

Gee, does any of that look familiar?  That being said, I’m not actually annoyed so much as proud to get that on the air.

Anyway, let me extend a big thanks to Steven Gutowski of MRC TV.  I asked him to post this, this morning, with the promise of links back in return and he did exactly that.

Update: I was wrong, below.  You can still “like” my comment over at time, so keep it up.

As regular readers know, a few days ago I published a piece outlining 13 errors in Richard Stengel’s essay on the Constitution.  And yesterday, I made my debut at Big Journalism with a modified version of the same piece, entitled Fourteen Clear Factual Errors in Richard Stengel’s Essay on the Constitution (and I am Looking For Your Help.  In both versions I created a short, cut-and-paste-ready list of errors and told people to spam the site with them.

So I wake up this morning to see this mention in my twitter by Liz Buddie:

Pretty sure someone used @AaronWorthing ‘s excellent post on Time’s piece abt Constitution at @Patterico as a cheat sheet for Fox segment.

So quickly I turned on the TV and used my Tivo to check and sure enough, they had a segment on the Time Magazine article.  Steve Doocy had Judge Napolitano on as a guest, and said something close to this “someone has checked and found a number of errors in Time’s article” and up on the screen was three items.  I didn’t have the chance to listen to all of it, but Napolitano was proving each false easily.

To borrow a cliché from Patrick, if that wasn’t my work, I’ll eat my hat.  And leaving out my name is not completely surprising.  Maybe they just saw the list of errors without seeing who created it, since many people have been cutting and pasting the list without a link back.

So we are seeing signs that the media is taking notice of this journalistic scandal.

And here comes the blegging part.  If any of you know where I might find video of that segment or a similar one, please give me a link for that one.  I would love to be able to show you what I saw this morning.

Also, in closely related news, Time has shut down comments on that story.  Now it could be the case of deciding to close it simply because a certain amount of time had passed.  And yet there are items that are older than the Stengel piece, and their comments are open (like here and here).  But I have seen other items written on the same day that also closed their comments, so think of it what you will.  Either way, it is no longer possible to spam their site, or “like” any of the comments [correction: the “like” function still works] (and my comment was liked 413 times).

But you can still write to the editor, hereHint, hint.

As I said before, be polite and stick to the facts.  If you denounce his philosophy, they will ignore you, but as they say, facts are stubborn things…

You can see the letter I sent them, here.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Weinergate: More Stuff Tonight

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:33 am

The story seems to have slowed down. I feel like giving the story a kickstart. I may — I said “may”! — have time to post something tonight.

What it will be, I’m not sure. There is the rest of the document dump I promised to publish from JohnReid9. With whom I have not spoken in over two days.

There is the continuing saga of Alicia Pain.

There is the need to follow up on a couple of the random quotes I tossed out during the weekend.

But I repeat myself.

And then there is . . . all the other stuff that’s going on.

A lot of potential topics there. Should be able to find something interesting to post on.


I Think This Big Journalism Story is Ripping Me Off

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 4:58 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Seriously, who is this jerk who is stealing my material?

Joking aside, I considered it a really pleasant surprise when Dana Loesch suggested I submit the piece, and I was stunned when they made it a featured story.  I am honored, and I hope whatever poor schlub had to copyedit it didn’t have too rough of a go with it.

You can read the whole thing, here.

And no, your eyes do not deceive you.  That is fourteen errors, not thirteen.  That’s right, I missed one.

Also bonus points to the first person who guesses who is actually in the picture (hint: it’s not me).

By the way, at the Time magazine article, the comments keep rolling in.  Here’s a fresh one:

Reading all of these comments should make the editors arrive at one conclusion.  This writer should be fired for gross negligence.

And someone suspects something is going on:

Wow.  It’s pretty obvious that some hyper-conservative constitutional literalist made a list of “13 Objectively false statements in Stengel’s Article on the Constitution” and asked everyone to copy and paste it.

Nah, perish the thought.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Breaking: 6th Circuit Upholds Obamacare (Update: Even They Think Richard Stengel is Wrong)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:11 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

The Daily Caller story tells you no more than that, but fwiw…  Expect updates.

Update: Volokh has a little more and straightens me out on which circuit is involved.  And you can read it, here.

Update: Okay I read over the majority opinion (there is a dissent, too), at least starting when we get to the commerce clause issues.  Bluntly, the opinion is surreal.  One heading reads:

The minimum coverage provision regulates economic activity with a substantial effect on interstate commerce

Mind you, they are upholding this.  So…inactivity is activity?  Well, this is how they try to fudge it:

The activity of foregoing health insurance and attempting to cover the cost of health care needs by self-insuring is no less economic than the activity of purchasing an insurance plan.

So by that logic, there is no such thing as inactivity.  I am right now engaged in the following activities: not buying a car, not buying a video game, not buying food, not buying the services of a prostitute… and so on.  The mind boggles.

They they go through the usual bit about claiming that it is necessary and proper simply because it would be a disaster if they didn’t uphold the mandate.  As I have pointed out before, I believe that is inadequate.  Instead it must be necessary to carry the other parts of Obamacare into execution.

Finally they confront the inactivity/activity distinction:

However, the text of the Commerce Clause does not acknowledge a constitutional distinction between activity and inactivity, and neither does the Supreme Court.

How can not engaging in commerce be commerce?

Furthermore, far from regulating inactivity, the provision regulates active participation in the health care market.

So “active participation in the health care market” equals “sitting on your couch and scratching yourself”?

The Supreme Court… has not defined activity or inactivity in this context.

How about you crack open a dictionary?  Most dictionaries state that in order to engage in activity you have to, you know, do something.

Then finally they punt on the other arguments, such as whether it is a tax or not:

In light of the conclusion that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause, it is not necessary to resolve whether the provision could also be sustained as a proper exercise of Congress’s power to tax and spend under the General Welfare Clause[.]

Which is a fairly normal thing for a court to do, but on the other hand, they did argue in the alternative earlier in the opinion.  First they claimed that this inactivity is activity and thus subject to regulation under the commerce clause, and then they argued that even if it wasn’t commerce, they could still reach it under the Necessary and Proper Clause.  But if the Commerce Clause argument was enough, then why even bother with the Necessary and Proper Clause if they were in the practice of punting on other arguments once they believe they have found a sufficient one?  Aren’t they implicitly admitting that even they don’t know if that Commerce Clause argument will fly?

But nonetheless this line brought a smile to my face given my current crusade:

In our dual system of government, the federal government is limited to its enumerated powers, while all other powers are reserved to the states or to the people. U.S. Const. amend. X.  States have authority under their general police powers to enact minimum coverage provisions similar to the one in the Affordable Care Act…  However, the federal government has no police power and may enact such a law only if it is authorized by one of its enumerated powers.

Mind you, that is still the majority opinion.  So that is right, even they think Richard Stengel was wrong to say that the Constitution didn’t limit federal power.

Update: Let me add that like the D.C. District court opinion, I think this dealt with the activity/inactivity distinction in a way that wasn’t credible.  Its not as laughably bad as the “mental activity” concept, but it is about equal in lameness.  I prefer a win, obviously, but a lame victory might do their side substantial harm.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

@Weinergate: The Death Threat Black Hole

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 10:09 am

[Guest post by the ever popular Lee Stranahan]

When a woman named Jenny G. contacted me on the phone, she told me that she’s gotten two death threats and that she had no idea what was going on. She repeated this claim to the Boston police in two forms; first, saying that I was the one who made the death threats and later telling a detective that it was one of my ‘followers’.

Here’s what she said when she called me; she claims to have been innocently living her life when out of the blue, two death threats came in to her answering machine. In a panic, she did some quick internet research, found me and then phoned me up. She said repeatedly that she had no idea what was going on and told me she wasn’t political at all and knew almost nothing about the “Weenie story’ except what she’d seen on shows like inside Edition and Access Hollywood.

I don’t believe there were any death threats. At all.

So – what are we left with? A giant hole in her story.

Don’t forget that Jenny claims to have no knowledge about the Weiner story. Even though she readily admits she started the @Starchild111 account, she claims to have no idea about the Nikki Reid sock puppet who was following at least three women connected to Anthony Weiner. She wasn’t following it online, she said. She didn’t have a Twitter account anymore, she said.

Is there any proof that Jenny G. is lying and that she was following the Weiner story closely?

There sure is – since there were no death threats, how did she find out that I’d mentioned her name?

Cue: Sound of a dog not barking.

– Lee Stranahan

Stengel Update and My Favorite Comment Left on His Page

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:54 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: Just a reminder, you can download the podcast of my appearance on the Com and Company radio show on NRA News, here.

Yesterday I outlined Thirteen Clear Factual Errors in Richard Stengel’s Essay on the Constitution, and asked you guys to help raise aware of this journalistic scandal.  Specifically I said:

So if you agree with me, that this is scandalously bad, let me suggest that you guys try to help me raise awareness of the issue.  For instance, you can go to thearticle and fill the comments with a version of my list:

13 Objectively false statements in Stengel’s Article on the Constitution.

  1. The Constitution does not limit the Federal Government.
  2. The Constitution is not law.
  3. The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment emancipated the slaves.
  4. The Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment granted the right to vote to African Americans.
  5. The original Constitution declared that black people were to be counted as three-fifths of a person.
  6. That the original, unamended Constitution prohibited women from voting.
  7. Inter arma enim silent leges translates as “in time of war, the Constitution is silent.”
  8. The War Powers Act allows the president to unilaterally wage war for sixty days.
  9. We have only declared war five times.
  10. Alexander Hamilton wanted a king for America.
  11. Social Security is a debt within the meaning of Section Four of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  12. Naturalization depends on your birth.
  13. The Obamacare mandate is a tax.

Positively spam them until they have to pay attention.  Or you could even go to where I left a substantially similar comment and “like” that comment, raising its prominence.  If a comment is liked enough times they might be more likely to pay attention.  Or you can email the “editor,” (not sure which editor we are talking about) here.

In all communications, be polite, and stick to the facts, so they cannot dismiss you as a kook.

And so far you guys have done a great job.  The comment I suggested that you “like,” has now been “liked” over 300 times.  And individual commenters are spamming him, or otherwise using my “talking points.”  I will go as far as to say that we have reached the point where they can’t pretend they are unaware of the complaint.  So please keep up the good work.

Even then, there are clearly other comments being left on the site that were not directly prompted by my post.  I haven’t read every single comment due to time constraints, but this one really caught my eye (so technically its more like the favorite of the comments I have seen).  I will leave out the author’s name and of course this story hasn’t been verified, but for what it is worth, a gentleman writes:

I will be removing Time from the waiting room of my law office. Here is why.

Earlier today someone sent me [by email] the clip below with the claim that it was written by a Time author and published in the magazine.

If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so. Article I, Section 8, the longest section of the longest article of the Constitution, is a drumroll of congressional power. And it ends with the “necessary and proper” clause, which delegates to Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Limited government indeed.

I fired back a rather hostile response [by email] and asked that I not be bothered with things that a little fact checking would demonstrate were obviously false. I told the sender that no matter how far Time had slipped, no literate editor would ever allow this statement to appear in print. I directed the email sender to the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution and told him to file his claim about this article in his “O’Bama birther” file.

To my chagrin he fired back the link to this article. I had to read it twice to believe my eyes. Time really did say this.


(emphasis added)  That’s gonna leave a mark.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]


Weinergate Radio

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 9:17 pm

[Guest Post by Lee Stranahan]

The going gets WEIRD – tune in at 9:30p, 10:30m, 11:30c, 12:30p.

– Lee Stranahan

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