Patterico's Pontifications


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.]

33 Responses to “Stengel Update and My Favorite Comment Left on His Page”

  1. OMG used to be my response. Now I am surprised to find anyone who both values and comprehends the meaning, history and purposes of the constitution.

    Public schools really screwed it up, and I think it must have been partially on purpose.

    SarahW (af7312)

  2. I think that somebody should point out that at its beginnings Time was considered an amazingly middlebrow hack magazine staffed by failed reporters who couldn’t make it on the shipping news. looks like they’re returning to their roots.

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  3. Liberalism is a mental disorder. This proves it.

    BTW public schools still teach that the reason those guys dressed up as “indians” when they tossed the tea shipment overboard was to blame the indians.

    PatriotRider (dd3155)

  4. If they don’t improve their articles, I’m going to have to stop…hey! They were irrelevant before this article.

    Gramma had Time magazine and Life…and shopped at Grant’s and Ames and rented their old black rotary phones from Ma Bell.

    Time, meet the future.

    ukuleldave (e546ca)

  5. The left’s new-found hostility to the Constitution is a response to the Tea Party’s call to look at the intent of the Founding Fathers.

    Arizona Bob (aa856e)

  6. With all the attention the Stengel Time article received yesterday I am curious whether any other publication has editorialized- either pro or con- on the veracity Stengel’s article. Or whether any center or left of center blog has either defended it or questioned it. Or if any other known Constitutional scholar or historian has defended it or fisked it as Aaron did. I am not able to spend time searching other sites today but if anybody has seen anything and can respond to my inquiry I am sure Aaron would also be interested to see what the wider reaction to Stengel’s hideous article has been. Thanks.

    elissa (3f799c)

  7. How silly is it to argue that the Founding Fathers didn’t know about all the advancements of today’s modern society. How does this show a flaw in the Constitution?

    What the Founding Fathers did know, however, was the nature of people, especially those who use government to enrich themselves.

    Arizona Bob (aa856e)

  8. I read about the first 10 or 12 comments (out of 550) at the Time Mag site and they are not very complimentary to Mr. Stengel, I doubt that they are all Patterico readers. Maybe there is some hope for this country yet.

    BT (74cbec)

  9. 5. The left’s new-found hostility to the Constitution is a response to the Tea Party’s call to look at the intent of the Founding Fathers.

    Comment by Arizona Bob — 6/29/2011 @ 7:20 am

    Ding! Ding! Ding! Give that man a cigar!

    Pious Agnostic (291f9a)

  10. Teh Narrative is more important to people like this Time clown than reality, honesty, facts, etc …

    AW – were you ever able to find this clown spewing this nonsense on the Charley Rose show? It is even more comical to hear him saying it.

    JD (d48c3b)

  11. Well here’s one. I guess a person can tell from the title of the piece what Natelson thinks of Stengel’s efforts.

    elissa (3f799c)

  12. I was reading The Summer of 1787 by David Stewart – a book about the constitutional convention. He stated that New Jersey allowed women to vote in 1787 but rescinded that a couple of decades later.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  13. JD

    yes, i did.


    yeah, that will figure prominently in a piece i am working on.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  14. @ SPQR,

    He stated that New Jersey allowed women to vote in 1787 but rescinded that a couple of decades later.

    And those voting women had to be property owners. I think NJ was the last state to rescind that right, after NY, Mass, & NH…. so when Abigail wrote John to remember the ladies and if he didn’t, look out, I guess she really meant it.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  15. By the time I read your post yesterday, the discussion had been going on to other things, and I didn’t want to distract. But this point:

    Naturalization depends on your birth.

    you were a little bit off in your explanation. Once you’re here, the process is essentially the same for everyone (or at least depends on other factors not related to the country of birth), but what country the prospective immigrant is from can make an important difference in the amount of red tape that needs to be gone through to get admitted.

    Your main point there was fine, but it’s not quite so clear cut a case as the rest.

    JBS (cc1ec4)

  16. The constitution is a document that is open to interpretation.

    The Times editor is a partisan hack who has interpreted it the way he WANTS it to read – not how it actually translates in real life.

    Anyone who tries to read one sentence vague statments that took almost 30 years to be agreed on in a circumstance of totalitarian rule over 200 years ago and was focused on seperation from a certain individuals hold on America and tries to literally translate to everyday society in a vast multicultural country that has no continuity of government as it stupidly and foolishly reconvenes every two years – will start to look as foolish as the partisan liberal hack who wrote an embarrasing tome

    The most useless class taught today is constitutional law

    EricPWJohnson (2925ff)

  17. In other news related to the Constitution…from President Obama’s presser this morning,

    OK, onto the War Powers Resolution: Obama says congressional consultation is “appropriate.” He then rhetorically asks himself if he thinks he’s violated it. “The answer is no,” he says.

    Then, Obama says that because the mission doesn’t meet the terms of the war powers act, he doesn’t even have to give an answer for whether it’s constitutional! “I don’t have to get to the question,” Obama determines, to the shock of Chuck Todd and other reporters.


    Dana (4eca6e)

  18. 12.I was reading The Summer of 1787 by David Stewart – a book about the constitutional convention. He stated that New Jersey allowed women to vote in 1787 but rescinded that a couple of decades later

    Take a look at the book Vindicating the Founders, by Thomas West. It’s got a detailed look at women having the right to vote pre-1800.

    Chuck Bartowski (4c6c0c)

  19. Newsweek, on the other hand, is thrilled. They now suck less than TIME for the first time in decades.

    Mitch (890cbf)

  20. If you really want to make a difference, use snail mail. Anyone can whip off an email. They figure you’re real serious if you send them something that costs money to send.

    Jeff Mitchell (481f2a)

  21. I was going to suggest something similar to what Jeff said above. FedEx a copy to the Times office, one copy to clownboy, and another to his boss, and request signature service.

    JD (85b089)

  22. Here’s another guy taking the Time article apart. Here.

    Jeff Mitchell (481f2a)

  23. Maybe we ought to start a collection plate to buy Time Inc a dictionary and thesaurus. That way before they beclown themselves with articles about the constitution they might first grasp the term ‘enumerated powers’. I know, I know you need at 1500 SAT score to begin to understand this concept so we shouldn’t hold them to such a high standard.

    cubanbob (409ac2)

  24. Arron, as tempting as low-hanging fruit can be, take care to get your ducks in a proper row. Stengel and Time have defenders ready to pounce on the slightest error, difference of opinion, or ambiguity, or to manufacture any and all of the above if necessary. So, keep your final version short and to the point, anticipate the counterattack, keep something in reserve, and above all don’t overreach.

    Stengel isn’t as ignorant as he appears, his article deliberately mischaracterizes major elements of our Constitution because he intends to hoodwink Time’s readers into accepting a fundamental basis for today’s left-wing political nostrums.

    His article is a political assault on the personal freedoms and individual guarantees too many Americans take for granted. Read your list, it’s a chapter and verse overview for today’s hot button Leftist political agenda: expanding the power of the federal government, rejecting the protections codified in the founding documents, racism, women’s rights, concentration of power in the chief executive, increasing national debt, immigration, and ObamaCare.

    Misinforming the lettered gullible and providing timely reinforcement for the Left’s true believing activists are his motivations. In short, he’s a hack writer, a deceiver with a big bullhorn, and an intellectual charlatan who fully deserves to be ridiculed and exposed. Do it right.

    ropelight (de9bde)

  25. Ropelight hit it on the head but the problem is with our government permanently in flux – heading towards italy of the 70’s and Germany today where each side is about to fracture into several factions and coalitions which ultimately frustrate the electorate vaporate in hard times and gridlock remains the constant

    We have serious problems – arguing about constitutional problems is the lefts way of deflecting the bad news that our country is in serious trouble

    Just ignore them and focus on the election – there has probably not been a more important election since lincoln coming up and we have a parade of candidates vying for arguably the toughest presidency ever in over 100 years

    We got a quiting cheerleader, a spoiled rich boy who started the medical mess, a Texas Gov who is renowned for being decisive – not deciding yet to run, a hockey player who cant fight, a woman of substance but perhaps is the most horrible interviewer, and RON PAUL

    somehow we have to sort out this mess, get the right person and the right VP in there – this is a 16 year process where a team fixes the 85+ years of Democrat Largess

    Who gives a rats $$ what an a$$ in time writes…

    Its good that you put him in his place but the bigger picture is looming large and a drug addled welfare state called Iowa is coming up to pick our very future soon

    EricPWJohnson (4380b4)

  26. Alexander Hamilton wanted a king for America.

    Er…well, he did propose it. I don’t know that he meant it, though he left the convention for most of the session. No hint of such a proposal surfaces in his contributions to the Federalist Papers, and I don’t believe he ever said anything while Secretary of the Treasury that I’ve read that leads me to believe he was doing more than advancing a proposition he thought everyone could unite behind declining.

    “Declining” being defined as “leaping upon it, driving a stake through its unbeating heart, cutting off the head, filling the mouth with salt and sewing the lips shut, then burying at a crossroads.”

    Dianna (23319c)

  27. Can’t register on Time site. Oh, well… registered at too many sites already.

    Mr. Stengel seems to be a victim of a government school education. Such breathtaking ignorance is otherwise inexplicable!!!

    Chuck Roast (06c960)

  28. What is the evidence that Hamilton wanted a king for America? Googling, I find links to Thomas DiLorenzo’s book “Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution-and What It Means for America Today,” which apparently makes this assertion, but I haven’t found a discussion of the evidence upon which DiLorenzo bases this claim.

    I’m wondering if Hamilton actually said/wrote this, or if it is a case of modern historians merely inferring this from his writings.

    Dispatches (253e34)

  29. Well lookee what’s the featured story at Big Journalism.

    Well done, Aaron.

    Listen to Ropelight’s advice. Wish I had the insight to say constructive things like that, but my reaction was just ‘nice post’.

    Also, I was always under the same impression Dianna is, that Hamilton overtly proposed… not a king necessarily but a more king like president in term. Is there a source on that, though?

    Dustin (c16eca)

  30. Dustin

    my understanding is the king thing came from the passage i cited. a life long elected chief executive.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  31. Madison’s notes from the convention.

    Thanks Aaron. I forgot.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  32. The income tax is not really a direct tax. The Supreme Court was actually getting close to reversing itself (or at least Taft wanted it to) when the 16th Amendment intervened

    But the individual mandate is in fact a direct tax – except they didn’t wnat it to be atax. So they say anybody that can’t pay – go on medicaid.

    And now you’re telling us that the CBO didn’t predict any failure to enroll at all? They made no estimate of the number of people who would wind up owing – not the sme as paying – the penalty?

    (or was it only that they didn’t count any revenue coming in from the penalty) as a tax?

    Sammy Finkelman (d3daeb)

  33. The income tax is not really a direct tax.

    Exactly. And the income tax on wages was never thought by anyone to be a direct tax, because it clearly isn’t. The dispute was only over the tax on income derived from property, and on which the value of that property depends, i.e. rent and dividends.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

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