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Week in Review: A Right Wing Fail-a-Ganza

When wingnuts get frisky, all manner of fail abides
Wingnuts • Views: 34,397

It’s been an awesome week of right wing failitude; the Ricketts/Rev. Wright Debacle, followed by the Breitbart Birther Bogosity, followed by National Review’s Massive Elizabeth Warren Plagiarism Fail-a-Ganza: The National Review’s Fake Plagiarism Scoop.

The National Review says Elizabeth Warren is guilty of the gravest crime a writer can commit: Plagiarism. Katrina Trinko compares passages from “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Money Lifetime Plan,” Warren’s book with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, with passages from “Getting on the Money Track,” a book by Rob Black. The passages line up perfectly. The wording and even the punctuation are identical. It’s plagiarism all right. Except it looks very much like Warren is actually the victim.

The National Review headline says “Plagiarism in Elizabeth Warren’s 2006 book.” The body refers to Warren publishing the book “in 2006″ and Black’s book coming out in 2005. That’s true! Except that in 2006 the paperback of Warren’s book was published. The hardcover came out in March of 2005. Black’s book seems to have come out, if Amazon is correct, October 14 2005. (Or, according to Barnes and Noble, July 2005?) Months after Warren’s book. Unless there was an earlier published hardcover version that I can’t find on Amazon, it seems like Black most likely plagiarized Warren.

Then, to put the dim-witted icing on this many-layered cake of fail, breitbart.com jumped on the “Elizabeth Warren Plagiarism Bombshell” story after it had already been debunked! Evidence of Plagiarism in 2006 Elizabeth Warren Book.

Gotta hand it to the loveable little wingnuts — they’re dedicated, if nothing else! A bit over-eager, sure, but I don’t want to criticize them too much lest they stop providing such great inadvertent comedy.

Go ahead on, brave wingnuts. Forward, into the past.

Also see
UPDATE at 5/18/12 6:55:25 pm

The Breitbart gang have now deleted their post calling for Elizabeth Warren to be fired, but here it is in Google’s cache for a limited time: Evidence of Plagiarism in 2006 Elizabeth Warren Book.

And here’s the full text, with the original formatting:

Earlier today, Breitbart News published evidence suggesting that several of Elizabeth Warren’s contributions to a Cherokee-themed cook book were plagiarized. Late this afternoon, more evidence of plagiarism appeared in National Review’s The Corner. The following excerpt comes from Warren’s 2006 book All Your Worth:

For millions and millions of Americans, debt has become a way of life. Owing a bunch of money has become normal in this country, right up there with playing baseball in the summer and eating turkey on Thanksgiving. In fact, more than 80 million Americans now owe money on a credit card. And not just a little bit of money: The average family that carries a balance now owes more than two months’ income on their credit cards.

Maybe your grandpa has told you that “back in his day” if you couldn’t pay cash, you didn’t buy it. And that was pretty much true: Debt just wasn’t a routine part of American life the way it is today. A generation or two ago, almost no one carried any debt except for a home mortgage and maybe a car loan. There were no giant credit card balances, no payday loans, and no home equity loans. In fact, just 35 years ago, the total amount of debt outstanding among all American households was about 1/600th of what it is today. That means that for every dollar your generation owes today, your parents’ generation owed less than half a penny!

The portions in bold are identical to another book published in 2005. Here are the same paragraphs as they appear in Rob Black’s Getting on the Money Track:

For millions of Americans, debt has become a way of life. Owing thousands of dollars in high-interest debt has become the norm in this country.  This is astonishing and shows we are a nation of spenders and not savers. In fact, more than 80 million Americans now owe money on a credit card. And not just a little bit of money:  The average family carrying a balance now owes more than two months of income on their credit cards. Because bankruptcy laws in the United States were recently changed, getting away from credit card debt is going to be even tougher than in the past.

You might have heard this from your grandparents: “Back in the day, if we couldn’t pay cash, we didn’t buy it.”  This was pretty much the truth:  Debt just wasn’t a routine part of American the way it is today; it was viewed quite differently. A generation or two ago, almost no one carried any debt except for a home mortgage and maybe a car loan. There were no giant credit card balances, no payday loans (watch out for these as they  end to charge 10 percent or more for the right to your own money), and no home equity loans. In fact, just 35 years ago, the total amount of debt outstanding among all American households was about 1/600th of what it is today. That means that for every dollar your generation owes today, your grandparents’ generation owed less than half a penny!

Warren’s excerpts were obviously cut and pasted. This sort of thing would usually be considered a firing offense for anyone who writes for a living; however, Warren’s book was co-written with her daughter. It’s possible the daughter is responsible for this. I suppose Warren will have little choice but to throw her under the bus if she wants to stay in the Senate race (and keep her job).

Rob Black has a business conducting financial seminars. I contacted Mr. Black via Twitter but haven’t heard back from him so far.

A screenshot:

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