Politico Covers Wiki's Mild Solyndra Brouhaha, Ignores Wiki's Strange Kimberlin Kibosh


Is Brett Kimberlin's power in his muttonchops?

At Politico, Andrew Restuccia reports on a spat between President Obama's detractors and apologists over Wikipedia's Solyndra entry: 

Editors on Wikipedia have also taken the precaution of prohibiting unregistered users from changing the article, a common step for controversial topics.

While vigorous debate among Wikipedia editors over an entry is commonplace, the Solyndra fight mirrors the divisive political dialogue on the ill-fated solar company, which received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration in 2009.

The GOP has alleged that the administration approved the loan to please Obama's campaign donors, a claim that Republicans in Congress have been unable to prove after more than a year of document requests and hearings. But they have unearthed emails documenting keen interest by White House aides in the company's travails, debates about the optics of Obama's May 2010 visit to its plant in California, and discussions about Solyndra between federal officials and Obama fundraiser George Kaiser — enough to keep the issue simmering.

So it's little surprise to see it boiling over online.

Restuccia did good work during the Solyndra story, but here he defines "boiling" down. The debate over Wikipedia's neutrality (and is it even possible to debate neutrality?) is within reasonable bounds for a distributed encyclopedia. 

But there is an interesting story over the Wiki page for Brett Kimberlin, the convicted Speedway bomber, serial litigant and self-described pot dealer to Dan Quayle prior to Quayle's term as the 44th Vice President of the United States (1989-1993). 

Patrick Frey, Los Angeles County prosecutor and author of the indispensible Patterico's Pontifications blog, describes his interaction with a volunteer Wikipedia editor after the temporary removal of the Kimberlin page: 

I wrote:

Hello. My name is Patrick Frey and I operate a blog at patterico.com. I am interesting in knowing why you deleted the Wikipedia page on Brett Kimberlin. I have seen the deleted page and it was quite well sourced, with links to TIME Magazine and other news publications.

There was an entire book about this individual written by Mark Singer, a New Yorker writer. There is simply a wealth of reliable information out there about Kimberlin.

I read the reasoning for the deletion and did not understand it. I wonder if you could enlighten me. Thanks very much.

Patrick Frey

Symonds responded (emphasis mine):


I deleted the article back in September as a volunteer, because it served as an attack page. It was sourced, but was also unduly negative, and written by people who "had an axe to grind". Although some of the facts were sourced, there was an undertone of maliciousness in the way that the article was written.

Mr Kimberlin was not a paragon of virtue, but the article as it stood simply painted him as a man with no positive qualities at all, which is obviously problematic in a neutral encyclopedia.

I responded:

If the facts are sourced and accurate, perhaps the negative picture is accurate. Mr. Kimberlin is a man convicted of violent crimes. Portrayals of violent criminals tend to be largely negative, do they not? It sets a disturbing precedent to remove accurate facts from a neutral encyclopedia because those facts portray a violent convicted criminal in a negative light.

Also, how do you know the authors had an "axe to grind"? Who made this claim to you?

And why would that matter if the facts are accurate?

Symonds haughtily blew me off:


I've answered your questions and I have no real interest in discussing foreign politics with a blogger by email on my day off. The decision I made was backed up by others, the creators of the article were banned by the community, and I barely even remember the while episode. The whole event was entirely run of the mill, the sort of thing that happens on Wikipedia every day, and I have no real interest in left or right wing politics in North America.

All the best,

Richard Symonds

My second question (after "When did 'discussing foreign politics with a blogger by email' get redefined as work?") is how the unimpressive Kimberlin was able to cloud the mind of New Yorker writer Mark Singer; attract an avid countercult whose ill-starred initiates do a fair job of proving he also has a regular cult; bring in [pdf] hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment to make "DVDs with musicians to educate youth about their voting and civil rights to get them to register and vote"; and maneuver his foes into jail time. How did this little man end up playing the Max Cady/Damien Thorn role in our collective B movie? 

While Solyndra is still good for demonstrating that Mitt Romney doesn't read Reason, it's now of fan interest only. The rise and rise of Brett Kimberlin may or may not deserve Singer's epithet "American Journey," but it tells you more about this country than any half-billion-dollar political scandal.  

NEXT: Reason Writers on the Tube: Matt Welch Talks About the Lousy Jobs Report on MSNBC's Jansing & Co.

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  1. That is a tiny, tiny man.

    1. Fucking leprechauns always out blowing shit up and causing trouble.

      1. For every Napoleon, there are a hundred Kimberlins. It must be tough being a tiny man.

        1. Some make bombs, others become city planners.

          1. I hear a famous city planner loved his dog.

  2. Mr Kimberlin was not a paragon of virtue, but the article as it stood simply painted him as a man with no positive qualities at all, which is obviously problematic in a neutral encyclopedia.

    So I am sure this editor is busy deleting the Wiki articles of Charlie Manson and the Unibomber as we speak. What is even more sad is that I am sure Richard Symonds thinks that by covering up the deeds of a violent sociopath he is doing his best for the cause. Why the cause needs to cover up the deeds of a violent sociopath seems to be a question beyond Mr. Symonds' grasp.

    1. Yeah, I'm not sure how someone adding factual evidence is unduely negative.

    2. I've heard Richard Speck loves working with young, unmarried women.

      1. The jokes write themselves don't they?

    3. Not to go all Godwin, but the first one that came to my mind was Hitler's. I'm sure his page is all wine and roses and bubblegum and rainbows.

      1. I'm sure there are some middle easterners who think "killing millions of Jews" isn't actually negative.

        1. They mention he was a Keynesian on Hitler's page, which probably counts as doubleplus good with many a Wikipedia editor.

  3. Wow, I've tempered my criticism of Wikipedia over the last few years, but this Kimberlin situation seriously raises it back up.

    Wikipedia is becoming everything they claim they're not.

    1. The problem is leftists are fanatics and will take over any institution they touch and pervert for political ends. Generally libertarians and people on the right are not fanatical enough to spend their time going out and editing wikipedia articles. And if they did they would be honest about it and do it for reasons other than politics. Leftists on the other hand are fanatics who are not only willing to spend their time doing such things but will do it in singular devotion to the cause. Given that it was inevitable that wikipedia would be subverted into a tool for leftist politics.

      1. Yeah, the only time I can recall people on the right editing and doctoring research for political gains was the data used to invade Iraq. What's the death toll of that vs the Wikipedia genicide again, John?

        And Kimberlin and his adherents are pieces of shit, but to say this is only a symptom of the left when the right uses it just as often sounds pretty naive partisan to me.

        1. Wow you really are a one trick pony aren't you? Do you have to hijack every fucking thread to make the same fucking mundane points over and over again? And no one ever doctored the intel on Iraq. That is a total fucking myth. But don't let the facts get in the way.

          Further, it is not even analogous to the salient point anyway. Show me a situation where Libertarians or conservatives have taken over something that is a-political and perverted it into a political tool.

          1. It is analogous to the point. They selectively edited the intel to make the Iraq invasion much more palatable to the American people as well as the UN Security Council. If that's not a perversion, I don't know what the hell is.

            Wow you really are a one trick pony aren't you?

            Yeah, this is like the only topic I've ever discussed on here.

            Sorry if you don't like someone pointing out the hypocrisy of the Neo-cons ans So-cons, but it's out there every day, especially when it comes to killing brown people.

            1. This is like the 5th thread in a row that you have managed to somehow link to the war. I have been through this with MNG. And it always ends in every other comentator telling us to get a room and other snark.

              Get the fuck over it. And they never selectively edited the intel. Even Mary fucking Stack knows that. The entire God damend world thought Saddam had WMDs. I was in the initial invasion of Iraq. I went across the burm four days into the war. And we were all wearing Chem suits. The assumption from the very beginning was that Saddam was going to chem us. Sorry, but I find it hard to believe that the V Corps commander didn't get the memo about Saddam not really having WMDs.

              1. I went across the burm four days into the war. And we were all wearing Chem suits.

                They just did that so that it would look good for the news cameras. /sarcasm

              2. I never linked to the Iraq war in those other threads, so wipe the foam from your mouth. I was talking about the murderdroning, which was separate from the Iraq war (which had a separate resolution and AUMF than the WoT, btw).

                And to the WMD's: They had them. I know that. Every sane person knows that. But the data was massaged on what means he may have had to deliver them and his "unwillingness" to allow inspectors back in. The UN inspection teams were being given access as the deadline approached, but we basically forced them out so we could say they weren't complying...all so Shrub could get his war boner all hard and throbbing (like yours tends to get when murderdroning is brought up).

            2. Sloop-

              You don't know what the hell is.

              Name one effing person in this world who doesn't selectively edit what they desemenate to their audience.

              If you can't, maybe you should go ask Jake Carney.

      2. Generally libertarians and people on the right are not fanatical enough to spend their time going out and editing wikipedia articles.

        We also have too much other shit to do. Things like working for a living, making love to women, etc.

        1. Posting on HnR.

        2. I spend at least half a day every day just reading monocle catalogs.

          1. (scoff) Shouldn't you have the comeliest of the poverty stricken children you've hired read it to you?

            1. Hired?

              I believe you mean "bought", good sir.

            2. Who would deign to teach them to read?

              1. I use them as magazine racks for my copies of Monocle Monthly

      3. Leftists on the other hand are fanatics who are not only willing to spend their time doing such things but will do it in singular devotion to the cause.

        See: Stack, Mary.

        1. Well put.

      4. Generally libertarians and people on the right are not fanatical enough to spend their time going out and editing wikipedia articles.

        That's right, John! Oh, wait, how did Conservapedia come to exist? Because the Socons were tired of getting their BS edits deleted from Wikipedia and took their marbles and went home. TFTL

    2. The problem was always there and it will always be there. Wikipedia is an excellent source for non-controversial data. I often use it for looking up chemical information as a quick check. I wouldn't trust it on anything where there is significant, ongoing debate.

      1. ^^This^^ If you are looking for a basic primer on something that has no political import, wiki is quite good. Can't remember from calculus how derrivities work, wiki is your source. Want to know what happened at the battle of Stanford Bridge, wiki is great. It is especially good for any brand of geek knowledge. Just what was that episode of Star Trek? Did Carol Shelby win Le Mans in 59 or 60? Wiki is great. But anything that is even remotely political, forget it.

        1. There are still people who do minor Wiki vandalism just for the hell of it. Was reading the page for Ian Curtis a while back and some wiseacre had switched the first names of his mistress and daughter and left everything else untouched. Stuff like that can go unnoticed for a while sometimes.

    3. Who moderates the moderators?

  4. Mr Kimberlin was not a paragon of virtue, but the article as it stood simply painted him as a man with no positive qualities at all, which is obviously problematic in a neutral encyclopedia.

    Obviously, anyone who resembles Wolverine must have some positive qualities.

    1. No. Look at the height chart behind him. He is a leprechaun. You can never trust those little bastards.

      1. In the comic books Wolverine was always presented as short. Stocky and muscular, which are 2 qualities that little weasel Kimberlin clearly doesn't share with weapon X.

        It was only for the movies that they, for some reason, cast a 6'2" actor.

        1. Because Glen Danzig turned it down.

    2. No, he looks like that guy who was hunting rabbits in The Howling.

  5. OT: Slow and Happy: 2 Calif. sheriff's deputies charged with weapons-dealing, aiding criminals. Look for this article later on Reason with NO hat tip to me yet again.


  6. Isn't there more to this story? Isn't there a blogger named Aaron Walker who's in jail over this douchebag's bullshit legal antics?

    1. Yes. Some dipshit judge in Maryland took blogging about this asshole as violating a peace order that was later ruled invalid.

      1. Remember, that's Mary.

        1. It was sane for a moment. My mistake.

          1. It tripped me up, too. She really wants to hang out with the cool kids, I guess.

            1. Why's she here, then?

  7. I knew Wikipedia was full of shit when I looked up Stan Van Gundy years ago and it claimed he did stand-in work for Ron Jeremy and claimed he was the first successful recipient of a pubic hair-to-head transplant.

    Both may be true, but they weren't sourced properly, so I tuned out.

    1. The stupid Magic fired Van Gundy over Howard. Way to ruin my evening.

  8. the article as it stood simply painted him as a man with no positive qualities at all

    Maybe that's because he has no positive qualities.

    Also, why am I not surprised that he's every bit the tiny little hipster-shit weasel I've pictured in my mind every time I've read anything about that douche bag. Less than 5'6" and scrawny enough that I could break him in half with my pinky finger. I think it's safe to say he wasn't pitching in prison.

  9. And for the last time, no one fucking doctored info about Iraq's WMD, dipshit. Okay? Everyone in the fucking sentient universe believed Saddam had WMD, including his own generals.

    And you know what? Ron Paul probably even believed he had WMD, despite what RP publicly says. You'd have to be retarded not to believe he had WMD based on Hussein's continued obfuscations. And the dead Kurds. But they don't count, no dogs were killed in Saddam's no-knock, much-gas raids.

    Oh, almost forgot. Didn't Saint Ron Paul have some problem over newsletters or some such printed material brouhaha? Hmmm? That's different than Wiki's shenanigans. Just because!

  10. The wikipedia member Goethean is doing most of the big deletions in the Kimberlin article... and (surprise!) he's also one of the ones keeping Solydra out of Obama articles.


  11. Right, I'm Mary. Nice way to avoid debate.

    1. I agree with you. Fair is fair.

  12. Am I weird for not having heard of or knowing anything about this TL;DR DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA?

    1. Summary: Leftist psychopath harasses right-wing dicks, right-wing dicks write a lot of words about it.

    2. I'd really lile to see a concise treatment of the current situation presented without long tangential flashbacks and imprenetrable forays into Kimberlin's past. I'm beginning to get confused about the timeline of the past 5 months in this story and peolle throwing in details about Kimberlin's past criminality is not helping.

      1. The Other McCain is in hiding because this nut now.

  13. the article as it stood simply painted him as a man with no positive qualities at all

    Funny, the entry on Hitler doesn't say anything positive. I wonder if it will come down tomorrow.

    1. He built roads, you know.

      1. I once had a leftie seriously argue that Naziism is better than anarchy cuz of the roads and healthcare and the externalities!!!

        1. Of course they did. Take away the Jew-murder and war-starting, and you have the leftist's ideal state.

          1. Take away the Jew-murder and war-starting, and you have the leftist's ideal state.


          2. Really, the war-starting would be OK if he hadn't gone to war with the French and the Russians, who are much beloved of lefties.

            1. Don't forget Saint Franklin the Lame.

              1. I think FDR technically declared war on Germany because they were allied or at least providing support for the Japanese, but I may have that totally wrong.

                1. No, the Germans declared war first, although FDR initiated hostilities (he had ordered the Navy to attack u-boats in early 1941).

                2. You are totally wrong. Germany as an ally of Japan declared war on the US on Dec 8th, IIRC.

      2. War on big tobacco too.

    2. You know who else didn't have any positive in his wikipedia article?

      1. Nicolas Cage?

      2. Matt Damon

      3. Too easy.

        Michael. Bay.

      4. Uwe Boll.

  14. Let me just make one final point here....

    Since you guys desire limited government and Ron Paul as president (RP: who as I've said repeatedly -- and yet you continued to insult me -- he is 100% right domestic policywise) why don't you guys develop better fucking debating skills when confronted with persons like me who 1) would vote for RP over any Democrat but 2) despise his foreign policy views.

    I argue in good faith. You may not like what I have to say, but I believe what I say to be true and I can back up what I say. I mean, is this how you guys handle coworkers/friends etc. who disagree with you? Insults?

    You can pretend I'm some troll acting in bad faith. Whatever makes you happy. But at least be prepared to defend RP against the newsletters or his views, both foreign and domestic. Because folding your arms, giving each other the we're sooo superior wink isn't not gonna move the average American to embrace limited govt.

    1. You're still here, Mary?

    2. not gonna move the average American to embrace limited govt

      Ain't gonna happen no matter what I say. People enjoy their free shit and enjoy not having to deal with things that are complicated, like life. Pointing out that maybe you need to handle your business and let everybody else handle theirs doesn't get you any friends.

      Fuck it, the world's gonna burn and I'm gonna bring hot dogs and s'mores.

    3. This is why nobody takes libertarians seriously.

      1. Shut the fuck up, cunt.

    4. " I mean, is this how you guys handle coworkers/friends etc. who disagree with you? Insults?"

      Yes, fat, psychotic bitch.

      Next question.

      1. I like how she thinks she's our friend.

    5. concern trollin' trollin' trollin'
      keep them dawgies rollin'
      man my ass is swollen

  15. Like mommy said, if you can't say anything nice, don't say it on Wiki.

  16. Wait is Mary Stack a disgruntled Libertarian? The troll seemed to have said similar things. Or this part of her crazy?

    1. There really is no such thing as "Mary Stack." The creature who goes by that name has about 50 personalities crammed inside, most of them looney.

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