Penguin is a measurement of how pro-active a webmaster has been in trying to rank their sites higher, whether placing lots of keywords on their pages, or building lots of links.
Well, in my experience, if your assumptions were to be correct, and I'm not saying they are not, their implementation got that totally wrong.
Scraping spam rules in many sectors, and I do not mean solely blackhatters...I see a site every day in the SERPs that did not exist before 2007, yet scraped my biggest B&M site, 1995, and another company's B&M site, and now they rank above both of us for many terms.
How? I have no idea, these guys just copied our sites, many of the widgets are only available from us, yet we rank below a scraper!
I may seem to be off-topic however it is important to understand that whilst trying to comprehend Penguin that one must realise that Google had no idea what it was unleashing on the "regular" websites whilst "supposedly" targeting the manipulators, hence the all round crazy collateral damage.