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Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in 2016 Presidential Election, Breaking News, Politics, Psychology | 10 comments

The Plagiarists Double Down


The Trump Campaign responds to plagiarism allegations

This is for those with eyes that see and ears that hear. The rest of you can go back to watching Faux Nooz — who have decided, Ailes-wise, to double down on defending plagiarism and spouting the usual tropes about “liberal media.”

Melania Trump’s speech plagiarizes parts of Michelle Obama’s
Gregory Krieg / CNN

(CNN) At least one passage in Melania Trump’s speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.
A later version of the same article contains THIS opening:

(CNN) Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has no plans to fire anybody on the campaign or to take any disciplinary action against anyone for the Melania Trump speech plagiarism controversy, CNN learned Tuesday. As campaign chairman Paul Manafort indicated at his morning news conference, the campaign’s posture is to simply move on from this without addressing it any further.

Manafort denied allegations that Melania Trump plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention, calling the accusation “just really absurd.”

Ah, facts, those stubborn things. Someone at the MSNBC table was chiding Lawrence O’Donnell with the implicit false equivalency that the Democrats were going to be as fast and loose with facts as the GOPs were being, and wasn’t that going to be tough. O’Donnell, tellingly, replied that there really weren’t many facts to check that day, since nearly all the speeches were long on rhetoric and spartan on facts.

This is actually a problem, no matter that Donald and his thuggish new campaign manager, Manafort, are perfectly comfortable lying with a straight face.

msnbc similarities

I’ve been plagiarized — to the tune of over a thousand bucks — and I can testify to the perfidiousness and vileness of the crime. In my case, it was someone waltzing into an editor’s office, claiming that they had written over half of a long, deadline emergency assignment that had me churning out 72 pages in 48 hours. But it was plagiarism, nonetheless, and it astonished me how little attention, sympathy or even high moral dudgeon was displayed over the theft of a writer’s work. But that’s prologue: you will note how few “journalists” seem particularly bothered by the moral crime of plagiarism, as though it were merely another legal nicety, like the slaughter of yet another Black man for having had the temerity to have a tail light burn out.

official campaign plagiarism response

First official Trump campaign response to plagiarism  charges

So I realize the “real world” implications of plagiarism — which are, sadly, mostly in practice none. But I also realize that there is nothing whatsoever “funny” or ideological about the theft of a writer’s writing, and that conversation has been entirely lacking in the coverage this morning. Alas.

MSNBC and CNN and CBS are all properly appalled, but, because it was the morning, jokingly dismissive at the same time. Because they don’t even take their own profession seriously, I suppose. But I do. And the imputation of plagiarism is irrefutable.

So, it fascinates to watch as the Faux Forces distort footage and repeat transparent fabulism that somehow, these were “common words” and that the speech  consisted of “common themes” and that the Hillary Clinton Campaign was behind this, because Hillary always “destroys” any woman who opposes her — an absurd slander that passes without a blink in the fact-free zone of GOP Rhetoric.


This is a problem. It was a problem all day, and a problem all evening: the “factual” basis of the Smear-O-Thon™ directed at Hillary Clinton consisted almost entirely of slander buttressed by straight up lies. Example: the Mother whose son died at Benghazi obscenely claiming that Ms. Clinton all but held the knife that slit her son’s throat, when A. He didn’t die of a slit throat and B. SEVEN Congressional Committees all but pledged to find ANY culpability on Ms. Clinton’s part all came a cropper.

But hey! When you’ve got some pissed off old mother who can’t accept that her dead son’s profession was inherently dangerous decides to slander a decent public servant by claiming that she all but murdered her dead child, that trumps (pun intended) facts, evidence and truth. After all, it’s REPUBLICANS we’re talking about. A party who have striven mightily to make the name of their party synonymous with “mendacity” and who have — if last night was any indication — succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

As Lawrence O’Donnell might be paraphrased to have noted, the job of a fact checker is entirely easy in a fact-free zone.

gop logo

I will not bore you by belaboring the slanders, including Rudy Giuliani’s stem-winder of a screech, er SPEECH, that was shouted from false beginning to mendacious end.

But I WILL tell you the conclusion: after many years of estrangement, the differences between the GOP and the truth have become, seemingly, irreconcilable.

Who will get custody of Oliver North has yet to be determined, but the divorce court really OUGHT to award him to Faux and Fiends.

He would be uncomfortable being around truth for any length of time, as would, evidently, any Republican with enough mojo to warrant an invite to the Mendacious Quadrennial Orgy of Lies that we formerly knew as the Republican National Convention. In  1968 it was “Spiro WHO?” Today it’s “Facts? We don’t got to show you no steenkin’ facts!”

church of conservatism facts we don got to show

And that is the pity. Last night, more than one journalist made the observation that the best thing the Trump campaign could do was to take responsibility and make it go away — like Reagan did with Iran-Contra. “Responsibility” means its opposite, of course, in Topsy-TurvyLand, but that’s to be expected.

Instead, like Nixon (whose 1968 RNC speech, reportedly, is being pored over by newly minted “Law and Order” candidate Trump) the cover up is the killer, and a full-court coverup was launched this morning when Trump’s new “campaign manager” decided to go ThugLife and claim it was all Hillary’s fault.

(Again, a fact-free accusation, since the person who first noticed the plagiarized speech has zero to do with the Clinton campaign, and Andrea Mitchell reports that NONE of her contacts were aware of the accusation nor tipped her on it before it became common knowledge — a pretty sure-fire proof that the campaign had zero to do with outing the plagiarism.)

Why? What idiotic mentality takes an unforced error and, smarting from its first run through the news cycle, decides to make SURE it dominates the NEXT news cycle as well? Over what? A minor error that could be easily acknowledged, apologized for  and dismissed?

plagiarized Obama speech

The plagiarized Michelle Obama speech

This is really what the problem comes down to: the “Trump Campaign” doesn’t know how to work or play with others.

Given the choice between bunker mentality & coverup and ‘fessing up & moving on, they chose the option with the least upside and the greatest downside.

Thank ghod it wasn’t say, a confrontation with North Korea in the Yellow Sea or with Russia in the Baltic. We’d all be looking for our friendly neighborhood fallout shelter.

If anything were indicative of a “not ready for prime time” campaign and candidate it was this crime. And yes, plagiarism is a crime. Not merely a gaffe.

Take it from a victim.

And, speaking of which:

Queen on Twitter An unauthorised use at the Republican Convention against our wishes Queen

Donald Trump decided to steal Queen’s “We Are the Champions” to hype Donald’s megalomaniacal entrance. This is evidently not the first time he’s stolen Queen music, nor the first time he’s been caught stealing music for his rallies. That track record of theft of intellectual property makes it rather difficult to make the case that they couldn’t possibly have stolen a nice chunk of a Michelle Obama speech.

But they intend to make said case anyway.

The hypnotized will go along, as they always do. We expect that of the hypnotized. But those whom the Trump campaign really NEEDS to convince just had another nail pounded into the coffin of Trumpian credibility, and, perhaps, the obvious next question:

flim flam2

If he will lie and cover up about something this trivial, what will he lie and cover up about if he were in the White House?

We already HAD one Rovian “inside the bubble” disaster with Bush.

Because, dear readers, those most affected by the reflexive mendacity of a siege mentality clique are those in the claque itself, who believe their own lies and act on them AS IF they were true. With disastrous results.

The President of the United States of America MUST have a very solid “reality” principle.

Else we invade the wrong nations and destroy our own lives and economies.

Just ask one of the four thousand plus mothers that might have been put on the stage who could, with JUSTICE, claim that the last Republican Administration murdered their sons, in an authentic charge that would beggar the sick, twisted grief of a mother in denial, whom the Trumpists decided to drag into prime time national TV, just to try to score points in an election.

I could go on, but the obscenity is plain enough.

party of lincoln

And, even though I ought to be inured to lying and plagiarism, I must admit that this has made me nauseous.

The Party of McCarthy will be in Cleveland most of the rest of the week. Remember to tip your bartender and your waitress.


Cross-posted from his vorpal sword.


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  • I use software that checks my spelling, grammar, style, punctuation AND checks for plagiarism.

    Within seconds the program checks, detects and highlights any phrases, sentences, paragraphs, etc. that have been used by someone else anywhere, anytime

    I cannot believe that multi-billionaire Trump did not have the few dollars it takes to use this software and which would have prevented such a huuuuuge embarrassment.

    Two or three possibilities — perhaps more.

    Melania wrote the speech and did not let anyone else proofread it.

    Melania wrote it and the Trump staff displayed gross negligence by not editing it.

    The staff wrote it or inserted certain passages (“chunks”) in question knowing darn well they were plagiarized.

    In any case, and regardless of the “perfidiousness and vileness” of plagiarism the Trump campaign unwittingly gave our First Lady the best compliment they could.

    • Occam’s Dull Razor: Never ascribe to malevolence what ignorance will explain just as well.

      As with Nixon, the thing that will hang them will be the coverup, which is an irrational risk of “credibility” capital for zero potential return.

      And yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I doubt that Michelle is flattered. Aaargh.

      • And yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I doubt that Michelle is flattered.

        I agree, she is probably very pissed, and rightly so.

        I came across this quote:

        “If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you still from many it’s research” – Alva Johnston.

        I don’t think Melania was performing research. 🙂

        • I don’t think so, either, Dorian. But the Trump organization is consistent in their lack of interest in intellectual property rights. So it’s not exactly an outlier. Just an “out” liar.

  • rudi

    Even though Queen doesn’t want Trump to use their song, if the Trump team pays for the song, he can use it. Until an artist buys back the publishing rights, anyone can use a song if they pay for it’s use. Prince owned his music and publishing rights, it’s why Prince songs are not heard to sell feminine products or crappy cars. When MJ bought the Beatles catalogue, he could sell Beatles songs to sell feminine products or crappy cars.

    • So what are you defending? Do you believe that musicians don’t have the right to refuse the use of their songs? That would be news to the many artists who have successfully issued cease and desist orders to the Trump campaign for illegitimate use of their songs.

      When I ran for office, I ran into this, and in order to use the music (implying an endorsement) you have to have explicit permission. This even goes for radio and TV stations with standard ASCAP and BMI licensing arrangements. You might want to brush up on your copyright law before you take the bar exam again.

      • rudi

        Music publishing is an ugly business. Trump has used many songs without permission or maybe even paying the artist. This is not a new issue. I remember the Born in the USA-Reagan-Springsteen controversy. Did BS issue a cease and desist?

        The most recent example of this came Wednesday, when GOP front-runner Donald Trump entered a Capitol Hill rally to R.E.M.’s “It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine),” only to receive a spite-filled statement from members of the now-defunct band.

        “Go [BLEEP] yourselves,” they said, apparently also referring to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who hosted the rally criticizing President Obama’s Iran deal.

        It’s unclear whether R.E.M. can sue Trump for what he used. There are layers of copyright rules about licensing a song for a campaign, including fair-use laws campaigns often try to claim. According to the American Society of Owners and Publishers, one of the largest performing rights organizations and licensees of songs, it’s up to the owner of the song to press the issue. Sometimes that’s the band. Sometimes it’s a publisher like ASCAP. Sometimes it’s the record label. But it’s up to them to raise a legal challenge. (More on all this here.)

    • While I feel for the unimaginable pain of the parents who have lost sons or daughters to murder, I was horrified and disgusted at the GOP’s exploitation of that pain for political gain.

      • I agree.

        While Mrs. Clinton could be accused of insensitivity, even callousness in the way she may have handled her words and actions towards the families of those we lost in Benghazi, in its aftermath, there is no way by any stretch of the imagination to translate this into an accusation that Clinton murdered the Americans in Benghazi.

        Numerous investigations, by Republicans and Democrats, have totally refuted any claims of wrongdoing by Clinton in how the Benghazi crisis was handled, let alone any criminal actions.

  • Slamfu

    I’ll tell you why they are doubling down on an unforced error. Because it’s a tempest in a teapot in the grand scheme of things, and it’s keeping the media from reporting on the rest of the convention and it’s staggering displays of racism and looney conspiracy theories about how Clinton personally ordered the attack in Benghazi and that Obama is for sure, totally for realsies, a Muslim who hates America. And oh yea, how the Republican party itself can’t even actually support Trump.

    Believe me, if I could get the media to focus on anything other than the crazy fest that it is, I’d be doing it too.

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