The Plagiarist Defends His ‘Honor’

Rand Paul wants to shoot you.

That is, Rand Paul wants to shoot y0u in a duel to defend his honor for accusing him of being “dishonest” for plagiarizing (at latest count) two speeches from Wikipedia, and three pages of his book from think tanks. “Defend yo-se’f, Suh!”  

targeting pistols

Rand Paul on plagiarism charges: If dueling were legal in Kentucky… 
Tal Kopan / Politico

Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that accusations of plagiarism in his speeches makes him wish dueling were legal in Kentucky.

“I take it as an insult, and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting — I have never intentionally done so and like I say, ‘If dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know it’d be a duel challenge,’ ” Paul said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Media outlets including POLITICO, MSNBC and Buzzfeed have detailed instances in the Kentucky Republican’s speeches where entire lines seemed to mimic verbatim other sources, including Wikipedia pages and stories from The Associated Press.

Asked about the charges on Sunday, Paul acknowledged the “footnote police” had been out in full force….

Or he could try ‘facts,’ which are, as John Adams noted, stubborn things.  But, being a hyper-rational “libertarian,” Mr. Paul doesn’t seem to feel that rationality has a seat at the table.


The last time Rand Paul appeared on MSNBC, in May 2010
note the prophetic chyron at bottom.

There is a reason that you can copyright anthologies of data in the public domain — just ask Lexis-Nexis and the Supreme Court — which is the fallacy at the bottom of Paul’s phony argument:

“I didn’t get into the secondary sources and say I quoted Einstein as according to an AP story or as according to Wikipedia,” Paul said. “I think the spoken word shouldn’t be held to the same sort of standard that you have if you’re giving a scientific paper. I’ve written scientific papers, I know how to footnote things, but we’ve never footnoted speeches, and if that’s the standard I’m going to be held to, yes, we will change and we will footnote things.”

Ah, but what’s utterly corrupt about this is this:

rand paul's logic

Wikipedia: Copyrights

Re-use of text

To re-distribute text on Wikipedia in any form, provide credit to the authors either by including a) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the page or pages you are re-using, b) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy which is freely accessible, which conforms with the license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on this website, or c) a list of all authors. (Any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions.) This applies to text developed by the Wikipedia community. Text from external sources may attach additional attribution requirements to the work, which should be indicated on an article’s face or on its talk page. For example, a page may have a banner or other notation indicating that some or all of its content was originally published somewhere else. Where such notations are visible in the page itself, they should generally be preserved by re-users.
Copyleft/Share Alike
If you make modifications or additions to the page you re-use, you must license them under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0 or later.

That’s it. No dueling involved. Just say “I’m getting this from Wikipedia” and you’re pretty much covered. (Sure, you can say: from the Wikipedia page on “Gattica” but nobody will call you on it in the real world.)

burr hamilton duelAaron Burr shooting Alexander ($10 Dollar)
Hamilton in a duel. (artist’s conception.)

But “Mister Honesty” (the honorific is self-administered, like his Opthalmic certification in Kentucky) can’t be bothered, and so now he’s challenging all comers to duels.

[And props to the Rachel Maddow staff, probably including Steve Benin, for breaking this story.]

That was ALL Rand had to do. But now, he’s equating “plagiarism” with “dishonest,” which is, in a sense, demonstrably true, but it’s also just another rhetorical trick to slither away from the poison. I mean, he has to be on TV screaming that “Obama lied!” right?

I’m shocked, SHOCKED to find out that gambling is going on at Rick’s!


“Your winnings, sir.”

I had wondered how cruel and vicious Republicans could turn. I am sorry to say that I have learned, anew, that that well has no bottom.


Do you have anything without so much rat in it?

This weekend, food stamps were cut, following the Republicans’ disastrous economic meltdown — aided and abetted by intentional NON-regulation of the financial industry and the Bush Administration’s ACTIVE opposition to states’ attempts to regulate sub-prime loans, using an obscure 19th century banking law* (the same guys who rationalized torture as not torture and, therefore, kosher, right Water-Boarders?).

[* Note the date of the linked article: January 24, 2008. Nine months BEFORE the economic meltdown, and three months BEFORE the meltdown of Bear/Stearns. And, if you’ll check the timeline of then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s hookergate™ fall from grace, you’ll see that it came from a FEDERAL wiretap (on the Governor of New York? Shades of Angela Merkel!), and his takedown occurred almost immediately after he started drawing public attention to the blocking of states by the Bush Treasury Department. Coincidence? Hmmm.]


Thanks to that Recession, one in four children in America are living in households receiving food stamps.  (OK: the SNAP card.)


from ‘liberal’ CBS News

And 900,000 veterans, many if not m0st from THEIR trillion dollar invasion and murder campaign in Iraq. They are now impediments to balancing the budget, as well.

Other news from the world of Institutionalized Misanthropy?

Oh yes …

And, in record time, the Fifth Circuit overturned most of the overturning of the Texas abortion restrictions, seeing clearly that it was not a forest, but merely a very large group of unaffiliated trees. Nine clinics have been closed immediately, pretty much ending abortion services in West Texas.

!stand with texas women!

Which “honest” libertarian Rand Paul is totally in favor of, because a theoretical baby is far more important than a living, breathing United States citizen and voter who happens to have a womb. This is termed “equality.”

Let’s see: 0h yes, the wholesale campaign of his “party” to deny any chance at health care to the 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, and the poor in 27 states that refused the expansion of Medicaid.

“Misanthropy,” defined. (Mouse over the hyperlink above.)


Anything else? Oh yeah, former Democratic Speaker of the House (Tip O’Neill’s replacement, taken down by Newt Gingrich with an “ethics scandal”) Jim Wright of Fort Worth was denied a Texas voter’s card under the new rules adopted by the Texas GOPs to suppress Democratic voters. Looks like the plan is working.

But Rand Paul is above all this. He’s got more important issues to address:

“Is that nitpicking? Is referring to the person enough, or do I have to refer to the original source where I got the quote from the person?” Paul said. “If it’s required, I’ll do it, but I think I’m being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters, and I’m just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on my character.”

(You will note that the #2 meaning* of “aspersion” is “A sprinkling, especially with holy water.” )

Asper. Asper.

public humiliation - Stocks

Ah, when liars and plagiarists were not tolerated.


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009

UPDATE: The Guardian (UK) offers a nice tutorial to Rand Paul on WHY he plagiarized, WHAT he did and HOW to not do it again.


A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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