Home / and if being creepy was against the law / It’s time to play Guess Who’s Been Accused of Plagiarism?

It’s time to play Guess Who’s Been Accused of Plagiarism?


Hello and welcome back to Guess Who’s Been Accused of Plagiarism? the game where you, the player at home, try guess which person associated with POTUS, LLC has been accused of plagiarism, this week. You know the rules, so let’s get on with the game. Is it:

Kellyanne Alt-Facts Conway?

Sean Bush League Spicer?


Sheriff David Mic Drop Clarke?

You’ve got .05 seconds starting … now!


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  • rhino

    what are the odds on ALL THREE.

    • Interrupting

      Damn. Beat me to it.

      • Manju

        what are the odds on ALL THREE.

  • Dennis Orphen

    Clarke also lifted language from former President George W. Bush’s book, “Decision Points.”

    Is one Republican plagiarizing from another Republican as bad as one rich man stealing from another rich man?

    • Hogan

      The assumption that George W. Bush actually wrote “Decision Points” is far from warranted.

  • Warren Terra

    Since I had seen the answer before I saw this post, I’d just like to, ah, lift one paragraph from that article:

    Sources Clarke plagiarized include a 2002 ACLU report about “The Government’s Demand for New and Unnecessary Powers After September 11,” a 2003 ACLU report critical of the FBI’s records-collection practices, a 2007 ACLU report on “fusion centers,” and a 2011 ACLU report on the need to overhaul secrecy laws.

    If you ask me, this proves his innocence. It’s inconceivable Clarke read any ACLU reports.

    • No, he knew that if he stole from the ACLU, there was no chance that one of his readers would recognize it.

    • Hogan

      Just make sure you return the paragraph when you’re done with it.

  • Pyramid Scheme

    I got a Master’s of Science in accounting. Prior to being told that my program didn’t require a Master’s thesis I was 100% planning on plagiarizing as much as I could, which is what I did as an undergrad. My strategy as an undergrad was to copy items verbatim and steal their citations. It got me a degree from a prestigious university. Because, let’s be honest, who really gives a fuck.

    Also, fuck this guy.

    • As a professor, I would fail your ass in a heartbeat if I caught you. Without mercy.

      • I’m sure that Mr. Scheme’s accounting skills and ethics are much the same as his academic skills and ethics; in which case, his ass will (I hope) eventually be fnailed, one way or the other.

      • science_goy

        After seeing my alma mater hire yet another well-known, serial sexual harasser to the faculty, I’ve gotta say I’m too jaded to take much umbrage at this. Who really gives a fuck, indeed.

    • kenjob

      My strategy as an undergrad was to copy items verbatim and steal their citations. It got me a degree from a prestigious university.

      There is a lot of chaff like this in the workforce.

      eta: I don’t mean to be contemptuous but seriously this is some “Old Economy Steve”-level bullshit.

      • Warren Terra

        Who brags about sh!t like this?

        • Pyramid Scheme

          Honestly, what’s the point of requiring huge writing projects? We’re all just trying to get paid. Having a 10 page paper due for a physics class that I’m just taking as a prerequisite is an insult. What should really happen is that the science classes should be dropped from the general graduation requirements. But since I had to play the tune the professors called, I did what I had to do.

          • Warren Terra

            Why the fnck do people like you even go to college? You’d be wealthier as a plumber, and if you give a sh!t about education you both don’t show it and chose your school poorly.

            • Pyramid Scheme

              Sorry to ruffle your feathers. I had a great time at college. It was the best four years of my life. And I did work hard, just not as hard as my professors thought I should have. I’m a CPA, and in my state that means 150 credit hours. But if I figured out that attendance was not factored in to my grade, I didn’t attend. If I did very well for most of a semester, I coasted until the end. Professors may feel that their role is very important, but in many instances they are just gatekeepers. Students are trying to get past them in order to accomplish their goals. I did that, and had a great time in the process. You can’t shame me.

              • kenjob

                You can’t shame me.

                Not a good look for UMichigan, though.

                • Pyramid Scheme

                  Nice work kenjob!

              • random

                So basically what you are telling me is that you are a blithering moron who only avoided getting caught because you did not have to actually write a thesis and who would not last one semester in a modern university. Okay, pure luck you have a career

          • No Longer Middle Aged Man

            What type of physics class requires a 10 page paper? Distinct smell of bullshit here.

            • Pyramid Scheme

              I got my bachelor’s degree 17 years ago, but my most flagrant instance of plagarism was a physics paper on lasers. I have no real memory of it’s length, only that I had an accomplice helping me with the copying so we could party.

              Also, I would have to imagine that if you were to go down to your local community college or tech school, you would probably find that the students are being required to write ten page essays in their “fuel injectors 2” class or whatever they are called. Because the administrators who run their schools go to big expensive conferences in the big city, where they are told that writing across the curriculum is critical, and so they take that back and have their gear heads buy MLA handbooks and get to writin’.

              • OlderThanDirt

                Many undergrads think like you do, but fewer still think so 17 years later. Writing across the curriculum comes from the idea that writing takes practice. Even people who want college to be more like trade school usually understand that writing is a skill that’s useful. I don’t know your life, I’m just surprised that you claim to be a CPA. The CPAs I know teach as adjuncts in the evenings after their work so maybe they value being educated more than you do.

                Maybe you don’t need to find information, evaluate it, and then use it as evidence to come to a conclusion. Maybe you haven’t needed to communicate anything complicated to someone who doesn’t have all the information you have. As I said, I don’t know your life. It seems many Americans are proud that they get along just fine without what I think of as the basic skills of the educated person: being able to tell when you need more information, being able to find it, being able to evaluate it or at least identify experts to help you evaluate it, and then being able to apply it to your problem or question.

                I’ll just skip over a CPA being proud that they were able to perpetrate a scam and defend it as “who gives a fuck.”

                • Hondo

                  Well said.

                • random

                  Oh there’s no way this loser doesn’t scam his clients/employers. Someone who lucked out and got rewarded for lying, cheating and stealing and who admits he only cares about money has also lied, cheated, and stolen money from the people who were unfortunate enough to trust

              • Hondo

                And since you obviously know nothing about lasers, remember to not look directly at the light, asshole.

              • No Longer Middle Aged Man

                I would have to imagine

                Would you regard it as a serious criticism of CPAs if it were to start “I would imagine that most CPAs programs …”

            • Dennis Orphen

              Before answering that question. we must first know the size of the paper, the size of the margins, what point type is used, what the line spacing is, and whether the pages are one or two sided. And we must assume a consistency of those variables both intra and inter-page or know them for each page if they are not consistent.

              Then we can talk.

          • kenjob

            I teach an introductory science course for non-majors. Students submit their papers electronically. They are scored for attribution by an algorithm.

            You were asked to write a paper because you are presumed to be writing in the course of your other studies and you’re too inexperienced to be trusted in a lab. They gave you a handout and you turned your nose up at it. Now you sit in your career with your fraudulent credential.

            Welcome to “pre-algorithm privilege”. You know what to do from here.

            • Pyramid Scheme

              There were rumors then that there were these types of programs available that could compare your work with published sources. I don’t believe they were widely used then, though. Hence you had the websites selling $30 term papers

      • efgoldman

        My daughter didn’t plagiarize her masters’ thesis. She did write it in 56 straight hours and turned in the first draft. Which was accepted.
        In fairness, the degree was in film study and her topic was David Lynch

        • science_goy

          I’m not sure a legitimate thesis on David Lynch could be written any other way.

    • rm

      And fuck you too. You wouldn’t get away with that crap for long in a hard subject like English or philosophy. Fucking accounting profs got no ear for the written voice.

      • Pyramid Scheme

        Can’t tell if serious…

        • Souris Grise

          Well, you can’t really demonstrate that you do have an ear for the written voice, can you? But you may have developed an excellent ear for someone else’s written voice.

          You seem to think this involves only your ease with doing what you thought was best for you. But you also stole others’ words and work. Now, contact them with an invitation to steal payments for some of your accounts.

        • rm

          Maybe the root of the problem wasn’t accounting but the “prestigious university.” (The problem being that you did not get failed out). We have higher standards at public regional comprehensives.

          • Pyramid Scheme

            You guys take this stuff so seriously. 50-60 years ago I could have walked out of high school into a factory job or some other form of manual labor and not have to have engaged in the modern academic farce. This would have been preferable. I disliked the University setting, having to deal with the various late-teen pretensions and nueroses of our upper-middle classes, while having to deal with their adult versions on the faculty. But their was no way around it, other than maybe being a plumber, as somebody else mentioned.

            I knew I could do accounting better than the average Joe because in high school the accounting teacher assigned me to help students who were having trouble understanding debits and credits. Still, I had to go to college to advance. I got a liberal arts degree and had a great time. I cut corners where I could because the opportunity was there, and I saw it basically like a game. I do not take such shortcuts in my professional life because it is not a game and real money is being handled, rather than professorial pride.

            For me, life is about money and leisure. I work hard and earn a decent living. I take care of my family. Then I’ll take a walk through the woods, come home, open a beer, and put on a record or read a book. This is the life I always wanted, and part of getting it was navigating an always shifting academic environment. You guys can have your diplomas on your wall. Keep your pride. I’ll just be sitting here happy in what I have, knowing that I was able to play your game on my terms and come out ahead. Sorry if that wounds some of your egos.

            • random

              Loling at “I work hard”. Nothing changes the fact that you are a total dipshit who only has a career at all because at the last minute you found out you had no thesis requirement and your whole life is a lie.

            • OlderThanDirt

              “You guys take this stuff so seriously.” “I saw it basically like a game. I do not take such shortcuts in my professional life because it is not a game and real money is being handled, rather than professorial pride.””navigating an always shifting academic environment.”

              I see where we’re talking past each other. You think that plagiarism comes and goes as an academic concern rather than remaining a bedrock principle. Writing creates intellectual property that is owned by the creator and when you take it without attribution, you’re stealing.

              You believe that money is real but that writing is not.

              You believe that people who take intellectual property seriously are just expressing a false pride in their learning.

              If you were at a prestigious university, I have no doubt you were up to your ears in pretentious assholes, on and off the faculty. Have you ever met any of them in your work? They get around. I’m sorry that this many years after undergrad you still confuse the posing and the sneering with the honest attempts to help you learn how to write and think. Luckily, it’s never too late.

            • econoclast

              I understand. I myself am a medical doctor, and many people act like I’m supposed to try to keep patients alive. For me, it’s just a game. Sometimes, if it’s a nice day, I go for a walk in the woods rather than keep a patient alive. As long as I have a nice life, I don’t care.

            • Hogan

              I had a great time at college. It was the best four years of my life.

              I disliked the University setting, having to deal with the various late-teen pretensions and nueroses of our upper-middle classes, while having to deal with their adult versions on the faculty. But their was no way around it

              Maybe you should stop talking now.

              • Pyramid Scheme

                Ok. That’s fine. I could have spent countless hours researching bullshit and I’d still be right here, doing what I’m doing. My writing skills are just fine. I don’t engage in fraud (I actually help prevent it), and I’m pretty good at research, whether we’re talking about tax research or interpreting how to implement FASB and GASB pronouncements.

                You can say my whole life is a fraud. It doesn’t bother me. When I think back to the people who helped me get what I wanted in life, I seldom recall any academics. When I got into my master’s program in accounting, it got even worse. One week spent working in a public accounting firm would have taught me more than every class I took in grad school combined. But the academics exist in an unholy partnership with the profession, whereby they provide the justification to the industry’s attempts to restrict entry to the profession by placing more hurdles in one’s way.

                I hate Betsy DeVos, but I think her Draconian education budget will at the very least provide a jolt of reality to an entire industry gone to fat. Sure, administrative costs will be the easiest way to trim academic budgets. But seeing such practices as sabatticals and week long all-expense paid conferences in beautiful settings go by the wayside will at least be nice for me to see.

                • OlderThanDirt

                  Ms. DeVos does not have a goal of trimming budgets. Her goal is to transfer tax dollars from public schools to private schools where they can be separated from laws that prevent segregation, ensure that special needs are met, and that religious doctrine is not part of the curriculum.

                  I’m sorry that you were scarred by your experience with academia. I don’t say your whole life is a fraud. Since I grew up in a working poor family, I’m familiar with your attitude. I’ve heard many people, some very dear to me, say that there is no such thing as the life of the mind. People who go on sabbaticals are lazy, not working to further their research. Week-long conferences are paid vacations, not the opportunity to present and discuss ideas and theories. I get it. Nothing an academic does is useful and utility is only measured one way. I’m glad you’re happy with your life, and I’m glad you aren’t in my classroom.

                • Pyramid Scheme

                  It really boggles my mind that the people here can’t for one instant at least entertain the idea that some of what they assign is make-work, and that being such, individuals who are there only for the credit will find the easiest route to achieve such credit. No. They need to believe that everything they do has intrinsic value and whoever thinks otherwise is either intellectually and/or morally deficient.

                  Maybe the CPA profession lends itself to my way of thinking. We spend countless hours preparing huge reports, the contents of which are largely ignored apart from p&l and balance sheet statements.

                  But yet I’ve had very similar conversations with my CPA colleagues, and gotten much the same response. They can’t acknowledge that the CPA license is largely a reward for jumping through hoops. They are viscerally offended by one of their own questioning the value of their license. I’m sure the MD on here earlier would also react the same.

                  And we’re all following the marching orders of our leaders in academia. The FASB and GASB are composed largely of academics. They put forth a few pronouncements every so often in order to improve the clarity or relevance of financial statements. But it usually amounts to confusion at the level of the staff executing the change, confusion or apathy at the end user level and glee at the auditing firm level. Glee because conveniently there are riders in audit contracts specifying fee increases if compliance with new FASBs or GASBs is warranted. Thanks!!

                  But seriously, you can all fuck yourselves. I hope Betsy starves you insufferable fucks. Have fun trying to find another six figure job where you work thirty hours a week, with 12-20 weeks off a year.

                • random

                  We have already established that even by your own standards, you are unarguably a fucking idiot who only survived your game of career Russian Roulette because of blind luck likely mixed with traces of racial privilege. You are also a thief and a liar who doubtless does steal from his clients.
                  I have no idea what you wrote above in defense of your unbelievable stupidity because I pie filter the terminally stupid.

                • No Longer Middle Aged Man

                  No objections to your feelings but you re seriously deluding yourself if you regard being a CPA as a “profession.” Yes you need a license. So does a barber. They both require about the same level of thought. This coming from a business school professor.

      • CD

        No shit. I once had a student plagiarize John Stuart Mill. The semiliterate think it’s all just words.

        • rm

          My favorite was the guy who, in a class where a required text was the Norton Critical Edition of Wuthering Heights, turned in a paper consisting of every third sentence from the first critical essay in the back section of the book.

          I guess he thought I would just grade them by how many ounces the paper weighed?

        • Origami Isopod

          Not just the semiliterate. Consider the current “rubes” post in which a couple of sneering STEMlords decided that paying three or four figures to get a hoax paper published means they’re smarter than everyone working in gender studies.

        • That must have taken you 3 seconds to figure out.

          It’s amazing when students think they aren’t going to get caught–because we all know they can’t write like that!

    • patrick II

      I don’t know if you could get away with that anymore. There is plagiarism software that checks your work against the vast internet — which is probably what caught Clark and a few others lately.

      • Murc

        You can’t.

        These days, people don’t plagiarize so much as pay writing mills to produce papers for them.

        Now, that’s always been around, of course. Making some extra coin by writing peoples papers for them has been a thing for ages. But now its the only game in town.

        … well, almost I guess?

        A thing I’ve seen, and heard of, people doing is finding a paper whose jib they like the cut of, and re-writing it from scratch. As in, going paragraph by paragraph and redoing the thing entirely in their own words, moving stuff around, changing it structurally to be more to their liking, that sort of thing. And then handing it in. In fact, I’ll be 100% honest here: I did this in high school at least twice that I remember. Unlike douchebag upthread, I’m not precisely proud of this fact but it did happen.

        In terms of the overall effort required, it is legitimately non-trivial. It isn’t as hard as writing your own stuff but it is time-consuming and requires real thought. But there are some people who can easily re-edit a document into a more pleasing form to themselves, or look at a chunk of already-existing text and make their own version, but for whom working up an original chunk of their own text from scratch seems like a much higher mountain to climb.

    • Shalimar

      “I only killed a few hookers. I had a lot of extra energy to burn, and it helped keep me sane after long, boring classes. No one missed them, and they didn’t have DNA testing back then to catch me. Who really gives a fuck?”

  • A total fraud. Bet Trump was impressed w/ the uniform ‘though.

    • N__B

      Yeah, that had me laughing my ass off.

  • Judas Peckerwood

    The best part? Multiple examples of plagiarizing ACLU reports!

    • Colin Day

      Which will conservatives hate more, plagiarism, or reading ACLU reports?

  • How is it that when you copy from one source it’s plagiarism, but when you copy from multiple sources it’s research?

    (I kid! I kid!)

  • sky

    How hard would it be to paraphrase or use quotes? It’s amazing how unnecessary this scandal is. This guy is perfect for the Trump administration, except he’s too good at spelling.

    • brendalu

      Well, his “sources” were.

  • Decatur

    And just how did he attend the naval postgraduate school? I thought that was just for military officers?

    • DocAmazing

      It’s a misunderstanding. He went to the navel postgraduate school. He has a Masters in Umbilical Studies.

      • N__B

        Useful for a deep-sea diver.

      • Woodrowfan

        A degree from a navel school is perfect for him going to work for the giant orange.

    • Warren Terra

      Per Wikipedia:

      Center for Homeland Defense and Security

      Emergency responders including local, tribal, state, and federal can enroll in a variety of programs including online distributed learning program, executive education programs, and most prominently a Master of Arts program.

  • kped

    Also responsible for deaths in his jails. Seems more important, kind of sad that this could be the thing that sinks his chances at joining the Trump administration…cause the deaths are way more serious.

  • Murc

    The worst part about Sean Spicer is that it seems like it ought to be real easy to make spice must flow puns but it isn’t. You have to work at it.

    • Dennis Orphen

      I thought long and hard (for me) trying to come up with one and I came up with……nuthin.

      But I’ll never hear the song Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue the same way again.

    • Warren Terra

      Well, The Spice Is Life, while Sean Spicer is clearly dying inside. A big disconnect to bridge.

  • bassopotamus

    I think the most shocking part of this is that he has a MA.

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