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Putting Max Della Pia's (or his intern's) Plagiarism in Perspective

Submitted by Robin Messing on Sun, 07/01/2018 - 9:14am

It appears that Max Della Pia--or his intern--plagiarized sizeable sections of John Ossoff's website when writing his own website. For those outside the NY-23rd Congressional District--Max barely eked out a victory among five competitors in the Democratic primary vying for a chance to send our Congressman, Tom Reed, to the unemployment line. And by "barely", I mean barely. He beat his nearest competitor, Tracy Mitrano, by only 26 votes--and there may be up to 1900 absentee ballots awaiting to be counted.  Cornell Law professor and driving force behind the Legal Insurrection blog, William Jacobson, asked, "If you are going to copy another campaign’s website, why copy a loser and laughingstock like Ossoff?"

That is a great question and it is a very embarrassing one. Here is an even greater question.

Doesn't Tom "Reckless" Reed owe it to the voters to discuss the possible dangers if President Trump follows the path that Reed appears to be advocating regarding North Korea? Doesn't Reed owe the voters an honest discussion of what might happen if we follow his advice and go to war with North Korea if they don't get rid of all their nukes? Doesn’t he owe it to us to explain that there is at least a small chance that if we go to war with North Korea, the North Koreans could explode a nuclear weapon above the atmosphere of the US, causing an electromagnetic pulse? Doesn't Reed owe it to the voters to explain that experts disagree about what would happen if an Electromagnetic Pulse was released over the U.S--some saying not much, some saying it could destroy electronics and knock out power over a wide area indefinitely?

Actually, John Bolton considers the EMP threat a reason we should attack North Korea--but the possibility of a crippling EMP can just as easily be used as a reason NOT to attack them. If Kim sees we are raising our military preparedness--if there is any indication that we are about to attack him, he may launch his missiles first rather than risk losing the ability to launch them later.

And even if Kim does not launch first, what GUARANTEE do we have that he won't be able to launch later? We might not know where all his nuclear facilities are buried underground in caves. He PROBABLY won’t be able to launch a retaliatory attack, but war is unpredictable and there are no GUARANTEES.

And what about the backlash we will inevitably face from the rest of the world if we launch a first strike on North Korea?  Maybe Reed's policy is the best one to follow. But the voters deserve an open and honest discussion about its possible ramifications. I have already the possible ramifications of Reed's apparent advocacy of war with North Korea if they don't denuclearize in much more detail here.

I hope this will be an issue that the eventual winner of the NY-23rd race will raise.

So while Max's (or his intern's) imitation of Melania Trump's, or her assistant's plagiarism is embarrassing, focusing on life-or-death issues about the wisdom of attacking North Korea or relying on deterrence should be more important to voters. Melania Trump, or her assistant, have plagiarized twice--first from a speech by Michelle Obama, and second, from a booklet on internet security published by the Obama Administration.

I mention the possibility that the plagiarism on Max's website may have been the work of an intern for a good reason.  The Buffalo news reports


Asked for an explanation, Della Pia's spokeswoman blamed the apparent cut-and-paste authorship of his website on a volunteer who put together the prose in the early part of the candidate's campaign.

"Max was responsible for writing his biography and a 'letter to the voters,' while the volunteer wrote the policy sections of the website," said the spokeswoman, Aubrey Stuber. "While writing several of the sections, we now know that the volunteers sampled heavily from Jon Ossoff’s campaign website."

Stuber, who declined to name the volunteer, said Della Pia read the passages of the website to make sure they echoed his beliefs, but had no idea they were lifted from the website of another candidate.

"It was a mistake that the campaign didn't ensure the language provided by that volunteer was checked for originality, and one for which we take full responsibility," Stuber said. "However, voters can be confident that the views expressed on the website are consistent with Max’s stances on the issues."

Stuber said the cut-and-paste passages of Della Pia's website would be removed and rewritten starting Friday afternoon. But none of that was good enough for Nicholas Weinstein, Reed's campaign manager.


So while this looks like it was evidence of a sloppy operation, there are plenty of issues that are more important to focus on.