Vera Hylsky's original plagiarism is posted below these notes.
1. The original exposure of plagiarism by Vera Hylsky was published on August 19, 2010. Hylsky
could have admitted the plagiarism when it was exposed, and set a good
example for Cochise County politicians of all stripes.
Instead, she denied plagiarizing; and much later, on April 19, 2011, I received an email from
firstname.lastname@example.org, which is Hylsky's email address, stating "I am no
longer the chair so please stop persecuting me on your blog. Take
off the plagiarism allegations. /s/ VH". I immediately
answered "I am not persecuting you, and they are not mere allegations,
they're well established by the record on that page. Plagiarism,
which you committed, is contemptible theft of another person's words
and ideas; you have no moral standing at all to demand that the
evidence of your plagiarism be suppressed. I plan to publish this
email exchange. MJ."
2. As Hylsky notes, she is no longer chair, at least not of the
Cochise County Republican Committee. She is, however, chair of
the Americanism Committee of the Huachuca Area Republican Women, and also of "TARS," a group for Teen Age Republicans.
Here is the exposure of Hylsky's plagiarism, published on 8/19/10:
COCHISE COUNTY REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE PRINTS PLAGIARISM BY COMMITTEE CHAIR VERA HYLSKY
stirring words on page 1 of the August Cochise County Republican Committee newsletter, in an editorial signed by Vera
Hylsky, Chair of the Committee. But Hylsky's editorial is
plagiarized -- that is, stolen, with Hylsky not giving any credit to the person who actually wrote the words.
A copy of the editorial is at
The editorial's source appears to be an ehow.com article from 2008. See
paragraph in the editorial, "Never be swayed by commercials that use
character assassination and other 'dirty' tactics," is not based on the
2008 article. Everything else but a few scattered phrases is plagiarized. See for yourself in the paragraphs below, where plagiarized parts of the editorial are compared to the
THE PLAGIARIZED PASSAGES COMPARED TO THE ORIGINAL SOURCE
The plagiarized parts of Hylsky's copied words, and the words in the original source, are in red.
1, Hylsky's plagiarized title: Be an Educated Voter
-- the original source's title: How to Be an Educated Voter
2, Hylsky's plagiarism: Watch debates. Do the candidates
answer the questions asked or do they just "spin" or spew "talking
points". Take notes as the candidates give their idea and
proposed policies, and then research them. Have they ever
worked? What were the results?
-- the original source: Watch
the debates. Do the candidates actually answer the questions
posed, or do they just launch into their talking points? Take
notes as the candidates put forth their ideas and proposed
policies. Afterwards, do a little research into these
proposals. Have these ideas ever worked? What were the long
3, Hylsky's plagiarism: Don't depend on the newspapers to give you 'fair and
balanced' coverage. If you miss an event or speech, remember that
the reporter is giving you what she/he thinks a politician was trying
to say. Instead watch it on You Tube or CSPAN.
-- the original source: Don't depend on quotes in a newspaper article or sound bites on the evening news to give you the whole picture. Try as they might to be non-biased, a reporter's interpretive summary of what they THINK a politician was trying to say,
or should have said, is NOT the same thing as hearing a speech in
context. If you missed the original speech or news conference,
read the transcript online, or watch it in it's [sic] entirety on YouTube or CSPAN to get the whole story.
4, Hylsky's plagiarism: Don't be swayed by political commentators. You have the right to form your own opinion.
-- the original source: Don't be swayed and intimidated by all the "talking head" political commentators. They're basically like sports announcers, giving their opinion on the game, and they're not always right! You have the right to watch the game for yourself and form your own opinion.
The more you educate yourself on important issues, the less you'll
depend on other people's judgement, and have confidence in your own!
5, Hylsky's plagiarism: If you're registered to vote, you should have
received your Voter's Guide in the mail. Read it for information
on local candidates.
-- the original source: If you're registered to vote, you should receive a voter's guide in the mail several weeks before the election. Read your local voter's guide for information on local candidates,
propositions, and issues. Read the statements for and against the
propositions before deciding. Use the enclosed sample ballot to
mark your decisions, so you don't have to do all your research again in
the voter booth.
6, Hylsky's plagiarism: VOTE! All of this is worthless unless you
exercise you [sic] right to vote, so cast your educated ballot on
August 24th. Remember -- brave American men and women have fought
and died so that you are able to live in a free society where you have
the right to vote. People around the world long to live in
freedom and to have this right. Many came to this country and
earned their citizenship for these reasons. Don't waste this
opportunity to make a difference!
-- the original source: VOTE! That's right, all of this is worthless unless you actually cast your educated vote. If you won't be able to make it to the polls in person, apply for an absentee ballot. Brave
American men and women have fought and died for your right to live in a
free society where your voice is heard and your vote counted.
Millions around the world long for this basic right in vain, and would
gladly trade places with you! Don't waste this precious
opportunity to make a difference!
FOLLOWING UP THE PLAGIARISM
denied plagiarizing, saying "I have no idea what you mean. I put
this together from so many ideas. I had no idea there were
similar ones, but it makes sense because these are sensible
Hylsky's failure to realize that she plagiarized is consistent with the
tag line she puts at the end of her emails: "If you tell the
truth, you don't have to remember anything. Mark Twain".
However, a different quotation, from a contemporary of Twain's,
probably applies better: "I did that, my memory says. I
didn't do that, my pride says. My pride sticks to it ... and
eventually memory loses," Friedrich Nietzsche.
In any case, plagiarism is theft whether it's intentional or not.
Besides, the issue with plagiarism isn't thoughts,
it's words -- and most of Hylsky's words are clearly lifted from
elsewhere, with no credit given to the author who actually created the
words that Hylsky lifted in chunks.
steals intellectual property which other people worked to create. Plagiarism is contemptible.
a basic discussion, see
Exposed plagiarists often lose their jobs, and always suffer some
consequences. Here are three local examples:
October 2007, the Cochise County Planning Department posted a column
signed by a newly hired high-level employee named Don Spiva. The
piece was almost 100% plagiarism, and was quickly exposed. See
Soon, Spiva found work elsewhere.
former Pinal County Sheriff was a plagiarist. In the 2008
election, his opponent, Paul Babeu, made that an issue. See
Voters rejected the plagiarist, and Babeu is now Pinal County Sheriff.
-- In a lawsuit about Rick Mueller's campaign for Mayor of Sierra Vista, Mueller's attorney complained about plagiarism
in an opposing filing in which "a large section ... is a verbatim
cut-and-pasted copy of an argument ... in Maricopa County Superior
Court last week.... Whether or not the argument was copied word
for word does not matter a whole lot but [the judge told Mueller's
challenger] 'It is disingenuous not to attribute where you got it and
pretend that you came up with this all by yourself.'" See
plagiarism damages everyone's ability to trust the Committee
newsletter, including any contribution from Hylsky. Hylsky's
refusal to admit obvious plagiarism will only worsen the damage she has
done to her own credibility. The Cochise County Republican Committee may, or may not, try to regain some credibility by addressing its chair's plagiarism.