If I were a newly minted commander-in-chief who’d just had my hand slapped after attempting to impose a controversial travel ban upon a nation founded (and largely maintained) by immigrants, I’d likely opt for a somewhat sneakier approach in my second go-around. Here’s what my blueprint would look like:
STEP 1: Pick an ethnic group that’s stereotypically the least likely to organize protests against my actions. We’ll call this Group A.
STEP 2: Impose a “voluntary” request for personal information (e.g. a social media handle), targeted only towards Group A members, with reassurances of no negative consequences should a Group A individual decline my request for information.
STEP 3: After a soak period, impose the exact same request on Group B (i.e. ethnic groups from countries that don’t support my business interests), citing Group A as precedent.
STEP 4: Start to impose negative consequences if individuals decline my requests, for Group A only.
STEP 5: Start to impose negative consequences if individuals decline my requests, for Group B. There’s precedent.
STEP 6: Enjoy a weekend of golf at my favorite retreat.
STEP 7: Strike all references to “voluntary” from the rules, for Group A only.
STEP 8: Strike all references to “voluntary” from the rules, for Group B. There’s precedent.
STEP 9: Very publicly come to the personal realization that it’s ethically inappropriate to target specific groups for discrimination. Publicly expand the rule to the general populace. Mark this as a public holiday celebrating my accomplishment. No. Celebrating me. And only me. In fact, I’ll have to introduce a specific law that prevents anyone and anything from sharing this tremendous holiday, in perpetuity.
STEP 10: Very privately grant special exceptions to the top 2%, whomever supports my business interests and donates generously to my 2020 campaign.
…………….wait for it……………
A is for a-a-apple! Oh ok, a-a-animal.
B is for b-b-banana! Ok right, b-b-bbear.
C is for c-c-candy! No? C-c-cars? …how about c-c-cats? Ok.
D is for d-d-daddy wants to stop talking about animals today, buddy. Can we stop talking about animals? Fine. D-d-dog.
E is for e-e-ever think about playing with those toy robots we got you? No? Sure sure, e-e-eelephants.
F is for f-f-flutes that make beautiful, breathtaking music. Want to hear some engaging flute music? No, we’re not watching that flamingo video again. Please stop whining.
G is for g-g-giraffe. Sigh.
H is for h-h-hippo. Happy?
I is for i-i-ice cream. Want to go get some ice cream? Sure we can go get some ice cream, and maybe talk about…no you can’t bring your stuffed iguana, it’ll get dirty. No then. No. No. Please stop whining.
J is for j-j-jaguars would jump off a bridge if they heard you talk about animals as much as I do, buddy. Uh…yeah to swim with dolphins, sure.
K is for k-k-kites. Want to go fly a kite? No? What if I tied a kitten to it? Yeah, I figured. No we’re not doing that, I was k-k-kidding.
L is for l-l-llama. Yes, I know you know about llamas. Please don’t spit on the carpet, son.
M is for m-m-momma hey momma I think our adorable son wants to recite the alphabet with you momma momma are you sure need to run errands hey momma are you sure we need groceries today wait momma I really don’t mind going to get those groceries – and she’s gone. No I don’t know why she was running, buddy. M-m-monkeys.
N is for n-n-nope. Nope that’s it, I’m done. I’m on strike. Yes, daddy’s on strike. Strike means I’m not going to do something anymore. Because I’m tired. That’s right, no more talking about animals. Strike means strike. Yes exactly, like your “Animal Strike at the Zoo” book. Where is it? It’s over there, under your book about animals in the mitten. No that’s your lion roar counting book. No that’s “Polar bear polar bear what do you hear”. No that’s your stuffed shark, here let me show you. No no wait, I didn’t agree to read it. Please, no. Please, no I was just showing…please stop whining. Ok ok, just once. Please. Just this one. Just these two. Ok here’s the deal. if I agree to read all three of these books, then can we stop talking about animals and go play with your robots later? OK, now we’re talking!
….O is for o-o-octopus.
“Harharhar, nobody will notice us dumping coal into our rivers, if we give them an Arnold video!”
“Nyuk nyuk nyuk, nobody will see us drilling for oil in national parks, if they’re busy complaining about our fabricated terrorist attack!”
“Teehee, nobody’ll notice that we’re disbanding the EPA, if they’re too busy watching the Superbowl!”
Opening narration: Our world is in peril. Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, can no longer stand the terrible destruction plaguing our planet. She gives five magic rings to five special people. From Science, nuclear physicist Taylor Wilson with the power of earth. From Government, Senator Bernard Sanders with the power of fire. From Technology, maaaaaaybe Elon Musk with the power of wind (we’ll see). From the National Park Service, NPS rangers with the power of water and from Hollywood, actress Meryl Streep with the power of heart. With the five powers combined they summon earth’s greatest champion – CAPTAIN PLANET!
Taylor, Bernie, Elon, Ranger Rick, Meryl: Go, Planet!
Captain Planet: …the power is yours?
2001: a disillusioned Democrat decides to clean out the swamps of Washington by playing the ultimate long con. He recruits a ragtag gang of misfits to lay the foundations for an alt-right campaign…to win the presidency.
2016: Bolstered by shady backdoor promises to remove those pesky environmental/financial regulations currently hampering disgruntled billionaires from joining the trillionaires club, they gain enough support and momentum, to actually win.
Immediately the gang launches into act two of their con. They actually follow through on all of their campaign promises, but in the most ridiculous/controversial/hostile way known to mankind. The entire nation notices in a way that they wouldn’t have under other circumstances, and rally together to knock out each of his executive orders. In the process they form a new Utopian world order that is essentially inclusive, peaceful, eco-friendly, and un-corruptible by the instinctive greed of human nature.
End scene shows the ex-president after his impeachment proceeding, packing up in the Oval Office. His senior advisor enters with a knowing look and asks “You’re not gonna stick around for your share?” Ex-president looks up with an equally knowing look and says “Naah. I’d only blow it bigly,” then walks out to end credits and a tearful advisor. Fade to black.
Whenever I want to distract my family from whatever odor is wafting in from my backyard storage shed, I simply get up in front of our living room television and start to spout out random phrases like “Pray for Arnold” or “Torture absolutely works”. At least until my most trusted White House senior adviser has a chance to clean the stank up with some Febreze.
Goal: To come up with a blueprint for measuring one’s capacity to give alternative facts.
In light of our honorable new leader’s honorable policy on honesty, let’s see if we can’t think through a bigly way to measure it. Firstly, some base cases:
• If you ask someone who’s 100% honest if they will tell the truth 100% of the time, they will say “Yes” 100% of the time.
• If you ask someone who’s 100% dishonest if they will tell the truth 100% of the time, they will still say “Yes” 100% of the time.
• If you ask someone who’s 50% honest if they will tell the truth 100% of the time, they will say “Yes” 50% of the time, and “No” 50% of the time.
• If you ask someone who’s 50% honest if they will tell the truth 50% of the time, they will say “Yes” 50% of the time, and “No” 50% of the time.
• If you ask someone who’s 75% honest if they will tell the truth 75% of the time, they will say “Yes” 75% of the time, and “No” 25% of the time.
Based on the above we can come up with a more generic formula:
• If you ask someone who’s X% honest if they will tell the truth Y% of the time, they will say “Yes” X% of the time.
Variable Y above has no bearing on the results, so let’s remove it:
• If you ask someone who’s X% honest if they tell the truth, they will say “Yes” X% of the time.
Next step is to factor in sample size and the law of averages (i.e. asking several questions will yield better results than asking one question):
• If you ask someone who’s X% honest once if they will tell the truth, they will either say “Yes” once or “No” once
• If you ask someone who’s X% honest 10x if they will tell the truth, they will either say “Yes” (X*10/100) times or “No” 10-(X*10/100) times
• If you ask someone who’s X% honest, 100x if they tell the truth, they will either say “Yes” (X*100/100) times or “No” 100-(X*100/100) times
For the sake of this exercise, we’ll pick a sample size of 100 questions.
Unfortunately, asking someone straight out if they’re honest or dishonest is not verifiable. Therefore we need to replace the question with something that could be verifiable with evidence, something like:
• If you ask someone who’s X% honest, 100x if they’ve ever made fun of a disabled reporter, they will either say “Yes” (X*100/100) times or “No” 100-(X*100/100) times
However, each question in the sample size must be unique, so as to avoid bias towards one particular subject or line of questioning:
• Q1: If you ask someone who’s X% honest if they’ve ever made fun of a disabled reporter, they will either say “Yes” or “No” once
• Q2: If you ask someone who’s X% honest if they’ve ever made fun of a woman, they will either say “Yes” or “No” once
• Q3: If you ask someone who’s X% honest if they’ve ever made fun of an immigrant, they will either say “Yes” or “No” once
• Q4: If you ask someone who’s X% honest if they’ve ever made fun of a child, they will either say “Yes” or “No” once
• …up to 100 questions total
Liar’s Index: Total # of “No” answers/Total # of questions
The next step, perhaps the most difficult, is to factor in the person’s personal motivation behind answering each question dishonestly. What does the person have to gain or lose by lying on a particular question?
For simplicity let’s normalize all questions so that “YES” denotes honesty and “NO” denotes dishonesty, then use the following motivational scale (abbreviated MO):
MO 0 – Either answering honestly, or no impact for lying. (e.g. “Did you drink a glass of orange juice this morning? If not then oh well.”)
MO 1-4 – Minimal impact (e.g. “Did you eat fast food today? If so then people may question your commitment to a healthy lifestyle, a little bit.”)
MO 5 – Medium impact (e.g. “Did you make fun of a disabled reporter? If so then you may be seen as an insensitive human being, which could jeopardize your chances for re-election.”)
MO 6-9 – High impact (e.g. “Does a foreign entity have incriminating material on you? If so then you may have your brand tarnished, destroy your chances of remaining president or getting re-elected, and possibly bring criminal charges to you or your family sometime in the future.”)
MO 10 – Critical impact (e.g. “Did you strangle that adorable puppy for peeing on your leg? In front of your entire staff? On national television?”)
Liar’s Index: (Q1’s MO+ Q2’s MO+Q3’s MO+…+Q100’s MO)/1000
One additional factor that could be counted separately from the motivational index is magnitude. The magnitude of a person’s lie may/may not be different from that person’s motivation behind that lie. For example, something like an administration’s intentions towards a foreign country’s trade or immigration policy may have severe implications for multiple countries and millions of individuals, but have relatively little bearing on that individual’s personal motivations.
So factoring in a magnitude scale (abbreviated MA) of 0-10, with 10 being highest,
Final Formula for Liar’s Index: (Q1’s MI+ Q2’s MI+Q3’s MI+…+Q100’s MI)/1000+(Q1’s MA+ Q2’s MA+Q3’s MA+…+Q100’s MA)/1000
Next step is to plug some test subjects into this formula to see what gets spit out on the other end. Wonder what President Lincoln would have gotten?