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Chapter 5
Alternate Politics

Do Politicians Really Believe The Bullshit They Say?

by FRANCIS GRECOROMACOLLUDEN, Alternate Reality News Service National Politics Writer

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly obvious that politicians do not tell the truth. In Canada, this truism was enshrined in law when a case against a politician for breaking campaign promises was thrown out of court. The judge in effect said, “Hey, he’s a politician, whaddya gonna do?”

What researchers at the Poynter Systers Institute did was develop a system to determine whether or not a politician was telling the truth.

“It’s a simple system,” Poynter Systers lead researcher Dmitri Goygin stated, “using off-the-shelf technologies. If the system as a whole wasn’t proprietary, you’d be surprised at how basic it is. I mean, really simple, obvious stuff.”

After a moment’s reflection, he hastily added: “And, yet, effective. Really, really effective.”

The first step in the process involves using radio waves to measure things like a politician’s heart rate, pulse, galvanic skin response and other rough indicators of the mental state of the person. This can be done from a distance, without the person’s kowledge. The technologies and methods employed at this stage are collectively referred to as the Bullshit Detection and Selection Mechanism (BDSM).

The information collected in this way is then fed into a computer database that also contains past speeches, soundbites, writings and other public knowledge about the politician. An Ideational Relationship Analysis (IRA) is conducted on all of the information to find points of conflict and to determine what, if anything, is true.

“This last bit is largely guesswork,” Goygin stated, “but, it’s really good guesswork. And, anyway, proprietary, so I’m not at liberty to tell you anything more about it.”

In 2005, the Poynter Institute made its first full-scale experimental use of BDSM/IRA. Using United States President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and members of the administration Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Richard Perle as their subjects, the researchers set about to find out whether or not the believed what they were saying about four subjects: whether or not Iraq had had weapons of mass destruction before it was invaded; whether there was merit to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth assertion that John Kerry was not the war hero his record claimed; whether Iraq had ever been allied with Al Qeada, and; whether the Bush tax cuts would help the poor.

The results have been put in a chart below:

Iraq’s WMDsSwift BoatIraq/al Qaeda ConnectionTax cuts help poor
CheneyNoNoNoNo
RumsfeldNoNoNoYes
PerleNoNoYesYes
RiceNoYesYesYes
BushYesYesYesYes

“If there is any validity to the Poynter Syster’s study,” said political activist Ralph Nader, “it would be astonishing. I don’t know which frightens me more: the fact that Vice President Cheney doesn’t believe a single idea that the administration pushes, or that the President believes all of them!”

Weekly Standard editor Irving Kristol was more skeptical of the results. “Typical left wing twaddle,” he fulminated. “I know for a fact that Richard Perle knew there was no connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but this study has him believing that there was! And, what about Condi? It makes her look like some Sunday school choirgirl – she’s a lot more politically ruthless than that! Total and utter bosh!”

Another line of criticism came from, of all places, Edward Tufte, author of such books as Visual Explanations and Envisioning Information, who suggested that the results were too neat. “The kind of symmetry that appears in the chart almost never happens in nature,” Tufte explained.

“They have the right to disagree with our findings,” Goygin responded. “Personally, I’ve always thought that right wing pundits and academics would be perfect subjects for a BDSM/IRA study…”

He also went to great pains to squelch the rumours that the BDSM/IRA method had been an utter disaster when it was tried on Russian politicians. “We weren’t the problem. No matter what they said,” he stated with a shudder, “they showed no response whatsoever. They…they aren’t human.”

One group with an intense interest in the BDSM/IRA method is the Pentagon. “Can you imagine politicians having to tell the truth in arms negotiations?” a spokeswoman, who asked not to be identified on grounds of coffee, stated. “It could completely undermine our –”

“Don’t say it,” Goygin interrupted.

“Yes, national security!” the Pentagon spokeswoman said. “There. I’ve said it. Because it’s true!”

Goygin pointed out that the BDSM/IRA method could just as easily be used to determine whether the country’s enemies were telling the truth in negotiations. One didn’t have to employ the BDSM/IRA method on him to tell that the Pentagon’s position made him nervous, however: the sweat that started beading on his forehead and the way his eyes darted around the room pretty much gave him away.

If the BDSM/IRA technique is perfected and becomes widely accepted it could revolutionize politics. Politicians would have to tell the truth or be proven to be liars! But, are we ready for such a development? Do you really want to be told that the only way to save the environment is to accept a lower standard of living? Or, that tax cuts are used primarily as a way for politicians to reward their wealthy supporters? Or that drug prices are determined by how much politicians are willing to allow pharmaceutical companies to get away with, which is a lot since, after all, they are wealthy supporters, too?

That knowledge is enough to make some people want to destroy all of the BDSM/IRA machines and burn the Poynter Systers Institute to the ground!

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