Double Star

I was not surprised by the recent Congressional baseball shooting. The threat is ongoing. This means that we may need enhanced security for political figures – which raises the question of using doubles. Obviously, the more doppelgangers running around kissing babies and cutting ribbons, the less likely that a shooter will hit the actual President or Chief Justice or whatever.

But once you’re using doubles, there’s always the temptation to get more mileage out of them. Why not hire a double that can pull off a decent stump speech? Of course, you have to be careful: it has to look as if the true original could have been there, could have made that speech.

But there’s always that temptation… so when the Prez gives a speech in New York followed by one in LA three hours later – well, he’s the POTUS. He could have taken a supersonic military jet. It’s possible. And when you notice that he’s tweeting 20 hours a day – well, Edison didn’t need much sleep.

Eventually he doesn’t bother: a speech in London is followed an hour later by one in Washington. Even with an SR-71, that’s undoable. Next, simultaneous appearance in two places. Three places. Five places. Tweeting 24/7. Eventually, speeches in stereo, all the while denying that anything unusual is happening. in much the same way that McDonald’s official position is that there is (and can be) only one Ronald McDonald.

The doppelgangers are sharing real-time experiences thru WI-FI: rather like Tines. And like Tines, there’s no reason that the presidential swarm can’t continue indefinitely, even as members age and are occasionally shot. The show must go on, rather like Menudo.

For Trump, this scheme has the added benefit of subjecting many of his least favorite people to death by adrenal exhaustion.

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82 Responses to Double Star

  1. A delightfully fanciful post. Stalin was reported to have had up to seven different ‘Stalins’ crossing the USSR, waving and greeting, posing for pictures and accepting bouquets (some with bombs in them).
    I rather think it would be challenging to do Agent Orange convincingly, although his somber No. 2 is the kind of cipher who would be easy to double through Central Casting. The parodies of TRump have all been that: just parodies. To get that delirious sauciness and in-your-face bold lying would be quite a role to achieve.
    On the other hand if you accept the possibility of replication (by the Reptilians, for instance) then all bets are off. Is it not a touch creepy to see how The Preznit Donald has so seized the attention of just about everyone? That takes some doing.

    • Frau Katze says:

      It was easier in the days before the Internet. And before extensive photography. How many people in the USSR knew even enough to evaluate a double?

    • Dave Pinsen says:

      Would make for an interesting Twilight Zone episode. Alec Baldwin is coaxed into playing Trump for the government; something happens to Trump; Alec Baldwin assumes the presidency; and with access to POTUS-level info, comes to realize his own political views were naive; then, faithfully execute’s Trump’s policies.

  2. The simple version has been a standby of governments everywhere. In a Press Release the Prime Minister/President/Dear Leader is quoted as saying…..anything. This happens about 10 times a day, and is very usually what that person would have said, or has previously said, so the populace is in their perpetual presence. No pictures required. Better without pictures, because then the audience start studying the clothes.

  3. trooogdooor says:

    This is the hidden backstory of Warhammer 40k.

  4. dearieme says:

    Assassinations attempts? The best way to treat them is to behave like a girl.

    “On 29 May 1842, Victoria was riding in a carriage along The Mall, London, when John Francis aimed a pistol at her but the gun did not fire; he escaped. The following day, Victoria drove the same route, though faster and with a greater escort, in a deliberate attempt to provoke Francis to take a second aim and catch him in the act. As expected, Francis shot at her, but he was seized by plain-clothes policemen”. (WKPD)

    If a little pudding like Victoria can show a bit of backbone, why should it be beyond the American ruling class?

    • Toddy Cat says:

      Have a look at them and their backgrounds. The question pretty much answers itself…

    • pyrrhus says:

      According to Francis, the gun had no bullet, and they were unable to prove otherwise…he was put in an asylum, and eventually released….But yes, Victoria and her cohorts were made of sterner stuff. In the same general time period, a Prime Minister was murdered by an assassin….

    • syonredux says:

      Alternatively, they could act like Andrew Jackson:

      “On January 30, Jackson was attending the funeral of South Carolina congressman Warren R. Davis at the United States Capitol. Lawrence originally planned to shoot Jackson as he entered the service but was unable to get close enough to the President. However, when Jackson left the funeral, Lawrence had found a space near a pillar on the East Portico where Jackson would pass. As Jackson walked, Lawrence stepped out and fired his first pistol at Jackson’s back; it misfired. Lawrence quickly made another attempt with his second pistol but that also misfired. It was later determined that the weapons he had chosen were noted for being vulnerable to moisture and the weather on that date was humid and damp.[2]
      Lawrence’s unsuccessful attempts were noticed by Jackson, who proceeded to beat him with his cane. The crowd (which included Congressman David “Davy” Crockett) eventually intervened and wrestled Lawrence into submission”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Lawrence_(failed_assassin)#Life_before_assassination_attempt

      • gcochran9 says:

        Or when T.R was shot just before giving a speech, and insisted on finishing it (50 pages) before going to the hospital.

        • Ursiform says:

          Amusing to imagine Trump trying to sass T.R. …

          • gcochran9 says:

            The bit where he helped whip up a pointless war so that he could fight in it (and restore the family honor) is sassable.

            • Ursiform says:

              Sure, but I was thinking more of a mano a mano scenario.

            • syonredux says:

              TR gets points, though, for actually participating in the war that he helped create. Of course, the American elite were made of different stuff back then:

              “Fish was a graduate of Columbia University where he was a member of St. Anthony Hall. Fish was son of diplomat and banker Nicholas Fish, nephew of Hamilton Fish II the former speaker of the New York State Assembly, and grandson of the 26th United States Secretary of State, Hamilton Fish.
              Fish was not the only soldier from a prominent family in the unit: “… To this rugged crew, Roosevelt added some 50 men with backgrounds closer to his own: Ivy Leaguers from wealthy Eastern families. In citing their qualifications for active duty, Roosevelt touted their athletic accomplishments. Dudley Dean was “perhaps the best quarterback who ever played on a Harvard 11.” Bob Wrenn was “the champion tennis player of America.” Other Easterners included “Waller, the high jumper; Craig Wadsworth, the steeplechase rider; Joe Stephens, the crack polo player; and Hamilton Fish, the ex-captain of the Columbia crew.”
              He was a member of “L” troop commanded by Captain Allyn K. Capron, Jr.. He was one of the first Americans killed in the Battle of Las Guasimas, near Santiago, Cuba, on June 24, 1898. He died of a gunshot just near the heart and survived less than a minute or so per the Rough Rider who was wounded by the same bullet that killed Fish.”

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton_Fish_II_(Rough_Rider)

              • gcochran9 says:

                Teddy’s father had bought an exemption in the Civil War: Teddy wanted a war to fight in. He was a bad man.

              • syonredux says:

                The really lamentable aspect of the Spanish-American War, though, is the fact that it saddled us with Puerto Rico…..Talk about the Spanish getting their revenge…..

            • Jim says:

              It got us Puerto Rico. Actually it also got us Guam where I lived as a child and loved. You could go swimming everyday in water so clear you could easily see 50 feet surrounded by brightly colored tropical fish. (Admittedly also near invisible stinging jellyfish).

              • syonredux says:

                “It got us Puerto Rico.”

                Yeah. Talk about a poison pill…All those low-IQ, PR Hispanics streaming into the USA…And all the talk about making it a state….A state that would be the stupidest and poorest place in the USA…Alfonso XIII’s revenge on Anglo-America…

              • gcochran9 says:

                New Mexico would no longer be at the bottom. Woo-hoo!

              • whyteablog says:

                Can we just stop for a moment to bask in appreciation of the fact that New Mexico is the most aptly named state in the Union?

              • ziel says:

                You guys are completely forgetting that it also got us the Philippines, a Pacific archipelago of immense strategic importance – boy did THAT ever come in handy some 53 years later!

              • Jim says:

                Guam had both a SAC base and a Polaris submarine base. The house I lived in was perched on a high hill. My bedroom was the back porch and I often watched the Polaris subs as they moved out of Apra Harbor before they sunk under the waves.

                I think Subic Bay was mostly a maintenance base. There were caves on Guam with their entrances sealed off which were surrounded by very high wire fences with very serious signs attached warning of dire consequences to anyone who attempted to enter.

  5. AppSocRes says:

    One can learn a lot about both politics and acting by re-reading the novel. One can gain an even better perspective on the times we live in by re-reading Heinlein’s future history series with an emphasis on the “crazy years”.

    • Yes–thanks for noting the title of this post is the Heinlein novel. A large percentage of the readership is probably not familiar with the book.

      • Rich Rostrom says:

        A better RAH reference might be The Star Beast, where the use of a double by the Secretary General is explicitly described, and is SOP.

  6. dave chamberlin says:

    I talked to an ex military sniper who thought he had Saddam Hussein in his his gun site. He was at the front giving the Republican Guard a pep talk. He wanted to shoot him in the worst way but was ordered not to. He then started spinning a stupid conspiracy theory as to why he couldn’t shoot the asshole.

    But it wasn’t Saddam. He had a whole bunch of lookalikes running around the country. No way, no how was the real Saddam at the front where an American sniper could pick him off. It was probably just an officer that looked a whole lot like Saddam, thousands of them did.

    I wonder if that crazy fool running North Korea has fattened up a bunch of guys that look like him so that he is much harder to assassinate.

    • pyrrhus says:

      I have heard that Idi Amin had a couple of doubles giving speeches….

    • gcochran9 says:

      I’ve never seen solid evidence that Saddam had doubles. Most of the the things we said before we invaded Iraq turned out to be false, the product of our own diseased imaginations – why not that one?

      We should work up a theory in which Saddam never existed at all.

      • Jim says:

        Maybe he’s still alive playing pinochle somewhere with Adolf Hitler and they hung his double.

        • gcochran9 says:

          So Hitler found the secret of eternal life: mass human sacrifice. Might be a problem if that became generally known.

          • syonredux says:

            As I understand it, the Thule Society told Hitler that it was a 50/50 shot. Killing masses of people would either grant him eternal life or bring the Norse gods to Earth to fight on the side of Nazis. So, for Adolph, it was a case of win/win either way….

          • Bob says:

            Well it did apparently give him eternal life in the ancient Greek sense of the immortality of everlasting fame.

            • A Different Bob says:

              If the secret of eternal life is mass killing, then what about Genghis Khan?

              The precautions taken to hide the location of his tomb seem overkill for stopping grave robbers, but not for making sure a nearly immortal god-like figure isn’t set free. Could be a prison rather than a tomb.

      • Did Saddam tend to do things that would end up benefiting the sort of people who would make up an autocrat?

        Bin Laden did things which would benefit warmongers, so people draft up conspiracy theories about how he was a plant controlled by the warmongers.

        • Ziel says:

          Sadden almost single-handedly kept the US military in business thru the 90’s, no?

          • Perhaps, but what would I know? I was learning my ABCs at that time.

            Good targets for the propaganda apparatus must make good targets for the military. Would a fake leader be better than a real one? You could simply slander the latter, and depressingly few would see through it.

          • Jim says:

            They would have found something else to do if they hadn’t had Saddam.

    • A joke about Saddam’s doubles:

      The doubles were all gathered together by the head of the secret police, who told them:
      “You have all done a great job impersonating the supreme leader. I am sure you will want to continue this work in the future. But now I have some news for you. I am very sorry to have to tell you that yesterday there was an attempt on his life. Here’s the good news: the attempt was thwarted. The assassin was killed, and Saddam lives, praise Allah. But there is some bad news: we had to amputate his arm.”

  7. Did you intentionally get the bottom-of-post ad to appear in duplicate?

  8. Bob says:

    Wouldn’t the temptation for casting to decide they would prefer to run the show be too great?

  9. pyrrhus says:

    There is significant photographic evidence that Hillary had a double during the campaign…One telltale was that the double was somewhat better looking and didn’t stagger….

    • Ursiform says:

      Or she simply had days she was more or less tired.

      • savantissimo says:

        The perky “Hillary” that appeared hugging a “random bystander” child in front on Chelsea’s huge, converted-clinic residence a few hours after Hillary’s dramatic collapse (supposedly due to pneumonia) in NY was quite clearly a double. Her hips weren’t even as wide as her shoulders and her ring finger is slightly longer than her index, while for Hillary it is the reverse. The nose of the double is slightly convex in profile,while Hillary’s is not. The ears, particularly the lobes have a different shape.

        • dearieme says:

          Ah, yes, it’s hard to fake the ears, as all schoolboys used to learn from their spy stories.

          Talking of espionage, how’s Hillary doing these days?

          • savantissimo says:

            Double Star author Heinlein aso used ear shape to ID a double of Mike in Stranger in a Strange Land, IIRC.

            I haven’t heard anything about Hillary’s health since the election, but she’s under less stress and far less often appears in public, so less chance of seizure or collapse reports becoming public. As far as her endeavors in espionage (the email server was not left open accidentally), reports are that Clinton Foundation donations have dropped precipitously since she lost the election.

        • Ursiform says:

          I’m not as easily convinced by conspiracy theories as some are.

    • ziel says:

      I swear I run into doppelgangers all the time – someone I’ll meet through an in-law skiing that is the same person i met at a colleagues Christmas party 3 years ago except that they’re technically different people. There are only so many model offerings in the human brand.

      I would expect that Hillary-doppelgangers would be relatively low-hanging fruit – pretty easy to pick out in the expected places: Democratic field offices, corporate law firms, NGO’s. She’s a fairly bland specimen of mildly above average talents. A Trump doppelganger would be more of a challenge – he’s more of a “broke the mold” type. I think you’d want to look elsewhere than business/politics/entertainment to find them. Look for the Trumps among High-School/collegiate football coaches, plant managers, even old-school bartenders – domineering types who need to maneuver among people who think they’re smarter than them.

      • That’s a choice appraisal. I hereby award thee two gold-plated internets.

      • Frau Katze says:

        It would be easy to get mixed up with people you barely know, meeting them several years apart.

        But the media follows the politicians very closely. I doubt they could be fooled. There’s too many people who’d be looking. The entire population now that the Internet is available. I’d say impossible for high ranking pols.

        Humans must have been highly selected for trait of distinguishing people. I mean otherwise you could be fooled and go off with some enemy if you got two important people mixed up. That would be the end of you.

      • Frau Katze says:

        Another argument against this happening is that no conspiracy theory regarding doubles has gotten off the ground since the rise of the Internet and add in, with everyone filming stuff on their iPhones.

        I don’t really understand why Greg even posted this. I find it extremely implausible for high ranking pols in modern Western environment.

        To be caught at it would be an instant destruction of the person’s political career.

        It wasn’t always so. But that time had passed.

      • I swear I run into doppelgangers all the time – someone I’ll meet through an in-law skiing that is the same person i met at a colleagues Christmas party 3 years ago except that they’re technically different people. There are only so many model offerings in the human brand.

        I have a mental tick that causes me to think I have met someone before. It will sometimes kick in after just a few minutes of (theoretically) first meeting them. It’s like a weird kind of deja vu. If its not just random, I’m guessing there’s a behavior they actually do have in common with someone else, but to your point, maybe its a doppelgänger effect.

        • Difference Maker says:

          Many are detecting family lines. The cast of a face, a mannerism

          Of course, it helps not to have face blindness

          I’m proud to say that I have doppelganger running around performing Olympic freestyle ski jumps. I do have some natural feel for the snow and ice, but haven’t gotten to ski much

  10. savantissimo says:

    Reminds me of the Calvin and Hobbes series where Calvin turns the cardboard box into a duplicator and ends up with a whole crowd of Calvins who all turn out to be as big a pain as he is. It should work better for a crowd of Trumps, still, the mind reels.

  11. iffen says:

    I don’t see the problem. Is there a short supply of worthless politicians?

  12. The managers of the simulation can duplicate whatever and whoever they want

  13. MawBTS says:

    Why not specialize?

    We’ve all heard the story about how radio listeners thought Nixon won the debate because they liked his voice, while TV viewers thought Kennedy won because he was more handsome. And politicians already outsource much of the political process (speechwriting, policywriting). So why not go all the way and have various Trumps for various moments?

    You could have a fantastically eloquent Trump giving radio interviews. An incredibly handsome Trump waving at crowds and kissing babies. A brilliant typist writing his tweets. In the situation room you’d have a deaf, dumb, blind Trump in a body cast so that he’d be INCAPABLE of doing anything stupid.

    Maybe this explains why Trump’s suits are so horribly ill-fitting. His tailor was probably sent the measurements for Trump’s steroid-pumped WWE body double.

  14. You mean that the current POTUS is real? We all assumed that he was some sort of Andy Kaufman kayfabe performance artist. Shit: You guys are boned

  15. j says:

    In the future, everybody will have an Alter Ego.

  16. Warren Notes says:

    How about an interactive weekly show called “America’s Got Trump.” Each week, the Trump double faces a dilemma based on the headlines of that week. As they say on “America’s Got Talent” and similar dreck, AMERICA GETS TO DECIDE! The audience votes on what Trump should do via text messaging, and the Trump double acts out the results of the vote. Watch with pleasure as Trump tours the world on a relentless campaign against global warming and demands that the Attorney General indict his son-in-law for treason!

  17. Maciano says:

    I hope Trump is smarter and less PC (in deeds, not words) than Geert Wilders. Wilders is nonstop threatened by radical muslims, but for some reason he allowed Moroccans to be part of his security team. The consequences have been predictable. A few of these guys actually turned out to be corrupt.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39057543

    • R. says:

      Allowed?

      The bodyguards are state bodyguards, I imagine whoever is in charge of ministry of interior doesn’t like Wilders, so I sort of doubt he has a say in what bodyguards he gets..

  18. Frau Katze says:

    I have not read this book. Science fiction never appealed to me. Most other fiction doesn’t either. But one exception is Orhan Pamuk’s “The Black Book.” You either hate it or love it (he won the Nobel prize for literature a few years back).

    It’s all about identity. He interweaves chapters with every other chapter being a column written by the now-missing newspaper columnist. He covers a lot ground: old stories about Sultan’s going out in disguise and wandering around undetected. (It takes place in Turkey).

    But it’s more than that, it also covers the East/West split, where Turkey is right on the edge. It’s very insightful. The style appeals to me, for reason or other.

    It’s very relevant to current affairs too.

    I reread it at least once a year. I read the translation by Maureen Freeley, a second translation. Sadly not available as an ebook.

    Well worth reading…unless you end up hating it.

  19. David Magnus says:

    Great Vinge reference!

  20. This is not hard. Arm all of Congress and their staff. Give them monthly sessions at the range and 500 rounds for practice. I suggest SIG P320 or for a softer shooter, an FNH Five-seveN. Problem solved. Doppelgängers usage assumes the targeted individuals have no power to protect themselves.

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