Bribery Explained Using Boolean Logic

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The Democratic report on impeachment accuses President Trump of, among other things, criminal bribery. What’s up with that? Wasn’t it really extortion? Allow me to Boolesplain:

Extortion: If you don’t announce an investigation of Joe Biden then I won’t approve your military aid package.

Bribery: If I do approve your military aid package then you will announce an investigation of Joe Biden. Capiche?

They’re the same thing. Legally, though, the nice thing about the bribery construction is that bribery is specifically mentioned in the Constitution as an impeachable offense.

UPDATE: After a Twitter exchange about this, I realize maybe I need to explain further. The first statement is of the form “If A then B.” The second statement is of the form “If not B then not A.” The second version is called the contrapositive of the first, and it is logically identical. For example:

  • If you are human then you are a mammal.
  • Contrapositive: If you are not a mammal then you are not human.

These are logically equivalent.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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