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Human Capitol

Fake news, reality TV, and Washington DC went to trial this week as the nation yaws toward the postmodern era.

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Former President Donald Trump’s administration officials, campaign advisers, even his own children questioned his claims of election fraud in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, the U.S. House Select Committee was told on Monday.

In the first of five public hearings, the panel will argue that Donald Trump ignored the data, invoked conspiracy theories, was an actor in the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill — 725 arrests, 145 trials, 70 sentences include prison and/or probation, 5 are dead — and collected upwards of $250 million in small campaign donations associated with “Stop the Steal.”

“Trump never gave an indication of interest in what the actual facts were," former Attorney General Bill Barr testified on Monday. “The president had become seriously detached from reality."

That statement, of course, the strongest of the declinations from within the Trump administration, presumes the people of the United States share a vision, version, or even working definition of reality.

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Princess Diana

Dissociation > Competitive Edge

Dissociation is a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, surroundings, actions and identity. “Don't go out of your way to correct a false assumption,” Ivanka Trump continued in her testimony on Monday, “if it plays to your advantage.”

It isn't always an illness, according the American Psychiatric Association, who explains “dissociation can occur involuntarily when we drink or daydream and dally on Facebook.” Dissociative amnesia, fugue, and personality disorder all require medical attention,” the AMA warns, “if and when you feel detached from your body, the environment, or the people around you.”

Originally called Multiple Personality Disorder, we all wear different hats, particularly in public and private settings. But Donald Trump’s persona, for instance, vacillated wildly from his tenure as a Manhattan real estate investor > casino owner and promoter > U.S. presidential candidate. In a television interview with Rona Barrett, “he presents as an erudite, soft spoken, European prince,” says co-author Tony Schwartz of the 1987 bestseller “Trump: The Art of the Deal.”

Yet he flipped that script and character at the Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (1995-2016) when he became a boxing promoter. “You know what it’s like to be a black man,” Don King famously said, of the 6’3 > blonde > blue-eyed > prince who proved he could rally, provoke and inspire the crowds.

Moreover, those crowds would ultimately become his base. “The former POTUS will provide a ‘No Holds Barred’ guest commentary at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino” the advert read of the Holyfield v. Belfort fight on September 11, 2021.

Was the 76-year-old former president a surprising addition to the guest lineup last fall, or was it just the first stop on his Truman style whistle stop campaign tour toward 2024? "I love great fighters and great fights,” Trump said, in a press release. “I look forward to seeing both and sharing my thoughts, ringside.”

As a Man Thinketh

Thoughts become words > actions > habits > character > destiny.

Thinking is a simulation that influences life, said Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism. So the London School of Economics and Boston University decided to put it to the test. “The permeable boundary between thought and reality,” the study found in 2016, “can lead simulations to sometimes produce the same downstream consequences as the corresponding actual experiences.”

To examine the effect of thinking (a simulation) on reality (a material fact), the researchers reviewed past studies of its impact on perception, performance, consumption, and achievement. They concluded that mentally simulating an experience evokes similar cognitive, physiological, and behavioral consequences as having the corresponding experience in reality.

Specifically, imagined experiences and suggestions were treated like logical proofs, i.e., do visual simulations/suggestions lead to physical performance benefits? In fact, the study showed imagined food consumption reduced actual eating, and visualized goal achievement reduced motivation to accomplish. Thus, simulations substituted for experience which influenced action, for better and worse.

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Princess Elizabeth at Eton 1933

Reality or Simulation: Trump strode across the 38th Parallel and shook hands with North Korea's dictator, Kim Jon Un?

Reality or Simulation: Trump single-handedly withdrew the United States from its “forever wars;” specifically a 20-year War in Afghanistan?

Reality or Simulation: Trump presided over “the greatest economy in the history of the United States?”

Reality or Simulation: Trump installed three Supreme Court justices and 226 judges to the federal bench, all for lifetime appointments?

Reality or Simulation: The House Select Committee intends to issue a criminal referral to the Justice Department of Donald J. Trump, paving the way for his criminal prosecution?

He may or may not have been the mastermind behind the slogan “Make America Great Again,” but its genius lied in the suggestion that America had actually fallen from greatness. That simulation won’t be impugned by this week’s hearings, nor Tuesday’s midterm reality which confirmed that Donald Trump is still the Republican party’s kingmaker.

Simulation or reality? It hardly matters, anymore.

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All the World's a Stage

Make sense of the week's news. Charlatan reviews the world's show & message.

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