There is something about these gloomy, darker days and long cold winter nights that affects people. Countless millions of us can even be pushed into a period of mild or even severe depression by it. These winter blues are often triggered by a lack of serotonin, which is a chemical produced naturally in the body that can be stimulated and replenished with as little as 20 minutes sunlight a day. For those lucky enough to have the means they can choose to move to somewhere sunnier or simply migrate there for the winter. In the past some of you have questioned me about why I chose to live in Turkey, a country seemingly more and more involved in wars in neighbouring counties or fighting terrorism at home. Described by some as a de-facto dictatorship, Turkey is ruled more and more by Presidential decrees, which have been allowed since the
Photo by Steven Depolo
Of course there is always the seemingly endless list of pills designed to lift our moods or at least drug you enough so you don’t really care so much. Citalopram (Celexa), Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex), Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Fluvoxamine (Luvox), Sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral) are just a few of the burgeoning list of Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that doctors have at their disposal. These daily pills are designed to make us all a little bit ‘happier’ while at the same time they keep down the number of patients the doctor sees. Unfortunately SSRI’s are also mostly addictive so their use is often prescribed indefinitely, much to the delight of the fabulously rich pharmaceutical companies that make them. I have always found it the height of hypocrisy when drug companies seem to release a new SSRI ever year or so but then wring their hands about the world being on the edge of an abyss as the last few antibiotic drugs developed decades ago lose their effectiveness against ever evolving super bugs. They tell us it is simply because of the development costs but we all know it’s more likely because there is no profit in developing a cure for anything anymore as the real money, the way to maintain an endless flow of profits is to develop drugs that only treat the symptom, without actually curing the underlying condition.
If you are interested in a little bit of speculation on the markets here’s my *tip for the winter of 2016/17: buy shares in pharmaceuticals, particularly in companies that provide us with those ‘happy’ pills. You may also find it a sound longer term investment that produces profits for the next four to eight years depending on the gullibility of certain electorates around the world. I predict that the sharp lurch to the right or the alt-right (as they now describe ideas that lean towards white supremacists or neo-Nazism in America) in world politics and power grabs by dictator wannabe’s, is going to have a profoundly depressing impact on all but the very rich, the open or closet racists and misogynists amongst us and the politically naive. This lurch to the right, whose momentum has been perpetuated by lies or what they now call ‘fake news’ seemed to gather momentum following the Brexit vote, where a hoodwinked electorate believed the whopping lies of self serving politicians like Boris Johnson and that odious idiot Nigel Farage.
Photo care of Butran P Armatage
One memorable lie was a fantasy that £50 million a day could somehow be diverted, by some act of magic from the EU into the NHS (National Health Service) instead. When the reality is much more likely to be a £60 Billion plus loss to the government when the UK leaves the EU that will not only severely weaken the resources of the exhausted NHS but may finish it off all together. By the way, this figure although staggering does not include the incalculable job losses and the potential £100’s of Billions it could cost UK companies and other organisations. However Boris didn’t let small details like pedalling dangerous Leave campaign lies against his own Remain principles affect his conscience because he truly believed that the result would eventually propel him towards the Prime Minister’s job as the ‘plucky’ loser. So when the Leave vote narrowly won he seemed genuinely shocked and quickly declared no interest whatsoever in becoming the new Prime Minister who would now have to deal with the shitstorm he had helped create. Although somehow it was still seen as a good idea to award him the consolation prize of becoming the UK’s rather embarrassing and gaff prone Foreign Secretary.
Photo by Duncan C
If Brexit was a shock against expectations built on mistruths, it was only a slightly bigger shock than the one pulled off earlier this month by Donald Trump. His seemingly limitless stream of lies coupled with the covert intervention of Vladimir Putin and an inconceivably suspicious intervention by the Director of the FBI, just days before the Election proved just enough to shade it in his favour and tip the world into what will one day be regarded as a darker and more troubling period in our history.
Photo by Mike Licht
Trump, Trump Trump #Trump… is all we seem to hear nowadays. But Isn’t it time we moved on from the catastrophe that just happened on the other side of the Atlantic? Enduring almost two years of filthy, divisive abuse, nonsense and sanctimonious tweets must surely make the American people now question the way they elect future leader? Seemingly not. The lazy news channels still show little else but the parade of racist alt-right cheerleaders nominated by Steve Bannon (above), turning up at their hideously garish lair of Trump Tower for job interviews. Minute by minute they report who is visiting from the Janitor all the way up to random world leaders eager to cut an early deal with the self proclaimed king of deals. But you would see, if you cared to examine the cold facts about his underhand business dealings a little closer instead of swallowing the pre and post electoral spin, you would see that he is a national and potentially international disaster just waiting to happen.
If by some miracle Trump makes it to the end of his four year term, without being Impeached, dropping dead because of the stress of the job (we know nothing about his health beyond a few lines hastily written by his Doctor, while Trump waited in his car with the engine running) or something else, I predict that there will be a groundswell, a sustained effort to ensure that other people like Trump and his alt-right storm trouping buddies are never allowed anywhere near the seat of power again. Maybe they will insist that one person, man or woman, is never allowed that much power again and that from then on any executive decisions like destroying the world with the press of a button is much safer if agreed by three or even five people instead of being left at the mercy of the mental state of just one individual.
Photo by The Official CTBTO Photostream
To miss quote A Game of Thrones – “Winter is coming… to the world.” But after a publicity addicted misogynist, racist and septuagenarian anachronism with recognized psychopathic traits is given the keys to the White House and the codes that could allow him to unleash Armageddon on seven billion people (instead of being given a much more appropriate bucket of coins to go and play the slots in one of his Las Vegas casino’s), all we can do is cross our fingers and hope that it’s not a nuclear winter that the world is about to endure?
* This is a literal piece using share speculation to underline a point. Any decision to buy shares should not be influenced by this blog post as there are significant financial risks associated with buying most shares.