The President with Two Brains

Next Friday the world plunges into the uncertainty and probable chaos of a Donald Trump presidency. It is still hard to believe how America – how We got to this. I no longer have the stomach to go over the machinations, accusations and lies that got him into the White House as that is rapidly becoming a book genre all on its own that will surely spawn thousands of titles trying to offer explanations to the bewildered, the frightened and let’s be honest: the downright stupid who were duped into voting for him. No I prefer to keep out of that fray and simply examine how he is likely to perform based on nothing more scientific than the way he uses the media and in particular social media like Twitter and the safe assumption, which few dispute that he is a megalomaniac with clearly defined sociopath and psychopathic tendencies.

The Two Trumps
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What is very interesting is that Donald is at his most active on Twitter in the morning. On an average day before many of us have even had breakfast Trump has probably threatened China again cosied up further to Putin or much more likely – ignoring the expectation people have of their president to be measured and not abuse the power of the office – he has carried out some personal attack on a critic or expressed a view about some TV show or other related to his media persona, which he just cannot seem to shake off. As a salve to the critics, the Republican hierarchy tell us it will all change when he is in power and that the Tweets regarding matters of state or foreign affairs will reduce drastically. Notice how they did not say stop. How do they know? They have shown for the past two years that they have absolutely no control over him. As far as the Republicans were concerned he was nothing more than a loose cannon, a huge embarrassment who for a long, long time was regarded as someone who could only further damaging a party in terminal decline, with many predicting imminent extinction… Until he ‘won’ of course and instantly became the saviour of the party. However, Trump has shown time and time again that he has no real allegiance to anyone but Team Trump and only used the Republican’s lack of any natural leader as a convenient route to mount a credible assault on the Presidency to boost his ego and offset a few million of his billions so that he could continue to pay no taxes. The fact he won probably shocked him more than anyone else. So how is he going to do it? How is Donald Trump going to fill the most powerful position in the world?

It has been a quarter of a century since Julia Cameron published The Artist’s Way. Running through the book, which was written as a self help aid using tips and strategies to help people with their creativity, was the core idea that humans use different sides of their brain at different times of the day. Nothing about the dark workings of our most sensory organ can be presented as conclusive. Although there is enough scientific research to suggest that the two hemispheres of our brain operate quite differently from each other. The right hemisphere is responsible for our creativity and our ability to understand none verbal cues and images, while the left side is much more in control of language, problem solving and self criticism and editing. Can you already see where there might be a problem?

Left and Right side of brain

In the book it is suggested that during the first few minutes after waking our brains right hand creative side is in command because the editing left hand side is not so good at waking up. So in that golden 10 to 20 minutes or so – you should express yourself in writing in an un-edited way, ignoring punctuation or sentence structure in favour of getting whatever your right brain is giving you in a creative stream of consciousness, without judgment. These are referred to as the Morning Pages in the book, and I can testify to their effectiveness. The real value is going back to them a little later, perhaps after breakfast – when your left brain has kicked in – and reading them almost as if they came from someone else, someone unconstrained by rules or ego. At that moment you can actually find some wonderful nuggets of ideas; however, you can also see that there is a lot of it that verges on nonsense that should be excluded from any further consideration for future use in your work.

So what happens when you are the President and after waking you find your phone in your hand, instead of a pen, and your Twitter account open? In a world where few people have ever succeeded in stopping you doing anything you may be tempted to believe that anything you think about or decide to say in those early morning moments, perhaps while you are sitting on your toilet, is so important that its essence is unlikely to change or be challenged by anyone around you so you just type in the first thing that pops into your head – press the Tweet button and hey presto the worlds press has another juicy surprise to get its teeth into. And your team have what some describe as another ‘sh*t sandwich to deal with.

Kellyanne Conway, Trumps final campaign manager, who was given the title of Counselor to the President for Christmas was widely credited with rescuing a disorderly, dramatic campaign. She has been described as ferocious, razor sharp and a sufferer of no fools (well all but one maybe?) and also the person who got Trump into the White House. On top of the endless lies, filthy tricks, the proven interference of the Russians and a spectacular shot in the arm of the campaign by the director of the FBI – which in itself has launched a whole raft of ‘What did Putin or Trump have on James Comey to make him do it?’ conspiracy theories – it was perhaps only her tenacity that finally swung it in Trump’s favour. It seems that Conway was the only person, man or woman capable of reining in the famously vindictive and tempestuous candidate by focusing his energies away from his more destructive impulses and knee jerk announcements, which often proved to be downright lies and distracting him instead with a near-constant stream of rallies across the country. She admitted that she had to treat him as she would one of her four children. In a recent interview she described the way she finally convinced Trump to stop tweeting inflammatory things. Instead of blocking him from Twitter altogether, “I would say, ‘Here are a couple of cool things we should tweet today.’ It’s like saying to someone, ‘How about having two brownies and not six?’”
However, In the weeks since his election after Kellyanne let go of the day to day control of him as the campaign wrapped up, Trump quickly fell back on his dangerous impulses.

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With just days to go few people truly believe he is fit or ready for the office with some simply holding onto a hope that once he is inaugurated things will quickly normalise. But dealing with Trump as if he will one day be normal and constrained by the usual conventions, including embarrassment at being caught in a lie, would be to kid yourself. Trump is not a normal politician. He has no shame. While most politicians blush if exposed as inconsistent, let alone dishonest, Trump like most sociopaths is totally unembarrassable and simply attacks whichever little boy dares say he’s wearing no clothes – before going on to accuse the child of being a “failing pile of garbage”.

Is there hope? Maybe. But if things stay the same he is almost certainly going to have a short and volatile Presidency that will end because of some national or International crisis or scandal, or the isolation of America from the rest of the world for a generation or much, much longer if he feels cornered enough to go all Kim Jong Un on the world with the nuclear codes! One hope we might have is if Trump’s picks for the big jobs like James “Mad Dog” Mattis and other alt-right facists like chief strategist Steve Bannon are quickly shown the door as many people hope. Although who is to say that he doesn’t just put another nut job into the same position? So the presidency, the security of America and quite possibly the rest of the world may stand a better chance if one of two things happen. On a day to day basis Kellyanne Conway takes complete control of his Twitter accounts and other media interactions from his phone at least until mid-morning and effectively becomes the editor that Trump is clearly incapable of being. Or, as the only person he listens to: she continues to let him keep his Twitter account but also moves into the White House and actually shares an adjoining bedroom next to him and his wife. Only in this way can she be on hand, and bang on the bathroom door at the moments he is at his most dangerous with his Tweets. She could say in her firm, motherly voice ‘Now Donald we have agreed that you don’t Tweet until you have had your medication and eaten all your breakfast (and your left hand side of the brain has kicked in).

The word Counselor (spelled Counsellor in Europe and the UK ) most often means therapist. Someone who helps you recognise and see where your negative, repeated patterns and bad impulses may be destructive so she can then help you find a way through to making a rational decision about something.

In many ways it is not if but when Trump does something so spectacularly ill thought out that he not only destroys himself but also compromises the security and safety of countless others, maybe all of us? However, no matter how bad things get – and they are going to be terrible – we can at least console ourselves by thinking that if Kellyanne Conway wasn’t doing probably the second most important job in America as Counselor/Therapist in Chief to Trump and coaxing him, soothing him and most importantly being the editor of his worst impulses, which he seems wholly incapable of doing for himself… things could have been so much worse.

Picture of nuclear explosion
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The World’s Winter Blues

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 State of Emergency was declared last summer. Well it is certainly not those dangerously polarized politics that attracts me or the growing climate of fear, where you can be a government employee one day and the next fired or even branded as an enemy of the state and thrown into prison. No the simple truth is I stay here mainly because of a quite different type of climate and to enjoy the healthier lifestyle that I still find here.

Bowl of pills
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.

Brexit lies bus
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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.

The Narcissists World Tour
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.

If Goebbels and Rasputin Had a Baby....
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.