Category Archives: Politics

The Continuing Rorschach of Donald Trump

By David Laing Dawson

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Back Cover of Two Years of Trump on the Psychiatrist’s Couch

Most politicians are quite adept at concealing the inner workings of their minds, their unguarded thoughts: “That is a very important question you’re asking. I thank you for asking that and giving me a chance to respond to such an important question. Now when I was a young boy growing up in (Idaho, Winnipeg) in a working class neighbourhood, and I watched my father go off to work each morning…..”

But Donald, ahh Donald. Every day he tweets and talks he exposes something about himself, not necessarily in the content of his half sentences, but in their form and style and context.

I am writing this because of two compelling moments last week. The first of these was his inclusion of Alabama as a target of Hurricane Dorian, which was quickly refuted by Alabama officials and his following press conferences and tweets in which he compulsively went to great lengths, including the notorious addition of a sharpie curve, to claim he was right, not wrong, to include Alabama.

It was a very small, entirely forgivable mistake to include Alabama in the first place but he was officially corrected. And herein lies the problem. He could not admit to even such a small, understandable, inconsequential error. And this, unfortunately, is evidence of a very fragile narcissism, one that cannot accept any correction lest it topple the whole edifice.

The second was his use of phrases such as, “Who ever heard of a category 5?” The news and late night hosts were quick to find and air five or six times in the last three years Donald has used very similar phrases when talking about hurricanes. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a category 5”. “I’m not sure I’ve even heard of a category 5.”

It has been pointed out the second to sixth time he said this it was a lie. But I think it is more Rorschach evidence of something else. Whenever he is over his head, when he doesn’t know any details, when he doesn’t really understand, he resorts to a set form of linguistic grandiosity: “Bigger than you’ve ever seen before.” “Who knew health care was so complicated?” “Like you’ve never seen before.” or simply, “It will be big, very big.”

And these phrases cover for the fact he doesn’t know the details, he doesn’t comprehend or understand, while at the same time implying that if he doesn’t know something it is beyond the comprehension of mortal man. And, as always with Donald, truth is inconsequential in his self serving performances.

Not news, but just more Rorschach evidence.

On the other hand, is there any point trying to determine the working principals of this man’s brain/mind? Or as others have pointed out, might we be simply watching “Reality TV”? Was there really a plan in place to fly Taliban leaders and the President of Afghanistan to Camp David for a secret meeting with Donald scheduled for today, Sunday? That he then cancels publicly with a tweet? Boggles the mind, it does.

Well, either way we are living in a world where the man with the biggest voice plays always to the camera seeking immediate glory, attention, or revenge, using, just as “Reality TV” does, fictional contrivances masquerading as truth.

 

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Refugees and Hypocrisy

By Marvin Ross

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Image by heblo from Pixabay

I’ve just finished reading By Chance Alone, a book of Holocaust survival, life as a refugee and eventual settlement in Toronto. Max Eisen, the author, is a Hungarian Jew who was rounded up with his family, neighbours and relatives from a small city in Hungary and sent off to Auschwitz. He was a young teenager at the time and the only one in his family to survive.

For many years, he has travelled across Canada lecturing about his life to schools, universities and even the York Region police cadets, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Canadian Forces College. He is one of many who devote their senior years to reminding us of what happened but, sadly, few of us listen. The world today is full of refugees fleeing war, poverty and misery while fascism, Neo-Nazis and white supremacy are once again growing.

In 2015, Eisen went back to Germany to testify at the trial of the SS official who was known as the bookkeeper. He was in charge of gathering valuables such as money, jewellery and gold crowns pulled from the mouths of gassed Hungarian Jews. When enough was accumulated, he carried the ill gotten gains in a large suitcase to a bank in Berlin a few times a week. The man was convicted but still maintained his innocence as a man simply following orders.

Mr Eisen commented “I have a great deal of concern for humanity should a supremacist ideology take hold again. It will be a threat to our way of life and our freedom.”

Sadly, this is exactly what is happening in many parts of the world and Mr Eisen puts into words the warning signs that we are presently seeing in many countries today. One of those warning signs is the increasing anti-semitism in the US particularly among Christian evangelicals.

Prior to and during the war, Canada and the US were reluctant to take in refugees fleeing Hitler. Canada’s policy towards Jews fleeing Hitler as described by  historian, Irving Abella was “none is too many”. The refugee ship, the St Louis carrying 900 Jewish refugees was denied entry into Canada and the US and the passengers all returned to Europe and their deaths.

After the war, both Canada and the US began welcoming refugees. First the Holocaust survivors, then thousands of Hungarians in 1956 fleeing Communism after the uprising. All have been an asset and contributed to the nations they settled in. Then there were the boat people from Vietnam, the South Asians kicked out of Uganda by Idi Amin and countless others.

Thankfully, Canada has been quite open in letting in many from the wars in the Middle East and we now have a situation where in the past two years an estimate 45,000 people have come here via unofficial border crossings into Quebec from the US.

Refugees from Trump.

The US, in contrast, rounds up undocumented workers in its country and separates children from their parents on the southern border and locks them up in abysmal conditions.

The pressure of refugees is growing and, thus far, Canada has continued to offer them sanctuary although some are referring to those coming from the US outside of formal border posts as illegal entrants. These are the right wing politicians who do not understand that under international law, refugees are to be accommodated. Right wing politicians in Canada have argued for tests of Canadian values to determine who should be let in. They have also proposed a tip line to report those with barbaric practices.

Sadly, parts of Europe are forgetting their own history and acting despicably. Hungary, which gave the world so many fleeing people in the 50s, is now barring any refugees from its land. Recently, the news reported on a refugee boat in the Mediterranean that was not being allowed to land in Italy despite the horrible conditions on board. Italy has conveniently forgotten that so many of their countrymen migrated to North America for better lives which they found.

What stuck me about Max Eisen’s survival (a Jew) was the help he got from a Pole. Eisen was struck on the back of the head with a rifle butt by a German guard and carried unconscious to the camp hospital. The chief surgeon was a Polish physician, Dr Tadeusz Orzeszko, who was being held as a political prisoner. As Eisen recovered from his surgery, he was offered the chance to work in the camp hospital assisting with operations.

Max and the doctor became separated with the advance of the Red Army and the start of the Death March where the Germans forced the prisoners to march away from the camp and freedom to another one closer to Germany. They never did meet again but in 2010, Max met the now deceased doctor’s family at a reception in Warsaw. He has maintained a close friendship with the doctor’s son and then learned that Dr Orzeszko’s granddaughter, Julia, named her baby son Max in his honour.

The camp that Eisen was moved to after the Death March was liberated by the 761st Tank Battalion or the Black Panthers – a segregated unit of the US Army as, by law, Blacks were not allowed to serve alongside whites. One officer in that unit had been Jackie Robinson who broke the colour bar in major league baseball.

If we are not to descend into the actions of Nazi Germany, we will need to begin acting with more humanity than we have been. Germany, after all, has been trying and Angela Merkel deserves a great deal of praise. The hordes of refugees will continue to grow and we need to develop a compassionate policy to help them.

America, Come to Your Senses

By Dr David Laing Dawson

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Back Cover of Two Years of Trump on the Psychiatrist’s Couch

I am sitting by a fire in a campsite in a National Forest enjoying the cool mountain breezes, the clouds floating overhead with the last light of the setting sun. A CPR train moans in the distance, another fire crackles, someone chops wood for kindling, and families abound, some with tents and bicycles, some with big rigs. It is here one can easily see the nature of Earth, the complex ecology, and the fair and (mostly) equitable social order of Canada. The rules are stringent and thorough: two hours for generators in the morning and two hours in the evening, quiet after 11, no alcohol or cannabis off campsite, none of either after 11 on a long weekend.

We are ants on a planet, a fragile orb, and my thoughts should be of life and fellowship, of eternity and mystery, of the grandchildren who visited our campsite last night.

But instead, but instead they are of Donald Trump. I have not read a newspaper but google news tells me of his absurd antics, his wish to buy Greenland, his arguments with the the Fed over interest rates, possibly declaring the Antifa (anti-fascism) a terrorist organization, his statements about Jews and Israel, and his fight with the plans of American automakers who wish to produce environmentally responsible automobiles for California.

I know. I could decide not to click on Trump news while on holiday. But….

Previously I wrote about the dangers of a cornered narcissist but he slipped away from every accusation. So now the danger lies with an unbridled narcissist who has learned he can get away with anything, and whose insatiable need for praise and pomp has already reached the grandiosity of buying part of another country, declaring himself the chosen one, threatening annihilation of a few populations, and dabbling in car design and macro economics.

He is appalling. Please, America, come to your senses.

No good can come of this man. It will take decades to recover from his influence and we don’t have the luxury of time. Or, more specifically, this melting earth cannot afford 8 years of Trump and the damage he brings to it with every tweet.

The next day a Chinese couple identify for me the sound of barking in a fir tree as that of a Raven, an Alberta truck driver apologizes for momentarily blocking our path to the air pump for a trailer tire, large fat clouds sweep over the craggy granite ridges near Canmore, and we drop from the Rockies into the foothills, lush and productive. My mental health is restored.

Canada VS the US From an RV

By Dr David Laing Dawson

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Image by Annalise Batista from Pixabay

RVing through the US and into Canada at Creston BC I ponder the shaping of national identity and patterns of behaviour, for the visual differences between the two countries are becoming stark.

The landscape and climate are the same in Western Montana and South Eastern BC, but the differences lie in organization, in care, attitude.

The signage in Canada thanks me for slowing through a construction site. In the US it threatens me with a $1500 fine and months in jail.

In the US we pass through half dead small towns in disarray, dumps of old trailers and trucks beside dilapidated clapboard houses. No matter how poor the small town in Montana, it has a windowless casino, from a shack with slots to Diamond Lil’s. It is a man’s world of heavy machinery, equipment, trucks, and minimal attention to design and decoration.

Crossing into Canada we enter a different world. Money has been spent on the roads, only occasionally do we see a shack or barn left to decay in place. And the small towns: suddenly people are sitting at tables outside cafes, the buildings are maintained, colourful, quaint, alive. Shops are open, people stroll. Some of these strolling, shopping people may be American tourists spending their overvalued currency while enjoying the pleasant sense of safety and security Canada offers.

And that leads me to the point of this. The American economy is good, I am reminded by Donald every day. So why does America not look better?

The arguments for Universal Health care and gun control are usually based on health improvement and fewer killings. But I would like to make them, as well, for a lessening of anxiety. For America, I think, is rife with anxiety, leaving a whole population over compensating with ‘America First’ appeals, and displays of power and self reliance, while driving rapidly by signs that read 110 people killed on this highway so far in 2019, and another sign telling us how many children per day were killed by guns.

Now some of that anxiety is the product of a violent, racist history, yet to be resolved, and some from a large and growing income inequality, and some from an otherwise beneficial value of self reliance and a little I am sure from genuine threat, though the fear and preoccupation with “adversaries” is far overblown.

These sources of anxiety may be difficult to overcome, but two major sources shouldn’t be: health care and guns.

And maybe if the average American was not worried about health insurance, the enormous cost of becoming ill, and of being in the wrong place when a boy with an AR 15 shows up, they might be able to relax and pretty up their town and sit at a sidewalk cafe sipping good coffee too.

The Adolescent Excuses of the Trump Apologists

By Dr David Laing Dawson

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After Donald Trump’s spattering of recent tweets maligning Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore, his defenders arrived on various news and talk shows to explain, support and deflect.

I am writing about this because what these Trump explainers said reminded me of parents defending their child’s aggressive behaviour to a teacher.

The first of these is, “He’s a real boy. If he’s attacked he will fight back. Someone called him a name, he’s going to punch back. And he’s going to punch back harder. You have to expect that.”

The second is, “This other boy started it. He bullied first.”

The third is, “The real trouble maker in the class is a girl named Hillary. Her parents are the ones who should be in here.”

The fourth is, “I don’t know why you single out my son. There was a kid in the previous class who did much worse and never got in trouble. You know, the black kid.”

And finally, “Just because he beats up mostly black and brown kids doesn’t mean our family is racist. Why, we hire African Americans to pave our driveway and Hispanics to look after our garden.”

And variations such as,

“Well, I wish he hadn’t used a rock but you gotta admit the other kid had it coming.”

“He’s very popular you know. He’s running for class president next year.”

“And sometimes I think you teachers just have it in for my son. He’s a scapegoat for all you failed teachers.”

“Besides, it’s a fake story. Donald tells me he didn’t hit the other boy. The boy apparently slipped and hit his head on the pavement.”

“I’m recording this interview so I can take it home and play it for Donny and he will still love me.”

And, “Let’s get back to talking about the Steele Dossier, Obama doing nothing, and Hillary’s emails.”

The Threat To Democracy – A Canada Day/ Independence Day Concern

By Dr David Laing Dawson

The other night on the Bill Maher show Adam Gopnik warned of the threat to liberal democracy that Donald Trump presents. He also said that the democratic candidates arguing about what are usually the important issues (health care e.g.) normalizes Trump’s behaviour. If they don’t focus on that they are saying it is just politics.

We all recently saw Trump make a joke about telling Putin to not interfere in American Elections. We all saw him legitimize the cruel dictatorship of Kim Jong Un and suggest in conversation with Putin and by his friendship with The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia that killing off journalists is not such a bad thing.

But a small exchange between Trump and another journalist was perhaps the most chilling of all. The journalist asked Mr. Trump what he was going to discuss with Putin. And Donald Trump answered, “None of your business.”

And that small exchange embodied the threat to democracy Trump poses. For clearly Donald Trump does not see himself as an elected representative of the people with a four to eight year appointment to that position. He is, in his mind, a potentate, a king, a ruler, a despot, a chosen one, a single being more important than the populace, the populace that is allowing him to temporarily represent them. He does not understand democracy.

And then in Canada I see a cartoonist was fired, presumably for a cartoon depicting Donald golfing by the edge of the Rio Grande and coming across the bodies of Oscar Ramirez and his daughter Angie. The caption read, “Do you mind if I play through?”

Gopnik rightly suggests America is at a turning point; the only issue for 2020 is defeating Donald Trump before they lose their democracy. And the democratic candidates need to focus all energy on this.

And I mention the cartoonist because I think, I believe, that of all the freedoms we have in a democracy, the most important, and the freedom that provides the strongest bulwark against tyranny is not just the freedom of speech, good journalism, the fourth estate, but the freedom to complain, criticize, and most importantly, make fun of our leaders and deities.

A Belated Happy Canada Day.

Mueller, Trump and Some Shameless Self Promotion

By Dr David Laing Dawson

When Robert Mueller finished his 8 minute presentation I felt vaguely heartened. Here was a man choosing words and phrases very carefully in order to convey exactly what he meant. And here was a man adhering strictly to the rules of law, of propriety, of the constitution.

He had not found sufficient evidence of “criminal conspiracy” to pursue this issue further, though his report documents many instances of the ill defined, and not illegal, activity of collusion. And he had not entertained the possibility of guilty of obstruction of justice because a sitting president could not be charged, and had his official report proclaimed guilt, this in itself would be unconstitutional for it would be the same as accusing someone of a crime without allowing him his day in court, and the opportunity to defend himself – though the report itself documents many instances of obstruction of justice, or attempted obstruction of justice, or as Mueller put it, “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that.”

Thoughtful and commendable. And clearly passing the problem on to the legislative body that can investigate the criminality of a president.

But then I realized Mr. Mueller had brought not even knives, but a rule book, to an active gunfight. And it was probably as effective as waving the Marquis of Queensbury Rules at Wyatt Earp and Billy Clanton in the middle of the OK Corral.

Meanwhile an emboldened Donald Trump coyly suggests in his twitter feed today that the American People, after his next 6 years in office, may not want to see him give up the presidency.

Congress, Mr. Mueller has handed you the torch.

Here is the plan: Start impeachment proceedings. A major narcissistic injury to a person like Donald Trump will cause him to recklessly lash out and impeach himself.

As for the self promotion, Two Years of Trump on the Psychiatrist’s Couch just received an excellent five star review on Amazon. The review was entitled “Not an Ordinary Book About Trump”. Mary Ann who wrote the review said “I’m finding it hard to put down!” She added “The author is a Canadian psychiatrist, so offers a refreshing “outside” point of view. I’m not only finding his comments about Trump to be worthwhile, but am also just enjoying his comments about the world and life in general.”

She highly recommends it. And you can buy it in print or in e-book format not only at Amazon but wherever you prefer to get your books.

Later this month, the book will be at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Washington, DC. It is already in a number of libraries worldwide including the Institute for Defense Analysis Library in Alexandria, VA, and libraries in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day to Neo-Nazis in Detroit

By Marvin Ross

The western world has just finished celebrating the 75th anniversary of D-Day – an event in history described by Barrack Obama at the 65th anniversary as the struggle for “a slice of beach” that changed the course of history. A somewhat more elegant statement than the comments made by Trump about whom one paper said the D in D- Day does not stand for Donald.

Obama was correct. Post World War II, we had the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the establishment of the UN, NATO, the development of the UN Peace Keeping Force thanks to Canadian Prime Minister, Lester B Pearson followed by the European Union.

The post war period saw tremendous economic growth in North America and Europe along with growing civil liberties and progressive policies. Abortion became legal in the US and Canada, human rights advanced as the result of sit-ins in the US, the advocacy of Martin Luther King, the creation of Human Rights Commissions in Canada and non discriminatory policies in rentals and acceptance to universities.

I don’t mean to discount the problems like the absurd War in Vietnam but that war was met with great opposition not only in the rest of the world but in the US as well.

Having grown up when the war ended as a child of working class immigrants, my own opportunities were greatly expanded. Quotas against minorities in universities were ended as well in hiring practices and rental. My fellow students at a working class immigrant high school had an opportunity to pursue post secondary learning in a variety of professions without burdening our futures with debilitating student loans.

But we are doing a disservice to the men and women who sacrificed so much during that war to ignore our recent and rapid descent from that progress and idealism.

What is happening in the US is scary. Women’s rights are under attack, violence against African Americans is increasing and while there are no lynching, there are police shootings and beatings. Election boundaries are being jigged to disenfranchise African Americans. The US has become a bully wrenching children from mothers, picking fights with various countries and I could go on.

But the US is not alone. The UK has its Brexit, Italy a right wing anti-immigrant party gaining in popularity along with similar groups in France, Germany, Hungary and Poland. Germany has just announced that it is dangerous for its few remaining Jews to wear the kippa.

Canada has a growing populist movement with a number of provinces electing right wing governments attacking the environment, poor people, workers and others. The upcoming Federal election in October will be a test of our ability to withstand the populist movement.

And then there is bigotry. Racist ideology is growing with attacks against Jews, Muslims, Blacks, immigrants, the gay community and others. The Province of Quebec is at it again with its proposed policy to prevent people from wearing religious symbols and the renewed antisemitism is infecting the left as well as the right.

After this was drafted, I read a report from a left wing source on Facebook that armed neo-nazis in Detroit showed up at the Pride Parade. Wary of fake news, I googled this to verify it and found very few references in the US other than Fox News. It was carried by papers in the UK and by the Jerusalem Post. In DC, there was a gun threat for the Pride Parade resulting in a panic and seven people were injured. Poland, however, was peaceful although the LGBT community there is under threat.

So, while we should honour those that served in World War II, and relish the progress that was made in the world after the peace, we should guard against slipping back into the conditions that precipitated that conflict as we seem to be doing.   If we do not reverse course, we are screwed!

Update on the Dismantling of American Democracy.

By Dr David Laing Dawson

In 2017, when Sean Spicer was giving press briefings, I wrote out a list of things that Trump and his cohorts would have to do to dismantle the democracy of the United States of America, and for Trump to become President-for-Life, Supreme Leader, or King.

With Trump and his Administration now defying Congress, planning to insert himself front and center in the Fourth of July celebrations, and manufacturing three crises (Immigration, trade war, potential war with Iran), I thought it time to revisit this list and consider the progress he has made with just 18 months to go before the next election.

(If I were writing this today I would emphasize the all in point one, all previous administrations; constant reference to his brilliance and fitness in point 2; change point 3 to “paint a bleak picture of the current state of affairs in all other nations, compared to his USA”.

And I would add: undermine all treaties, agreements, and international cooperative agencies so your people feel more isolated and fearful, make this a family affair, completely entangle the affairs and interests of the USA with your own business interests and properties, and while disparaging all independent news agencies create your own controlled media presence, and, oh yes, pardon any convicted criminal who remains loyal to you and has an audience, e.g. Conrad Black. )

Here is the list from 2017:

1. Make frequent reference to the utter failure of all previous administrations. Take credit for anything good that happened during the most recent administration.

2. Promote a cult of personality. Suggest the new leader has God-like powers, such as controlling the rain, and solving complex and intractable problems with forceful statements.

3. Paint a bleak picture of the current state of affairs and grossly exaggerate the risk, the dangers posed by outsiders and nonbelievers.

4. Promote law and order and military power as the only forces that can keep us safe.

5. Incrementally reduce voting rights by insisting on regulations that favor your supporters and disenfranchise others. Do this by claiming you are controlling corruption and fraud.

6. Choose an enemy or two, give them names, and promise to eradicate them. Use emotionally inspiring words such as evil, kill, wipe them out, get rid of them once and for all.

7. Exaggerate the size of your support and the crowds attending your rallies. Refer to this as a movement.

8. Lie frequently and often. Use big, bold lies. This is a form of desensitization. More and more will believe your lies. The remaining citizens will stop caring.

9. Undermine the Fourth Estate. Seed distrust of news and information. Call all reporters and truth tellers liars. It will be difficult to fully control the media (this is not Russia) but consider using licensing bodies, libel laws and the courts to tie their hands.

10. Promote the idea that the people of your nation, your followers, are superior human beings, exceptional, and deserve to live better than others. American Exceptionalism. Or is that “Uber Alles”?

11. You will need the armed forces and intelligence agencies so flatter them frequently, while you replace their leaders with your own men.

12. You will need cabinet members and spokespeople who will unabashedly promote you and your statements and policies no matter how unpalatable or ludicrous they become. Some will be willing to do this for money, others for power and glory of their own, and others because of their own anger and resentment from earlier grievances. Unfortunately such people abound. But remember, it is not loyalty that binds them to you, but self-interest. Reward them generously; always be prepared to kill them.

13. Quickly disparage and render impotent any leader who opposes you. Memorable name-calling and disinformation will suffice.

14. Create a language of code words for anything that remains unacceptable for most citizens. For example: “alternative facts” for lies, “violence in the inner cities” for racial profiling.

15. Use hyperbole at all times. A person or event is either “great”, “fantastic”, “amazing”, or “a disaster”, “evil”, “loser”, “total failure”. This fosters a dichotomous view of the world and will help dehumanize victims when the time comes to purge.

16. Find some allies in other countries by directly or tacitly supporting their extreme views. Examples might include Putin, Marine Penn and Netanyahu. Be unpredictable for the others. Keep them on edge.

17. incrementally increase your power and authority until you can accurately call yourself “president-for-life” or “Supreme Leader”. This will take time. At some point you will need a crisis at home (Terrorist attack for e.g.) or you will need to provoke a crisis abroad and at home (Palestinian response to moving embassy to Jerusalem for e.g.). This will justify your transfer of a specific power from a democratic body (congress/senate/parliament) to your own office. This can be done on the grounds that only you know all the facts, and quick decisions are required. It is also more acceptable if the democratic bodies are perceived as ineffective or too partisan. Your people can ensure the latter condition is met.

18. In the meantime cater to the dominant political force in the democratic body by quickly implementing all their pet projects (e.g anti-abortion legislation), and by canceling all social and medical initiatives started by that upstart negro president.

19. Build monuments to yourself. Oops. I forgot. You already have. Good. Build more. Start with the Trump Great Southern Wall.

20. Throughout this process continue to emphasize that you are working for the people. Use the words “people”, “working people” and “democracy” frequently. As you usurp power explain that you are protecting democracy.

21. Have patience. Others may deliver you the crisis and fear that will allow an incremental or bold increase in power. When you assume new powers present yourself as reluctant to do so.

22. Use as much pomp and circumstance as possible. People love ceremonies. Emphasize the sacred trust your office embodies.

23. Visit a religious leader (televised of course). Ensure him and the American Public that you understand the enormity of your office and the need for God’s guidance. Try not to sneer or chuckle doing this. It is not wise to compare yourself to God, but you can hint that He favors you in some way.

24. Don’t worry about the physical quirks the cartoonists seize upon, the little black mustache for example, or the blonde comb over. Ultimately these will confer upon you icon status.

25. There will be protests and marches against you. Be gracious in your response to those that remain peaceful. Come down very hard on those that become violent. Emphasize these, and use them to accrue more power. But, be assured that any large gathering of people can become violent with a little help from your friends.

26. Toady up to the leaders of organized religion, the church.  With few exceptions these religious leaders will see you as a means of helping them achieve their long-term goals. They will not stand against you for fear of losing their own power.

27. Allow others to live vicariously through you. This is a fine balance. While allowing the people to view your sumptuous life style use colloquial language, talk as they do. Remind them you work tirelessly for them. Pretend that one day they can all live as you do.

28. Women are tricky. Have one or two around you but not many. They tend to have empathy for others, children, small animals. They tend to prefer compromise and cooperation. Reference your own dear mother frequently, and say how much you respect women. But subtly denigrate them by your own actions, and limit their voices and rights through reproductive and child-care legislation.

29. Gain increasing control of your population. You can start this by controlling all immigration and visitation to your country. Then pick the minority group most feared or misunderstood by your followers and order a registration process. This will appear harmless, like getting a driver’s license. Then incrementally increase the strength of this process, include more identifiable groupings, until all citizens must carry “papers” with them and submit to police checks. This will instill fear.

 

Memory is a Construction – Donald Trump’s Struggling Brain

By Dr David Laing Dawson

When we remember an event we are synthesizing bits of information and feelings into a plausible whole, and when we speak that memory we organize those bits into a narrative to suit the present context.

We adults may catch ourselves in an implausible narrative and then correct it. (It could not have been my sister because she was not yet born and we still lived in the farmhouse in Harrisburg.)

But if the current context reinforces that narrative, responds to it positively, then it becomes memory and the basis for the next elaboration, especially for children and teens.

I have been thinking about this because of two very removed events: Though I have known about the culpability of my profession in the transformation of a device of fiction (dual or multiple personality) into a diagnostic category, I was not aware, until recently, of the role a Canadian psychiatrist played in fomenting the pandemic of “satanic ritual child abuse and sacrifice” that caused so much grief to parents and child care workers in the 1980’s/90’s. (Please note that though hundreds of parents and professionals were accused of this, and some sent to jail, it did not happen; there is absolutely no evidence it ever happened in North America in the 20th century) . These were all creative tales spun by children under the influence of naive and prurient therapists.

I remember almost falling off my chair when I heard, at the time, a prominent child psychiatrist pronounce that “Children don’t lie”. Not only do children and teens lie but they are especially susceptible to the implications of their context, the perceived wishes of the interviewer, the adult in the room, and to including bits of information from story books, folk tales, TV, film, video games along with actual experience to formulate a narrative. And the child and adolescent brain is not good at screening for implausibility.

Which brings me to Donald Trump and some of his most recent statements. The first is an interview in which he substituted the word “orange” for “origin” several times without, apparently, hearing himself do this. The second is his repeated story of his father being born in Germany, “a …wonderful.. place in Germany”. You can almost hear his brain struggling with some cliches such as “a little village” before leaving it at “wonderful”. (His father was born in New York City in 1905).

Two possibilities for that first one: Either he does not hear himself when he speaks, or his narcissism won’t allow him to catch and correct: “Did I say orange? I meant or i gin.”

For the second, well, he tells whatever story he feels will reap kudos, admiration, and praise from his current audience and he sticks with it because he has a child’s screening process for implausibility and no one, apparently, except the “fake news”, will point these falsehoods out to him.