Friday, March 02, 2018

Drugs and doctors and Donald Trump

Now there's talk of Donald Trump wanting to get rid of both Ivanka and Jared. In terms of self-preservation, his best course of action would be to remake himself as a conventional Republican. He should say "You're fired" to the family members, to the campaign-era True Believers, and to the more notoriously awful cabinet heads. He should re-staff the entire administration using reasonably competent traditional conservatives. Let the Chief of Staff do as much work as possible; let national security decisions be group decisions. Trump should distance himself from the conspiracy freaks and the Pals of Pepe. And for God's sake, stop tweeting.

Will he take these sensible steps? Of course not. Trump is who he is: A strange man with an aberrant mind, presiding over an aberrant administration. According to NBC, an official close to Trump has described him as angry and "unglued" when he decided to launch a trade war against China. Gloria Borger of CNN says that Trump is described by his associates as "unraveling."

Most of us think that the ungluing and the unraveling started long, long ago. How did he get this way? How did Trump become so...Trumpy?

New evidence buttresses the theory that Trump has abused drugs in the past, and may still have a drug problem.

In our preceding post, we referenced a piece by Kurt Eichenwald on Trump's former amphetamine use. This aspect of his past is no longer a matter of conjecture. Even Hope Hicks has admitted that he once had a problem.

Eichenwald's text, originally written in 2016, was uploaded to Scribd here. These paragraphs were excised from a longer piece intended for Newsweek. Unfortunately, this section was never published, due to the publisher coming down with a bad case of frozen-foot syndrome. (So much for the lie that the mainstream media was in the tank for Clinton.)

Actually, Eichenwald tweeted a brief reference on Trump's amphetamine abuse back in 2016: See here. Unfortunately, the amphetamine issue got lost within an unrelated controversy concerning a joke about Trump doing a stint at a mental hospital. (Eichenwald's intent was to create a parody of then-current Fox News reports about Hillary's health; unfortunately, some people took the gag seriously.) 

You should read the entire document on Scribd; it's quite fascinating. Along the way, we get a characteristically freakish encounter with Trump's doctor-of-record, Dr. Harold Bornstein.
Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, acknowledged that Trump used them as diet pills for a few days in the early 1980s. However, the medical records contradict the assertion of the length of time Trump used the drugs and photographs of Trump from 1982 show him to be quite slender. In a telephone call from Newsweek, Bornstein, Trump’s current doctor, said he would only answer questions if I could identify the location of Mount Sinai. Assuming he was referring to the world-renowned hospital, I replied “Manhattan.” He said that was incorrect, and asked the question again. I asked if he meant the actual Mount Sinai and he said he had not specified anything. I replied Mount Sinai was in Egypt, in the Sinai Peninsula. He said that was wrong and hung up. (While Mount Sinai is in Egypt, the location of the Mount Sinai described in the Bible as the location where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, if that is what Bornstein meant, is the subject of debate among religious scholars.)
Having followed the "Where was Sinai?" debate a bit, I know that this question attracts many crackpots. (My own occasional interest in the issue may not speak well of me!) Arguably, the good doctor's weird response may tell us something about his psychological health.

Did you know that Bornstein has been accused of over-drugging his patients?
Settled lawsuits alleged Donald Trump’s doctor Harold Bornstein overmedicated his patients—one with Valium and morphine ‘well above therapeutic levels.’
In the complaint, Levin’s husband claimed Bornstein continued to prescribe barbiturates and sedatives “despite full knowledge that these prescriptions were not for the treatment of any known condition and in amounts that were well above therapeutic levels.”

The cocktail of drugs allegedly prescribed to Janet Levin—barbiturates, tranquilizers, and opiates—are all highly addictive and are among the most frequently abused prescription drugs, according to The National Library of Medicine.
Given this history, it is tempting to suggest that Bornstein may have given Trump access to substances that another doctor would consider ill-advised. Tempting, yes -- but I've yet to see any proof for that theory.

According to Eichenwald, the amphetamine problem began with an endocrinologist named Dr. Joseph Greenburg, who diagnosed Trump as having a "metabolic imbalance" -- an imprecise term that could mean many different things.
The medical records and interviews with former officials with the Trump Organization reveal that Greenberg gave Trump a prescription for amphetamine derivatives in 1982 to treat his metabolic problem; the records show that Trump continued taking the drugs for a number of years and the former officials said that Trump stopped using them in 1990 at the latest.
The amphetamine derivative was Diethylpropion or tenuate dospan (the brand name). This drug quickly becomes addicting. It's hard to believe that Trump could have taken it for years without developing a crippling habit.

Abuse of this drug leads to sleeplessness, paranoia, hyperactivity, delusions, poor impulse control. Sound familiar? I've just offered a pretty fair summary of Trump's whole act.

The obvious question: Is someone still providing the man with amphetamines?

Dr. Joseph Greenburg was the subject of a Spy magazine expose back in 1992. The entire piece does not seem to be online, but it is referenced here and here.
Greenberg treated Trump’s nonexistent disease with a hefty prescription of Tenuate Dospan, which is a diet pill known for such side effects as fear or nervousness, false or unusual sense of well-being, severe mental changes, and seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there.
This wasn’t the only mention of Trump’s love for diet pills, aka speed. In the controversial 1993 biography, Lost Tycoon, author Harry Hurt credited amphetamines prescribed by Greenberg for “Donald’s mood swings” and “his fits of distemper.”
On April 19th, 1982, during the period between his license hearing before the Casino Control Commission and the groundbreaking on the Trump Plaza site in Atlantic City, Donald paid a visit to the midtown Manhattan office of Dr. Joseph Greenberg. According to the doctor’s records, Donald had been recommended by his friend Charles Goldstein, an attorney involved in the Penn Central deals. The ostensible purpose of Donald’s visit was to seek assistance in losing weight. He had gone to the right place. Dr. Greenberg was an endocrinologist who specialized in providing patients with drugs to control obesity…

Donald was so delighted with the results that he started recommending Dr. Greenberg’s treatments to his brother Robert, various friends, and celebrity acquaintances such as Diana Ross. The diet drugs, which he took in pill form, not only curbed his appetite but gave him a feeling of euphoria and unlimited energy. The medical literature warned that some potentially dangerous side effects could result from long-term usage; they included anxiety, insomnia, and delusions of grandeur. According to several Trump Organization insiders, Donald exhibited all these ominous symptoms of diet drug usage, and then some.

’The first thing I would do when I got to the office in the morning,” recalled one former vice-president, “was to go see Norma Foerderer and ask her, ‘Is this a Dr. Greenberg day?’ If she said yes, I would do everything I could to stay out of Donald’s way.’”
Greenburg died in 2003. His association with Trump may have ended in the 1980s, and it is fair to presume that Greenburg "cleaned up his act" after the Spy piece came out in 1992. Thus, we have to look to some other doctor if we wish to pursue the theory that Trump has -- in a clandestine fashion -- continued to abuse amphetamines.

We've already looked at Bornstein. Our search for suspects should include other possibilities as well. 

In a previous post, we talked about Trump's unsuccessful scalp reduction surgery -- a procedure that appears to have given him the world's strangest bald spot, hidden by the world's most notorious comb-over. The individual responsible for Trump's hair problem was Dr. Steven Hoefflin, who happens to be the same man who started Michael Jackson down the road to plastic surgery addiction. Hoefflin was close to Jackson until the very end.

There is ongoing debate as to how much responsibility Hoefflin bears for what happened to Jackson's face. Another oddball doctor named Arnie Klein was involved. As noted in the earlier post, Klein and Hoefflin seemed to be vying against each other in a Weird Doctors competition.

(Can you imagine inviting Bornstein, Klein and Hoefflin to the same dinner party? It'd be like being trapped in an Ivan Albright painting.)

There is plenty of evidence that one or more of Jackson's doctors unethically supplied him with dangerous amounts of drugs. Klein accused Hoefflin of addicting Jackson to Propofol, which ultimately killed him. Is this claim true? Let's just say that Klein is such a bizarre figure that I would not want to rely on him as the sole foundation for a "Who killed Jackson?" theory.

We can, however, state that one of Hoefflin's nurses reported that medical-grade cocaine would go mysteriously missing from his offices. We can also state that Jackson's wife Debbie Rowe accused both Hoefflin and Klein of supplying Jackson with drugs.
Debbie testified in the Jackson family's wrongful death lawsuit against concert promoters AEG Live in Los Angeles on Wednesday (14.08.13) that her former employer, Dr Arnie Klein, and Dr Steven Hoefflin, held a "p***ing match" to see who could supply the 'Thriller' hitmaker with "better" drugs...
Michael allegedly trusted them to prescribe him with medication but they did not act in his best interest as they consistently tried to outdo each other by giving him stronger doses of painkillers, such as Diprivan and Demerol.
As detailed in our previous post, Hoefflin has his own history of bizarre behavior -- indeed, his delusions of grandeur were downright Trumpian. Hoefflin, who had presidential ambitions of his own, once claimed that he used a "steroid" that would give him a 200-year lifespan.

My earlier piece on Trump and Hoefflin centered on a very simple question: After Hoefflin botched the scalp reduction surgery, why didn't Trump sue? 

The ruination of Trump's hair caused him to fly into a rage, which led to an assault on his former wife, Ivana. (Trump went to Hoefflin at Ivana's recommendation.) Trump is a litigious individual, and he obviously cares deeply about his appearance. If there had been a court case against Hoefflin, the doctor's former nurses and associates could have offered disturbing testimony about his behavior and practices.

Would the case have been a slam-dunk? Perhaps not, but neither was it a sure loser.

Yet there was no suit. Moreover, in all these years, Trump has not said one bad word about Dr. Steve Hoefflin. With the exceptions of Father Time and Ronald McDonald, Dr. Hoefflin may bear the greatest responsibility for the ruination of Trump's appearance. Yet...not one bad word.

Think about it.

Now think about all the other individuals that Trump has lambasted in public. Why has Trump refused to criticize a dubious doctor against whom he has a legitimate complaint?


stickler said...

For the Spy article on Greenberg:

stickler said...

That same February 1992 issue of Spy also has an article starting on page 56 featuring Roger Stone and Paul Manafort as lobbyists for Despots. Maybe we are just living in an extended episode of Battlestar Galactica -- "This has all happened before, and will happen again."

becksterc said...

Off Topic: Someone should do a tarot deck using Ivan Albright's paintings

OTE admin said...

It could be past drug use, but I believe he was an abused child, and that abuse affected him something horrible.

Anonymous said...

It has long been true that there are two systems of criminal justice, one for the rich and one for the poor. But it seems clear that another has been added. It's for the extremely wealthy, and their toadies, who float along (in their gutter flowing with filthy money and whatnot) as if laws do not apply to them at all and exist only to threaten other people with. Trump stinks of that system, how we'll miss the sweet lies of Hope -- ok, not really, she's a scumbag too, but it was fun to imagine a contrasting character in Trump world.


Mr Mike said...

Sam Nunberg.
Who's the latest Muller subpoena losing it all over cable news programs? Pat.