Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Trump Daily Thought

The Trump Presidency
The Third 100 Days

The Third 30 Days + 10 (261 - 300)
The Second 30 Days (Days 231 - 260)
The First 30 Days (Days 201 - 230)

The Trump Presidency
The Second 100 Days
 The Third 30 Days + 10 (161 - 200)
The Second 30 Days (Days 131 - 160)
 The First 30 Days (Days 101 - 130)

The Trump Presidency
The Third 30 days + 10
The Second 30 Days 
The First 30 Days

Between Election And Inauguration
The Third 10 Days
The First 30 Days

February 19, 2017, T+30: best thing about today on the Sunday news shows -- no one from a President Hillary administration will be seen.

February 18, 2017, T+29: vintage Trump at Florida rally.

February 17, 2017, T+28: vintage Trump at his first presidential press conference.

February 16, 2017, T+27: Flynn again. Much, much, more to this than meets the eyes. This whole episode should alarm guys like Zbigniew Brzezinski, Colin Powell, and Henry Kissinger.  

February 15, 2017, T+26: the "Flynn episode" may well be a turning point in the Trump administration. Good news.

February 14, 2017, T+25: a great CEO is "defined" by whom you fire, not whom you hire.

February 13, 2017, T+24: at least I'm not being told what to pack for my granddaughters' school lunches today. Trump's Secretary of Treasury is expected to be confirmed today; if so, Trump's "core" cabinet will finally be in place, but most of his cabinet and high level appointees still need to be confirmed.

February 12, 2017, T+23: at least I'm not being told I need to go out and plant a garden today. The New York Times goes so far as to say "The Saturday Night Live" skits on Trump have become tiresome, unfunny.

February 11, 2017, T+22: at least we're not talking about bathrooms any more.

February 10, 2017, T+21: Trump is gradually getting his team in place; his "temporary ban" was struck down by a federal appellate court; in many ways this will have unintended consequences. In the big scheme of things, this is much ado about nothing.

February 9, 2017, T+20:
  • the more I read of Betsy DeVos, the stronger I feel the Progs were on the wrong side of this issue
  • Chuck Schumer is looking more and more irrelevant every day
February 8, 2017, T+19: whether or not the "travel ban" executive order is "upheld," the fact remains, Trump and his team will figure this out.

February 7, 2017, T+18: as expected, refugees coming to America are "self-deporting" to Canada, at the invitation of Justin Trudeau. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Fed is projecting a 3.4% growth in GDP in Trump's first quarter as president. Doesn't get any better than that.

February 6, 2017, T+17: New England Patriots in a game for the ages, winning in overtime, coming back after a 25-point deficit.

February 5, 2017, T+16: no matter how the current immigration story plays out, it's better than what we would have under Hillary. The borders would be wide open and refugees would be given a voting registration card as a condition of entry.

February 4, 2017, T+15: a trifecta for the US -- plus more
  • cheapest energy in the world, and plenty of it; much of it "green"
  • corporate tax reform on the horizon
  • repeal ObamaCare: huge corporate tax relief; huge regulatory relief 
  • end of "climate change" craziness
  • end of huge "multi-national deals that compromise toward mediocrity"; America on short end with multi-national deals; return to bilateral negotiations; friends of US at front of the line
February 3, 2017, T+14: the progs used to stage sit-ins, post-selfies from the floors of Congress (not allowed by rules). Now, the progs are simply not showing up for work. Makes our work easier, I guess.

February 2, 2017, T+13: Trump excitement continues. Dems blown away by Supreme Court "pick." January payrolls crush estimates.

February 1, 2017, T+12: the Dems in the US Senate are now boycotting committee meetings to delay confirmation hearings. One can expect unintended consequences of such childish behavior. Let's see: President Trump wants to work with Silicon Valley on visa reform which Silicon Valley desperately needs; visa reform cannot possibly go forward until his SecState is in place. Trump had no problem deflecting "demands" for his tax statements during the campaign, saying he was being audited. He will have no trouble saying that he cannot reform immigration policy when the US Senate has not confirmed his nominees. With talk radio and the internet, it becomes more difficult to hide the truth. Or at least "alternate facts."

January 31, 2017, T+11: Kardashian-on-Steroids.  Daily meeting in the White House -- networks shift to that "reality show." Generally makes a huge announcement. Today, Trump will announce his Supreme Court nominee on television, prime time, this evening, 8:00 p.m. ET. He follows up the  morning reality show with next reality show: signing one to three executive orders. Executive orders often correlate with the earlier morning reality show -- the daily morning meeting. This is one of the most transparent presidencies I have ever seen: he told us what he was going to do if elected president; he telegraphs in advance what executive orders he will sign; he signs those executive orders on television during the NBC "Today Show"; and, then tells us what he has planned for the next day. No Friday night "news dump"; no midnight-signing-executive-order parties. 

January 30, 2017, T+10: late this past week, the Mexican fiasco and now the airport demonstrations; now Lindsay Graham and John McCain joint issue statement with concerns; Trump tweets back that Graham and McCain are weak on immigration. Rex Tillerson has not been confirmed by the Senate.

January 29, 2017, T+9: the power of persuasion, Scott Adams blog.

January 28, 2017, T+8: 800,000 non-citizens voted in presidential election (that's probably an under-count; probably closer to one million). Eighty-one percent statistically likely to have voted for Hillary. 640,000 votes greatly exceeds the margin by which Trump barely won Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

January 27, 2017, T+7: Miami-Dade mayor drops sanctuary policy: Trump tweet.

January 26, 2017, T+6: Trump has directed Homeland Security to publish on a weekly basis every crime committed by an illegal alien. He should also do this for every felony sentence that was commuted and every felon pardoned by his predecessor. Prior to the mid-term elections in 2018, Homeland Security should provide an update on all felons pardoned by President Obama.

January 25, 2017, T+5: it's been eleven (11) years since the US has seen even one quarter of 3%. President Obama was first president in recent history to not have even one quarter of 3% growth in GDP. Trump's goal: 4%.

January 24, 2017, T+4: two items --
Alternative facts: once we start referencing Bertrand Russell, Aristotle, George Boole, and Ayn Rand, we are way beyond what the average Democrat can understand. Before we get too far afield regarding "alternative facts," consider:
Bertrand Russell in his introduction to the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus says that facts are what make propositions true. Suppose we have a fact A and that the proposition "A is true" is true and we have an alternative fact B and "B is true" is also true. In itself this is not a problem and so there can be alternative facts. For example if A is "I own a cat" and B is "I own a dog". However if A and B contradict each other then any reader of Aristotle or George Boole or even Ayd Rand would tell you that both A and B cannot be true. So, yes there are alternative facts but there are none that contradict other facts.
2nd full business day for President Trump: existing house sales hit highest level since 2006. 
January 23, 2017, T+3: Jane Eyre-style negotiations. Trump's style is going to make for some interesting negotiations by his department secretaries with their national counterparts, foreign "enemies" and foreign allies. To wit: as negotiations are proceeding, if the opposing party is not "coming around" the Trump negotiator only has to say this:
"Donald Trump is the mad man in the White House (sort of like the mad woman in the attic). You can deal with me and my negotiating team, or I can go back to the President and tell him you said he was an asshole."
I would think that even the guy running North Korea might be willing to negotiate in good faith. This is even better than "giving you an offer you can't refuse."

Wheels, The String Alongs

January 22, 2017, T+2: the Trump White House: this is going to be Kardashian-on-Steroids. The cool thing: the Trumps know it. With little fanfare, US Department of Justice says Donald's son-in-law, Jared, can indeed be his senior White House advisor; the anti-nepotism law does not apply to the executive branch (unless you are the hapless Jimmy Carter [by the way, I've gained a lot of respect for this man; if nothing else, he is a gentleman]).

The inauguration and the inaugural balls: already channeling Camelot. Trump's tweets generally get about 25,000 "hearts." He posted the video of dancing with Melania at one of the inaugural balls at his twitter account: already 235,000 "hearts."

Might as well start looking at the top songs of 1960 (by the way, 1961 is going to be even better). Let's start with a movie inside a movie inside a movie, sort of like the "reality show" already playing out at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW:

Sixteen Reasons, Connie Francis

January 21, 2017, T+1: two executive orders. I forget the first; the second one, some bizarre EO on ObamaCare.

Idle Chatter -- Cheating On Quotas; We're Not In Kansas Any More -- January 21, 2017

In an earlier note -- just an hour or so ago -- I linked a Bloomberg article that Don sent me. The article talked about OPEC having a history of cheating on quotas.

When I went back to check that post for typographical errors, it got me to thinking (always a scary thought).

I think "OPEC members cheating on quotas" has become a journalistic meme or trope. Perhaps I'm wrong, but one begins to wonder if things are different this time.

In the past, OPEC set quotas and in hindsight it was found that members cheated on their quotas. Surprise, surprise; I'm shocked, shocked, to find cheating among Arab tribes.  I don't know if Saudi Arabia "cheated" or not, but that is irrelevant.

One can argue things are different this time. Saudi Arabia is hemorrhaging "cash" at a rate that would reach historic lows for their foreign reserves account in nine (9) months and completely deplete that account in four years. For Saudi, it has become about as existential as it can get.

In the past, I don't think it was ever about the survival of Saudi Arabia. It was about how fast any OPEC country was adding to their coffers. But this time, when Saudi's national budget is based on $80-oil (wink, wink) and oil is selling for $50, it's not a stretch to say this can't go on forever.

In the past, if things got out of hand, Saudi Arabia simply had to go to the other OPEC members and warn them to not get too far in front of their headlines. Anyone who really, really, screwed with quotas would eventually feel the wrath of Saudi.

But this time, one wonders if Saudi Arabia really has the same clout. I don't know. But I do get the feeling that if the past, Saudi Arabia was willing to look the other way when members cheated, Saudi Arabia won't ignore "cheaters" now.

In other words, in the past, OPEC exceeded their quotas, but they were never serious about quotas in the first place. The West looked at this cheating, and reported it regularly, so regularly, it became a meme, a trope: "OPEC has a history of cheating on quotas."

This time I think Saudi Arabia (and maybe Russia) is going to look at "cheaters" very, very closely.

So, I guess, there are three questions:
  • OPEC cheating: is that a meme, trope? that, today, is irrelevant?
  • will Saudi Arabia tolerate "cheaters"?
  • if they find evidence of cheating among OPEC members, does Saudi Arabia have any political / military clout to change that behavior?
Enquiring minds want to know.

Ivanka and Tiffany 
We're Not In Kansas Any More

Years ago I subscribed to Vanity Fair. I finally discontinued the subscription during the the Second Bush administration when it simply became too snarky. But I loved their photo spreads. My hunch is that the Vanity Fair photo spreads are going to be spectacular when it comes to the Trumps. If not Vanity Fair, some glossy. But look at these Vanity Fair photos of Ivanka and Tiffany before the presidency was a gleam in his eyes.

This brings me up to date: a bit snarky but reading between the lines and with eyes wide open, one gets an idea of the Trump children. Thirty-second soundbite: we're not in Kansas any more. We're not even in Kardahsian-land any more.

[Update, January 22, 2017: right on cue. Shortly after posting the Kardashian-land note, I ran across this AFP story: sons and daughters of stars are fashion's new royalty. I've asked this question before and will ask it again: is President Trump riding a wave, or is he creating a wave? Something to reflect upon, I guess.]

The Reflections of My Mind, Marmalade
I Didn't Start Here But Here It's Where I Ended

I have a music site. I haven't updated it in a long time, and when I do update it, it's infrequent (a lot of the links are broken, and it can take a long, long time to load due to all the links). Often after midnight I start surfing YouTube music videos. Over an hour or so, I can fall into a fugue state, and end up in places, long forgetting where I started and not knowing how I ended up where I do.

I think Hunter S Thompson would have enjoyed YouTube. 

Tonight, it started earlier than usual, about 8:00 a.m. after that strange bike ride home. I started with some music by The Seekers, and then the Bee Gees, and that brought me back to an old "love," and that brought me to this:

I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World, Ronnie Milsap

Shock And Awe! Russia, OPEC Say Crude OIl Production Cuts Coming Deeper And Faster Than Expected -- January 21, 2017

MDU is requesting a 6.6% rate increase. They will be lucky to get 3%. 


Bloomberg here.
  • Saudi: 1.5 million bopd have been removed from the global market
  • Russia: supply has already been cut by 100,000 bopd
  • Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria: have already made deeper cuts than required
  • Russia: has reduced supply faster than expected
  • "ahead of schedule and we will continue"
Hopefully there will enough renewable energy to make up the difference.


I'm not sure why Bloomberg (in the linked article above) did not include 2015 data (that data is over a year ago) and why no data for 2016 (even if somewhat "estimated"). It's possible the data in 2015 was not shown because in late 2014, OPEC scrapped all quotas.

It is amazing, looking back on this graph, that "the code to crack the Bakken" was broken/discovered during the worse global recession since the "Great Depression."

On another note, my comments on "OPEC cheating."

President Trump's Energy Plan

Meannwhile, President Trump's energy plan is now posted at the White House website. Here is the take by Business Insider:
We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves.'
Or, more pithily said by a former talking head over at CNBC: drill, baby, brill. 

The Political Page

Fox News did not re-sign George Will. Will lost his way some time ago.

In retrospect, Megyn made it easy for the network to transition.

Who Funded The Women's March?

This site will help you find out.

I will link it at the links page. 

January 21, 2017 -- What A Great Country!

Current location, inside a McDonald's:

At 4:00 p.m. Central Time, I couldn't take it any more. My wife was watching the CNN coverage of the women's marches in Washington, DC, and around the world. I don't know if there was a march in Williston. Whatever.

I couldn't take it any more.

I thought bicycling on the interstate was better than having to listen to CNN. And then I got a two-fer. I did not check the weather. About 40 minutes from home, a huge lightning - thunderstorm brok out. I had the very good fortune of increasing the odds that either a car would hit me or lightning would strike me -- anything to put me out of my psychological misery.

As luck would have it, my favorite -- and I'm being serious here -- my favorite McDonald's appeared on the horizon. I ducked in just before the worst of the storm hit

I see on the weather map I have about 40 minutes before another cell hits, so this will be quick.

But what a great country! This McDonald's is one of my favorites. It is my favorite one in the lcoal area. Since no one was here -- they were all home watching the women's march, I suppose -- except the manager and the employees, I had some time to talk with the 48-year-old African-American manager who runs this McDonald's.

Apparently this "corporate" McDonald's was hemorrhaging money (mostly stolen by employees up front) and she was brought in to "fix things." Sort of like the Donald Trump of the McDonald's franchise.

At the time, she was managing another McDonald's, one of 25 McDonald's owned by the corporation, in the local area. She said the one she left was not making any money due to location and McDonald's closed it, sending her here. She has been with McDonald's for 29 years. You can do the math.

I asked her how this McDonald's is doing now. She said it was now #1 of the 25 corporate McDonald's restaurants in this area.

Much more to write, but the weather is clear for a bit, so I'm going to try getting home in the pitch black night before it starts raining again.

Hopefully my lights will work after the downpour.

Sporty Ride Home

Due to nighttime construction on the four-lane divided highway, I had to take an alternate route. That highway had a narrow shoulder and at one point, no shoulder. It is well after dark by this time, and there has just been a downpour.

Because there is no shoulder I off-road which is fine until at one point I needed to cross a small stream. I was actually able to ride the bike through the stream; there must have been a fairly compact gravel base, otherwise I would have been ankle deep (or worse) in mud. But I got through and then popped back up on the shoulder of the highway.

I passed on Texas highway patrolman who waited for me to pass, and that was it.

Home safely. The bike is too muddy and wet to bring inside tonight. 

Week 3: January 15, 2017 -- January 21, 2017 -- President Trump's First Day In Office

Some quick bullets about the oil sector in general:
  • this past year (2016), the sector saw the lowest replenishment of reserves in decades; global oil discoveries drop to a 70-year low
  • in some cases, companies are seeing their reserves declining at 10% per year
  • the decline in reserves may explain ExxonMobil doubling down the Permian
  • only three oil plays in the US of any note right now: the Permian, Eagle Ford, and the Bakken; and, the Eagle Ford is the weakest of the three; XOM, Noble, WPX all increase footprint in the Permian
  • Saudi Arabia in disarray: one day after saying Saudi saw no likelihood that cuts would need to be extended after June, 2017, the energy minister, the very next day, said he could foresee more cuts in 2017
  • IMF slashes forecast for Saudi's GDP: 0.4% 
  • staggering decline in Saudi's foreign exchange reserves continues
  • general consensus is that Prince Salman's "Vision 2030" will fail
  • India's oil demand hit a record high
  • China, meanwhile, forecasts record oil demand
  • China has hit peak oil
In the Williston Basin, Enduro Operating has three permits for re-entry 

Bakken Economy
$20 million expansion project back on front burner for Williston, "Boomtown, USA"