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Bill McCormick
Washington DC area
CEO of a 40 year old Executive Search Firm
Interests: Golf, Politics
Recent Activity
DISRUPTION as a Political Strategy. As Amazon continues to disrupt (some would say destroy) much of America's retail (soon to be many) businesses, we see a new strategy of disruption spread to most market. The strategy seems to be to take advantage of the availability of large sums of Angel capital followed by even larger sums of public capital to develop pricing strategies with negative margins to gain market share at the expense of profit making businesses until economy of scale allow small margins to be achieved which in the end add up to enough total profit to make investors willing to bet that the future will bring larger margins. As such the stock value is driven higher and higher despite price to earnings rations in the hundreds. The rising prices allow more and more capital to be raised to continue, even accelerate the strategy and expand the target markets to disrupt. Ironically, this strategy is producing similar results to the overseas movement of US industry overseas to undercut the US producers in the days of our youth. Instead of empty factories and unemployed steel workers, today we see empty retail stores. Technology companies are taking aim at every segment of American business and using the internet, software and computer networks to attract the capital and launch their disruptive strategy. There are many wrinkles. So be it. Americans are in shock as they experience this business place war. Truck drivers can see it coming with driverless trucks and robots to unload them. So can cashiers. Military pilots and foot soldiers as well. 2 or 3 more years and we will clearly see the effect of the internet of things advancing inside offices of most of us. Enter "the Donald". He disrupts the political world. He has no rules. Not even polite behavior. He picks fights as an opening position in negotiations. He always seems to throw the first punch. He scares the "hell" out of most Americans as he takes on everything we have taken for granted since we won WWII for our friends and rebuilt their countries for them. For 70 years we have paid their defense bill at the expense of our infrastructure, our education system, our healthcare system and our drug treatment programs. Not only did we do all that, but we gave up our per family income as we tolerated our jobs going overseas, our balance of trade shift our dollars overseas to return as investments in US bonds and ownership of US companies. Our allies taxed our exports with unfair tariffs. We did all that under the watch of both parties. But, it was accelerated under President Obama. And, the result in the culmination of all this was the rise and election of President Trump. He is the political equivalent of the disruptor. He is in a hurry to get on with it. Lead, follow or get out of the way is a well known management saying. He personifies it. Not many of us like the disruption of our businesses. Now we have the political disruptor. If just a few of each political party stop defending the "old way" that gave us "stalemate" and join him then things will get done and problems will get solved. Stopping him is not going to be as easy as it is to filibuster your way to stalemate. Why is anyone surprised this came about?
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on The State of State at Right in San Francisco
HOW IS TRUMP's ECONOMY? As I am sure you are beginning to feel the atmosphere of confidence is growing day by day in American businesses and consumers. This confidence has buoyed the stock market and is beginning to add to the consumer’s willingness to spend. The lower price of oil and gasoline is beginning to show up as more money in consumer’s pockets and in lower costs to American businesses. The result now is that revenues of businesses, so stagnant for the past 8 years, are now growing. That is combining with lower expenses to create more profits. Technology is playing a huge role as well. Baby boomers are retiring at nearly 10,000 per day. This has been allowing American companies to financially engineer as they reduce the number of high paying jobs in their company by promoting lower paid workers as well as using technology to supplement the workforce. But, as the unemployment rate declined the pool of experienced, talented people has been drained. Now, real competition for talent is beginning to show up and wages will increase beginning in the critical needs positions. Baby boomers represent the most experienced portion of the employment pool and they have delayed retiring as long as they could. The stock market refilled their drained IRA and 401k accounts. The retirements will accelerate, fueled as well by rising home prices. This will push employers to compete more and more for high performance talent. One of our business leaders many years ago predicted that this would happen. Unfortunately he did not foresee the 8 year downswing that we went through to get here. I believe now that 2018 budgets are being approved and new 2018 contracts are being signed for purchases managers will begin to hire and competition in the next few years will drive wages higher. We are already seeing the devastating toll that the past 9 years have had on the development of the young grads into productive members of the work force. In many industries there is a gap of experienced workers with 2-8 years of experience. This will take years to overcome. But, at least now the economy has believers and believers solve problems. Step one: create a positive mood in the country's business leaders has been well done by Trump. Fewer and fewer business leaders are castigating him now.
NY Times: Big night for the DEMS. Really? Republicans won 4 of 4 seats in Congress. The Dems squeaked out the Va Governor's job which they already held. They held the Mayor of NY--big win there. NJ returned to Dem control and is now free to try to become a Sanctuary state and fight to keep their Federal funding. Comparisons were made to how well the Dems did in Districts that Hillary won and they won most of them. SO? The polls showed that the Dems did well among highly educated Democrats. Hmmm. That would be teachers and government workers especially in Virginia. I'd take a look at the polar opposite of that: blue collar Dems the former base of the party continue to move away from the antibusiness highly educated Dems and that bodes ill for the long term prospect of the party. Despite the wide spread unhappiness in both parties for the way Trump tweets and criticizes people, the people who count seem to like his results in business and foreign affairs. He is focused on jobs, trade and winning for the working class. If the Dems really think a 2018 landslide return to their way of thinking is coming they better find a way to help working class people. Forget the highly educated Dems. They have their jobs, high wages and government paid benefits. Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania people are likely liking what they see in results.
Toggle Commented Nov 8, 2017 on Puerto Rico Revisited at Right in San Francisco
OIL EMPIRE WARS NEW OPEC STRATEGY? Three of the world's most active players rely significantly on oil production to stay in power and feed their countries. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia. The strategy for decades has been Production constraints have not worked too well for the OPEC led Saudi's. Trump is opening the lands of the US to exploration and development increasing reserves and he is authorizing experts of oil and natural gas. The future price of oil is not looking good for these 3 oil dependent players. So, a new strategy emerges: war. War has historically driven prices up in the oil patch. Quick too. So, the Saudis take on forces in Syria and Yemen. Forces supported by Iran. Then Russia continues the bombing of ISIS in Syria. Iran pushes forces in Lebanon and Iraq. It is hard to determine who is on what side. Or what sides are even fighting for. Perhaps they are all fighting just to keep the oil prices higher. It seems to be working a bit. Oil hangs out around $50 now. But, the higher it goes and the better US technology gets the more rigs are going back on line in the US. And, more US oil means more exports. This strategy of war is interesting but likely to make Texas and North Dakota even richer. In the meant time the more missiles they launch in the middle eat the more practice the US gets testing it's systems. Practice for Japan, South Korea and the US. Perhaps North Korea will notice they are pretty good.
Toggle Commented Nov 7, 2017 on Puerto Rico Revisited at Right in San Francisco
TRUMP does what he sees as necessary to win. He has a Grant/Lincoln/Churchill/Roosevelt/Eisenhower approach: war is hell. Get it over as soon as possible. ISIS is the target. Finish them off. Get the immigrants back in their home territory. War is not supposed to be an opportunity to migrate to another country. Watch the films of WWII or read the accounts of the Civil War before and after Lincoln put Grant in charge. The road to victory was paved with a lot of collateral damage. Add Truman's decision to use two nuclear weapons. You make friends after the liberation and after the peace is secure. If you have the upper hand then use it. That is the way he likely thinks. North Korea and Iran should pay attention. There is no winning or holding territory in modern times if you do not have the ability to control the air space or your borders. Modern conventional weapons make it look like you can avoid killing civilians but you cannot. You can kill fewer but ending the conflict is the only way to minimize casualties. They put Patton to pasture when his role of eliminating the enemy was over. But, when they needed him he was their number one tool in taking territory back. The same for McArthur. General Mattis is off the bench. You can bet that President Trump's approach to Afghanistan has changed. He will not be in a holding action for his years in office.
OIL and ELECTIONS: I find it incredible that oil continues to be such a mystery to the markets and pundits. Oil is a commodity and the price is in the control of the lowest cost producers. The Saudi’s are always the low cost producer at virtually zero. West Texas is now at around $30. The idea that the world’s underdeveloped countries who are cash starved will actually adhere to a production control agreement is ridiculous. Even with war raging in Syria and Iraq the price remains unaffected. The price will hover somewhere around the cost of production for the next marginal field plus a slight profit. Producers will only limit the supply to avoid storage costs. Not raise prices. I figure Exxon, Chevron, etc have billions of barrels dripping from wells that are, like the Saudi’s, cost free. They played the game with the Saudi’s for 50 years of restricting production. That game is over with the US onslaught of production and exports. Last night the Democrats proved the folly of their attempt to buy an election with attack ads on the President. The white guys have it and the President is making CNN look like a foolish tool of the Democratic party. The media is the bad guy. Smart like a fox the President and VP are solidifying their new hold on Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the white male voters. They visit every week. They issue statements every time they issue a deregulation, someone hires again, a company doesn’t go to China and when an overseas company comes to the US. They use Wilbur Ross on CNBC to give credibility to their trade policies with his extremely understandable explanations. Even union leaders are silent; a sure sign they know their members are watching Trump.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2017 on The Limits of #Resist at Right in San Francisco
ONE MORE WARNING SHOT: America will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Pause, take a breath, and after his base is cheering follow it with: and we will begin to immediately renegotiate our way back in. All of the Presidents moves are proceeded with a warning shot designed to shock the opposition and the intended targets of his negotiations to follow. I wonder if all his developments started with: "We will not develop this property"---Pause, deep breath, now lets negotiate. By now the media should stop the "I'm shocked routine" and the public should realize that President Trump is simply remodeling the "deals" the far left has negotiated or put in place that he believes are extracting too high a price from America's workers. Relax America the pendulum has simply swung 180 degrees from public welfare to working opportunity. Socialism versus Capitalism. Two ways of addressing America's economic system.
BLOOD IN THE WATER: In a way the President chums for a fight with his constant exaggeration of his deeds and with his less than straight forward use of the facts in his defense. When he does so he chums for the sharks and sets himself up for constant fights. Now he finds that the sharks can fight and play the exaggeration and bending the truth game better than he can. After all Sol Lewinsky wrote the text book on it. And, the far left use it well. What is it Mark Twain said? "Don't make enemies of people who buy ink by the barrel? (or something close to that) The way it looks today the opposition to Trump, Democrats, Media and the Republican old guard are willing to devastate the economy and stock market to draw blood. While I am one who would prefer he focus on the economy and ignore his critics (enemy). Forget healthcare for now. It's in the hands of the Senate. Get infrastructure, overseas cash repatriation and corporate tax revised. Appoint 10 each Hispanic, black and female conservative judges. And, just for fun appoint Clint Eastwood to run the FBI.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2017 on The Limits of Outrage at Right in San Francisco
PARTY FREEZE OUT. The big question for America is can anyone lead both parties? Obama was such a radical departure from past leaders from Kennedy through GWB that the parties have put cooperation into the Freezers. If I believe sources inside the Democratic party it began in the second term of GWB after he invaded Iraq and from then on decided that he was a war time President and strategy became totally one sided. The result was what they characterize as a freeze out of the Democrats and a my way or the highway led by Chaney. A few years later the financial crisis combined with the public's distaste for the war and a loss of credibility of GWB when no nuclear or chemical weapons were found in Iraq. This led to a rejection of Hillary and a sweeping victory by Obama. Socialism was on us and Republican put cooperation in the freezer waiting 2010 elections. The midterms gave the Republicans the power they needed to play defense and the Freeze was secure as a tactic. Now comes 2016 and Trump as once again Hillary was rejected. Democrats are now on the defensive and hoping the Freeze will win for them in 2018. Trump is fast winning some converts especially in National Security. Panetta gave him strong NS marks yesterday. Trump's focus on American workers jobs and welfare is gaining him traction in the Democratic mid west. With all the Senate seats up for grab in 2018, mostly Democrats, Trump's focus on the heart of the American party, working class people, could just win him the Senate he needs to take control of legislation from 2018 forward. In the mean time we have another Executive Order Presidency while Ryan and McConnell try and figure out strategy to pass something. Get tax reform though, figure out a way to fix Obamacare, get an infrastructure bill and tax cuts through and we might see some solid progress in the economy. Fix the trade agreements and secure the borders and he will be able to point to the fact that a businessman will fix problems with or without cooperation. A smashing loss in 2018 for Democrats and the Freezer strategy might just begin to end.
THE WARNING SHOTS keep coming. This is definitely the warning shot President. His negotiating style is the warning shot early to shock the prey. (and any others in future lines) This is quickly followed by several public shocking warnings that the activity harmful to Uncle Sam is outrageous and must end. After the media frenzy (so quick to believe his tactics are about to become actions) predicts the dire consequences he announces that the prey might be coming around and by the way these are pretty good guys with whom he has a fabulous relationship developing. President agrees to HC plan of the House. The Right caucus balks. President says this is their only shot take it or he's moving on. It doesn't fly as the conservative caucus refuses to yield. Without a beat the President moves on. Now here comes the new plan. Syria used the chemicals. He delivered the Tomahawks on a military target. Served as a great warning shot for North Korea with Iran, China and Russia watching. Next he warned North Korea and sent an imaginary or real armada toward them. Deployed defensive missile interceptors in South Korea. All the while telling China that perhaps their relationship with the US is not going to be too good if North Korea doesn't reign in their puppet. Now there is no gas in North Korea. Who turned off that pipeline? Now China might not be a currency manipulator and is a great friend, Off we go to Wisconsin and find the Canadians have stopped the dairy deals. Boom NAFTA has to go. We will be out in a week. 25% tariff on the soft lumber. Today the good Mexican President and his NAFTA buddy in Canada have called and suggested the US stay and renegotiate NAFTA. The President again reiterates what great partners and friends they are. Out comes the TAX plan. Warning shot: Big Democratic states losing heavily in state tax deductions. Media going crazy. Wonder what the President might trade out to get the plan passed? Stay tuned. It is so refreshing to see a positive, Bold person in the White House who actually is out to lead America from strength and cares about the working class and their employers.
Toggle Commented Apr 27, 2017 on The Trump Doctrine, v1.0 at Right in San Francisco
MEDIA REPORTS of Trump's motivations and actual initiatives are so calculated to discredit him that it is virtually impossible for those of us who care about what is really good for the country to evaluate his effectiveness yet. I'm afraid we will have to wait out the results of his actions one or two at a time to determine how good he is. One thing appears to be certain: The personality he exhibits publically must be far more concerning than his personality in private actually dealing with issues. The next 3 months should tell us if he can pull the party and Congress together to pass some legislation or if he is going to be another Executive Order President.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2017 on The Trump Doctrine, v1.0 at Right in San Francisco
PELOSI's smiling face drove Republicans crazy for 8 years. The promise of no more of her smile drove Republicans to celebrate the upset victory of Trump delivered in the truck beds of angry rednecks even as they pondered the future under the "Donald". But, then as Republicans are prone to do on Friday Republicans once again grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory as the Conservative caucus whiffed on a no brainer. They played the bluff game with a President who doesn't bluff. He negotiates until it becomes a clear waste of time and then he moves on. And, once again Pelosi smiled at the TV screen. In the end the Conservative Caucus will come back to the President and Obamacare will fall. But, some of them will lose their seats in the 2018 primaries. In the meantime they will have another shot to deal with the President on Taxes and infrastructure. Will they whiff again?
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2017 on Is America Governable? at Right in San Francisco
LESSONS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN LEARNED FROM THE FAR LEFT: The conservative caucus of the House Republicans should have learned after 8 years of the Far Left madness what a single minded uncompromising group can do to a political party and the nation. After a 2008 landslide the Far Left drove the Democratic party off the cliff. Now Republicans have the wheel. And, the Conservative arm of 25 Republican conservatives in the House appear to be just as blind to the opportunity to compromise and advance legislation as the Far Left was. My rep, Dave Bratt, is one of those. I have a lot of respect for him but if he does not support the President and votes against the Party then I will not vote for him in 2018. It is time for the country to use Democratic compromise to advance the interests of Americans.
OIL PRICES and Water: If you follow oil and the comedy act around it then you have to be amused and amazed at the ability of the suppliers of oil to keep the price up. Oil is every where. All you have to do is dig deeper. First let's take the game players who have nothing but oil to sell the world: OPEC. If you had an unlimited reserve of water and it cost you nothing but transportation to produce it then what would you do with it? Sell it. How much would you sell? Either as much as you could above the cost to transport it to market or as much as you need to make as much profit as you wanted to support your lifestyle. So, what do you think the likelihood is that the OPEC players will live with production limits? Given that most of them are in the second group then as the price falls they have to sell more in order to meet their budgets. The lower the price goes the more they cheat. The higher the prices go if they do restrict their sales the more the US (and other) non OPEC producers will add to capacity and drive prices lower. In the meantime what is the easiest way to get prices up? Threaten to or go to war. Terrorists therefore are a marketing arm of the Muslim oil producers. The wars that have persisted in the Middle East have long played that role for them. Thus, it is not surprising for find the same governments funding terrorists. It is not surprising to find them against peace with Israel. And, they will always announce production cuts are they continue to pour oil out of every pipeline they have. Meanwhile the media will invite the oil industry to tell them where they expect the oil prices to go. Not surprising they say $60-70 oil is on the horizon. Just a couple quarters away. Meanwhile we have a President hell bent on increasing US production, exporting oil to compete and keeping the price lower. Now, today, we find we have a glut of GASOLINE out there. Want to buy some seawater? Or perhaps some Sahara sand?
LOGIC defies actions in America sometimes: Philadelphia puts in a sugar tax driving sales down for Pepsi 40%. Pepsi lays off workers. Meanwhile we have states encouraging legal Marijuana industries despite Federal Law. States are adding legalized gambling to generate taxes. Abortion is the law of the land. We tax cigarettes trying to influence behavior but it is legal. If our political system seems to defy logic sometimes then we have no further to look than our tax system for illogical behavior. I like the sweet flavor of strawberries. Do you think they will be next?
MR President---From the sideshow scammer to the King of Insults to the reincarnation of the "I" man, emerges the shadow of a President. Can a business leader really run the government? If he runs it as directly as he addressed the problems in front of the opposition Tuesday night he just might do it. Romney had a difficult time addressing the problems. Donald Trump does not. It's too bad Romney can't be a part of this guy's team. But, there is hope that out of the shadow we saw Tuesday a special President will take shape. The Democrats sit on your hands strategy seemed to have anticipated a different speaker. His performance combined with theirs to make Democrats look like they were totally indifferent to the problems Americans face. When it was over they seemed to sneak out.
MICKEY MOUSE versus the OSTRICH: TRUMP's start is certainly entertaining and worrisome. It was fun to watch so much enthusiasm to get started. But, it was a bit MICKEY MOUSE in the amateurish way he announced his "orders" and "warning shots". But, Mexico is at the table. The head of the powerful auto industry unions hugs him daily. Immigration issues swamp the courts on a 90 day temporary order that will be over before Opening Day. The Democrats are in total disarray as they don't have any idea where to build their Alamo. Why fight on the cabinet? Why fight improved immigrant vetting? Even Bernie Frank said he was not taking a suicide pill if Todd-Frank goes down. Save your powder for a real fight you can win, Chuck. And, then there is the Ostrich, CNN, with its head in the sand still fighting the credibility of the election as if the Supreme Court may at any minute overturn it and bestow the crown on Hillary. Perhaps they believe as well that the Falcons will somehow take the Patriots to court and reverse the Super Bowl. Ironic isn't it that Hillary was odds on favorite to win the Presidency. CNN had all the polls predicting the landslide. And, Atlanta had a 25 point lead when CNN turned off their sets and returned to the immigration issue only to wake up on Monday and learn they missed another one. In the end the Donald is the President. He was elected to change things and despite the "old guard" defenses and the CNN "play by play" callers debunking every day he is. This show is better than the apprentice.
HERE IS WHERE DEMOCRATS--went wrong! What this one minute video of Bill Clinton and the response of many of the same US Congressmen who now lead protests against Trump. This was one of their most effective leaders of all time. This was 1995. 31 Million illegal immigrants later they oppose Trump's views. They have reversed their views 180 degrees in favor of imported votes.
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2017 on The Democratic SWOT at Right in San Francisco
INTERESTING BEGINNING: Trump in action is something not seen in my lifetime. The urgency, the energy and the determination to get action is definitely that of a businessman and similar to that of war time military leaders. Perhaps the reason so many of his cabinet are either business CEO types or Military "get the job done types". Trump fires off his warning shots and leaves the pieces that fall out to his staff to pick up and deal with. He gives messages and expects reactions both good and bad. Want to give China a message? Pick a fight with Mexico and then invite the PM of India to the White House. Want to give Iran a message? Call Putin and back Israel. Want to give the media a message? Call out CNN for their never ending attempt to undermine every action by interpreting it in the polar opposite way it was intended. Want to avoid allowing your enemy to argue your logic in communications? Use Twitter and limit the information you give out to 120 words. Let the staff explain. For those of us who preferred another candidate it is uncomfortable. But, some comfort can be gained when you see the way the staff handles the fallout knowing he picked people to serve who are not used to being micromanaged and know how to get things done. You don't run a multibillion dollar organization by managing a bunch of people who draw a paycheck and wait to be told what to do. THE DEMOCRATS are not likely to figure this all out soon. They still have not figured out the rural America/redneck male revolt. And, he could be their worst nightmare if his strategy actually works. For example: If he: --Actually fixes the immigration system --Actually improves the inner city environments --Actually improves the military while controlling their budgets --Actually improves the earnings power of the middle class --Actually replaces the Healthcare system with one that works --Actually renegotiates the trade deals and improves them --Actually lowers American taxes --Actually eliminates a lot of nonworking regulation --Actually gets loans from Banks for small businesses There is a lot for him to address and he does not mess around evidently. Change makes most people nervous. In his case change begins with action. That's not something we've seen much of with politicians.
Toggle Commented Jan 30, 2017 on The Democratic SWOT at Right in San Francisco
"TRUMP'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH RUSSIA"--I was recently asked by a very prominent friend for my analysis of the apparent love affair with PUTIN. You may have noticed that his cabinet has no illusions about Putin. Let that be clue about Trump's real feelings. Now on his strategy. My thoughts: I believe that Trump is playing Putin. He is a classic negotiator and he wants to get Putin to give him something in exchange for a business friendship. It is likely that Trump knows Putin and his KGB cronies run most of Russia’s industry. He needs Putin to end the threat to Ukraine and the Syrian war. He also needs Putin to force new sanctions on Iran. In his pocket Trump holds American oil production, the ability to lesson or remove sanctions on Russia, trade with Russian businesses, restrictions on Russian investments in America, tariffs on American and Russian made goods to America, the build up and deployment of American troops in eastern Europe , the development and deployment of an American anti missile system in Europe and the inclusion of Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. He knows Putin is a businessman and will bargain but he has to give Putin the political capital to stay in power. Putin sees that as being acknowledged as a Superpower and world class leader not just a bully as he is currently portrayed in the US press and State Department. Putin thinks his image at home is best served by his return to the cold war. Russia is still run by the KGB and his life is on the line every day as a Dictator. So, Trump is setting him up to be his “buddy” at the world power level in return for pulling out of Ukraine, ending his deal with Assad and/or helping get Iran back under sanctions. Trump is all about marketing and marketing is what negotiating and understanding your opponents and customers is all about. The reason I got respected at a young age in the Air Force and Navy intelligence community was that I was one of the very few who actually understood the Soviets in the cold war and was brash enough to stand my ground against analysts who wanted to portray the Soviet threat as being an offensive machine. The Soviets and the Chinese are crafty, smart opportunists who attack weakness and fall back in the face of strength. We think in annual cycles. They think in much longer cycles. A guy like Trump scares the hell out of them but they simply retool and wait him out if need be. They took advantage of Obama’s weakness and inexperience in strategic moves and yet joined with him in the war on terror only when it was in their interest in projecting their power, image and securing a base with their pawn, Assad. Last thing Putin wants to lose is his warm water Naval Base in Syria. Putin doesn’t ride horses bare chested because he’s a stud. He does it because he wants to promote his image with the public. Under Obama he actually assassinated his political rival and gave a message to his KGB friends. Trump is not acting like a dummy who does not believe the intelligence community for fun. He likely knows exactly what he is doing in his public statements and you can believe his cabinet members know exactly the game he is playing. Will it work? That’s up to Putin and how well Trump can walk the tightrope with our allies as he portrays Putin as a world leader while getting him to cooperate on key issues. Putin on the other hand has seen it all through 5 or 6 US Presidents. He has read all his rivals correctly and prevailed. He, too, is a Billionaire. He most likely sees Trump as an opportunity to play chess. How many of Trump’s cards can he get him to give him in return for things he is willing to give up? Assad will be the toughest. That Naval base in the hands of the rebels is a very strategic pawn. He won’t let it go to ISIS either. Under Obama/Kerry he got to bomb both the rebels and ISIS at the same time. My view is stay the course with Trump for now and see how well he does in the chess game. Never, ever assume your enemy is stupid. That is how, in my view, the world got to hundreds of thousands of nuclear weapons in the cold war era. I was there to watch it—many false interpretations of Soviet and Chinese intentions not bad intelligence.
GETTING THE MESSAGE: Warning shot notification seems to be working as the "Donald" has not enacted one legislative regulation, imposed one tax or issued one Executive Order and already things are changing. Sure you can say it is tokenism when a company reverses course on a small move to Mexico. Or, opens a new factory in the USA to supplement their production overseas. But, then the mighty Apple, who defied the FBI over opening cell phones for terror and murder investigations, quietly files an a;;plication to build a technology plant in the USA. McDonald's and KFC announce they are withdrawing from China. China strengthens it's currency. All great marketing schools teach that one of the first things you look for in business is potential disruptions. Silicon valley lives off the dream of disrupting US markets and companies. Amazon is the retail killer following Sam Walton's model with Walmart stores everywhere. But, the number one potential disrupter of any industry is the Federal Government. Just ask West Virginia's coal industry. Ask the farmers in Northern California who lost there water to save a fish. So it is not just tokenism that you are seeing it is marketing for now--appease the Don with a few plants, a few jobs saved, for now. But, next will come behavioral change. For now it is the response to fear and threats of actions he has not taken. Soon it will be negotiations as American companies look to take advantage of the goodies the Donald promises: deregulation, reduced taxes, a State department that helps them overseas if they help Americans here. Lower taxes and repatriation of overseas profits. Perhaps even lower taxes yet if you build it here and ship it overseas to sell. A partnership between the SBA and your local bank to actually fund America's job machine: small businesses with bank incentives to take a little more risk. So far he is doing what he said he would do. And, CEO's are assessing their strategic alternatives. So are China and Mexico. Likely so are OPEC and Russia. oil is falling again as the Donald readies to open the flood gates of America's oil fields. OPEC can reduce production all they want--the Donald's oil machine can fill the gap and the price will not rise for long. And, of course here comes coal as well. Negotiations begin in ten days. Ready your proposals for consideration. The little guy has someone in Washington who might actually help them.
Bill, you could be his speech writer if he actually were to use one. I like it. I expect something close to this. I hope all your readers had a fun filled Christmas and holiday season. It appears that confidence in the Don certainly drove many to the retail stores and on line. Economic confidence is on the rise. As the song says "when you are going through hell keep on going." We have done so and I see the shining light ahead. Happy New Year and a healthy, prosperous 2017 to all.
LEADING WITH WARNING SHOTS. We are 37 days from Donald Trump taking the leadership of America but it seems he has grabbed the stage already. The stock market has surged even in the face of a Yellen effort to stall the economy before it begins with rapid projected interest rate increases. Her speech sounded like Obama's series of speeches on how "good" things are after the last 8 years. So despite the onslaught of attempts to discredit him by the media, the Hillary camp and the establishment including incumbent government agency leaders the leadership style of Trump is beginning to disclose itself. I call it leadership by warning shots. It began during the campaign with shocking assertions against various parties from the establishment to China to immigrants to Silicon Valley, etc. Now, with victory in hand his actual agenda comes forth: Manufacturing will not be given his tax breaks and protectionism IF they continue to move jobs overseas: Carrier is delivered the warning. Defense contractors will not get the surge in budget growth and new orders if they rip the country with excessive over runs and high margins. Boeing was given the warning shot with the Air Force one. The case in favor of man causing global warming will be relooked at from the point of view that perhaps the sun's cycles are the major culprits. EPA is asked for the names of those who focus on the "man did it" primary cause. The intelligence community may be delivering more than the secrets when they analyze the daily events. The President warns that he may choose not to listen to the daily analysis of events if there is nothing for the President to act on. I learned long ago from a brilliant Navy Admiral "don't brief me just tell me what you know." The Energy department will rebalance it's regulatory view of the oil/gas industry. Secretary of Energy is from Texas. High Tech industry may have to focus on how to disrupt the world without destroying the US workforce in favor of Chinese workers and instead retrain some in the US. Otherwise the repatriation tax may not be so low or may include mandatory requirements to use the money for R&D, training schools, US factories or scholarships. Come to Trump tower and we will discuss. This is a man who made his Billions conceiving business plans and hiring bright people to carry them out. You don't run a world empire by micromanaging the details each day. And, that leadership is going to be his style. Thus, you see a cabinet of people who do the same.
Toggle Commented Dec 15, 2016 on Passing the Baton at Right in San Francisco
TRUMP moves solidly back to TRUMP of OLD: A good businessman knows he needs to listen to the views of a wide range of people. At the same time he needs to have a plan and execute it. Survival, often referred to as success requires that after he listens to the thoughts of others he execute his plan and "win". Campaigning is all about winning. As I have heard Trump say when people complained about his style contrasted to Jeb and Mitt "You cannot do anything for the people if you don't win." So he won. Without the press and without the party elite. I think even the Democratic opposition perhaps more so than his party appreciated that he won. After all when Harry Reid was asked if he regretted his lies about Romney's taxes and if he wanted to apologize for the remarks all he did was smile and say "he didn't win did he?" Politics as played by the far left is "hard ball anything goes". Winning is everything. Nice guys finish last. So as Boehner said last week " Why worry. Trump is barely a Republican." And, so now we see that water boarding is out. Hillary is free to go on making money. Global warming might not be climate change after all. Some elements of Obamacare will be retained. The wall may not be made of bricks and steel. Not all illegals will be sent home. NATO is ok as long as they help out. White skinheads are not welcome in his group--but thanks for the votes. Bank regulation is needed but not all of DODD FRANK is needed. And, then there are the bad guys: Romney to Secretary of State, Jeb, George I and II, Cook, Gates, Cruz, etc. all called. France of all countries thinks it was a good choice. Mark Cuban is seen with his chief of strategy. China is willing to negotiate a bit. North Korea wants to establish relations once again. Saudi Arabia likes him now. The Trump of old returns to form. No apologies for changing tune or for winning. Time will tell if his supporters stay with him. But, for now he has at least 2 years to change things and he will. With the help of his adversaries and likely a Democratic Party that can't afford to say no to some of the things he will bring forth. And, foreign policy? Romney and Nikki Haley don't seem to be warrior types. Business oriented politicians headed into the world to do business and get things right. After all economics opened China and brought down the wall. The CIA,FBI,NSA, and Americas Generals tend to bring threats and war into reality for new Presidents pretty quickly. Finally perhaps America will actually govern from the middle. It is already very promising to talk to clients again and hear the enthusiasm they have that grid lock is over and progress just might be made.
Toggle Commented Nov 23, 2016 on Trump: The Big Picture at Right in San Francisco
TRUMP's OLD POST OFFICE: Went to the Trump Property on Pennsylvania Avenue Saturday night. It is a place of interest. First, I was struck by how much it seems to reflect his personality. The hugeness of the lounge which containss a casual Sports bar in formal style. Security is not obvious as you can walk right in to the lounge and informal dining room. As we sat and enjoyed a cocktail it was interesting that 3 Muslim ladies came in and sat next to us. The thought of suicide vests crossed my mind and it was an easy target. But, we felt that only one would be on a mission and 3 more likely a scout team. They did appear to have security blocked off if you tried to enter the area where the rooms were. The staff was mostly minorities and the visitors white. It was a beautiful place and after a cocktail, a bottle of wine and dinner for two we know why Trump is a billionaire as we paid the bill. In fairness though we were not in the mood to look for discounts at a 5 start hotel. It was a pleasant experience.
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2016 on Trump: The Big Picture at Right in San Francisco