How smart is Trump?

There is some great insight on this forum and I am curious about something.

Trump keeps himself in the news just about every day. He's a publicity whore. I'd say this is unprecedented. Now, I am not a Trump fan, I can't stand the guy but... all of these policy actions... it seems to me that there is no way Trump is smart enough to dream this stuff up. The guy can hardly compose an intelligent sentence. So, what's going on here? I have assumed all along that his handlers are the ones calling the shots and he's a puppet. Yes, he has a general agenda on this and that but I can't imagine him creating these policy moves. Is this a grand scheme by some 'group?' Some unbelievable conspiracy by some very powerful people to cause a huge shakeup globally?

It would be great to hear some opinions. He's such a loose cannon, the future is really dicey, and that does concern me as I am heavily invested in U.S. oil. For a very long time, decades, I have thought that the USA will collapse; the ponzi scheme economy can't go on forever. And with him at the top, it could be nigh. I can envision something big happening that could trigger a catastrophic meltdown. I guess the bottom line is that I can't see this ending well. I hope I'm wrong.

 

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BK

Trump is smart, the tariffs will work and we may relive the Roaring Twenties (see on Wikipedia) except it will be the twenty-first century Roaring Twenties!

Thanks

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2 hours ago, BillKidd said:

I can envision something big happening that could trigger a catastrophic meltdown. I guess the bottom line is that I can't see this ending well. I hope I'm wrong.

 

This is a man who uses Fox news for his view of the world and you ask if he is smart?

I can see most countries looking at him as a 1 term president and then back to normal presidents, or at least ones that have an attention span longer than a tweet, and therefore tolerate a lot of his antics short term. The next president should be more tuned to real needs of the American people but also more of a diplomat. If America vote Trump again all bets are off  :)

Edited by jaycee
bad typing
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30 minutes ago, Jullien Bagneris said:

As much as it pains me to say this....they'll elect him again...

Depends if reality hits before or after the election. Right now he would do it I think but the full consequences of his decisions have yet to play out. I think he will be sturggling before the next election but when you are gambling with other people's money you can make the run last longer I have seen socalist goverments keep spending way past any sensible point to buy votes he may do the same subsidizing industries that are suffering and making bad long term decisions that give a short term boost like cutting climate change laws to boost employment. Jeeze I just think I convinced myself you maybe right!!!

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3 hours ago, John Houbion said:

the tariffs will work and we may relive the Roaring Twenties

Trump should be enacting even more tariffs than he is, but I think he's concerned about the 2020 elections.  Wait until he is re-elected and he no longer has any qualms about slapping tariffs on everything.  Then the Roaring Twenties will really begin again!  IMO, the only thing that could slow down the US economy right now is the upcoming war in Iran, and even that will end with a long term gain for the US.

4 hours ago, BillKidd said:

there is no way Trump is smart enough to dream this stuff up

Trump is a pretty smart guy, but he certainly has a communication impediment.  His handlers are the real geniuses, though.  Either that or Trump is just another Lord Arthur Scoresby reincarnated.  

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4 hours ago, John Houbion said:

Trump is smart, the tariffs will work and we may relive the Roaring Twenties (see on Wikipedia) except it will be the twenty-first century Roaring Twenties!

remember what came next? Some folks already calling it "The Greater Depression".

I do agree with your assessment of Trump's intelligence and some of the PR things he does may be theatrics. He seem to fail to enact many of his election promises, chiefly - to drain the swamp. Now question is whether he'll have enough power over Fed to stop them triggering next recession before 2020, although it is long overdue and may be inevitable. Destruction of oil demand is likely but bigger issue would be TBTF collapse, monetary system reset and what will come next. Not saying its imminent; markets may rally and I'm not short. But on a few year horizon this has to happen as unprecedented monetary experiment coming to an end.

Meanwhile - enjoy the life and don't let worries to spoil it

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18 hours ago, Jullien Bagneris said:

As much as it pains me to say this....they'll elect him again...

Yes, for the lack of a good candidate on either the Republican/Democrat side...

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19 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Bill, I cannot speak to your individual investments and nothing I say should be taken as investment advice. 

You raise some interesting points.  Let's look at Trump's background.  He grows up in Queens, but is a problem child and his parents send him off to military school to try to instill some discipline.  That failed.  He has these problems with American women so settles on imports from East Central Europe for his series of wives. He seems to have this history of sleeping with prostitutes and apparently the KGB did a secret pee-pee tape of him in Prague with Russian or Czech prostitutes, that part is unclear.  In his business career he has to deal with two groups:  local politicians (and their bureaucrats) and bankers.  Politicians tend to be not very bright and are easily enough persuaded b y some grandiose building scheme that looks good on paper.  Bankers, especially New York bankers, are definitely not bright, they are historically drawn from the "C"-student ranks.  You can convince New York bankers to float some scheme if your pro-forma income statements show this big income stream from rents. Trump has built an entire career on using "other peoples' money" and leaving them with the debts to go clean up.  He is quite skilled in the street smarts of outdoing bankers. 

And that is it.  Trump has no sense of the noble; he does not go to art exhibits, nor to the symphony hall, nor outside to enjoy nature, his idea of a grand time is to build yet another gaudy building. So when you go elect him as President then don't be surprised that he talks about building The Wall and wants to go intern Muslims.  Hey, why not Muslims, he is already interning Mexicans. Trump thus has this Darth Vader personality with the same tiger instincts, so when you elect him he talks about having the power of the Dark Side of the Force, when confronting anyone and everyone from Kim Son Un to Angela Merkel to Justin Trudeau. Now, who wants to go sit in that Cabinet?  Other captains of the Evil Empire, people like Steve Mnuchin, the pig who stole over $400 million for himself by foreclosing on ordinary working people using fabricated papers, in the most massive orchestrated theft on the face of the planet, using Far West Federal bank as his vehicle. Mnuchin, true to the Boss' form, marries a blondie actress twenty years his junior in a million-dollar wedding, with The Donald in attendance of course, I think that one was down at Mar-a-Largo, I lose track. So you have this Builder who cons bankers surrounding himself with crooks and scam artists, all of whom have these immature relationships with women. And you put these people in charge in Washington and expect mature, reasoned governmental decisions?  You might as well go recruit meth addicts from West Virginia and crackheads from Baltimore and get the same result. 

No, there is no Grand Plan.  No, there are no geniuses on board.  It is a motley collection of Ship of Fools, along with some very dangerous ideologues and vicious, amoral thieves,  and they want to steal for themselves and above all destroy the Clintonites. Everybody else is just so much peripheral cannon fodder. 

I am sure we are going to see a movie about all of this. I wonder who would play trump. Is Charlie Chaplin still around?

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58 minutes ago, 李伟王芳 said:

I am sure we are going to see a movie about all of this. I wonder who would play trump. Is Charlie Chaplin still around?

See, Zhang Wei, that is not the problem.  The real problem lies elsewhere. 

Think back to the movies of Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, the secret agent in the Bourne Identity.  Then you have that collection of mendacious, amoral, self-rationalizing garbage working inside the CIA trying their hardest to kill him, using brainwashed assassins stationed around Western Europe and North Africa.  It is those CIA-type guys that are the handlers and back-stabbers inside the White House, setting policy (the part that Trump starts and they finish).  And these are very dangerous men. They are killers. They will kill you with complete impunity and get away with it.  In that realm, there is no substantive difference between Putin's KGB/FSB and Trump and his inside hatchet men and the NSA.  

Except, of course, there is no Matt Damon to take them on.  You only have the rather pathetic figure, Robert Mueller.   These are very dark days for America. 

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My question is: if we (speaking as a U.S. citizen) had Hillary instead, and one would assume none of this economic shake up, would we be better off or are we arguably better off however the pieces of Trump's "yuge, master plan" may fall?  My two cents: Hillary would not be doing anything at all for the U.S. workers and she sure as heck would not shake things up in the international socio-economic arenas.  And the facts in the minds of the Midwesterners (at least) are that things damn well needed to be shook up, because the status quo was NOT working, at least not for them.  She also would most likely have hampered all things oil and pandered to international forces rather than American citizen forces.  I know Trump and his cadre are madness in the extreme, but maybe we needed a bit of madness to right the ship, so to speak.  Ok, let me have it!

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12 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

My question is: if we (speaking as a U.S. citizen) had Hillary instead, and one would assume none of this economic shake up, would we be better off or are we arguably better off however the pieces of Trump's "yuge, master plan" may fall?  My two cents: Hillary would not be doing anything at all for the U.S. workers and she sure as heck would not shake things up in the international socio-economic arenas.  And the facts in the minds of the Midwesterners (at least) are that things damn well needed to be shook up, because the status quo was NOT working, at least not for them.  She also would most likely have hampered all things oil and pandered to international forces rather than American citizen forces.  I know Trump and his cadre are madness in the extreme, but maybe we needed a bit of madness to right the ship, so to speak.  Ok, let me have it!

Dan, to me, ANYbody would be better than Trump. I think he is a COMPLETE AND TOTAL fraud. I don't think there is anything to the man. In essence, a worthless piece of $@#$&@. An ego, the likes of which this world has never seen. And I don't need any commentator to guide me in arriving at the conclusion. All we have to do is roll tape and let me listen to the idiot speak. The crap that comes out of his mouth and from the finger of this typing hand... holy cow!

Now, I never was a Hillary worshipper at all but to me, she is not an embarrassment. All the conspiracy therories about her evilness, how the heck could I know but I just don't buy it. They have been trying to destroy her and Bill for decades. I don't know why other than the fact that Bill Clinton is one of the amazing super-human charmers the world has ever seen and he happens to be highly intelligent. I figure 'they' were just scared of him and his potential power.

As for Trump and his policies being a needed wake up call, I can't see that either. I don't think he will ever do what is necessary for a true shakeup. I do think he could bungle things through sheer incompetence.

I can see a couple of things as a possibility to right the ship. One, true leadership. A man or woman with vision who speaks to the nation with a grand plan to right the ship, with tough love talk. It would not be easy, but righting this ship of fools will take one helluva effort. Plus, it might even be... impossible.

The second thing would be... total economic collapse. The game didn't work. Then, we start over.

Then again, what do I know?

EDIT:  And as for the oil patch... I have 40 years at it... and to me, it ain't got a dang thing to do with anything other than price of oil and gas. Regulations (onshore) are really not that big of a deal. With the modern oil/gas industry, it's shale, and it's all about how much can you get for a barrel or a mcf. And the gubment does not control that.

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(edited)

On 7/31/2018 at 11:53 AM, BillKidd said:

There is some great insight on this forum and I am curious about something.

Trump keeps himself in the news just about every day. He's a publicity whore. I'd say this is unprecedented. Now, I am not a Trump fan, I can't stand the guy but... all of these policy actions... it seems to me that there is no way Trump is smart enough to dream this stuff up. The guy can hardly compose an intelligent sentence. So, what's going on here? I have assumed all along that his handlers are the ones calling the shots and he's a puppet. Yes, he has a general agenda on this and that but I can't imagine him creating these policy moves. Is this a grand scheme by some 'group?' Some unbelievable conspiracy by some very powerful people to cause a huge shakeup globally?

It would be great to hear some opinions. He's such a loose cannon, the future is really dicey, and that does concern me as I am heavily invested in U.S. oil. For a very long time, decades, I have thought that the USA will collapse; the ponzi scheme economy can't go on forever. And with him at the top, it could be nigh. I can envision something big happening that could trigger a catastrophic meltdown. I guess the bottom line is that I can't see this ending well. I hope I'm wrong.

  

Trump certainly isn't a detailed analyst, but there may be something to be said for his instincts.  One can be broadly correct and headed in the right general direction without understanding the minutia.  The question is whether Trump is, in fact, headed in the right general direction.  That's wrapped up in political opinion, so I'd rather not discuss it here.

As for actual skills, Scott Adams (Dilbert creator) considers Trump a "Master persuader" and describes that in his book "Win Bigly".  If you look at Trump's entire career, he's built a powerful skill stack around persuasion - and that shows in his continued political successes.  Whether or not he understands the economy, one might argue that his persuasive skill proves his brilliance.  I.e. he may not have the skill set you want, but he certainly has a skill set.

Ultimately, if you want to assess whether someone is intelligent, I would honestly ask yourself this question: how would you fare competing with him when your livelihood - or life - was on the line?  Your gut will tell you how he really stacks up. 

Edited by mthebold
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(edited)

3 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

My two cents: Hillary would not be doing anything at all for the U.S. workers and she sure as heck would not shake things up in the international socio-economic arenas.  And the facts in the minds of the Midwesterners (at least) are that things damn well needed to be shook up, because the status quo was NOT working, at least not for them.

Dan

and there was the choice faced by Americans and they choose to gamble on the lunatic. I would have done the same the American people have been lied to and let down by their politicians for years. The thing I would be hoping for though is the political class learn from the election and start putting up decent candidates. After the election though the democrats were blaming the voters for being racist and stupid, they did the same here after Brexit vote, hopefully they and the Republicans work it out and get candidates  that want to listen to and help with the concerns of the American people but solve them in a more realistic fashion than Trump. I live in hope they will do the same in the U.K. but so far we are still at the name calling stage by the losers.

Edited by jaycee
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8 minutes ago, jaycee said:

the American people have been lied to and let down by their politicians for years

^So true.

8 minutes ago, jaycee said:

The thing I would be hoping for though is the political class learn from the election and start putting up decent candidates.

^Never going to happen...  The problem is that in the US, rich people run for office.  The problem with rich people is that they don't understand what it is like to be poor.  I happen to be a part of an interesting family.  Some members of my family own businesses and are worth millions and millions, while other members of my family own absolutely nothing, cannot pay their bills, and are forced to eat at food-shelves or go hungry.  During family reunions, those on the opposite sides of the wealth spectrum cannot even speak to each other.  It is not that they don't want to speak to each other, it is that they physically can't speak to each other.  Yes, they all speak English, but no, they still don't understand each other when they talk about certain subjects.  This is because the words they use end up using have different meanings that the other party cannot understand since the other party has had such different life-experiences.  In the US, the divide between the rich and the poor is unbelievable.  And as a result, I have complete faith that the political class will not start putting up decent candidates.  At least not until the US fixes their broken educational system and does something about their disastrous news media outlets.  

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18 minutes ago, Epic said:

The problem is that in the US, rich people run for office.  The problem with rich people is that they don't understand what it is like to be poor. 

That’s Trump, only he is dumb as well lol 

 

18 minutes ago, Epic said:

And as a result, I have complete faith that the political class will not start putting up decent candidates

Yeah I am beginning to wonder if the U.K. politicians aren’t getting message as well. I predict the rise of hard right parties if they don’t sort things out after Brexit especially if the old communist Corbyn wins the first election after departure due to the Tory party not getting a good deal, that will set a fire burning that could take a lot of putting out.

18 minutes ago, Epic said:

.At least not until the US fixes their broken educational system and does something about their disastrous news media outlets

Yes though I complain about U.K. education and media which are left wing dominated we are ahead of the US in teaching our kids about the world outside and we have nothing like Fox News thank God.

Edited by jaycee

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(edited)

7 hours ago, Dan Warnick said:

My question is: if we (speaking as a U.S. citizen) had Hillary instead, and one would assume none of this economic shake up, would we be better off or are we arguably better off however the pieces of Trump's "yuge, master plan" may fall?  My two cents: Hillary would not be doing anything at all for the U.S. workers and she sure as heck would not shake things up in the international socio-economic arenas.  And the facts in the minds of the Midwesterners (at least) are that things damn well needed to be shook up, because the status quo was NOT working, at least not for them.  She also would most likely have hampered all things oil and pandered to international forces rather than American citizen forces.  I know Trump and his cadre are madness in the extreme, but maybe we needed a bit of madness to right the ship, so to speak.  Ok, let me have it!

Well, Dan, you have certainly unleashed the hurricane.  OK, let's go back and start with the basics. 

Historically, Presidents had a staff of one secretarial assistant.  I think around the time of President Franklin Roosevelt, Congress begrudgingly increased his staff to six.  What is it now:  a thousand?  See, there's the problem: the bureaucracy in Washington has expended so dizzyingly that nobody really knows how many drones work there and what they are actually supposed to do.  I suspect you could fire 3/4 of the people in Washington and have a perfectly fine-running government.  Now, ask yourself this: who is prepared to actually do that?  Hillary?  No chance.  And why is that?  Because Federal workers have the highest voter turnout of any constituency, and the federal workers are living in Northern Virginia and Maryland  (Prince Georges County), which are swing districts and you need to have those votes and those districts in Presidential contests.  So the Democrats treat the federal workers as untouchable.  And the Republicans are not far behind. 

Would Trump actually put some cabinet secretary in who would seriously fire workers by the thousands?  Well, he just might - if you can find the candidate to be that cabinet secretary, and you could get him approved by the Senate. The system is set up to keep all these guys on the payroll literally forever.  There is a real danger to that.  The danger is that the work expands to fill the available number of workers.  You end up with a society where personal freedom goes down the drain, and everybody's lives are run by self-important bureaucrats, who turn the place into a classic "Administrative State." 

To see this in action, I invite you to hang out at the bus docks in Erie, Pennsylvania or at Rochester, New York.  At those points, the Greyhound pulls in for both dinner breaks and for inter-bus interlining of passengers.  And the busybodies of the "Border Patrol" come out of the shadows, mount those buses (without having purchased a ticket, incidentally) and start interrogating the passengers and demanding to "see your papers."   They have absolutely no right to do that, incidentally, yet to date no bus driver has kicked them off his bus  (which the driver can legally do). And the passengers simply meekly comply. 

What the Deep Administrative State craves most of all is "compliance."  So you get these Border Patrol roadblocks where some clown demands of each motorist: "What is your citizenship?"   [correct answer:  "You are asking me to interpret a legal question, which I am not qualified to do.  I would refer you to the Secretary of State, maybe they can figure it out."].   Those guys don't really care about the answer:  what they are prepping the society for is a new version of a police state, which is  more accurately the all-seeing, all-knowing Administrative State,  And to that end those unfireable bureaucrats have devised a Homeland Security apparatus with some 165,000 men doing espionage on anything and everything, using massive computing power and algorithms to craft these profiles on every person on the planet.  

I kid you not.  Just after the Boston Marathon bombings, a mom on Long Island, NY was idly looking up on the internet for a new pressure cooker.  Meanwhile, upstairs her son was on his computer, looking up a new knapsack for his Boy Scout Jamboree.  The next day the family got a knock on the door from a squad of Feds, there to interrogate the family about what they wanted with a pressure cooker and a new knapsack.  The NSA had plugged in some algorithm where if the cooker and the knapsack came up together, it set off an alarm and off go the brickyard agents to investigate and write up a big Security Report  (and put the family on the No-Fly or Watch Lists, that too).  You are getting into a level of pervasive intrusive security, of monitoring of every keystroke of every desktop and every laptop being used inside the entire USA, all studied by algorithms to put Americans into categories and on Lists from which there is no appeal and no ability to ever get off. 

Now, why is this?  No rational person is going to seriously maintain that any of this advances "security."  And the real reason is that it builds Turf, entire new domains to be run by the Bureaucratic State, over which control will inexorably pass to the Administrators themselves, unaccountable to anyone outside including the Congress and even the President.  Is Clinton going to stem this tide?  No chance.  So that leaves it to some far-out loony Republican, someone as erratic and unpredictable as Trump, to pull the plug, fire all those guys, and have his people go into that NSA HQ with sledgehammers and destroy all those servers with all that personal data on the entire country's population.  And you have to smash it as it is destroying the soul of the democracy. 

Will Trump do that?  Probably not.  But it is a tantalizing prospect.  Meanwhile, the idea that some Clintonite is going to lower the boom on a professional bureaucratic State is laughable;  never going to happen.  Democrats are all about "compliance."  

Edited by Jan van Eck
"Data" for "date" - spelling error

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9 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

And the real reason is that it builds Turf, entire new domains to be run by the Bureaucratic State, over which control will inexorably pass to the Administrators themselves, unaccountable to anyone outside including the Congress and even the President.

You are being far to generous to the ruling classes. What we are slowly moving to is an Orwellian Totalitarian world where constant war is used as a reason to monitor citizens every move and media and education are corrupted to make the population too confused to do anything about it. You can see the trend in all major nations some are more advanced at it that others and obviously China had a head start. I find it amazing how Islam suddenly became threat very soon after the USSR stopped being a threat and how the leader was American trained. Maybe getting a bit off track there but start thinking of the way the world is run in Orwell’s 1984 and the similarities are amazing our politicians are using it as a guide book not a warning.

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3 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Now, why is this?  No rational person is going to seriously maintain that any of this advances "security."  And the real reason is that it builds Turf, entire new domains to be run by the Bureaucratic State, over which control will inexorably pass to the Administrators themselves, unaccountable to anyone outside including the Congress and even the President.  Is Clinton going to stem this tide?  No chance.  So that leaves it to some far-out loony Republican, someone as erratic and unpredictable as Trump, to pull the plug, fire all those guys, and have his people go into that NSA HQ with sledgehammers and destroy all those servers with all that personal date on the entire country's population.  And you have to smash it as it is destroying the soul of the democracy. 

Will Trump do that?  Probably not.  But it is a tantalizing prospect.  Meanwhile, the idea that some Clintonite is going to lower the boom on a professional bureaucratic State is laughable;  never going to happen.  Democrats are all about "compliance."  

You hope he sees this, don't you?  LOL!

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He's a big mouth from Queens. I can say this because my family is from Queens.

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20 minutes ago, Dan Warnick said:

You hope he sees this, don't you?  LOL!

This is an intellectual column on an intellectual website.  There is zero chance that anyone in that White House (or Congress) reads Oilprice.com.  Those guys are strictly Brietbart News and Fox TV. 

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I think Trump will do more harm to the country than all US ennemies put together. He is the ideal president for all those who want to put an end to the US leadership. So not surprising he is Putin top choice.

Reelecting Trump is like reelecting Maduro. Hard to belive from a rational point of view but still a posible outcome.

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(edited)

One more thing:  Trump says a lot of stupid things, but this may be intentional.  From Axios:

"The President's daily feeding of the outrage machine allows us to get work done on the agency level that would invite much more scrutiny in a 'normal' administration," a former senior Health and Human Services official tells Swan."

"Cable news anchors spend hours and hours of airtime dissecting the latest Trump tweet, yet they barely notice when we achieve long-sought conservative policy goals" — like adding work requirements to Medicaid and stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood."

https://www.axios.com/donald-trump-administration-barack-obama-legacy-health-care-energy-36e9b7f3-28ce-476e-8f7c-ccdd095408b1.html

One might argue that Trump is smart enough to tailor his behavior to stupid opponents. 

Edited by mthebold
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On 8/1/2018 at 2:55 PM, mthebold said:

Trump certainly isn't a detailed analyst, but there may be something to be said for his instincts.  One can be broadly correct and headed in the right general direction without understanding the minutia.  The question is whether Trump is, in fact, headed in the right general direction.  That's wrapped up in political opinion, so I'd rather not discuss it here.

As for actual skills, Scott Adams (Dilbert creator) considers Trump a "Master persuader" and describes that in his book "Win Bigly".  If you look at Trump's entire career, he's built a powerful skill stack around persuasion - and that shows in his continued political successes.  Whether or not he understands the economy, one might argue that his persuasive skill proves his brilliance.  I.e. he may not have the skill set you want, but he certainly has a skill set.

Ultimately, if you want to assess whether someone is intelligent, I would honestly ask yourself this question: how would you fare competing with him when your livelihood - or life - was on the line?  Your gut will tell you how he really stacks up. 

I am aware of Scott Adam's take on Trump. I heard a very long interview of Adams prior to the book's release and consider him to be almost as loony as Trump, that his take is over-the-top. I truly do not think Trump is anything close to what he says he is. I would bet that there is more dirt on Trump than any president in history, including criminal activity. And I think he's going down, I think he'll be exposed.

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