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Alberta govt to construct another WCS processing refinery

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2 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

You are not part of the management team inside that client.  When you say things that they have not figured out, they your results are "not invented here."  Remember: consultants are not hired to take a fresh look at whatever problem is before them.  They are hired to validate the pre-conceived ideas of internal management  (and, I would say cynically, to make management look like super-stars to the Board of Directors).

You've just answered a question that has been in my mind for quite some time.  Thank you.

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3 minutes ago, Dan Warnick said:

You've just answered a question that has been in my mind for quite some time.  Thank you.

And in rationalizing my failure to excel professionally, I point to this reasoning as to why my consulting efforts, always based upon unvarnished reality, are not well accepted. Thus I am poor while successful "yes men" are wealthy.

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22 minutes ago, William Edwards said:

And in rationalizing my failure to excel professionally, I point to this reasoning as to why my consulting efforts, always based upon unvarnished reality, are not well accepted. Thus I am poor while successful "yes men" are wealthy.

There is an interesting little story about George (W) Bush's first Secretary of the Treasury.  George recruited Paul O'Neill, then the Chairman (and previously both chairman and CEO) of Alcoa Aluminum out in Pittsburgh.  That goes back to 2001.  Now during 2001-02 Paul commissioned his team of experts to figure out just where the US Government stood, financially, both today and in the future.  He figured it out by using net-present-value analysis, where all the future earnings streams are recalculated as if you had them today, and all the future expenditure streams are also figured out as of today, and comparing the two.  Then his team figured out where the Govt would be in future years, and concluded that (A) the US Govt was hopelessly upside-down, and (B) that future deficits would be totally massive, over $500 billion a year. 

So Paul goes to the White House and has this meeting with George and Dick (Cheney).  He sets them down and tells them the bad news.  "Hey, the govt is flat broke, it is all an illusion, we are in the hole by 56 trillion )(or some such astronomical number)"   George doesn't say much to that.  Dick finally grumps/snaps back, "I don't care about deficits, I don't care about the national debt, don't bother me with that stuff." 

Late the next afternoon, Dick Cheney sends a voice message to Paul, saying:  "Don't bring us bad news; You're fired."  Paul apparently never even went over for some final meeting or the usual hearty-fellows goodbye speeches, he simply packed up his suitcase and took the night train back to Pittsburgh. 

Next up was the Financial Crisis, the Bailout, and the perpetual deficit.  You can thank Dick Cheney for that. Cheney understood that it was not going to bite "him," it was going to bite "the next guy."  Just classic. 

Edited by Jan van Eck
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21 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

There is an interesting little story about George (W) Bush's first Secretary of the Treasury.  George recruited Paul O'Neill, then the Chairman (and previously both chairman and CEO) of Alcoa Aluminum out in Pittsburgh.  That goes back to 2001.  Now during 2001-02 Paul commissioned his team of experts to figure out just where the US Government stood, financially, both today and in the future.  He figured it out by using net-present-value analysis, where all the future earnings streams are recalculated as if you had them today, and all the future expenditure streams are also figured out as of today, and comparing the two.  Then his team figured out where the Govt would be in future years, and concluded that (A) the US Govt was hopelessly upside-down, and (B) that future deficits would be totally massive, over $500 billion a year. 

So Paul goes to the White House and has this meeting with George and Dick (Cheney).  He sets them down and tells them the bad news.  "Hey, the govt is flat broke, it is all an illusion, we are in the hole by 56 trillion )(or some such astronomical number)"   George doesn't say much to that.  Dick finally grumps/snaps back, "I don't care about deficits, I don't care about the national debt, don't bother me with that stuff." 

Late the next afternoon, Dick Cheney sends a voice message to Paul, saying:  "Don't bring us bad news; You're fired."  Paul apparently never even went over for some final meeting or the usual hearty-fellows goodbye speeches, he simply packed up his suitcase and took the night train back to Pittsburgh. 

Next up was the Financial Crisis, the Bailout, and the perpetual deficit.  You can thank Dick Cheney for that. Cheney understood that it was not going to bite "him," it was going to bite "the next guy."  Just classic. 

So sad!

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1 hour ago, William Edwards said:

So sad!

I agree. The effects of short-term, self centered political calculations such as Dick Cheney's are sadly similar to investors focusing on quarterly earnings. The longer term well-being of the majority of people suffers.  

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6 minutes ago, Janet Alderton said:

I agree. The effects of short-term, self centered political calculations such as Dick Cheney's are sadly similar to investors focusing on quarterly earnings. The longer term well-being of the majority of people suffers.  

Hi, Janet (and I vaguely recall you are Canadian, from Out West):   "short term,self-centered calculations" does not even begin to describe the acute psychosis of the mind of Dick Cheney.  He was the pits,the absolute worst thing to happen to America.  What made this total paranoid nut so dangerous was that he understood the mechanisms of government, and thus was able to manipulate government to further his own ends.   That makes him qualitatively and qualitatively different from your Justin Trudeau. At least Trudeau has some sense of social obligation.  For example, long after all the bickering with the Colorado businessmen over the repairs to the Hudson Bay Railroad to Churchill, Trudeau understood that the people of Churchill and the North would be badly hurt, irreparably so, if that railroad was not repaired.  So he found some $127 million to put into the kitty for repairs.  OK, taxpayer money, not his personal cash, but at lest he looked past the politics and had the federal govt step up to the plate.  I give him credit for that.  Cheers.

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(edited)

3 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

There is an interesting little story about George (W) Bush's first Secretary of the Treasury.  George recruited Paul O'Neill, then the Chairman (and previously both chairman and CEO) of Alcoa Aluminum out in Pittsburgh.  That goes back to 2001.  Now during 2001-02 Paul commissioned his team of experts to figure out just where the US Government stood, financially, both today and in the future.  He figured it out by using net-present-value analysis, where all the future earnings streams are recalculated as if you had them today, and all the future expenditure streams are also figured out as of today, and comparing the two.  Then his team figured out where the Govt would be in future years, and concluded that (A) the US Govt was hopelessly upside-down, and (B) that future deficits would be totally massive, over $500 billion a year. 

So Paul goes to the White House and has this meeting with George and Dick (Cheney).  He sets them down and tells them the bad news.  "Hey, the govt is flat broke, it is all an illusion, we are in the hole by 56 trillion )(or some such astronomical number)"   George doesn't say much to that.  Dick finally grumps/snaps back, "I don't care about deficits, I don't care about the national debt, don't bother me with that stuff." 

Late the next afternoon, Dick Cheney sends a voice message to Paul, saying:  "Don't bring us bad news; You're fired."  Paul apparently never even went over for some final meeting or the usual hearty-fellows goodbye speeches, he simply packed up his suitcase and took the night train back to Pittsburgh. 

Next up was the Financial Crisis, the Bailout, and the perpetual deficit.  You can thank Dick Cheney for that. Cheney understood that it was not going to bite "him," it was going to bite "the next guy."  Just classic. 

OK, so what do we do about the debt and deficits now?! The people of the United States and Canada both seem to think that we have an unlimited credit card that will always be accepted. It also seems that the rest of the world is in a similar state of economic crisis. There are a few exceptions I am sure. Russia has lots of gold and its people seem to be resigned to their poverty and totalitarian government. Their economy is about the same as Spain's yet they wield power in many areas. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt 

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Edited by ronwagn
added reference

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19 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

OK, so what do we do about the debt and deficits now?! 

Hard to figure.  Either they get paid,or they are defaulted, or they just continue, in some sort of zombie status. 

The only possible way I can see for the deb ts to be paid is through land sales.  The US Govt owns most of the land out West, and in theory it could be sold off.  The problem is that the very rich,the billionaires, and billionaire foreigners especially, would be the buyers.  Ordinary people no longer have any money.  So then the very rich end up owning the country, and as a practical matter then own the government itself, turning the country into some unrecognizable form of autocracy. The society goes back into economic feudalism, with lots of very poor peasants and a clique of the very rich owning everything.  Does that lead to revolution?  Just might. 

Paying the national debt will become a nightmare once interest rates start to rise.  It is only doable today because interest rates have been near zero for years.  I predict that is about to change. 

Edited by Jan van Eck
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I actually have had the same thought about selling off the public lands. My idea would be to limit the sales to those areas that are not National Parks, Forests, Monuments or of other epic natural resources. That leaves most of the Federal land to sell or lease. I would like to see many small parcels of from one to twenty five acres sold to people who want to actually live there or use it for personal recreation. Large parcels could be limited to Americans only or to those who sell their land to us under similar conditions. I haven't given it a lot of thought but you are right. The Masters of the Universe must be left out unless they want to have modestly sized parcels. 

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10 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

Hard to figure.  Either they get paid,or they are defaulted, or they just continue, in some sort of zombie status. 

The only possible way I can see for the deb ts to be paid is through land sales.  The US Govt owns most of the land out West, and in theory it could be sold off.  The problem is that the very rich,the billionaires, and billionaire foreigners especially, would be the buyers.  Ordinary people no longer have any money.  So then the very rich end up owning the country, and as a practical matter then own the government itself, turning the country into some unrecognizable form of autocracy. The society goes back into economic feudalism, with lots of very poor peasants and a clique of the very rich owning everything.  Does that lead to revolution?  Just might. 

Paying the national debt will become a nightmare once interest rates start to rise.  It is only doable today because interest rates have been near zero for years.  I predict that is about to change. 

I actually have had the same thought about selling off the public lands. My idea would be to limit the sales to those areas that are not National Parks, Forests, Monuments or of other epic natural resources. That leaves most of the Federal land to sell or lease. I would like to see many small parcels of from one to twenty five acres sold to people who want to actually live there or use it for personal recreation. Large parcels could be limited to Americans only or to those who sell their land to us under similar conditions. I haven't given it a lot of thought but you are right. The Masters of the Universe must be left out unless they want to have modestly sized parcels. 

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2 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

Large parcels could be limited to Americans only or to those who sell their land to us under similar conditions. I haven't given it a lot of thought but you are right. The Masters of the Universe must be left out unless they want to have modestly sized parcels. 

The Masters of the Universe will simply buy up the parcels sold to poorer individuals,for a slight premium.  The buyers will in effect become straw buyers, exploited in yet another theft of the national treasury. Right now, the largest (or pretty much the largest) owner of Western lands after the govt itself is Ted turner.  What is he up to, seven million acres?  I lost track. 

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13 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

The Masters of the Universe will simply buy up the parcels sold to poorer individuals,for a slight premium.  The buyers will in effect become straw buyers, exploited in yet another theft of the national treasury. Right now, the largest (or pretty much the largest) owner of Western lands after the govt itself is Ted turner.  What is he up to, seven million acres?  I lost track. 

Not if it is made illegal and living on one parcel of land, for a large portion of the year is put into law.

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3 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

Not if it is made illegal and living on one parcel of land, for a large portion of the year is put into law.

How many people can you visualize buying enough parcels of their part of $20,000,000,000,000 worth of land and moving to the wilderness to live where there is no means of employment? At $100,000 per parcel, that would require 20 million families with that kind of cash.

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1 minute ago, William Edwards said:

How many people can you visualize buying enough parcels of their part of $20,000,000,000,000 worth of land and moving to the wilderness to live where there is no means of employment? At $100,000 per parcel, that would require 20 million families with that kind of cash.

There are not 20 million people with even one thousand dollars of spare cash, not these days. 

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(edited)

There are a lot of people who would love to live out West. Many Californians have been moving to neighboring states for decades. Millions more will be. California has many advantages and many disadvantages. Some are young people that don't want to live in California (name whatever crowded state ) Many are retirees who want a rural retirement that is within their price range. Buy selling out in expensive areas they can live a life they always wanted to but never had the ability to before. Development brings more development. Small cities in the West can become larger and that provides a nexus for other rural dwellers to rely on. 

Edited by ronwagn

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1 minute ago, mthebold said:

I might have to hang that on my wall as a reminder. 

I love it! Why did it fade?

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Just now, ronwagn said:

I love it! Why did it fade?

It has not.  It is a living document, admittedly for a small group of people in the USA and Canada, mostly.  

Six US Presidents adopted it for their personal life guidance, including both Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D Roosevelt.   Herb Kelleher over at Southwest Airlines lives by it, and the lines were carried by Admiral Peary to the North Pole and Alan Bean to the Moon.  And then you have these fourth-tier guys like me who make their best effort.  Cheers.

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5 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

It has not.  It is a living document, admittedly for a small group of people in the USA and Canada, mostly.  

Six US Presidents adopted it for their personal life guidance, including both Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D Roosevelt.   Herb Kelleher over at Southwest Airlines lives by it, and the lines were carried by Admiral Peary to the North Pole and Alan Bean to the Moon.  And then you have these fourth-tier guys like me who make their best effort.  Cheers.

You are very modest Jan.

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33 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

There are not 20 million people with even one thousand dollars of spare cash, not these days. 

$100,000 is small change to many Pacific Coasters and other well to do people around the country.  My wife and I could probably swing it. We moved out of California decades ago and moved to the rural Midwest. My cousin just did the same. My sister moved to Colorado back to California, and now to Portland. The top ten percent are still 35 million people. They could buy it just for recreation land. 

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30 minutes ago, mthebold said:

Also, this mentality should be introduced in public schools.  Instead, we're taught to be ashamed of and apologize for our history.  It's no wonder young men are listless; they've no idea who they are and what they're working towards!

All true, Paul. 

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10 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Paul, making money is an art form, it is not learned in some MBA school, that is a charade.  The art, or skill, of making money is a bit like the old guild systems of the Medieval Period.  It is an (unspoken) skill set that remains with the previous generation, and is passed on from father to son.  The art form is learned, and by definition is totally elitist. And that is why it is so in disrepute in a society that has adopted the rationalizations of being a meritocracy, which is where the USA and Canada are today. 

Going with membership in the club that understands the art of making money is an understanding that one is privileged, yet another concept that is held in scorn in the meritocracy.  Yet, in the old school, the privileged understood that those privileges also encompassed deep social obligations.  Those obligations included charity, where the rich, the successful members of the Guild, would support by large gifts of that money various social projects that governments either would not or could not.  Some obvious examples of noblesse oblige are in the huge gifts handed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art,  where very rich have donated entire building wings on their nickel.  You will see large contributions to all manner of charitable programs, and of course to elitist universities.  It is not for nothing that the Endowment of Harvard is running at about $35 billion. 

One of the major structural problems in today's societies, and you get this around the globe, is that the very rigid parameters of the memberships of these money guilds have broken down.  You still see it in some places;  I went to a very exclusive and elite prep school as a youth, and one classmate of mine recently paid for two new buildings on the campus, each at $50 million.  He just writes the check. What this does is allow the next generation of the money makers be ell educated, in areas both of basic science and of old-master literature and philosophy, and that is well before college, this is at the high-school level.  So the sons of the old money-makers always have a massive advantage over everybody else, they not only learn from their own fathers the art of making money, but also grow up in an environment where literally everyone they are with is from the same group.  And the values of that old school are thus passed forward, including the value of the obligation of sharing, of philanthropy, and of obligation. 

Unfortunately the social shift to Meritocracy is wrecking that value system, and now you see the phenomenon of the Oligarchs, especially in places such as Russia, Ukraine, China, Mexico.  These are smart people who have picked up on some of the concepts of making money but, because they never grew up in the Guild Society, have no corollary sense of social obligation.  It is a profound form of selfishness that the Old School leadership would not recognize.  Today much of the problems in American society flow from the loss of the sense of social obligation that the previous generations of money makers had.  The new view, of the meritocrats, is that "government" and its own legions of meritocrats will be the entity responsible for social mattes - not only the art galleries and the libraries, not only the schools, but all charities and all philanthropic operations.  And that will be supported by taxes - which end up falling on the poorer economic groups, simply because the rich have the legions of tax attorneys who have the technical skills to ensure that they pay little to nothing. 

The reality is that the meritocrats of the government have no ability to fund, or operate, these social endeavors, so society ends up cracking, and that is what you new see in America  (and Canada, although a bit less, as Canada is much tighter in the cohesiveness of the money class).  The reaction is that the "others,", everybody outside the money guild, ends up worse off, and their children are worse off, and society starts to drift apart into camps.  From there, you end up with political disruption, and you see the results in the Trump election and the fractures in France.  There are other elements that have badly disrupted the old order, but that goes beyond what I would describe here and is massively politically incorrect, so I won't go there publicly. Interestingly the guys of the making-money crowd were not particularly greedy; all they wanted from society was a comfortable income stream, the inheritance of the family's estate in the rich enclave they grew up in, and a nice sailboat or motor yacht.  For the rest,they and their wives would indulge in the charities the proliferated in those communities.  Today, the meritocrats that have crashed the money group have become grotesque caricatures, with 230-foot yachts and 100-million-dollar mansions,and behave very badly, especially in their divorces. They think they are part of the old-money crowd,but are not, and they horrify the Old School by their behavior. 

I don't have any solutions to this, other than the fall-back to the private mottos of the old school.  My own is:

The Cultivation of General Literature and Social Culture, the Advancement and Encouragement of Intellectual Excellence, the Promotion of Honorable Friendship and Useful Citizenship, the Development of a Spirit of Tolerance and Respect for the Rights and Views of Others, the Maintenance of Gentlemanly Dignity, Self-Respect, and Morality in All Circumstances, and the Union of Stout Hearts and Kindred Interests to Secure to Merit its Due Reward.

 

 

The Cultivation of General Literature and Social Culture, the Advancement and Encouragement of Intellectual Excellence, the Promotion of Honorable Friendship and Useful Citizenship, the Development of a Spirit of Tolerance and Respect for the Rights and Views of Others, the Maintenance of Gentlemanly Dignity, Self-Respect, and Morality in All Circumstances, and the Union of Stout Hearts and Kindred Interests to Secure to Merit its Due Reward.  

 

Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity Motto

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I saved it in the Pacifico font but forgot oilprice.com doesn't have it. 

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14 minutes ago, mthebold said:

I need more of the culture you exemplify so I can spread it.  How does one get exposed to this?  Who do I interact with to see it in person? 

Paul, the Statement of Principles is not as if it is patented.  Nothing to prevent you from adopting it as your own, and (as you say) printing it on cardboard stock and handing it on your wall.  You are also quite free to encourage others to adopt it - something like the Rotary Club.  Hey, go for it!

 

 

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Just now, ronwagn said:

I saved it in the Pacifico font but forgot oilprice.com doesn't have it. 

We'll let you slide on that one, Ron.  Good sleuthing, though.  

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11 minutes ago, mthebold said:

 

And then, once I've internalized it, I can pass it along. 

Very good, Paul.  There is a lot to be said for self-improvement.   My congratulations on your continuing efforts.   Look at it this way:  you will become an inspiration for your children and grandchildren.  Cheers.

P.S.  I am sorry that you had a rough patch with the public schools.  I have maintained that the best investment any billionaire can make is to make substantial gifts to his local public schools  (and keep some control over the spending, so that bureaucrats use the money wisely!).  There re some communities that have immensely benefited from this largesse.  Not enough.  We shall have to keep working on it. Cheers.

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