I can’t count the time’s I have told you this was coming:  You see, we’re on an escalation path with regards to U.S. relations with multiple countries in South and Central America.  And – it’s all about money.

First, we are continuing to recalibrate our views of how things will go.  As of early this morning, the stock market futures were pointing to another small pop up.  To the top of the “blue band” in the particular oscillator that we think may give us some hints of “news to come…”

As you can see, the markets might be in a powerful “sell the news” position having been busy since Christmas trying to “buy the rumors.”  This is not financial advice; just how the interplay of large events of great financial importance have seemingly worked out in the past.

Product Escalation Path

Unlike most (normal) people, I tend to look at everything is a product.  Although my use of the term is easily misconstrued, so let’s clarify.

Just as in physics f=ma (force equals the product of mass times acceleration)  all human activity produces an economic product.

That is, humans do (work) and there is money (reward) involved so that gives you product.   P=wr.

That’s how we blithely view the world in our odd, logical (Spock-like at times) semi-detached view.  We look at an issue like Climate and we see that as a p=wr conflict at many levels.  The product is economic activity and the work is (studies, data, and unproven “conclusions”) while the “reward” is money, grants, academic standing and  oh yes, saving the planet.  So goes that “Product brochure, anyway.

Behind that Product, we see second-derivatives in play.  Oil and Natural Gas producers have a vested interest in the outcome.  but, then so do governments which have a near-monopoly skimming (as taxes are) a vig or skim from the basic p=wr equation.

Rinse and repeat for ALL news items, save Acts of God and Crazies (AoGC).  The (unfunded, non-government, independently insane) mass shooters and the lighting-stricken airplane that falls from the sky.

Everything else that makes “news” is a Product Monetization.

Every Hollywood star, starlet, bimbo, and hunk?  ‘Fraid so.

Sexual minorities?  Why, of course!

Rebuilding American infrastructure?  Why sure!

And what of the political parties and the “new socialists” and the RINOs like Mitt?  Why, hell yes!  Everyone’s in it for the money and or rewards.  Remember, “rewards” may include sexual favors, power, and dominance and it doesn’t take but a second of open-minded news scanning to provide ample evidence that this is an honest worldview.

War is as Product

Here, our first stop is Smedley Butler.  Who Wikipedia introduces like this:

War Is a Racket is a speech and a 1935 short book, by Smedley D. Butler, a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal of Honor recipient. Based on his career military experience, Butler frankly discusses how business interests commercially benefit, such as war profiteering from warfare. He had been appointed commanding officer of the Gendarmerie during the United States occupation of Haiti, which lasted from 1915 to 1934. “

Butler gets high marks from us on several points, including:

“Anaconda, for instance. Average yearly earnings during the pre-war years 1910-1914 of $10,000,000. During the war years 1914-1918 profits leaped to $34,000,000 per year.

Or Utah Copper. Average of $5,000,000 per year during the 1910-1914 period. Jumped to an average of $21,000,000 yearly profits for the war period.:

His whole book – a blissfully short read – is powerful and almost convincing.  Online free here.

HOWEVER!  Our one bitch with Butler is that he views war as “bad.”  While that is a common view, especially by loved ones of bullet recipients and the like (politicians monetize the hell out of this ), wars do serve sociological (and economic functions) that deserve mention.

For one, they reduce populations.  As Adolph Hitler’s Second Book reveal, it builds a “warrior class” and that’s mighty powerful stuff.

For another, by preparing for an Enemy, they give government and police and all other manner of domestic authority a reason to exist.  Without war – and other threats to your local tribe, where would the justification for levying taxes be?  See “Report from Iron Mountain” for more.

Consequently, we think Butler should have been a little more oriented toward modern marketing and strategic balance in his assessments.

Enemies are “products” too, as all propagandists know.  And, sad to report, but while war may be a racket, it’s a massive society-wide monetization.

Especially in a go-growth world at the end of its resource base.  Without “killing people and breaking things” as my .mil buds note, where’s growth going to come from?

China know this sad fact which is why they’re monetizing up to take Taiwan.  Sorry…reunify.  Need to make sure we use the same lingo as the sales brochures!

So About the Next War with Mexico

First, let’s consider the past, since war with Mexico is not a “new product category.”  We’ve been there, done that.  What we’re facing in a Product ReLaunch.

The Mexican–American War, or the Invasion of Mexico or U.S.–Mexican War (1846–1848).

That’s what socialist-indoctrinated history teaches.  Little attention is paid to the Long Expedition (1819). In that one, James Long led a group (the Filibusters) trying to seize Spanish Texas.

Some historical revisionistas believe Mexico “won” that (product category) but Spain was involved as well, since this was concurrent with the Mexican War of Independence (cinco de mayo, remember?) from Spain which didn’t complete until 1821.

Scattered across the history category we see items like the Texas-Indian Wars.  Then the Spanish, failing to learn history, tried to reclaim Mexico.  That bad “product relaunch” branded as the Spanish Reconquest Attempts of Mexico (1821–1829) didn’t work out for Spain.  I’ve often considered this Spain’s New Coke of their foreign. Gotta roll with the Basques on their assessments.

We can skip over a lot of wars and crises, but in “modern” times we find the Border War (1910–1919)  is particularly instructive since the New Product Launch tonight will be the 100th Anniversary Edition of the Border War – now available in digital formats… Key Wikipedia details of the yester-launch

“From the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, the United States Army was stationed in force along the border and on several occasions fought with Mexican rebels or federals. The height of the conflict came in 1916 when revolutionary Pancho Villa attacked the American border town of Columbus, New Mexico. In response, the United States Army, under the direction of General John J. Pershing, launched an expedition into northern Mexico, to find and capture Villa. Though the operation was successful in finding and engaging the Villista rebels, and in killing Villa’s two top lieutenants, the revolutionary himself escaped and the American army returned to the United States in January 1917. Conflict at the border continued, however, and the United States launched several additional, though smaller operations into Mexican territory until after the American victory in the Battle of Ambos Nogales, leading to the establishment of a permanent border wall.”

Which brings us to tonight’s likely Product ReLaunch by Donald Trump who wants to “fix the broken Product battle” and get on with his agenda.

We have gone from semi-open borders of the 1950’s to a gradual hardening.  This has escalated in recent years to a Low Intensity Conflict and, with the use of tear gas at the border last week, we are seeing a hardening of the line.

Because of drug cartels monetizing the low-level conflict, we see how Border Patrol’s “Product” has evolved from basic “Law Enforcement” to “Para-Military” and now we anticipate an upsell to full-on “Military” is the next logical step on this Product Migration Path.

Now Let’s Line Up the Money

Price points matter.  How much – and who – will pay for the new Product?  Money! Always the big deal in marketing analysis.  We will keep this simple in the interest of time.

On the positive side of the ledger (for open (or uselessly digitized and droned) borders)

  • Illegals provide cheap labor for exploiting by unethical companies. Good for business.
  • Unethical biz drops big cash on border openers.  Good for sell-out liberal politicians.
  • Illegals give reason to hire more Border Patrol and other government bureaucracies.  Let’s open that journal next:
  • Illegals are a boon to government at many levels:
    • Social Services – hiring and empire building
    • Welfare – need I repeat?
    • Child protective services – gotta keep the “victims rolling in” which leads to empire building and….
    • And particularly Education where we find

On the negative side of the ledger

  • Border protection expense is a recurring expense line item.  A wall (or war, for that matter) may reduce short-term recurring expense.
  • Border walls are widely and successfully used by other countries along their borders.  Israel, for one, doesn’t rely on drones.  They use walls.  Oh, and they shoot people.  It’s what borders are about.
  • Unethical employers who hire illegals should pay a living wage. Anti-American, anti-Constitutional behaving politicians should be hounded out of office.
  • Illegals bring in the majority of imported drugs into the country. We lost a relative to Mexican sourced black tar heroin in Las Vegas.
  • Illegals not only bring in sex traffic inbound, but there is some evidence of kidnapped American children being taken south of the border.
  • Will illegal immigrants bring their home politics with them?  Fair question since Someone is kidnapped in Mexico every two hours.
  • Illegals and open borders have increased gang-related activity (MS-13 et alia) in the US.  Even liberals like Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel have to cede this one, though I don’t know if he has..
  • Fixing the border is something NORTHCOM can handle and it would be a work product for them with not too much budget increase..
  • And we don’t need to recount the high profile killings and other crime and mayhem committed by the illegals who’ve been apprehended.

I wanted to lay all this out from a Product Marketing perspective. The piece in the NY Times this morning, “As Government Shutdown Persists, Americans Feel the Bite” is not as even in its balance-sheet attempt.

My personal management style tries to focus on the totality of the balance-sheet, not just the hand-wringing parts.

The useless political hacks in Washington – who didn’t even bother showing up to work yesterday (the lazy pricks!) are finally coming to work today but that won’t solve anything.  Everyone is talking-past one-another and that’s not how this gets resolved.

What we do expect?  At some level? We think Trump will declare a National Emergency.

The markets are in a dandy position to “buy the rumors and sell the news” which  is why in December I told you to circle January 10th for things to begin to move.

One way, ot the other.  Let the show begin!  My nickel side bet is on a National Emergency – which has been used in the past for many “successful product launches.”

Look for it soon in a country near you.

Either that, or he both declares a National Emergency AND fires Robert Mueller – which would even more interesting than a simple Product ReLaunch we brand The 100th Anniversary War.

A Couple of Data Points:

From the NFIB:  Small Business Optimism Virtually Unchanged as Demand for Workers Remains a Constraint.

New International Trade data should be out from Census.  But, remember when you look at this that a lot of the action was predicated on new tariffs going in and that’s been rolled back 90-days, to give time for negotiations…so January may be done when that report gets here in February.  Problems of driving an economy through a rear-view mirror, huh?

Wait!  No report due to shutdown?  Well, the concensus range was  $54.8 B to $51.8 billion if that helps…

Watch closely when the Federal Reserves Consumer Debt Report comes out this afternoon.  (It’s called “Consumer Credit” because they are the creditors, right? Like being up to your ass in “credit” is good, lol…well, it is…for them…)

But hell, what do I know?  We’re just a couple fo spendthrift minimalists in the woods…We’ll take eccentric and whatever’s behind Curtain #3…

The Useful and the Useless

Home edition.

Useful___Useless___:   CoreLogic Loan Performance Insights Find Delinquency Rates in October Dropped to the Lowest Level in at Least 18 Years

Useful___Useless___:   John Travolta shocks fans with fresh new look.

Useful___Useless___:   Navigant Research Report Finds Global Revenue from Advanced Thermostats Is Expected to Reach $5.4 Billion in 2027.

Useful___Useless___:   Pizza Hut UK apologizes to ‘heartbroken’ vegan that was accidentally served dairy

Useful___Useless___:   More U.S. regions see job openings outnumbering jobless.

Useful___Useless___:  Beijing Says 20 Children Have Been Injured in an Attack on a Chinese Primary School.

Useful___Useless___:  ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Documentary on Lifetime Details Sex Abuse Accusations.

Sorry for the long column.  Been studying the NY Times piece “Does It Pay to Be a Writer?.”  Maybe if we charged by the word…

Dow futures up 200, so no shortage of BTFD Greater Fools, is there?  Moron the ‘morrow…

Prepping: What's a "Survival Radio?"
Markets: Do Stocks Forecast "News?"