05/31/19

Mexican Tariffs

We woke up today to find out that Free Range, Free Trading, Fair Trading President Trump had imposed a 5% tariff on Mexican goods imported into the United States that will grow to 25%. We imported almost $400,000,000,000 of Mexican goods into the US in 2018.

Do the math — 5% equals $20,000,000,000 while 25% equals $100,000,000,000 in tariff revenue.

I have one thing to say — “What took you so damn long?”

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I will spare you the factual basis for why the US should punish Mexico other than to say that Mexico is the launching pad for illegal immigration into the United States.

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05/31/19

Toasts

Oh, my God, please learn how to give a toast.

So, I’m with a few pals in a festive mood — summer in Texas is a festive occasion. Why not?

I offer a toast and somebody looks at me and says, “I’ve never given a toast. How do you do that?”

When I stop laughing, I ask, “You’re serious?”

He says, “Yes. Deadly.”

“You’re an idiot.”

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05/30/19

Dollar General Revisited

As you know I am enamored with Dollar General — America’s neighborhood store. I wrote about them about nine months ago when their stock was at $107.84/share.

Dollar General, A Love Affair

Now, it is at $127.10 and they have announced an additional 900 stores to be opened in the 44 states in which they operate. This is an example of simple execution. Nothing more.

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Simple plan. Steady execution. Recognition and reward from Wall Street.

Dollar General’s chart looks excellent and it is likely to continue to grow in the same direction. Bravo!

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05/30/19

The New Legal Concepts Post Mueller

Robert Swan Mueller III wrote a book. It was a longish book at 441 pages. Not War & Peace long, but still long enough that nobody has read it.

You have not read it. The talking heads have not read it. The Speaker of the House of the US House of Representatives admits she has not read it. It is the most unread book in America.

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You can buy an eBook ($1.99) or an audiobook on Amazon. Sales have been slow. The author is Robert S Mueller III, a Princeton undergrad and a Virginia Law grad.

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05/29/19

Patriotism 2019 Version

In response to a posting about Memorial Day, bright guy calls me and says,

“Different world when you were in your twenties. The draft exerted discipline on how you served the country. The Army was much bigger. We were engaged in a big war. Not the same today. How does a young person harness their patriotic fervor? What does individual patriotism look like in 2019?”

Memorial Day — The View From Another Direction

Good question.

What does an American citizen do today to pick up the patriotic tendencies of a Founding Father?

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05/28/19

Tariffs Fallout

Everybody is an expert on tariffs, right? We talked about them when we discussed the Canadian Softwoods Lumber Tariffs and how it worked to American advantage. I’ll put a link at the bottom of this blog post.

Here’s some good news — Fiat Chrysler is going to build one of the largest automobile production facilities in the US joining other foreign manufacturers who are making huge investments in the Carolinas (talking to you, BMW and Mercedes).

This new plant has a price tag of $1.6B and will be accompanied by a $0.9B expansion of an adjoining facility.

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05/28/19

CEO Shoptalk — Perspective

Rains are coming because it’s the end of May and it’s Austin By God Texas. Like a bit of rain.

So, two CEOs are talking and we get into a chat about the difference between young/first time CEOs and experienced/serial CEOs.

I hazard the following, “Think it’s perspective.” There are a few other thoughts, but we keep circling back to perspective.

Serial CEOs know what is important — and they are better at it — because they have done it before. They made the mistakes, paid full tuition for the education.

On the heels of the Memorial Day post yesterday, I got a few emails from CEOs (former clients) who said the same thing, essentially, paraphrasing: “You were doing very different things than we were doing at the same age — early to mid-twenties. I assume it gave you a different perspective on things.”

Old lions and new lions are lions, but they have a different perspective on things.

Please note this is a nuclear lion family. They live in Llano, Texas. What is each of the lions thinking about.

Daddy lion is thinking about the checklist for the board meeting (he read the Checkist Manifesto as a cub and knows it works) and making sure the meeting docs are in the DropBox. He’s also thinking he needs to talk to those tigers in marketing to make damn sure they are following the agreed to process.

Momma lion is pondering whether Insta or FB is the way to go on marketing. She’s thinking about whether to have another cub, but is worried about the dilution if she has to raise capital.

Cub lion is thinking — “Wow, that looks cool. Maybe I should re-do my logo? Or become a B Corporation, cause that’s way cool. A blog — maybe start writing a blog.”

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05/27/19

Memorial Day — The View From Another Direction

Having been an Army brat, having grown up on Army posts, having a mother and father who served in World War II, having a father who was a career soldier, having been educated at Virginia Military Institute, and having served in the Army for five years — I have a view of Memorial Day from a different point of the compass.

Both of my parents are buried in a military cemetery. This is the Central Texas military cemetery next to Fort Hood with the Hill Country in the background. It is hallowed ground.

Just a few years ago, it was a pasture. Now, it is filled as shown because a lot of soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

I went to school with men who are buried in places like this. Fifteen VMI graduates have been killed in the War on Terror.

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05/24/19

Tethered to Reality v Untethered

Of late, I am convinced that there are multiple parallel worlds in which we and others exist. These worlds being “parallel” never intersect. When they do, the laws of physics create sparks, sparks create fire, and the fire burns bright until it is extinguished by reality. In the end, reality trumps all.

Case in point is the relentless pursuit of President Donald J Trump by the Jabba the Hutt figure, Congressman Jerry Lewis Nadler, Chairman House Judiciary Committee.

Jerry, 71, has been a Congressman since 1992, that’s 27 years. Before that he was in the NY Assembly for 15 years. All told, he has been a politician for 42 years.

[Historical quirk — Jerry was elected Stuyvesant High School 1964-65 student government president wherein his campaign was managed by Dick Morris. Yes, that Dick Morris.]

Jerry sees himself as a tranformational figure in both life and politics. Here he is after his own substantial transformation. Bravo!

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