10/22/19

National Security — The Catchall Slur Or Justification?

We hear the term “national security” bandied about a lot, but what exactly does it mean at the boot top level?

First, let’s be clear as to what the term “national security” is supposed to mean, shall we? For the purpose of our discussion, it is the protection of the United States from direct attack or preventing any hostile or destructive action against us.

It may entail economic security, environmental security, military security, political security, energy security, or the security of our natural resources.

As to economic security, one could easily see the issue of trade as being an area of interest in the context of national security.

In the machinations of the Paris Accord, the issue of environmental security was obvious. The US was tasked to make enormous changes and to provide substantial funding while countries like China were to do next to nothing because they were “developing” countries in spite of the fact they were the world’s largest polluter. This is how President Trump justified his decision to pull the plug.

Military security is paramount in such places as the Middle East or freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea where China is on the rise threatening Taiwan with invasion and militarizing a dozen islands and atolls. Watching how “One China, Two Systems” plays out in Hong Kong is a wakeup call to the US as it relates to China, a vicious Communist regime that thwarts and smashes the yearnings of its people for freedom.

The Russian attack on our elections is an area of focus as it relates to political security.

The sanctity of the free passage of oil through the Straits of Hormuz is an area pertinent to energy security — though less so to us than ever before, because of our own domestic energy production.

The sale of uranium to Russia during the Obama administration is an example of a topic pertinent to securing our natural resources.

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10/21/19

CEO Shoptalk — Trust, A Deliverable Commodity

One of those days in the ATX when you know things are going to be alright — not a cloud in the sky, Pantone blue [Pantone PMS Process Blue C/#0085ca].

So, a CEO is talking to me about trust in a global sense. We define it thusly: Trust is the reliance upon the integrity, strength, surety of a person or a thing thereby engendering confidence.

Seems to fit the bill. From a business perspective, it is one of those things that you want, but how do you manage it?

So, he says, “To get this conversation started tell me some things or people you trust.” To which I reply thusly.

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10/20/19

Entrepreneurship In Words

Entrepreneurship.

The other day, I’m having a cup of coffee — no latte, just coffee — with a man whose opinion I respect. It is a mutual respect, one built over a long period of time. Some of that time spent in close consultation, some of that time passing with few words exchanged.

We get to talking about what it means to be an entrepreneur — between us we have more than 70 years of experience, but we both struggle to put meat on the bones of that subject.

Here is what we say to each other.

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10/17/19

Republican Mark Sanford Is Running For President

I have never liked Mark Sanford — when he was Governor of South Carolina or when he was a Congressman.

You may remember him as the chap who found his soul mate in a woman from Argentina while he was inconveniently encumbered with a wife and a number of young children.

Really bad timing.

Miss Argentina dumped him. He had invited her to hike the Appalachian Trail — I may have garbled that story.

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10/17/19

The US Securities and Exchange Commission Never Sleeps — Crypto

The crypto industry had called for clarity from the US Securities and Exchange Commission for years.

Let’s be clear. What the crypto industry wants is for the US SEC to roll over and play dead and stop with its pesky rules, interpretations, and “hopelessly outdated Howey Test” nonsense.

It is reported that the men in Hell asked for ice water this morning. The Devil is considering it, but initial reactions are not encouraging.

What has happened is that the US SEC has begun to take firm stands and firm stands mean enforcement actions.

Two that come to mind are the Kik/Kin issue that has blown through its MUI (matter under investigation) notification, a notice of a formal investigation(an important first step because it authorizes the use of subpoenas), a Wells Notice, a Wells submission (formal reply by the company), and a formal complaint — an enforcement action.

Kik subsequently put itself to death and is solely focused on Kin intending to fight it out to the death.

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10/15/19

China — The Pinnacle Of Subtlety

President-for-Life Xi Jinping issued a clear warning about the state of affairs in Hong Kong while being the first Chinese President to visit India in more than two decades.

The fact that he made these comments while on such a monumental foreign visit adds emphasis to their content.

In a statement at a press availability that incorporates all the subtlety of professional wrestling, Pres Xi said that any attempts to divide China will end in “crushed bodies and shattered bones.”

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10/15/19

Smile Direct Club — No Smiling Allowed

Comes now the curious story of Smile Direct Club — the worst Initial Public Offering of 2019.

IPO prices at $23 and rests comfortably this morning at a bit above $9. Ouch. We are talking a huge loss of value, down 60%.

Here are the Smile Direct Club founders, Jordan Katzman and Alex Fenkel. Does it strike you as odd that neither of these co-founders are smiling? Seems a little creepy as if they are doing it on purpose.

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