Smalltown USA – War on Four Fronts

Smalltown USA will benefit (relatively) from war on four fronts.


Merri and I happily arrived back at Little Horse Creek  over the weekend!  This was the view yesterday as I wrote this note.

The cool mountain weather… lack of unnatural sounds… freshness of the air and water are as refreshing as the lightening bugs at night under a Milky Way and pitch black starry, starry skies.

Plus there is a certain comfort being secluded in deep woods with an abundant food supply and no crowds… noise or traffic around.

These qualities of comfort and isolation are growing in value because of this quote you”ll want to remember… “The Mexican cartels are not just about crossing the U.S. border — they’re about developing a multinational operation”.

This fact about the drug cartels could and probably will dramatically affect your life… and mine… and my family’s… and just about everyone in the Western world.

The conclusion of this  particular message is so disturbing to me that I feel compelled to first remind you (and reaffirm this fact to myself) that every generation has its cross to bear.   There are times when it is hard to remember that every problem creates opportunity. This is such a case.

Mark Twain wrote about this in 1899 when he penned a note that said:  “I have been reading the morning paper. I do it every morning–knowing well that I shall find in it the usual depravities and basenesses and hypocrisies and cruelties that make up civilization, and cause me to put in the rest of the day pleading for the damnation of the human race. I cannot seem to get my prayers answered, yet I do not despair.”

So let’s tie several facts… get some conclusions… and hope they ARE NOT correct.

Then let’s start figuring what to do personally for the betterment of ourselves… our family’s future and hopefully the rest of the world.  This is just in case our guesswork comes true.

We’ll enter the problem with a quote from Christian Science Monitor.  (There are links to the numerous articles we look at in this message at the end so you can delve more deeply into this scenario if you wish).

This February 2010 article by CSM staff writer Gordon Lubold entitled  “QDR: Pentagon revises its long-held two-war doctrine” says:

A key Pentagon strategic document released Monday, called the Quadrennial Defense Review, increases the emphasis on a new range of threats, including cybersecurity. It departs from the military’s traditional goal of being able to fight two conventional wars at once.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s efforts to focus the Defense Department on the wars at hand – not the ones being waged in the minds of futurists fixated on China or Russia – is the guiding principle behind a new strategic document that sets the Pentagon’s priorities for the next several years.

In the past, the QDR has demanded that the US be prepared to confront two major, conventional wars at one time. But noting that the US is already engaged in two wars, Gates said Monday that it’s time to rethink the “construct” of national security.

The new QDR outlines that the Pentagon must be prepared to fight a “much broader range of security challenges,” including high-tech ones in cyberspace, as well as the ones in which the US is currently engaged.

This does not sound good to me… but makes sense by the fact that the US is already fighting wars on three fronts and could soon see a fourth (in Korea).

Where’s the third front?

We can see the third front already building five years ago in an August 2005  USA Today article by Danna Harman of August entitled “Mexican drug cartels’ wars move closer to U.S. border”.

That article said:  CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — The kingpins of this hemisphere’s illegal drug trade are no longer Colombians.

Mexican federal agents patrol the streets of Nuevo Laredo, a city of 350,000 on the Rio Grande. Nuevo Laredo been hit hardest by the drug wars’ violence this year.In the largest shake-up since the 1980s, Mexican cartels have leveraged the profits from their delivery routes to wrest control from Colombian producers, senior U.S. drug officials say. The shift also is the result of the success Colombian and U.S. authorities have had in cracking down on Colombia’s drug lords.

“Today, the Mexicans have taken over and are running the organized crime, and getting the bulk of the money,” says John Walters, the White House drug czar. “The Colombians have pulled back.”

Walters says Mexican drug lords are calling the shots in what the United Nations estimates is a $142 billion a year business in cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine and other illicit drugs on America’s streets. One consequence of the new dominance of the Mexican cartels is a spike in violence along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border, where rival cartels are battling law enforcement authorities and one another for control of transit corridors.

The problem started being acknowledged later.  An 2009 MSNBC article by Alex Johnson “In Mexico’s drug wars, fears of a U.S. front
Violence that has killed thousands is beginning to cross border, officials say” is an example.

The article said:  With U.S. forces fighting two wars abroad, the nation’s top military officer made an important visit last week to forestall a third.

He went to Mexico.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the trip to confer with Mexican leaders about the Merida Initiative, a three-year plan signed into law last June to flood the U.S.-Mexican border region with $1.4 billion in U.S. assistance for law-enforcement training and equipment, as well as technical advice and training to bolster Mexico’s judicial system.

For awhile we have tried fighting this third front war with Mexican military.

Now that facade has come tumbling down as evidenced by an article in the  Arizona Republic by by Erin Kelly and Ginger Rough “President Obama to send 1,200 troops to Mexican border”

Here is an excerpt:  President Barack Obama will deploy up to 1,200 National Guard troops to help secure the Southwest Border against Mexican drug cartels, White House officials said Tuesday.

Obama also is requesting that Congress approve $500 million for enhanced border protection and law enforcement activities as part of an emergency spending bill expected to come to the Senate floor this week.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and a bipartisan group of border state lawmakers in Congress have been urging Obama to send in National Guard troops to respond to the high-profile violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 20,000 Mexicans have died in drug-related violence, and Arizona law enforcement officials have complained of increased home-invasion robberies and other crime in the state’s border towns.

Giffords has been calling for the deployment since immediately after the March 27 murder of Cochise County rancher Robert Krentz.The White House has not said exactly where the troops will be stationed, but Giffords said no place is as desperate for help as Southern Arizona.

Will 1,200 soldiers be enough?

This is anyone’s guess… and I sure am not military strategist but the Arizona article article goes on to add:

While Giffords welcomed the announcement, the White House action is not expected to satisfy everyone. Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, both Republicans, unveiled a border action plan last month calling for the immediate deployment of 3,000 National Guard troops – more than twice as many as Obama is sending.

Would 3,000 soldiers on the Mexican border be enough?

A  June 1, 2010 USA Today article by Chris Hawley, “Mexican cartels go beyond their borders” outlines one reason why small military presence on the US border may not be enough.

That article says:  ACAYUCAN, Mexico — On a balmy night, five sport-utility vehicles full of gunmen roared up to the gates of the immigration detention center in Acayucan. They were on a rescue mission.

The gunmen pointed assault rifles at the guardhouse. They entered without firing a shot and loaded up 13 Guatemalans who had been detained while traveling to a training camp run by the Zetas, a Mexican cartel. Then they sped off into the night, according to the Mexico Attorney General’s office.

The April raid is part of a disturbing new trend in the U.S.-backed war against Mexico’s drug cartels as Mexican traffickers turn to Central America for reinforcements, ammunition and protection by corrupt authorities, experts say.

“The Mexicans are gaining ground here, and the police can’t stop them,” said Helen Mack, president of Guatemala’s Myrna Mack Foundation, which studies crime trends.

Three days after the April 19 raid in Acayucan, six of the freed Guatemalans were recaptured in Tlaxcala state, hundreds of miles away. They told the attorney general’s office they were on their way to a Zetas training camp in the northern Mexican state of San Luis Potosí.

On May 19, at least three Guatemalans were among a group of eight gunmen who attacked Mexican marines patrolling near San Carlos, a town hundreds of miles north of Guatemala, according to the Mexico navy.

In Guatemala, police found a Zetas training camp complete with an arsenal of assault rifles and a stash of 500 grenades last year, according to the Guatemala Ministry of Defense.

Another Zetas weapons stash found near Guatemala City included 3,800 bullets and 560 grenades with markings indicating they had come from the Guatemalan military, the ministry said.

“There’s been so much focus on the U.S.-Mexico border that people forget about the back door,” said Fred Burton, vice president of Stratfor, an Austin-based global intelligence firm.

“Entire regions of Guatemala are now essentially under the control of (drug trafficking organizations), the most visible of which is the Mexican group known as the ‘Zetas,’ ” a U.S. State Department report said in March.

The Mexican traffickers are also strengthening their grip on Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador, the U.S. State Department says.

Honduran drug czar Julian González issued a warning in December about the growing presence of the Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel and La Familia Michoacana, another Mexican drug gang. He was gunned down soon afterward.

The Mexican presence reflects a major change in the way drugs are smuggled, said Mauricio Cárdenas, a Latin America expert at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

In Guatemala, street gangs that once used homemade weapons are now wielding assault rifles provided by the Mexican cartels, Mack said.

“The Mexican cartels are not just about crossing the U.S. border — they’re about developing a multinational operation,” Cárdenas said. (my bold).

Where is the battlefield?


There are a number of concerns here.

Third Front Concern #1:  deterioration of US civil liberties. If US territory becomes a war zone… what law applies…civil or military?  We have already seen this conflict and confusion over… who has rights and what are they… growing via the war on terrorism.  The signing of Arizona bill, SB 1070 by Governor Jan Brewer is another sign of the struggle in human rights. This bill is the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations and makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and gives police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.  The brings on the age old question… which is worse… the crime or the law?

Do I have the right to walk around without a document saying who I am in my pocket?  Does someone have the right to detain me if I am doing no wrong except not having the document?

I have clients who live in border states complaining about this problem.  One delegate from South Texas told me that he was stopped three times just driving in the country, doing nothing wrong, except perhaps having a car with tinted windows.    The stops, he said, “were not pleasant”… the TSA agents were on the verge of being rude… hostile… for no reason. He made the mistake… just once of trying to make a joke and was severely reprimanded by the officer.

Yet the problem of reduced civil rights may get worse.

An excerpt from  February 23 New York Times article by Randal C. Archibold entitled, Wave of Drug Violence Is Creeping Into Arizona From Mexico, Officials Say says:

PHOENIX — The raging drug war among cartels in Mexico and their push to expand operations in the United States has led to a wave of kidnappings, shootings and home invasions in Arizona, state and federal officials said at a legislative hearing on Monday.

The drug trade has long brought violence to the state, which serves as a hub as illicit drugs and illegal immigrants are smuggled to the rest of the nation.

Over all, in this city and surrounding Maricopa County, homicides and violent crime decreased last year. But the authorities are sounding an alarm over what they consider changing tactics in border-related crime that bear the marks of the violence in Mexico.

A home invasion here last year was carried out by attackers wielding military-style rifles and dressed in uniforms similar to a Phoenix police tactical unit. The discovery of grenades and other military-style weaponry bound for Mexico is becoming more routine, as is hostage-taking and kidnapping for ransom, law enforcement officials said.

The Phoenix police regularly receive reports involving a border-related kidnapping or hostage-taking in a home.

The Maricopa County attorney’s office said such cases rose to 241 last year from 48 in 2004, though investigators are not sure of the true number because they believe many crimes go unreported.

The violence in Mexico — where more than 6,000 people were killed in the last year in drug-related violence, double the number of the previous year — is “reaching into Arizona, and that is what is really alarming local and state law enforcement,” said Cmdr. Dan Allen of the State Department of Public Safety.

“We are finding home invasion and attacks involving people impersonating law enforcement officers,” Commander Allen told the State Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Jonathan Paton of the Tucson area, called the hearing. “They are very forceful and aggressive. They are heavily armed, and they threaten, assail, bind and sometimes kill victims.”

Chief David Denlinger of the State Department of Public Safety said that while tactics like home invasions might not be new in the drug trade, “they are getting more prevalent.”

“Border crimes are not just on the border,” Chief Denlinger said, pointing to posters showing weapons, drugs and people who had been held hostage.

This type of problem in the US could increase the forcefulness of the US law enforcement and make contact with the police less pleasant.

Many of us have experienced the civil rights twilight zone at airports.  Some have found this very disturbing… so much so they no longer fly.   One reader wrote:  If I ever decide to travel by air again I’ll definitely make NC a destination.  We would love to come to one of your events at the farm. Last time I traveled was an unfortunate catastrophe — got some overzealous security guards who first forced my wife to start removing articles of clothing right in front of everyone.  And when I stepped forward to help her because she has a physical disability and could not pull her belt through the belt loops on her pants (which they had demanded she do), they decided I too was a potential threat to world peace.  Long story, but to cut to the chase it was a very unpleasant experience being treated like a criminal (never been arrested, hadn’t even had a parking violation in 20 years, no radical associations, etc.) for simply trying to help my wife get her belt off.  And so I swore I’d never set foot in another airport as long as I live.  Guess what?  That was three or four years ago and I haven’t missed flying for a single moment since.

When doesn’t a person have the right to help his or her spouse… or a handicapped person?

Such sad tales may grow.  In fact it was recently reported in a USA Today article “Pushy fliers may show up on TSA’s radar  by Thomas Frank. The article says:  WASHINGTON — Airline passengers who get frustrated and kick a wall, throw a suitcase or make a pithy comment to a screener could find themselves in a little-known Homeland Security database.  The Transportation Security Administration says it is keeping records of people who make its screeners feel threatened as part of an effort to prevent workplace violence.  Privacy advocates fear the database could feed government watch lists and subject innocent people to extra airport screening.

There is no simple answer either.  TSA employees also have rights. There are immigration problems in Arizona that threaten the safety of law abiding citizens.  Yet history suggests that the pendulum usually swings too far.  The loss of rights… originally aimed at protecting rights… could well be worse than the protection.

Third Front Concern #2:  More global entanglements and a war that cannot be won.

Remember the DMZ?

Since war and Korea are in the news, let’s look at the…


DMZ in Korea from…



Yet the Vietnam DMZ and Pakistan today may be better examples of other similar situations which stop winning forces from pursuing their enemy. Such DMZs create wars that cannot be won.  Will US and Mexican troops end up fighting terrorists who are trained in and retreat to Guatemala, and other Central American states?

This leads to the third concern… death by a thousand cuts.

Third Front Concern #3: More Deficits. More Debt… More Money spent that we do not have. More Money withdrawn from positive social needs such as education.

Already the Western world is deeply in debt.  The United States and the US dollar suffer from debt and overspending that really started to grow with Lyndon Johnson’s “Guns & Butter.”

A number of US administrations in a row have turned that concept into a fine art… yet law and order must prevail so more goes into military expenditures… less into education… infrastructure… and other investments that could bring positive social evolution.

This creates a harsher society… one that encourages drug use to finance our enemy.

These three concerns could make parts of the Western world far less comfortable as places to stay.  Smalltown USA could prosper (relatively) for numerous reasons from a war on four fronts.

We’ll see why and what we can do to create opportunity and help stop or slow the negative downwards spiral in the Western world in the next several articles. Stay tuned!


See why Ecuador can benefit in troubled times.

We’ll look at ways to live, invest, do business during a three or four front war at our June 24 to 27 Quantum Wealth course in West Jefferson… the epitome of Smalltown USA.

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Fwd: keppler

Michael Kepler CEO Keppler Asset Management.

Michael is a brilliant mathematician.  We have tracked his analysis for over 20 years.   He continually researches international major stock markets and compares their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return.  He compares each stock market’s history.  From this, he develops his Good Value Stock Market Strategy and rates each market as a Buy, Neutral or Sell market.  His analysis is rational, mathematical and does not cause worry about short term ups and downs.  Keppler’s strategy is to diversify into an equally weighted portfolio of the MSCI Indices of each BUY market.

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Here are links to the articles quoted above:

QDR: Pentagon revises its long-held two-war doctrine

Mexican drug cartels’ wars move closer to U.S. border

In Mexico’s drug wars, fears of a U.S. front

President Obama to send 1,200 troops to Mexican border

Mexican cartels go beyond their borders

Wave of Drug Violence Is Creeping Into Arizona From Mexico, Officials Say

Pushy fliers may show up on TSA’s radar