More About Us Chip Elliott, editor of Market Witch

Market Witch is the Big-Picture investment monthly.

Here's what Market Witch Big-Picture Investing looks like:

Here's what Market Witch Big-Picture Investing looks like in 2017:

The French Presidential election is Sunday April 23rd Next president of France? Marion-Anne Perrine Le Pen, president of France's populist Front National party.

Despite Brexit and despite a likely Le Pen victory which would signal a potential breakup of the EU, the Eurozone's economy quietly outshines the USA's in early 2017. The Euro, currently pegged @ $1.07 against an artificially strong US dollar, is worth $1.27-$1.35. Make money? Buy Euros with strong dollars, sell Euros against a weakening dollar as 2017 progresses.

For the first time in 1300 years, the Pope is not a European. The last non-European Pope before Francis was Pope Gregory III, from Syria, in 731 AD. 1/7th of the world's population is Catholic. Pope Francis is from Argentina and is at odds with the USA's swing to the right. We wonder what he will say when very-Catholic France does the same thing. Latin America is home to more than 40% of the world's Catholics. The fastest-growing Catholic population? Africa. the fastest-growing Evangelical community? South & Central America. The fastest-growing religion? Islam. The fastest-growing religions in the US? Mormons and Bhuddists.

Iron ore futures prices: In the $80s as we begin 2017 currently headed lower into the $70s six months out, but when September and October arrive, we think iron ore will be in the $90s

Gold: flat in early 2017, in the $1200-1300 area, unless there is a dust-up with Russia (not likely) or an altercation with China and its growing military and turf ambitions in the South China Sea and the Pacific (more likely) or a major confrontation with Iran (most likely). Any verifiable evidence that Iran has The Bomb will result in gold moving to $1600. So will the USA's further march toward a Second Civil War. The US is now in the proto-insurgency phase that precedes a second American civil war. Any major actual incendiary event that substantiates this (the February 'free speech' anarchy in Berkeley was a minor one) will take gold to $1600-1800 in a hurry.

Relations between the US and Japan: haven't been better in years. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Donald trump are putting together a $450 billion US infrastructure package that includes high-speed rail systems for the Northeast Texas and California plus joint development of Artificial Intelligence robotics and space and Internet technologies. Projections are that the projects will create 700,000 US jobs.

Marijuana: Oregon Alaska Washington DC Colorado Maine (!!@?!) Massachusetts (!!) and California have legalized recreational pot. Seven more states are likely to pass statutes this year. Marijuana use is still officially illegal by federal law. But both Donald Trump and most-likely new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch are outspoken states' rights advocates. It's clear that the era of marijuana prohibition is over. It's projected to become a $35 billion annual industry by 2025. We earmarked the best marijuana stocks for MW readers early this year. But a safe and sleeper stock in the now-forming marijuana industry is Scotts Miracle-Gro (USA: SMG) This world's largest marketer of branded lawn and garden products is now selling hydroponics gear, indoor lighting systems, growing containers, nutrients, additives and the like to the marijuana industry. SMG is a STRONG LONG-TERM BUY

The USA will do $260 billion in Online retailing this year. It's permanently altering the face of US retailing. At risk: malls, classic department stores like Macy's and Target, and thousands of small businesses. Looking for someone to blame for loss of jobs in America? It's fashionable to blame China but the real culprits may be Amazon eBay and Alibaba. Incidentally most malls most supermarkets and many schools now have armed guards.

China has become the world's largest purchaser of gold, replacing India. China is also the world's largest retail market for diamonds.

Think-tankers estimate that 1.4 trillion photographs will be taken this year. Most are taken by people using smartphone cameras. A surprise from two years ago is that real cameras that use real film- Leica Nikon Canon et al- are making a comeback. Also on the return path 33LP recordings and turntables.

World's largest exporter of iron ore, corn, and soybeans: Brazil.

Largest purveyors of iron ore: Vale (Brazil: VALE) BHP Billiton (UK: BHP Australia: BBL) and Rio Tinto (UK: RIO) All three are STRONG BUYS

One in five American children lives in poverty, giving the United States the highest child-poverty rate of any developed country in the world except for Romania. This validates our economic red flag MW issue in 2005 that the US has become a Third World Country: 95% poor, 5% wealthy, no middle class, unresponsive federal government and a totalitarian media. Decades of research has shown the effects on children of poverty: they grow up with less education and less earning power and are more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, to have psychological trauma as a result of their childhoods, more likely to develop diseases, more likely to end up in prison, and far less likely to have stable marriages and family.

Faring worst: American boys. In 1970 58% of American college students were men. By 2012, 58% of American college students were women. Women are more likely to earn a degree than men.  62% of America's annual crop of college grads are women.

The US is turning a corner now, with a new presidency and a new regime, and may be able to steer itself toward prosperity once more. But fifty years of deteriorating and mostly biased and propagandistic public education have taken a vast toll: Industrial giant Siemens (Germany: Siegy) recently built a gas turbine production plant in Charlotte North Carolina and set about hiring employees. 10,000 applicants showed up at a job fair for 800 positions. Siemens determined that fewer than 15% of applicants were able to pass a reading writing and math screening test geared toward a 9th grade education. Siemens spokesmen say "In our factories there is a computer every 20-30 feet. People need to be much more skilled than they were in the past. There are no jobs for high school graduates." Siemens needs engineers and technicians not people who can't read. Siemens says that it is widening its catchment area to search for employees but acknowledges that some, possible many, of the employees at the new Charlotte plant will have to be brought here from Germany. Siemens is A MARKET WITCH PORTFOLIO FOUNDATION STOCK and a STRONG BUY.

The situation is much similar at Deere (USA:DE) at 3M (USA: MMM) at (Corning (USA: GLW) and many others.

And it's similar with steel. Companies like Nucor (USA: NUE) have almost exclusively hired "All Engineers" for decades. From the maintenance guy to the plant manager. All non-union all incentivized. The young college engineering grad not doing much important and still learning the ropes can earn $80-90k when NUE and his particular mill does well. Steel Dynamics (USA: STLD) does the same.

 The USA's voting majority the households who have kitchen drawers in their kitchens with string jars superglue paint brushes half burnt candles flashlights and scotch tape in them just voted to return the United States to the era of Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Pink Panther. Fifty years of destructive public education policy have militated against those values. Against Holly Golightly and Cat. Against Henry Mancini's elegant lyrical music. Against Inspector Clouseau's wife, who is beautiful and wears mink. In 2017 even erotic photography and the porn movies of the 1970s are anathema to the totalitarian left and the feminist studies clan and are the enemy. Shakespeare is no longer taught in college English courses. He's a white male. So his words are suspect. Such is the revolution.

Half of America has chosen to turn and fight this New Fascist anti-free speech Left. Can Old Classic America win? It looks like the USA's Second Civil War has started. Be aware that we are one or two more events away from seeing civilians with guns in our streets.  Because those families with junk drawers in their kitchens who voted for a stable middle class America with cub scout troops church and the pledge of allegiance view much of what's going on in 2017 America as sedition. Even treason.

These kindly cookiebaking folks, soccer moms and whitecollar little league dads, are starting to say: ok bring it on. These families with junk drawers in their kitchens and three kids in k-6 schools and 7 8 9 middle schools finally, in 2016, had finally had enough and didn't put up yard signs but voted. that's why Trump is president. This has never happened before. Post WWII Families formed after 1945 now have grandkids and great-grandkids who see an America as divided as it was in 1861. 

After China, the world's most voracious consumer of basic resources raw materials is: Germany. Germany spends more than $220 billion annually on imported raw materials- ores, natural gas, industrial minerals etc- each year and this figure is rising by about 6% a year. Three German companies: Bayer, Siemens, and SAP are among our favorite MW investments. That's a signal that both the USA and Europe may be ending a long era of infotech leadership and a return to manufacturing and industrialism.

There is an underwater tunnel beneath the straits of Bosphorus linking Europe and Asia sides of that legendary city. Even more important, this has become a working RR freight tunnel. This tunnel was first suggested by the Ottoman sultan Abdulmejid in 1860. Japan put up 25% of the construction cost as an investment, and will profit. But this region is also an earthquake zone. Problems like earthquakes are but one reason commodities are expensive. The Marmaray Tunnel

Shanghai has a commuter railroad that travels from airport to the city's downtown, a distance of 18 miles, at 270mph: The US has nothing like it.  Part of USA's infrastructure rebuild/ 21st century buildout calls for high-speed rail systems in California and the Northeast, with the help of the Japanese, and this promises 1000s of jobs. But the US will have to increase the national debt to build it.

Humans have been traveling on skis for at least 8,000 years and probably much longer than that and in Northern European climes skiing was a fast and reliable way to move smaller quantities of goods and commodities.

A growth industry in the US: shoplifting. About $35 billion is stolen annually including $5 billion each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 27 million shoplifters in America, 10 million detained for it within the past five years.

A growth industry in the US: radicals for hire. Politicos hired by radical foundations and organizations both left and right to disrupt. George Soros Open Society Foundations. Heritage Alliance. Texas Public Policy Foundation. Black Lives Matter. The KKK.

Both India and China have space programs, as much of the United States has just found out via China's moon landing. India has a Mars mission going on right now.

The US is now 36th among the world's nations in math skills.

The #1 country in space, taking over from a NASA that has withered under ObamaChina.

America's Millennials don't watch cable TV at all. South Park? Something their parents watch. Or watched.

An entirely separate- and huge- global subculture: Gamers

To invest in gaming: Nvidia (USA:NVDA)  Nvidia is A MARKET WITCH PORTFOLIO FOUNDATION STOCK and a STRONG BUY. We've owned shares since 2003.

Go to an American hospital for one day ie to ER for a cardiac scare or stitches and get held overnight for observation and the typical tab is above $4000. American hospitals typically charge< $1.00 for an aspirin and more than $20 for a codeine. USA's is the most morally-bankrupt medical system on the planet.To blame: hospitals health insurance companies and the bog pharmaceuticals. The affordable care act will made it worse not better. You get better medical care if you are poor and live in Mexico. Your only hope is: if you are American, don't fall ill and don't get injured. If you win the lottery, move from the US if you have chronic health issues

The USA is awash in anti-bacterial soaps. The sanitizing agent in most of them is a chemical called triclosan. Studies suggest triclosan and similar chemicals interfere with hormonal levels and spur the development of drug-resistant bacteria. Triclosan is found in 75% of USA's anti-bacterial liquid soaps and in 93% of USA's bar soaps. The European Union has banned triclosan since March 2010. At risk: the products of several big consumer-products companies. A prominent brand, Dial™ started out as an American deodorant manufactured by Armour & Company a US meat-packing firm. Dial is now owned by Henkel AG (Germany: HENOY)

Both the World Health Organization and the USA's Center for Disease Control are warning that we are at the end of the age of Antibiotics as more bacteria 'superbugs' mutate into strains immune to antibiotics, causing bacteriological infections that can't be cured. As we approach a human population of 7.3 billion, on the way to an estimated 8 billion in 2030 and 10 billion in 2045, this may be nature's way of re-balancing.

Bitcoin is on the way to becoming a global digital currency that various governments- and their central banks- cannot control. It is a key piece of the 21st Century Global Economy and although it's a digital currency, gold will become its foundation. Bitcoins, tied to gold, and like gold, variable in immediate value, will likely become the primary mid- 21st century global money, replacing fiat currencies based on "debt" as the creation base of "money".

US household credit card debt averages $16,061 as we enter 2017. Visa (USA: VISA) is MARKET WITCH PORTFOLIO FOUNDATION STOCK and a STRONG BUY.

US student loan debt is more than a trillion dollars. More than 43 million Americans have student debt. Our government made $1.6 billion in 2016 servicing federally-backed student loans. But some 7 million education loans are in default and more than half are not being paid off.

The greatly enlarged and newly-reopened Panama Canal increases the importance of the USA's Southeast Seaboard ports including Miami Savannah Norfolk and Baltimore and in the UK, the port of Southhampton. An additional US beneficiary: the railroads, particularly CSX (USA: CSX) and Norfolk Southern (USA: NSC).NSC is A MARKET WITCH PORTFOLIO FOUNDATION STOCK and a STRONG LONG-TERM BUY.

India, the world's 2nd largest purchaser of gold, has a population under the age of 25 that is twice the size of the entire United States population. These under-twenty-fives have a 30% savings rate.

The tipping point: the number of American households that no longer have a land-line phone will reach 50% sometime late this year.

The size of the US work force compared to the size of the population (315 million) is the smallest since 1937. USA's civilian labor force 155 million people out of a population of 315 million, and the labor force is shrinking. 23% of Americans in the labor force are underemployed or working part-time not by choice.

-We've said since 2005 (see May 2005 MW Third World America) that the US was becoming a Third World country with a failed basic public education system a workforce that was becoming less skilled and a population that was becoming less literate and more primitive (clothing hygiene social skills work values ethics etc) and therefore subject to colonization by more evolved nations seeking cheap labor (note that this is the first case in modern history in which a highly-developed nation has slid downward and back into Third World status)  A decade later, this has in fact happened: American students lag far behind their primary European and Asian nation peers in reading skills, math skills, and in science. The US ranks 24th in reading, 28th in science, and not surprisingly, 36th among nations in math.

Barometric pressure affects the equities markets. When low-pressure weather fronts cross over Manhattan the Dow and the Nasdaq fall dramatically. When a high-pressure weather front crosses over the NYSE we get 200-point-up days.

Islamic Banking has Mainstreamed and now has its own category and news-stream on Bloomberg

Various colleges and universities (including MIT) now are teaching social graces as a part of higher education. Why? Because two parent households no longer have sit-down meals and because more than 33% of US households are single-parent households (doubled in fifty years) so any hope of teaching social skills in the home is gone in many of 2017 America's homes.

That's what Big Picture investing looks like. These and a hundred other factors like them determine how the world's equities indices fare and determine the price of wheat corn iron ore copper gold platinum and shares of IBM Southern Copper and the rest.

We used to try to create a 'mission' statement' for Market Witch. Around 2004 we gave that up and simply let our readers do it for us.

Here are Market Witch readers explaining MarketWitch stock market magic. A quick record of those 'mission statements' made by our readers over a decade:

2004: "No one else out there understands investing in mining."

2005: "Harold Robbins and Jack Sparrow visit South America."

2006: "The bargain-basement Warren Buffett."

2007: "The best take on the economics of Heartland America I've ever read."  (editor's note: see Market Witch November, 2006, Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" available on this website)

2008: "Motley Fool™ for people who read."

2009: "No, they are not MarketWatch. They're much better than that!"

2010: "Thanks for saving us from the poorhouse."

2011: "A rare case of intellectual honesty with a side order of sass. I spent $1000s every year to enhance my business as a Top NYC broker. Since I found Market Witch I have no reason to do so any more. Thanks!"

2012: "This is brilliant work. Simply brilliant. Project research focus and analysis. Makes James Cramer™ look like the local TV weatherman."

2013: "OUTSTANDING. The only outfit besides Jim Rogers that understands that in the 21st century commodities and basic resources are the underpinnings for stocks and the indexes. Want to invest in infotech? Find out who mines niobium. These guys know."

2017: "How did you KNOW to tell us on January 1st 2016 that Donald Trump would be elected president?"

Uh… well… we know that because we read everything. We have contacts all over the world. We have readers all over the world. Not very many, but all over the world. A number of our subscribers are bankers and brokerage houses, others are young people who have inherited money and others are first generation entrepreneurs who for the first time in their lives have more money than they need to buy a house and want to begin to invest. Not only do we research, but MW readers give us feedback, send us hints clues and tips. Something we've encouraged from the start. We also go out and do classic legwork research: we interview people. We talk with people. We ask questions of people.

We use the name Market Witch because during the mid-1990s, when we first began making large gains in the equities markets, people asked how we were doing it and we said: MAGIC!

But it ISN'T 'magic.' It is hard work and hard thinking.  Plus lots of travel, study, conversations, conferences, legwork, and on-site views and research research research. From all this, we build a unique perspective: a global 21st Century  "Big Picture" view of financial trends created from a unique and potent mix of sociology, cultural anthropology, science, geology, world economic history and world history,  and the periodic table, coupled with a contemporary (we coined the terms TwentyTeens™  and TwentyTwenties™)  and a global economic view.

This gets us- and you- a very clear and future-oriented outlook toward today's global industrial, financial, and social trends. And it means-for us and for you- money.

We go out and TALK with people. We do INTERVIEWS with a broad spectrum of both Americans and professional with all sorts of careers, on various continents- Africa Asia Europe Australia and Oceania. We have long conversations regularly with experts in their fields that New York's Lower Manhattan Wall Street financial analysts and TV stars don't even know exist. We KNOW what life is like for Americans. Because we go out and ASK Americans on a monthly basis and they TELL us. Then we base our strategies on the results of this very potent and very profitable mix.

Our advice, and our stock picks: are the stocks of companies that we ourselves are investing in. These are not just stocks we are choosing based on stochastics graphs or tips or tech analysis. They are the result choices of research unlike anything else out there. These are the stocks WE OURSELVES own shares in. It's our own money on the line and we know what we are doing. We simply invite you, as a Market Witch reader, to come along and share in the profits. We may quit in three years, and retire, so heads up. But retirement looks awfully boring compared to wat we do every day. We're too interested in our worldview and its consequences (we LOVE being right and 92% of the time, we are) to quit.

I began my adult life as a writer & journalist. I was a working journalist at age 19 with a real job and a real salary. I worked for a major US newspaper full-time all through college, went to grad school at Stanford on a grant.  I first developed an interest in the concept of 'money' more than three decades ago during a first trip to North Africa. I became fascinated with the ancient trade routes in the Sahara over which moved, centuries ago, much of the world's most valuable "products" of the day: gold, salt, slaves, ivory, cloth, spices, lumber, furs, olive oil, woods, meats, fish, metals, weapons, precious stones.

These "commodities" at one time served as "money." Were money.

From there I began to research Asia's ancient and historic Silk Road. My studies of ancient trade routes and the ancient history of global trade went on for several years and eventually encompassed several cultures and continents.

I have an extensive background in sociology, and a less formal but still considerable background in cultural anthropology. Five years before I began writing Market Witch, I focused all this on our Mainstream American culture and its own modern commodities.

And I began to focus upon these issues and  ask these questions: If there were 'caravan routes' in the USA today (there are, of course, and they are called railroads (USA:CSX USA:UNP USA:NSC) and the Interstates (a primary Interstate stock to invest in is Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (USA:CRBL)  plus Fedex (USA:FDX) United Parcel (USA:UPS) Amazon (USA: AMZN) and eBay (USA: EBAY) what commodities would be moved over them? What American products are so valuable, so compelling so must-have that they could be sold, black-market style, off the tailgate of a truck? What products would create a stir, excitement, a furor in a town if they came in on a caravan? What products are so valuable that they could serve as currency? As money? What brand-name products, what social franchises, would be so valuable to Americans that they were the equivalent of gold, salt, spices and the other precious commodities?

Around 1990, the first two of these 'modern American trade-route' commodity-products we identified were Barbie® Dolls (Mattel USA:MAT) and Harley-Davidson® (USA: HOG) motorcycles. These two products were especially interesting because each one had achieved both a "cult" following and a "pop culture" context as well as wide mass acceptance and appeal. Barbie™ was an American- and then a global- rite of passage. Barbies™ are sold in 161 countries. Three Barbies™ are sold every second.  Harley-Davidson™ became an American- and now global- ideology on two wheels. The lesson to learn from this: we LOVE monopolies, we LOVE market dominance and we invest into it.

Because at that time, 1990, the market audience for Mattel's Barbie™ (then children; now Barbie is a collectible and an adult pop culture obsession) was still economically dependent, had no money of its own, while we discovered that owners and potential owners of Harley-Davidson motorcycles would go without food to obtain one, in late 1990 we put our life savings into Harley-Davidson motorcycle stock.

The HDI (now HOG) shares immediately fell. We were horrified, but sure we were right, and we did nothing. The stock did not stay down for long. We made a ton of money. In 1995, the year we began to write Market Witch, the next gold-salt-ivory-slaves-olive oil-spices commodity we identified was the Intel Pentium® and we sold off ½ our Harley-Davidson shares to buy Intel (USA:INTC) shares. We um did ok. Right after that, in 1996, we began investing in Cisco (USA:CSCO) and its routers et al. then in Corning (USA: GLW) and its fiber optic products. Then, about 2003, in global mining.

As the years passed, some of our identified "ancient trade-route commodities" companies in years long past these have included Intel's Pentium™ Cisco's servers, Zebra Technology's RFID tags, Research in Motion's Blackberry™, Krispy Kreme™ doughnuts, Panera™ breads, Nvidia's GPU chipsets , the iPod™, Nuance's voice recognition technologies, Corning's flatscreen glass and DuraTrap® diesel engine filters, and  MSFTs Windows™. In 2004 we headed into into the rise of the Big Six mining/resources companies and the "Commodities Supercycle" that began in 2003 and is about to surge once more in 2017 18 19 and on into the TwentyTwenties and TwentyThirties. Most recently we're investing in Cedar Fair and its amusement parks and Siemens and its wind farm technologies.

There have been others. There will be more. Because we're probably too obsessed with this and too interested in what will happen (are we right? We love being right!) to retire. We almost always are. 92% of our stock picks rise.

Since those days, years ago, our perspective has become far larger: global and far more in-depth. And the USA's importance as the centerpiece of the world economy has receded, particularly in relation to Latin America and China.

When we began publishing Market Witch 22 years ago the United States was not only the world's dominant economic and military power but was clearly still the dominant economic and cultural force on earth.

Those circumstances changed.

In early 2005 we identified the United States as a nation that was becoming a Third World Country (see MarketWitch Third World America May, 2005) a country fast becoming 95% poor, 5% rich, poorly educated, with a dimishing manufacturing base, a government unresponsive to its people, and with no Middle Class. This is a unique situation: the US was the first Industrialized Nation create a broad Middle Class and then to begin to fall back into Third World Status.

America began to separate into two distinct cultures value systems and ideologies. The most superb public education system on earth was ruined by agendas starting in the 70s. The steel industry was given away in the 80s. America's manufacturing base was given away via NAFTA. In 1999 the US gave away the Panama Canal in exchange for nothing.

A global 21st century economy means capital goes to where the work force is the most sophisticated and competent, and also the cheapest. USA's labor force, dumbed down over decades, couldn't compete and keep its high wage. A less skilled work force meant America became colonialized. America's New Wealth Belt (read various Market Witch issues) gets solid wages, but many of the companies providing the wages are foreign, and the profits go home to the various nations that have built plants here.

An American college education is no longer cost-effective and hasn't been since 1998.  America has created a generation of Millennials who will never out-earn their parents and never be able to pay off their higher- education debts and also buy a house and raise a family. The 20-year old Americans are worse off than that. About twenty-two million young Americans cannot read well enough and do not know enough basic math to perform simple tasks like making change or filling out a job application tho they can text and post on Facebook. 

America remains the world's preeminent military superpower, but that too brings some concern. One is that we are funding our military on credit and a time may come when we will not be able to afford our military on this level with a dollar that is diminishing in value. What then?

The first year of the 21st century hosted the Nasdaq stock market crash from 5000 (called a bursting "bubble" by those who did not 'get' what had just happened) which began the Second Great Depression, one we dubbed The Rhinestone Depression® (See MarketWitch June, 2001, The Rhinestone Depression®) because so much wealth had been created that it served as a cushion against want and poverty. That cushion of money of course is long gone for most families.

The 2008 housing crash and commodities crash was billed by the media as the Great Recession. But it was as bad as if not worse than the USA's 1930s. As we enter 2017 105 million Americans are completely out of the job market. 48% of Americans are on some version of food supplement: welfare, food stamps, food banks. 62% of americans have less than $1000 in their savings account. 21% don't even have a savings account and are living week to week. A majority % of an entire new American generation will never be able to buy a house.

The trouble goes back much further.

In the early 1970s the US began to split into two cultures. A heartland base and an urban elite with half on each coast. And a radical change began to take place in universities and throughout the public education system that indoctrinated America's young as opposed to teaching them. Feminist studies took over the arts education studies. As a result English departments no longer teach Shakespeare. Open borders brought America para espanol press uno and refugees without assimilation brought us a third language. America now speaks three languages. And is no longer a unified but a fractured and broken country.

In 2008 the USA as we knew it ceased to exist. In 2008 the US began an identity as something else: a no man's land, no longer a country unified by values and beliefs but not yet something else.

In 2012 the USA not only became something else, but also broke in two. By the start of 2012 the US had become two countries: the heartland and the two coasts and the media. You can read much more about this in various Market Witch issues.

In 2017 the United States is two separate countries. With different beliefs values philosophies and agendas. Things are much as they were in 1861. No shots have been fired yet, but these two countries are at war.

In the late 1990s a new class of Americans appeared: an Investment Class. It was the most hopeful sign in America's recent history since the rise of the GI bill generation in 1948. Americans with enough money to pay for home kids and lifestyle plus money to invest. This is gone now. It first was ruined by the Nasdaq crash of 2000, and then crushed by the housing collapse of 2008 as Americans with money were encouraged to "buy up" in housing which then crashed.

What followed was eight years of globalism, progressivism, big government and increasing American poverty.

That's over, and Trump is president, and promises big things. And much improvement. But our country is in its Second Civil War. And whether Trump can remain president in an era when respected newspaper editors and media execs call for his assassination remains to be seen. This is not a 'hot' war just yet but it can easily become one in 2017. Two flashpoints to watch for in 2017 are April and August.

Also in 2017: there is a disconnect between the Equities Markets and most Mainstream American People, who are for the most part too poor to invest, or too afraid of the equities markets to participate in what is a huge global boom and one that will occur even if the US falls in economic position in relation to other wealthy countries who have less public debt better education less "diversity' and which are not culturally divided.

MarketWitch, @ $129 annually, is a huge comparative bargain. Our annual subscription is inexpensive because we make most of our money from our stock choices and from the dividends and stock price runups not from reader subscriptions. We make money whether we have readers or not. These MW High Net Asset Value stock choices are stocks WE own. We simply invite readers to come along with us and prosper.

I was brought up to anticipate, and was educated to live in, a successful, prosperous, intelligent America, a nation with an enormous manufacturing base, a beacon to other cultures for its wealth, its opportunities, its wonderful products and inventions, a country envied and emulated for the lives its citizens led. 

Our country is no longer like that. Trump and the Americans who voted for him say that it can be great again. Half of Americans think that. Half don't.

The United States has always been is a nation of newcomers and amateurs. 74% of US small businesses are founded and owned by 1st or 2nd generation Americans.  A country of rank outsiders in a rough-and-tumble contest that has no class distinctions that can't be overcome, allows no margin for failure, and loves newbies, outsiders, performers, first-timers. We cheer someone on. We want a fresh face to win. We love challengers, and the champions that sprout from them. America creates folk heroes and mythic American figures through these choices. Two recent ones of course are the late Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos. But in 2017 the mythic American figure to watch is Donald Trump.

Our job at Market Witch is to explain what will happen, not what we want to happen or would like to have happen. And how what will happen affects our investments. And yours.

Life at the global economic circus: During the 1880s, Japan was in Center Ring. During the 1990s, Silicon Valley and the Dotcoms were. In the early 2000s, Brazil was star of the who. And then the EU was. Europe and the Eurozone and the European Union was at center stage, was in the Center Ring. In 2017, all eyes are on the USA and its Second Civil War, its cultural division, its raging battle over which path forward to take. Americans are more divided morally ideologically and politically now than they were in 1861. The reunification of our country? We don't think it's possible. Unity won't be possible until the Radical Left and the media vanquishes the non-Left or the non-Left vanquishes the Radical Left and the media. No compromise is possible.

How the United States will get out of this fix and who will win the nation's Second Civil War is very much open to question as we begin 2017.

Here is how wealth is created: You dig it up. Gold silver copper manganese coal lithium petroleum. You grow it: wheat rice tobacco corn sugar cane, trees cattle lumber and sheep. You harvest it from the sea: pearls lobster tuna salmon. You think it up: invent it, with ideas that spawn inventions: the railroad the tractor the V8 engine the iPhone and the B2 stealth bomber, the Godfather and the Harry Potter books and movies and 3D and virtual reality and the cloud, things that create demand and create industries wealth and jobs. You transform it: iron ore to steel, I-beams to office buildings. That's it. That's all there is. All other economic endeavors have to do with simply moving goods about, taking them to where there are markets for them, and selling them to wholesalers retailers and the public. Money changes hands. No wealth is created.

The 21st century currency has now become much like the currency system used before the Rothschilds were even born. A currency system in fact much like that used on the ancient Saharan trade routes and on the Silk Road, centuries, even millennia, ago.

Money used to look like this:

Now it looks like this:

And this:

The US dollar is still money. In 2017, it's the strongest paper money there is. Our coins are strong, too. Copper is undervalued. Copper should be at about $3.70. Nickel is even more undervalued. Nickel should be at around $6.20. Our US five-cent piece is 25% nickel 75% copper. And our nickel coins worth $0.07. That means that a roll of nickels you buy at the bank for $2 is actually worth $2.80. The US Mint is so aware of this that in December of 2016 they made it illegal to melt down or export US nickel coins. Pennies are 2.5% copper and 97.5% zinc but they're undervalued too, worth about $0.013. Free money down the road? Buy nickels and hold them. They're much stronger than paper dollars.

Gold in gramweight is probably the best 21st-century money. Bitcoins are money too and when pegged to gold may prove to be safer than the dollar or the Euro. In 2017, our American dollar is very strong. But the United States is twenty trillion dollars in public debt. There is no possible way to buy that debt down without devaluing our currency.

It is not an easy time for most Mainstream Americans. The housing market is strong. But many younger Americans can't afford to buy a house or even move out of their parents' house. There are jobs. But most jobs are 'underemployment-level' jobs. Most Americans don't understand that they have become part of a global work force and that both the capital and the jobs flow to where labor is most skilled and the most inexpensive and that this lowers the annual income for Americans who have to compete in something they were not even aware of, and raises it for workers in other countries. Trump is trying to change this. Will he succeed? Can he succeed?

It's not an easy time for Europeans either. Muslim residents who refuse to assimilate into French German Belgian Holland Italian and Scandinavian cultures threaten centuries-old mainstream cultures in these nations and the citizens won't have it. Something similar is now happening in the US. The UK's Brexit vote, still an unsettled issue, may be the one card that brings down the house of cards that is the European Union. It's all about national sovereignty. The British think so even if their government may not agree. The French the Dutch and the Germans think so too.

Are things much different now than they were in the days of Carthage, Rome, the ancient Saharan trade routes and the Silk Road? Add the Internet, satellite scans, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and eBay, and the answer is: no. Communication is electronic and far faster, but things are no different.The early 21st century has turned out to be medieval, brutish, dark, dangerous and anachronistic, and also host to great social and economic upheaval. Global changes in this tough unforgiving new world have been rapid, but obvious and well-understood by our MW readers.

It's not clear at the start of '17 where the world is headed. The USA is at a crossroad. So is the EU. Iran probably has The Bomb and is developing the means to deliver it. Though you won't see it discussed or presented in American media, China hopes to rule the Pacific with its navy the way Japan once hoped to in the late 30s. The world today is far more like the world of Carthage than it is to the world of 20th century Europe and America.

That's where we come in. We know how to invest in this 2017 climate and make money at it.

I began looking at Fortune magazine at the age of five and reading it at age eight. My childhood hero was not Tarzan, nor Spider Man, Captain Kirk Jack Nicklaus or Joe Namath. My hero was Scrooge McDuck. I began my adult life as the wayward streetwise child of divorced parents with a perspective that saw a Greyhound® bus ticket as a path to a widening personal universe. I graduated from college with $650 to my name. Those days are long past.

We've written more than 250 monthly issues of Market Witch through thick and thin and our overall net worth from the stocks we recommend and which we buy has continued to rise. We simply take the profits from runups and dividends and invest in shares of companies we're sure of but don't already own.  I work more than fifty hours a week researching and writing Market Witch even though I am long past needing to do so I love doing it. Others associated with Market Witch are as good at what they do as I am. Equally involved in investing and the $coolhunt and the intellectual prospecting for gold in the various global market indices.

We often are compared to Motley Fool™ …but Motley fool has 100s of employees. We have two, sometimes three.

Read our STRONG BUY lists and the Big-Picture context we provide for the some 250 companies and their stocks that we follow. Come along with us and prosper.

February 2017


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