Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Wednesday, 01 August 2018. (All times Eastern.)
INTERESTING: Listening to NPR yesterday afternoon, I heard an exchange describing the recent Facebook news: 32 pages had been deleted because they were run by, probably, Russia’s Internet Research Agency. Groups like “Aztlan Warriors” and “Black Elevation” pushed anti-American views, among other identity-based narratives. Other pages organized counter protests against white nationalist rallies.
The President is scheduled to have a series of meetings today with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, then with inner-city pastors, and then with Republican Senators (likely related to Brett Kavanaugh confirmation).
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveling to Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia from 01-05 August. This weekend, the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministerial meetings take place in Singapore. Topics of discussion will include economic security and the Indo-Pacific Strategy to counter China’s aspiring dominance of the region.
Defense Secretary Mattis has no public events scheduled for today.
The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was last reported in the Hawaii Area of Operations (RIMPAC 2018).
The John Stennis (CVN-74) recent left port in Bremerton, Washington and is in the eastern Pacific.
The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is at port in Yokosuka, Japan.
Conflict requiring a Carrier Strike Group does not appear imminent.
Significant House Activity:
- Nothing significant to report.
Significant Senate Activity:
- The Senate Intelligence Committee is holding a hearing to examine foreign influence operations and their use of social media platforms.
* Reporting will appear in the Strategic Intelligence Summary or National Intelligence Bulletin.
– The Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision is due today and Fed-watchers expect no rate hikes. That said, one survey found that the probability of a rate hike in September hit 82.5 percent, up from just 60 percent in early June. President Trump spoke out against aggressive interest rates last week, saying that they could hurt the economy. When interest rates go up, borrowing money becomes more expensive so there’s less borrowing, which leads to a loss of economic activity.
– The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow estimate for third quarter growth sits at 4.7 percent.
– According to some reports this morning, the Trump administration is set to make a decision by late August on whether or not to implement new tariffs and/or raise them against China. Some Trump officials are pushing the president to raise tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent in hopes that it will bring the Chinese to the negotiations table.
The National Hurricane Center reports that tropical cyclone activity in the Atlantic is not expected during the next 48 hours.
Drought conditions persist across much of the Southwest.
What I’m Looking at this Morning
“Democrats should be very, very worried [about the 2020 election]. We have more voters than they do, but we can only win if we get them out.” – Dan Pfieiffer, former Obama communications director