Early Warning for 08 February 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Friday, 08 February 2019.

 

White House

The President is scheduled to receive his annual physical exam.

7: The number of days that the Trump administration and the Congress have to reach a border wall funding agreement before a potential shutdown or national emergency declaration.

Ban Hammer: Politico is reporting that President Trump is planning on issuing an executive order next week to ban Chinese telecommunications equipment from U.S. wireless networks over espionage fears. Meanwhile, the U.S. Envoy to the European Union said that EU countries that allowed Chinese equipment on their telecom networks could face sanctions. Sounds serious.

Mea Culpa: In yesterday’s Strategic Intelligence Summary, we reported that President Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping were scheduled to hold talks ahead of the 01 March deadline when new tariffs will be introduced against China. Not long after I published that report, the White House confirmed that President Trump would not be meeting with Xi, despite previous reporting that he was scheduled to do so.


 

State Department

Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting with State Department employees.


 

Defense Department

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has no publicly scheduled events.

 

These are the last publicly reported locations of deployed carrier groups. Conflict requiring an aircraft carrier/carrier strike group does not appear imminent.

The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is off the coast of Virginia for pre-deployment training. The Lincoln will rejoin the Indo-Pacific Command once it re-bases to San Diego, CA.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as in the Java Sea.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.


 

Congress

Significant House Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

* Only events pertinent to national security are listed. Significant reporting will appear in this week’s Strategic and National Intelligence reports


 

Economy/Finance

We’re still headed towards a student loan debt crisis. Here’s a chart (top) from the St. Louis Fed which shows nonrevolving debt, much of which is student loan debt, as it climbs to new highs. Up, up, and away. The second chart (bottom) shows the same outstanding nonrevolving credit compared against disposable personal income. If disposable income were rising at the rate of debt accumulation, that graph would be flat. Instead, debt is being accumulated at a higher rate, even as the “Trump bump” put more Americans back to work. Disposable income has risen every since 2013 yet is still being widely outpaced by increases in nonrevolving debt (which also includes car loans, another potential bubble valued at $1.1 trillion). Something isn’t right.

It’s not just the next recession that poses the potential to trigger this crisis. Last month, one theme at Davos was the outsourcing of American white collar jobs overseas, which is already happening. Plus, advances in artificial intelligence over the next decade will displace more and more American workers. Student loan debt sits right around $1.5 trillion, and most of that is loaned by the federal government. Seeing the potential for a job loss tsunami, I question how $1.5 trillion is going to be paid back by unemployed and underemployed college degree holders. It won’t.


 

Far Left Daily

“One way the Right tries to mischaracterize what we’re doing as though it’s like some kind of massive government takeover…obviously it’s not.” Later asked if the plan requires “massive government intervention”: “It does…Yeah, I have no problem saying that”.” – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“We are standing on Native land, and Latino people are descendants of Native people. And we cannot be told and criminalized simply for our identity and our status.” – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“For reasons both substantial and practical, we believe [Trump’s] disgorgement by Republicans can happen, might happen — and should happen. Contrary to conventional wisdom, removal by his party would be as healthy for America’s democracy as his removal by the voters, perhaps more so.” – Raunch and Wehner, writing for the New York Times


 

What I’m Looking at this Morning

Billionaire liberal threatens to unload on Dems if they don’t impeach Trump [Steyer]

U.S. hypersonic capabilities less than two years away

Syria battlefield preparing Marines for war with Russia or China

SOUTHCOM: Venezuela is ‘center of gravity’ in security crisis


 

Notable Quotable

“All states weaken, collapse, and eventually disappear. There is no compelling reason why this given wisdom will not see the United States one day join once imperial Rome.” – Colin S. Grey

Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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