Early Warning for 10 January 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Thursday, 10 January 2019.


White House

The President is scheduled to participate in a roundtable on immigration and border security at McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas. He’ll then receive a briefing and survey the Rio Grande before heading back to Washington.

Early Warning: South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that a second summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was imminent. No word yet on the date.

RBG Watch: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was reported as missing from the bench on Monday as she recuperated from cancer treatment. Experts reported that they expect her to be back on the bench by February’s SCOTUS sitting. (Analyst Comment: Should Justice Ginsburg be unable to continue for any reason, the Senate will be set up for another hard fought Kavanaugh-like process to seat the next justice. Another circus.)

Shutdown: Day 20. The shutdown is now the second-longest on record. In yesterday’s meeting with Chuck and Nancy, President Trump reportedly walked out of the room and described the meeting as a “total waste of time”. (AC: This is pushing President Trump closer to the national emergency option, as House Democrats are standing firm on their promise to, under no circumstances, fund the border wall. The national emergency option will allow President Trump to order the military to build the wall, but will also fuel more resentment on the Left and trigger accusations that President Trump is acting unconstitutionally. The wall, however, is likely to encounter opposition in the courts. President Trump’s wall order is quite literally one judge away from being impeded. My longer term concern is how the next Democrat president could use Trumpian-style rule bending to implement progressive policies in spite of Republican push back. This would be an Obama administration redux. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are working with House Democrats to negotiate a deal that gives both sides what they want. How President Trump views a potential deal is, of course, up for debate.)

Also: The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, has stopped doing routine inspections of food-processing facilities, according to the FDA commissioner. The FDA is working on resuming inspections of high-risk facilities.

Also x2: Since tomorrow will be the first paycheck that federal employees will miss, get ready for lots of  human interest pieces on how the partial shutdown is threatening to starve children, get federal employees evicted, and negatively affect the area’s economy. (It’s estimated that federal employees make up 11.5 percent of D.C. metro area’s workforce.) The question is how this media coverage will affect Congressional Republicans, a few of whom are saying they’re nearing their breaking point on the shutdown.


State Department

Secretary Pompeo has no publicly scheduled events.


Defense Department

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan: Nothing significant to report.


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

The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was last reported on a three month deployment to the Western Pacific.

The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was last reported as having returned to Norfolk.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as in the Persian Gulf.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as having returned to Norfolk.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as having returned to home port in Yokosuka, Japan.

The George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) was last reported as having returned to Norfolk.


Bold indicates significant changes to last reported location or other amplifying information.



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



After U.S. officials described trade talks with China as productive, the Chinese Commerce Ministry released a statement calling the talks  “broad, deep, [and] detailed”. Both sides agreed to keep in contact and pursue a relationship that will foster more negotiation in the future. But beware: enforcement of any deal with the Chinese is an entirely different animal.

Financial firm BlackRock published a new six-month forecast where they see tighter financial conditions and slower economic growth, falling to just over two percent growth later this year. Recession conditions aren’t on the horizon through at least the first six months of this year, according to the data.


What I’m Looking at this Morning

Venezuela’s Maduro begins second six-year term

Fuel crisis hits Mexico as pipelines close


Notable Quotable

“[Artificial Intelligence] will increasingly replace repetitive jobs, not just for blue-collar work, but a lot of white-collar work. Chauffeurs, truck drivers, anyone who does driving for a living– their jobs will be disrupted more in the 15-25 year time frame. Many jobs that seem a little bit complex, chef, waiter, a lot of things will become automated … stores … restaurants, and altogether in 15 years, that’s going to displace about 40 percent of the jobs in the world.” – Chinese venture capitalist Kai Fu Lee

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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